How To Have An Amazing, High-Sales Book Release [It’s Important To Paws, By David Jensen]
Posted on 04/13/2014 Evan Swensen
When photographer David Jensen released his book last fall, he had done a lot of groundwork.
More groundwork than you would have thought. It’s Important to Pawsis designed to show lessons learned from animal companions.
Yes, he has Facebook, has had it for about four years. He started talking about his book on his FB page in April, 2013, though he’d already been working on the book for two or three years.
“Marketing has to be done three, four years out,” he says. “Don’t ‘market’ yourself, be yourself. It [marketing] is a connection with other people. That’s what Ollen Hunt did so well.
He posts an animal picture everyday to help grow his connection with those who love companion animals. This especially helped get him recognized as someone who was a passionate supporter of animals, and not just in Alaska. Facebook certainly helped with that. But there is a lot of backstory.
When he ran a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for this book, he tied that in with Facebook. It’s full color on every page; a hardbound coffee table book, and thus very expensive.
To thank people for their participation by donations in the campaign, 300 or so books were given away or sold in advance of printing.
But even before he began working on the book, he was preparing the field and planting the seeds for it.
First off, Jensen has formal training in marketing and PR. He recommends every professional writer get this kind of training, or learn it by themselves. (His photography is self-taught.)
So long before he even began designing and compiling his book, he built his reputation with activities revolving around animals, participating in fundraisers and other events to benefit animal companions.
He did free portraits for local animal care/rescue organizations, such as Friends of Pets. He helped find forever homes for more than 2,000 cats and dogs since 1989.
He did, as he says, branded himself. What is branding? Here’s a quick definition: Branding in the book business is the identification of an author with the type of writing he or she does.
I say Shakespeare, and you say “Romeo & Juliet.” I say John Grisham, and you say “legal thrillers.” Anne McCaffrey? “Science fiction.”
When the connection is solid, you have successful branding.
Jensen built his brand in such a way that people would connect him with “helping animals find homes,” and “photography.”
He built a positive reputation by providing excellent and professional photography in both business and his charity work.
He built beautiful websites for these ventures.
By doing these things, he became a recognized “advocate for animals.” That’s branding. Additionally, he enlarged that brand to “Professional photographer who advocates for animals.”
By writing for magazines, he helped establish his brand further.
In all of these ways, be built his credibility, proved he was worthy of trust with his message.
And so he connected his book with his passion for helping animal companions. This book is a fundraiser for that cause.
First printing was 2000 books, and he sold several hundred at his release party. He sold so many he wasn’t quite sure exactly how many that night. And a third of the first books sold weren’t even to those in his hometown of Anchorage, Alaska.
Within six months of his release party, he’s sold half the print run.
He found individualized press releases helped him connect with media people, much more so than generic press releases that go to everybody.
Jensen found that offering an exclusive to the media person resulted in building a good relationship. For instance, he’d send a press release or invitation to one reporter only at a station, saying he hadn’t invited any other media to a particular event, and staying true to that. “Every media person wants an exclusive.”
In this, and many other ways, and years ahead of his book release, David Jensen built the foundation for one of the most successful book launches we’ve seen at Publication Consultants.
We hope you can find some useful actions to take after reading a bit of David Jensen’s success story with his book; actions that will further your career as a professional author, successfully marketing and selling your books.