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blog-hopHedge Funds for Dummies came out in 2006, so I’ve been selling books for eight years already. Yikes!

I just completed the 30 Day Book Marketing Challenge, and the last assignment is to write a post about book marketing and the challenge for a participant blog hop. Here’s my advice to authors, general comments about marketing books, etc.

First, it helps to have a strong brand name. Wiley, and IDG before, has done an amazing job of promoting the Dummies brand. People buy the books because they know they’ll get the information that they need, and the editors know how to work with authors to turn out great books. For the life of me, I don’t understand why more publishers don’t have brands that stand for something, and not just for series books. Why aren’t there strong imprints for biography, for example, so that if you were trying to decide between two or three different books, you’d have some clue about their style and content? Can you tell me the difference between books from Random House, Simon & Schuster, or Scribner’s?

This, of course, means that authors have to become their own brands, which is tough if you are not naturally inclined toward sales and marketing. A big part of the Book Marketing Challenge is sharing information about how to use the book itself as a branding tool for a consulting and education business. That’s not my thing, but it may work for other people.

Because – no one knows what works! I know a fiction author who is often held up as a marketing genius who more or less fell into his promotional style. He was playing around with online video, and it caught on. Does that mean online video is the solution? Or Twitter or Facebook or whatever? For some authors, absolutely. For others, who knows?

I tend to do a lot of radio and a lot of blogging, because I like doing those things and can work them into my schedule. I accept speaking engagements when offered, but I don’t have the time or energy to go after them. So I do what I do to push the books while Wiley does what it does to promote the Dummies brand. Together, it’s worked well.

Authors are responsible for their own promotion. No one is entirely sure what works and what doesn’t. The key, then, is to figure out what works for you – but to make sure that you do it.

(So, yes, I do guest blog posts if you are looking for some, and radio shows if you need a talker. Let me know. If you want me to speak in person, we can discuss terms.)