Marketing a Hard Sell Book

The book industry knows which titles sell quickly and which titles take longer to sell. Special niche books may be a "hard sell," according to publishing experts. Publishers appreciate the author’s efforts. Have you written a hard-sell book? Your personal marketing efforts may boost sales.

I have written dozens or articles and two books about grief. The publishing industry considers grief a hard-sell. My latest book about writing to recover from grief is marketed via catalog and a the publisher's Website. Publishers appreciate the author's marketing efforts and I am doing all I can to support my book.

Last weekend I read two books about advertising, "AdverSelling" by James Hassett, PhD and "Killer Techniques to Succeed with Newspaper, Magazine and Yellow Pages Advertising!" by Michael Winicki. Both of these resources were helpful and I learned new things. You may have written a hard-sell book, a book you believe in deeply, and Hassett's tips may help you.

Attracting Internet attention is one tip. You do this by writing ezine articles, blogging, Utube, and other Internet communication. Improving your elevator speech is another tip. If you entered an elevator and met someone, could you state the message of your book in five seconds? The message of my book: Writing about grief helps you find your way through it. Think about your elevator speech and practice it.

Hassett also thinks you should make people happy, which is a challenge for me. Though I cannot make people happy, I can tell them they will survive and feel better in time. I know this from losing five loved ones within the span of nine months.

Free stuff also appeals to would-be buyers, according to Hassett. Visitors who go to my Website see a list of symptoms about anticipatory grief and may click on links to Internet articles and blog radio interviews. I speak for free and when I speak, I give people handouts, books, book marks, and calendars. "Don't stop," Hassett advises, and I have heeded his advice.

Winicki's book contained a surprising point. I always thought word of mouth advertising was the best form of advertising, but he thinks it is "completely uncontrollable." Winicki says would-be buyers have one question, "What's in it for me?" Your media release and back cover copy should answer this question.

Ads for your book should appeal to self-interest. I developed a chart of the features and benefits of my book and you may do the same. Winicki's list of advertising's 44 magic words and phrases was so helpful I added the word "free" to a heading. Check the Internet for advertising words that sell.

The Book Whirl Website offers tips for "Recession-Proof Marketing Strategies." Simply stated, your "strategy should be clear, feasible and practical." Your name needs to be on the Internet. Now is the time to get a Website if you do not have one. I hired a graphic designer to re-do my Website and have updated it twice.

Submitting Internet articles with free reprint rights is another way to publicize your book. "This inexpensive marketing tool builds up, slowly but surely, an author's credibility and expertise of the given subject matter," notes Book Whirl. Writing a hard-sell book does not mean it won't sell. It means you have to work harder at it.

Harriet Hodgson

Harriet Hodgson has been an independent journalist for 30 years. She is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Association of Health Care Journalists, and the Association for Death Education and Counseling. Her 24th book, "Smiling Through Your Tears: Anticipating Grief," written with Lois Krahn, MD, is available from Amazon.

Centering Corporation in Omaha, Nebraska has published her 26th book, "Writing to Recover: The Journey from Loss and Grief to a New Life." The company has also published a companion resource, the "Writing to Recover Journal," which contains 100 writing prompts. Please visit Harriet's Website and learn more about this busy author and grandmother.

Join the Conversation

Read These Next


When Characters are Real

If you are the absolute master of all your characters, you can be sure they are not real. If, however, they surprise you now and then, you might just have the real thing.


How AI Could Destroy the Future of Publishing

In a world where technology continues to revolutionize various industries, artificial intelligence is leaving its mark on the book publishing and bookselling sectors. While some of these changes could be positive or neutral, it is also possible to see a future where changes due to AI could go horribly wrong.


What’s on Your Back Cover?

New publishers and self-publishing authors often spend a lot of time on the front cover design of their books, but not so much time and effort is made on the back cover. The back cover of your book is a valuable sales tool and should be used to its best advantage.