Book marketing plan that got Business Doctors sold out in under a year

Business Doctors Flipkart

My self-published book, Business Doctors, shows an Out of Stock status on Flipkart.

My year-long publishing experiment is over and I won’t be printing any more physical copies. This puts Business Doctors in an unusual situation, with a dormant demand building up for it but no new stock to quell it.

Here’s the book marketing plan that helped in getting it to this stage.

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10 depressing facts about the book publishing industry

Steven Piersanti (President, Berrett-Koehler Publishers) recently published a top 10 list on the trends in the publishing industry. Though the numbers that are cited in the article are from the US, I’m guessing that some trends might be applicable to the world market as well.

First a quick summary of the post and then we move on to what new authors can do apart from popping anti-depressant pills.

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New writers & authors: Ready to be a book salesman?

When it comes to selling novels, there is a common assumption (and practice) in the publishing world. After the author has received his share of limelight and media exposure during the book launch event, he goes back to his high pedestal to work on the next masterpiece while his humongous fan following flocks to the bookstores to buy the book.

As an author, while you put on the sunglasses to protect your eyes from all the flashbulbs going off in your face, the reality is – most book reviews and press exposure will fizzle out faster than you assume. Then it’s just you and your books lying on their respective pedestals gathering dust. Unless you do something about it.

So last week, I thought, let me try out an experiment.

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Book promotion: Will you give away your book for free?

After you’ve spent hundreds (thousands) of hours working on your book and getting it published, what would your reaction be if you saw it available for free download on a peer-to-peer file sharing site? My guess is, you wouldn’t be too happy.

Piracy is a big problem wherever Intellectual Property Rights come into picture. This applies to books, music, movies, software and many other products where an idea or concept is packaged usually for commercial gains.

But there’s another school of thought that’s finding new followers (some very prominent and well-respected ones) each day.

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Writing a book: How to choose a genre?

How you write and structure a book has a lot to do with what genre you choose. This decision will also have a big influence on another aspect that’s important for publishers – your target market size. For many new writers there’s a natural inclination to be drawn towards a specific genre like romance, thrillers, science fiction, young adult, chick lit or any of the numerous other broad or niche genres available.

A big influence on choosing the genre might be the kind of novels, non-fiction books and online stories you’ve been reading for a long time. Reading bestsellers is a great way to get the pulse of the reader and the market. But it’s also got its pitfalls.

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Do you have a publisher-friendly blog?

What’s the best way to convince a publisher that you have a platform to promote your books so they take your query letter and your book proposal seriously?
I used my blog to sell X hundred/thousand copies of my first book.

What’s the next best way, if you are an unpublished author with a popular blog?
I haven’t been published yet, but I’ve used my blog to sell X hundred/thousand copies of other books in the same genre.

Even if it isn’t mentioned in your publishing contract, your publisher would still want you to do your best to promote your book. In a previous post, I had shared some ideas on why an author needs to have a blog irrespective of whether you are going for traditional publishing, self-publishing, printed books, ebooks. Having a blog is less important than having an ‘effective’ blog.

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The misconception about ‘free’ author copies

Great, you are an author now! So Mr Author, when am I getting my complimentary copy? Oh c’mon, don’t act like a stingy business-man now, 1 copy won’t hurt.
If you’ve ever said this (or might say it in the future) to your good-friend-turned-author, read on to know the truth behind ‘free’ author copies. Maybe you’ll have some newfound sympathy and support for your friend.

How many free copies does an author get?

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7 Reasons why you should start an author blog

I maintain 3 blogs. The first one is an MBA blog which is quite popular among Indian MBA applicants who are targeting international business schools. The second blog is based on a creative word puzzle (Onamography) that I invented. This is my third blog and focuses on helping budding writers break into the publishing industry.

Maintaining a blog can be tedious. Maintaining 3 blogs can be, well, tedious X 3. But there are definite benefits that you can expect to get back if you understand the basic rules of the game.

Whether you are a struggling author waiting to get your first book published or you are a veteran in the field, having an author blog is a good idea. It serves to be more than just a marketing platform. If you don’t have a blog yet, here are some reasons why you should start writing blog posts

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Book marketing and promotion: Meet the superheroes

Marketing and promoting a book can be one of the biggest hurdles for first-time authors (Well, ok, after you’ve got a good literary agent to represent you, got a contract from a good publishing house and all other other equally challenging hurdles have been crossed…) Fortunately for those who have the backing of an established publishing house, the journey can be a little less rocky. This post is a tribute to the unsung heroes of the publishing world.

Before the book goes to the printing press (and the editorial process is still on), the sales and marketing team has already got into action. Here’s a little to-do list to give you an idea of the complexities that Marketing guys have to deal with:

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Self-publishing: Why you should (or shouldn’t) approach Vanity Publishers?

Self-publishing and vanity publishers have existed in various forms for a very long time. Despite the contrasting views about the pros and cons of this approach, the market for vanity publishing has grown within the writing community, especially for first time authors.

And there’s a reason for that. The traditional publishing model makes it very difficult for new writers to break into the industry. In comparison self-publishing allows anyone who wants to be known as a published author an equal shot at the game.

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