Brian Jud is an author, book-marketing consultant, seminar leader, television host and president of Premium Book Company, which sells books to non-bookstore buyers on a non-returnable, commission-only basis and conducts on-site training for publishers' sales forces.
Brian is the author of "How to Make Real Money Selling Books (Without Worrying About Returns)," a do-it-yourself guide to selling books to non-bookstore buyers in large quantities, with no returns. He has written many articles about book publishing and marketing, is the author of the eight e-booklets with "Proven Tips for Publishing Success," and creator of the series of "Book Marketing Wizards." He is also the editor of the bi-weekly newsletter, "Book Marketing Matters."
Brian is the host of the television series "The Book Authority" and has aired over 650 shows. In addition, he is the author, narrator and producer of the media-training video program "You're On The Air."
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In my recent blog post here I described a two-tiered approach to creating a book-marketing platform. The gist was that instead of seeking thousands of followers or friends, build a smaller nucleus of influential people who give you credibility as they spread the word about your book.
Malcolm Gladwell discussed this concept in his book "The Tipping Point" where he described the relative effectiveness of Paul Revere as compared to William Dawes as they both rode to sound the alarm that the Revolutionary War had begun. Mr. Revere was more successful because he was well connected with patriots who continued to spread the word quickly and widely while he rode off warning others. Dawes had no such network at his command, and his place in history is forgotten.
A marketing platform does not simply happen as the result of having a large following on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. It is the planned result of cultivating information brokers (as Gladwell calls them), people who are the Paul Reveres of their networks. When they talk, people listen and are more likely to take their recommended action. You are the kingpin in your network, creating and coordinating the links between the two parts of a successful platform: the messengers and the intended recipients.
Accomplish this by building a foundation for your marketing platform. These are the messengers who can persuade a larger group of prospective buyers to take some action on your behalf. You only need a dozen or two of these people, but their influence will have more impact on your success than thousands of followers and friends who may have heard of you.
Build a relationship with the people in your nucleus. Communicate with these superconnectors regularly so they understand you as a person as well as an author. When they tell others to support your book launch or other objective, they can speak authoritatively and persuasively. Of all of the influential people with whom you could possibly associate, what characteristics should you look for in prospects to join your core network? Here are a few.
The foundation for a platform do not just happen, it is designed and built. Construct a base of core connections that reach smaller, more diverse groups. Start by describing the people in your nucleus. What benefits are provided by your interactions with them? How energizing are those interactions? Then assess where you need more diversity. If you have no media moguls, professional associates or people in various affinity groups in your core, they would be your initial targets.
Next, classify your relationships by the functions they serve. Generally, benefits fall in one of six categories: information, support, influence, energy, purpose and balance. Extend your core with people who provide one or more of these benefits. Do you need expertise in different market segments? Broader geographical reach? Additional distribution channels to non-bookstore retailers? Sales or financial advice to negotiate large-quantity orders more profitably? Or must you eliminate links to people who sap your energy? Know what you need and do what is necessary to rectify the situation.
Do not seek a large quantity of people in your platform. Build a strong, balanced foundation of compatible, frank and committed people who will help you build your revenue by reaching out to their spheres of influence with a positive message in support of you and your books.