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The following is the foreword, and two sample chapters of Driving Book Sales. © Sanibel Press Inc. 2008   Available in E-book Format


Foreword by Linn Random

Question: How can I make my book a best seller?

Easy, first write a great book.

Question:  I’ve written a great book, how can I increase my book sales?

You must create interest and demand for your book through publicity and promotion.  Publicity and promotion will drive book sales.

Question: I don’t know where to begin?

Driving Book Sales through Public Relations and Promotions is an easy to read primer on every aspect of publicity, marketing, advertising and public relations.  This little book is a comprehensive guide that contains sound marketing strategies that will work online and in the real world to help you make your book a success.

I want to begin by sharing a couple of realities:

Your book will generally have a six week shelf life at the bookstore.  Your local book seller is likely to keep local authors a bit longer, but don’t count on it.  Thus, you have a six week selling cycle in the real world.  After that time, unsold copies will be returned to your publisher and sold through online booksellers like Amazon and Barnes and Nobles.

Your online book will be in cyber space forever and will be available forever.  You will want to expand your selling cycle to accommodate continued success.

You simply cannot depend on your publisher to help you sell books.

If you are with a major publishing house; their focus is on their top selling authors like Nora Roberts, John Grisham and Stephan King.  Their A list authors are going to garner a lion’s share of the publisher’s limited publicity budget.

At most major houses there are less than 10 publicists for every 125 authors.  The majority of the publicists are fresh out of college as the seasoned publicists have moved on to more lucrative positions else where

As a midlist author, it pays to learn how to do your own publicity and you don’t need to spend thousands or even hundreds of dollars on advertising or publicity.

As a writer, you already have the tools you need within you.  You have the inborn talent to write a book, you certainly can pen a press release; you just need to know where to send it.  It pays to learn how to do your own Publicity.

This book is going to show you how.

Whether you are a new author with your book yet to launch or a seasoned this book is for you.

I have over 35 years experience in advertising, marketing and public relations.  I began as a copywriter with a regional advertising agency and ended my career as National Director of an International Advertising Agency.  In the early gold rush days of the Internet, I was Executive Vice President of Communications with a major Internet Company.

I came to the table with a broad background of experience in marketing, advertising and public relations.  The book industry was a new genre for me with new and expanding global market place, I took the time to learn and some of this experience came from trial and error with the end result, knowing what aspects of book marketing are effective and what aspects simply don’t work or are not cost effective to execute.

The following chapters will give you the knowledge, information, and direction to turn your great novel into a best selling book!

This work began as a lecture to Sisters in Crime, and has expanded to classes given to the Florida Writers Association and to the Romance Writers of America online Kiss of Death Chapter as well as the Florida Publishers Association.  Authors, writers and attendees have asked me to put these classes into a book format and the following is a result.

This book is dedicated to you, with my sincere hope that you too will become the best selling author you deserve to be!

I wish you the very best!

Linn Random


Driving Book Sales: Chapter Headings

1. Introduction to Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations

2.  The High Concept

3.  Blurbs

4.  Tip Sheet

5.  Branding

6.  Amazon, Google

7.  Blogging

8.  Book Signings

9.  Chats and Online Review Sites

10.  Contests, Auctions, Prizes

11.  Direct Mail

12.  Newsletters

13.  Personal Appearances

14.  Personal Appearances - Public Speaking

15.  Press Releases

16.  Opportunities in Print and With Media

17.  The Press Kit

18.  Promo Items

19.  Radio

20.  TV

21.  Selling Beyond the Bookstore- Niche Marketing

22.  Website

23.  Your Marketing Plan     

24.  In Conclusion

Chapter 1 - Introduction to Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations

Marketing in its simplest context, the umbrella to which all, in our case; book sales and promotions are developed.  This includes advertising, public relations, publicity and promotion.

Marketing sets forth specific goals, and develops and implements plans, sets budgetary parameters, and projects outcome.

In addition to setting initiatives, Marketing also assists in developing branding, and helps you with your scheduling and setting budgetary parameters.

This book will help you develop your own Marketing Plan.  The Marketing Plan you develop will include the information laid out in each chapter of this book and encompasses all aspects of book promotion both online and offline; from Advertising to Public Relations to Public Speaking.

You may find something for example, public speaking that, at the moment is not your cup of tea.  That’s okay, focus on other areas to create book sales.  Do what appeals to you and keep what doesn’t on the back burner.

Advertising will attract public attention to your book through paid announcements, print ads, billboards, and electronically.  You can off-set advertising costs by sharing your advertising dollars with a friend or groups but understand Advertising is expensive and is my least favorite way to attract attention to your books.

Studies show that as Americans we are subjected to over 3,000 advertising messages a day.  Those messages include television, ads on radio, the backs of cereal boxes, internet ads, billboards, the back of bathroom stalls and mall display signs.  Unless you have unlimited funds in your advertising budget, it’s difficult to capture attention.

The most effective way to capture that same attention is through public relations, promotions and publicity.

Publicity, hands down, is the key component in any good marketing and public relations strategy.  Unlike advertising where you pay for attention, publicity is free.

Publicity and promotions will drive your book sales.

Your publicity campaign will give you credibility, name recognition and helps you develop your brand.  Publicity will help you increase book sales and publicity is free.

The next three chapters are the cornerstone for almost everything that follows.  You will find your High Concept, your blurbs and your Tip Sheet key tools that you will be using over and over again in your promotional strategy.

Included are my own Tip Sheets as well as my High Concepts and blurbs.  Use them as guidelines to create your own.


Chapter 2 - The High Concept

A couple of years ago, I was at the Southeastern Booksellers Convention and was standing behind a nice lady trying to tell two national radio show hosts about her book and why she should be on their show.

She was very excited and wandered off describing scenes and sequences out of order.  The Radio hosts listened politely.  I watched as their eyes glazed over because they couldn't follow her long rambling story.  When she was finished, it was clear they had no idea what her book was about.

Understand, I am not poking fun at this author but she didn't take the time to understand the High Concept or sometimes called the Unique Concept could do for her book.

A High Concept is how to describe your book to someone in seven words or less.

I knew how to do this.  I followed this lady whose book was probably just as good as mine and gave my own High Concept.  In a few short words the radio hosts "got” what my books were about and instantly asked me to appear on their show.

The High Concept originated with publisher representatives who had only seconds to describe a new book to a bookseller.  When meeting with a bookseller, a publisher representative will show the book seller the cover of your book and spend fourteen seconds talking about it.  These few seconds determine your book’s fate of appearing on store bookshelves.  So, you can quickly see why developing a High Concept is tremendously important for book presentations.

It wasn’t long before the publisher’s marketing team caught on to the technique and value of presenting a book simply and quickly.  They began utilizing the High Concept in any number of marketing venues.

Using three of my novels as examples, here are my High Concepts:

Lights, Camera. Murder! -----A reality show that needs a real CSI.

Pirates in Paradise------Miami Vice on a Romantic Midnight Run

Your Cheatin Hearts-----A Lucille Ball Comedy with a twist of Magnum P.I.

Okay, by giving my High Concept on each book, you know what my books are about.

Having a High Concept will serve you whenever you have to explain your book to a book seller, newspaper reporter, reader, etc.  It allows the person you are presenting to not only ask more but the right questions but generate book sales.

To develop your own unique concept, think about the amount of words on a Billboard Sign, seven words or less. Describe your novel with a few quick easy words to say and if you can draw popular themes.  Make it catchy and memorable.

When thinking of your High Concept; imagine something that tells your story quickly.  Draw on popular movies or television shows, from headline news or pop culture.  In two of my books I referenced movies; in the other two, I used a combination of TV shows to illustrate my point.

Your High Concept can also be used on bookmarkers and on your website; with a multitude of endless uses including your email signature line.

If you don’t have a High Concept, have fun developing your own.  This is not an overnight project, give your High Concept time and thought.

A High Concept is an important part of book promotion whether explaining it to a reader, reporter or publisher during that very first presentation.

The High Concept, Blurbs and the Tip Sheet as presented in the next two chapters offer countless uses and applications in your goal of driving book sales.



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