A book is the sacrosanctum of knowledge and happiness for a bookworm. An avid reader finds solace in those yellow-white pages which are flipped, turned, one at a time and certain vibes coming out of them are inhaled and absorbed. This energy seeps through the contours of our insides which provides for a sheer bliss to both its consumer as well as producer.
A book is the product of love and labor of an author. One puts in his soul into writing a book to send out his intended message to the people. Those nights where one doesn’t retire to sleep, those days where one keeps on scribbling something on his notepad, those moments when one comes out of one’s consciousness and sets oneself to enter into oblivion, those pretty little-big things one might overlook to tend to his book – all the struggle results in a small bundle of contentment. Writing is one thing but getting it to reach its audience is a humongous task in itself.
India is witnessing a revolution in the book writing and publishing industry. A lot of books are coming up in the market which extends our understanding that the culture of reading is still alive in society. But is it really easy to get your fruit of efforts so easily? Chetan Bhagat and several other authors of the likes of him may not have come up with fantastic literature and yet sold a million copies. All because of a single reason – the effective book marketing! Good book marketing tactics are the lessons an author has to learn and swear by in order to garner attention for his book.
Why Book Marketing in India?
In recent times, book marketing has evolved greatly. The debut authors are resorting to different strategies to derive the maximum of their books. Ask Damini Aggarwal about the importance of book marketing and she promptly says, “Book marketing is as essential for a book to survive as oxygen is to human. After writing of a book, marketing brings life to the written word when it reaches the right reader. With right reader I mean, ones for whom it’s meant for as all books have a targeted audience.”
Richa Saxena from Half Baked Beans puts it, “People in India are not impulsive buyers. They have a heterogeneous buying pattern which is affected by a lot of factors such as social visibility, content, price, ease of getting access to books in case of ebooks, and the most common of all – word of mouth. Their choices are exceedingly affected by what others are talking about.” She says,” Authors are not authors anymore, they have to be marketers or hire marketers to promote their work. Visibility and networking are very important. Why would Chetan Bhagat collaborate with ola or Amish do Facebook live with Smriti Irani? Do they need it? But they have mastered the art of promoting books. The ROI may not always be a tangible one, but also intangible. Tangible ROI is determined by sales and intangible ROI by word of mouth and visibility. Undoubtedly books have a mass connect but they need an agency or a platform through which they can tap this audience.”
How Debut Authors Could Market Their Books?
Authors could take the help of both online and offline mediums to promote their book. Damini Aggarwal, author of What’s Your Story, Stranger? says, “I used to write blogs, post the excerpts of story, used to engage with readers through blogs. For that, I set up my Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn. And I kept all social media handles active with posting relevant stuff to increase engagements. But more than that, word of mouth works well. One needs to work on the content they post. Readers eventually started taking interest in my writing and as the book was about to launch, I started marketing it 3 months before. Organizing contests also bring a lot of engagements. Also, I started a website and provided the stuff related to my life, my novel there which is also really helpful. Not only this, for the offline presence of my novel, we reached out to a few distributors and retail booksellers.”
Half Baked Beans – Pioneer in Book Marketing Industry
Half Baked Beans is a publishing house based in Delhi which has grown in the industry by leaps and bounds. Richa Saxena from HBB puts forth, “In 2017 when we had initiated our book marketing wing, there were gaps in the publishing industry. There were good books which had no readers and vice versa. We realized we can not create a market for books unless we reach out to masses in a creative manner. That is when we decided to have customized book marketing solutions.” A customized book marketing technique targets a specific audience according to the content of the book. We cannot treat each book in a similar fashion. “Table for one was a travel book hence its audience was young and mostly women. Neverfoundland is a fantasy fiction in the league of Aladin and Narnia series. That required us to come up with artwork contests, social media buzz and targeting that section who likes to read such books,” Richa said.
Richa proudly tells that HBB is certainly instrumental in shaping the content marketing scene within the publishing industry. We cannot compete with biggies like penguin or Rupa, and that is not our vision. We wish to bridge the gaps existing in the publishing industry and help authors promote their work and reach out to the masses. Authors ought to understand that books are just like any other content that needs to be promoted and floated across. Richa is thankful to witness this boom in content marketing for the last 2 years. She is grateful to Chetan Soni, founder of Half Baked Beans, for entrusting her with this task of initiating book marketing wing in 2017. It was his vision that led the team to create something like this that was never thought of previously.
In a nutshell, “Every single person who is an artist/ content creator/influencer, can be used in book marketing. You just need to know how to deploy them. Ideation matters but execution matter more,” Richa signs off.