The Book Marketing Tip for November 29, 2014:
Buzz Marketing via opinion leaders is equalized: that is, an independently-published author is on par with a Big-Five frontlist author.
Opinion leaders are the key to marketing books. Once they begin to talk about a book, their personal platforms will listen. If the opinion leader recommends a book, the platform goes out and buys that book. The larger the platform, the better the sales.
Getting the attention of opinion leaders is not easy. Quite often, the leaders of larger platforms have limited time and a great demand on them by book publicists and giant publishers. However, it is not an entirely impossible task, and authors and publishers of all sizes can approach opinion leaders.
Opinion leaders come in all shapes and sizes. The most commonly held image of an opinion leader is that of the book reviewer, preferably for the New York Times Book Review. Book bloggers are also great opinion leaders in the world of books.
However, don’t overlook the less heralded, but certainly more effective opinion leader, booksellers.
Yet, there are opinion leaders one would not expect to influence book sales. One example is that of Flight of the Intruder by Stephen Coonts. As legend has it, the book was a sleeper, published by the lightly distributed U.S. Naval Institute Press. Somebody, no one knows who, sent a copy of this book to somebody in the White House, probably someone in the Navy command. The book ended up on President Ronald Reagan’s desk during a photo shoot, overlooked by everyone, but when the picture appeared in Fortune Magazine, it appeared as though Ronald Reagan was reading Flight of the Intruder. Overnight, the book became a big hit.
What is remarkable about opinion leaders is that when they have found something they like, it does not matter if the book has a big marketing budget or that the author is not a household name (yet!). Opinion leaders often tell their platforms about books that are midlist, indie list, no list, or even underground publications. If an opinion leader reads a book (or has it on his desk for a major photo op) and likes it, it gets the full benefit of the strong buzz that follows.
Getting one’s book into the hands of opinion leaders with large followings is perhaps the most effective and cost-effective means of marketing books. For the price of a book, a cover letter and a Priority Mail envelope, any book can catch the right eye. And then, news of the book can spread quickly.
(President Ronald Reagan photo credit: Official White House Photo, 1981, United States Government, in the public domain, via Wikipedia)
Who are the opinion leaders who would most enjoy your book?