1) Product (Book)

  • This is the most important P. Good marketing helps a bad product fail faster.
  • The question is not “is this book good” the question is “is this the kind of book people would want to buy and then read”
  • Every product has a life cycle. This is particularly true for fiction. Old fiction does not generally sell well. People are willing to pay a premium to read a book that their friends are also reading at that same time. A short trip to your discount store will show you shelf after shelf of $1 books that are only a few years old.
  • Product mix. Focused vs general brand. Complementary products. In fiction the best way to do this is to write a series of books. Book #1 helps sell Book #2 and vice versa.

2) Price

  • All prices are relative. A good deal is all about how a book is priced in comparison with other books. How much does an eBook cost?
  • Price communicates value.
  • The problem with racing to the bottom is that you just might win.
  • You have to consider your product mix while picking your price. So it may make sense to price the first book in a series cheap or free to suck people into buying the later books in the series at full price. 

3) Promotion

  • When most people think about marketing, all they think about is promotion. All advertising is marketing, not all marketing is advertising. All ham is pork, not all pork is ham.
  • This is how you tell potential readers about your book.
  • Promotion always costs either time or money and often both.
  • If you are self publishing, you need to set aside money for promotion. Product and price alone will not make your book a success.
  • Find a news hook for your book for some free PR.
  • A sales team for your book is also part of promotion.

4) Place

  • This P is where most self published authors really fail.
  • How convenient is it to buy your book?
  • Where can I buy your book?
  • Q: What is the most important for your book to be? A: The airport bookstore.
  • Getting into more places requires both sales and distribution.

5) Purple Cow

A few years ago, Marketing Guru Seth Godin suggested that a 5th P be added called a Purple Cow.

  • Drive down the road, see a purple cow, what do you do?
  • How remarkable is your book?
  • How is it different from other books?
  • What about your books makes people want to talk about it? (Cosemear)
  • Purple Cow effects whether your book “goes viral” or not. Most books are not purple cows.


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