"Book Marketing from A-Z," Francine Silverman

Pros: Every angle is covered; a wealth of advice; an amazing number of resources
Cons: A little rough around the edges, but that’s just cosmetic
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

First posted 4/26/2005
Review book courtesy of Francine Silverman

One of the things that many writers find most difficult about getting published (apart from getting published itself!) is promoting their work. Writers generally want to write, not be publicists, and yet in this day and age it’s rare to find a publisher who’ll truly market your book for you. As the saying goes, if you want it done right you have to do it yourself. That’s where Francine Silverman’s “Book Marketing from A-Z” comes in.

Francine Silverman runs an inexpensive book promotion newsletter for writers. In it she collects all sorts of war stories from her readers–success stories, ideas, failures, and so on. In “Book Marketing from A-Z” she has collected many of those tips and stories (from more than 300 authors!) in a handy guide organized alphabetically by topic.

I admit it–promotional tips aren’t generally what I consider riveting reading. I’m one of those writers who are afraid of people and find promotion and publicity quite difficult, so the subject is a bit daunting. Yet by the time I got halfway through I was voraciously reading each entry in its entirety and feeling all fired up on the topic. There are just so many great ideas in here that it’s hard not to get your imagination going.

Topics

This book really does cover everything. Want to consider advertising? Authors sound off on the effectiveness of various sorts of ad campaigns from Amazon promotions to Google ads. Not sure how important a good book cover is? There’s plenty of information on that, too. Authors go into their experiences with book reviews, book signings, branding, conferences, contests, discounts, giveaways, gimmicks, donations, dual career promotion, internet outlets, organizations, pre-publication promotion, speaking engagements, tie-ins, and much much more.

Along the way many of the entries make mention of various resources you might want to use. I’ve found quite a few links I plan to add to my own link directory as a result, and despite the fact that I don’t currently have a book to promote I signed up for Ms. Silverman’s newsletter because I found the book so fascinating.

Some of the contributing authors offer contradictory advice, which, oddly enough, I consider a plus. After all, not everyone’s experiences will be the same. This allows you to try to figure out which things will best apply to your own situation and work accordingly.

Presentation

My only mild negative regarding the book is that the presentation comes off as slightly on the unprofessional side. The text is fully justified, leaving odd gaps in the middle of paragraphs. There are some small lapses in proofing in terms of quotation marks being left out and so on. However, while in some books this can definitely impact the usefulness or readability of the book, in this case I found it to be mostly a cosmetic problem that didn’t particularly impact my experience. So I’d urge you to look past that and give the book a look anyway!

I found this to be not only a highly informative and useful book, but also a fascinating read. I think it will be of great value to any writer looking for ways to sell a book, whether you’re self-published or you’ve published through more traditional means. I’d also recommend the book to those writers still in the process of looking for a publisher, as many of the contributing authors impart quite a bit of wisdom on that part of the process as well.

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