Branding Three-step

Book marketing is one of the oddest, yet normal marketing jobs one can have (and this doesn’t include the rapidly evolving digital, post-book-store world Amazon created and dominates).

acme-bookSelling books is a good case study in the fundamentals of brand marketing. Awareness, belief and validation are all steps in the decision chain buyers have. With books, this plays out in a lot of uncommon ways, though the end goals remain the same.

Starting with the author’s platform, the first step is to build awareness.  A great deal of typical PR goes into a publisher backed book, making the entire market aware that the book exists and has an alleged value or differentiation (that there is not a dimes worth of value or differentiation between typical romance novels shows that marketing can overcome reality). Pre-release excerpts from books create awareness, but also set the stage for the next mandatory book/brand market step.

After a target market is aware that a book exists, they have to understand its value. Book excerpts create awareness as well as demonstrate value. So too do formal book reviews, jacket notes and endorsements. People do judge books by their covers, and everything from artwork down to back cover blurbs creates perceived differentiation and value.

Reviews – both formal and consumer – validate the book’s brand, the third steps in classic branding. Many people still scan the New York Times bestseller list for validation (despite that system having been gamed by crafty authors, or via orchestrated “buy downs” on the day the book is released to create instant Amazon best sellers) and even more won’t bother buying a book that has fewer than three stars from Amazon customer reviews. Validation of brand value is oddly more important to book buyers than some people purchasing a Porsche.

Despite massive changes in the publishing and book retailing business, the functional aspects have not changed. Differentiate the value, build a brand, validate the brand, and get the market to validate it as well. Indeed the only real change in book selling with a traditional publisher is that most of the marketing work is now the responsibility of the author … which makes some folks wonder what the value of publishers may be in the modern world.


Speak up! What are your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published.