The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Book Marketing Success, Georgia Kirke, Write Business Results, 2016

This timely booklet of 62 pages may be just what you need to pep up your own marketing and brand, and/or simply do the thing it promises: namely, get your book out there and enable it to become a “strategic business development asset”.

I have to say at the outset that I was intrigued to read this book, since writing (I have had over 30 books published) and publishing (and my books have been with many of the major publishers such as Pearson and Routledge as well as self-published via Lulu) have been central preoccupations of mine for well over 30 years. The thing is: if you are published by a major you tend to assume that they are responsible for marketing your book, and so do nothing yourself; and if you self-publish, by the time you finish writing the book, you often have very little energy left to promote it. And to be honest too: many authors suffer from the idea that their writing is intrinsically interesting so that they simply have to write and publish and – voila! – their merits will be discovered. Alas, such a fantasy is delusion at best, and dangerous at worst. Many fine books have been published only to disappear entirely from view for the want of adequate marketing and sales.

Like any other activity designed to make money, publishing is a business (albeit a weird one!) and one needs to consider not only the alpha (writing the book) but also the omega successfully getting it to market). Does Georgia Kirke’s slim volume help you do that?

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The answer has to be a resounding yes: this is an amazingly helpful and straightforward book. Its brevity is a strength, especially for busy business people who need to get to the heart of the matter quickly. In order to turn your book into a ‘strategic business development asset’, then, Kirke recommends four pillars or four assumptions that she unpacks: one, that ‘your book marketing and the quality of the book’s contents are of equal importance’. That seems to me very hard and very realistic: marketing a book that contains nugatory content is pointless. Two, taking the long view pays. In other words, one has to be strategic; it’s a bit like pets – they are for life, not just Christmas! Three, book marketing works best with a plan. Hardly a revelation that, but actually so important to stress because so many people think they can make it without one. Four, one size doesn’t fit all. And this is true too: if there were just one way of making a success of book publishing, then everyone would be doing it. One needs creativity here as much as anywhere else if one is to make an impact.

With these assumptions established, then, Kirke goes on to unpack the three stages of publishing self-promotion. Many good ideas and pieces of useful advice follow. My own favourite, which shows me that Kirke really knows her stuff, is in her advice on becoming an Amazon best seller. As she comments: “you can become a bestseller for all of half an hour or so, by tagging your book in less popular categories, arranging for a load of them to be bought on the same day it comes out and lining up reviews for publishing day’, but as she then realistically comments: “achieving bestseller status in that way may not do much for you”. Her view – which I echo – is that “you’re therefore better off focussing on how you can reward your readers for picking up your book in the first place, making the read so valuable they talk about it, share it and most importantly, action it”.

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But I have saved the best for last. The really outstanding feature of Kirke’s book is the final chapter, and the book is worth its price for this chapter alone. Indeed, it is barely a chapter in the traditional sense: it is a list of 80 marketing tools and ideas to promote your book, and they are quite superb. I went through all of them and realised that in my time I had only actioned about half of the 80 – that there were 40 or so ideas that my wife and I would now need to review that could be extremely useful to the promotion of my books. So time to be busy and action stuff!!

Thus, I wholly recommend Georgia Kirke’s to any author, but especially to self-published authors who want to create an extra edge for the promotion of their books. This is a must-read.

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