Patrick has his MBA and has worked in marketing for several large corporations around the country. Patrick also spent several years in marketing with Shadow Mountain, a small publishing imprint that launches new authors and gets national distribution. James Dashner, Ally Condie, and Brandon Mull all started their careers with Shadow Mountain before getting picked up by larger publishers.
What was the most effective marketing strategy that a publisher could utilize?
Patrick: In my opinion the most effective strategy (whether at a small or large publishing company) is to gain distribution. The more book stores the product is sold in generally means more books will be sold.
What was the most effective marketing strategy that an AUTHOR could utilize?
Patrick: The most effective marketing strategy an author should focus on driving trial of their product. What I mean by driving trial is that the author should focus on tactics that get potential readers to sample the product.Those tactics should vary depending on the target audience and genre.
For example, the author of The Happiness Project wrote a blog post everyday for a year about happiness. Readers could read sample her writing by reading her blog which translated into book sales. There are a ton of different tactics to drive trial.
Is there anything you would tell a publisher or author to NOT do?
Patrick: I would tell them not to schedule a book tour without investing significant resources into driving trial. A book tour is not a trial driving activity. Instead, it is an activity to connect with existing customers and further the relationship.
If you were going to give an author fifteen minutes of your professional advice, what would you tell them to do?
Patrick: Ask yourself where in Barnes & Noble would my book sit, specifically? The reason to ask this question is to make sure you are creating a story for a niche audience. Don't try to write a book for everyone. It's easier to sell a book to an agent, publisher, and the end reader if the book fits into an existing customer group perfectly.
If you have any questions for Patrick, leave them in the comments and I'll make sure he sees them! Thanks!