Book marketing is one of the most important ingredients in the success of a book. Whether you are published by a traditional publisher or are first-time indie author, understanding how to evaluate book marketing services and what goes into these services is something you should be familiar with, even before you write a book.
Timing, costs, campaigns, and knowledge all factor into a successful book marketing strategy. If you’re researching book marketing companies online, make notes on which ones catch your interest and give them a ranking of 1-5. Then create a list of questions that you want to ask each company to compare responses. So, what kind of questions might you ask? Below are several things to consider to help you evaluate companies that offer book marketing services
Is the Company Successful?
One of the most important things to look at is what kind of experience and success has a service had? Better yet, have they been involved in marketing their own books, and if so, what does their success look like? You should feel comfortable asking the company about their experience, the genres they focus on, and to give examples of success stories.
Are They Being Referred?
Personal referrals should create peace-of-mind, knowing that someone you know has used or is familiar with a service and feels comfortable recommending it. Most people won’t suggest a service they’re not sure about or have had a bad experience with. So, a referral should carry a lot of weight in the decision-making process.
Do They Have a Good Online Presence?
A website from an established marketing firm should list out their services in detail, have customer endorsements, a blog with resources, and have a professional look and feel. While it’s not prudent to base your decision solely on how their website looks, how a marketing service promote themselves might be an indication of how they'll promote others.
Do They Present Well?
If someone were representing my books, I would want them to have a professional demeanor, strong communication skills, be on time for scheduled phone calls and sound professional. Speaking with someone on the phone should give you a sense of whether they are right for you. Go with your gut!
What Services Are You Paying For?
Marketing services come in all shapes and sizes. Some companies offer one or two strategies while others provide a more robust program focusing on traditional and online strategies. Still others focus on helping authors build a solid foundation of strategies to give the best chance for success. You should research which strategies you should focus on and ask for a list of the services you'll be receiving.
Is Their Pricing Reasonable?
Proper book marketing services take a lot of time to plan and execute, so authors should be prepared to spend a decent amount of money for these services. While marketing services vary between companies, it’s not uncommon to see prices range from $1,800-$3,800 for initial services. If a marketing company offers publicity, expect that price to increase. You should understand what services you're going to receive for the money you'll pay.
Do They Have References?
Authors shouldn’t feel uncomfortable asking a company for references, nor should asking create any awkwardness between you. When you are evaluating any service, asking the company providing that service for a reference is a common practice, especially if you are on the fence with your decision. Be respectful of their time and only ask for a reference in the final phase of your evaluation.
Do They Put Things in Writing?
Most reputable book marketing companies should create an agreement to make sure both parties are on the same page when it comes to the details of the offering. With an agreement in place, you have a list of the services you are paying for, along with other features of the program.
Learning how to evaluate book marketing services is a process well worth the time. You’re trusting that the marketing company will be passionate about your book and represent it with care. You’re also spending good money for this service and want to receive a return on your investment. Authors should take their time with the screening process and not rush into an arrangement that can waste time and money. There's not a shortage of companies willing to take your money. Trust your instincts and ask these questions to end up with the right book marketing company.