Bob Baker's Artist Empowerment Blog

Book Publishing Secrets to Success

If you’ve been reading my writings for very long, you may know that I’m a full-time author. To clarify, I sustain myself almost exclusively from sales of printed books, e-books and audio programs — mostly on the subject of music marketing. I run a one-man publishing operation from home.

I rarely supplement my income with speaking or consulting fees, like many other authors do. It would probably be smart if I did offer these services, but I get the most joy from writing and publishing information for my target audience.

It’s been brought to my attention that reaching this full-time author/publisher status is rare. Therefore, both aspiring and veteran authors approach me for advice. Often, they are looking for tips, tricks and shortcuts to success — the best media connection, the most effective marketing angle, or the best way to spend their money so they can reach their publishing goals.

So, how did I get to this supposedly enviable position? What are my publishing secrets to success? Here are some answers …

The Lowdown on Money

First off, the key for me had nothing to do with money. When I started on this journey more than 10 years ago, I had no cash to invest. So I made a decision to use the Internet as my primary marketing tool. For the first few years, I spent only $40 a month total for Internet access and web hosting.

So don’t let a shortage of money stop you from pursuing your goals. Just know that going the low-cost route will require creativity, persistence and passion.

The biggest secret to share with you is something I call “chipping away at success.” There was no one connection or review or sales promotion that put me over the top. It was an accumulation of little things — done consistently over weeks, months and years — that led to the positive word of mouth and recognition that I enjoy today.

So many authors and publishers focus on a big launch and media blitz with a new title. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I’ve found the sure and steady, long-term approach to be most effective for me.

Your Promotional Canvas

Think of the way an artist paints a picture. First there’s a sketch of what the artist envisions. Then some broad strokes are put down as the background. As layers of color are added, a picture begins to emerge. Each new layer adds detail until a crystal clear image is formed.

My book promotion history has been a similar process. I put my focus on two topics I am passionate about: music and self-promotion. My vision was similar to the bare sketch an artist creates. Then I used whatever avenues were available at any given time to get my message out to the people who needed to hear it the most: musician readers with a do-it-yourself mindset.

I wrote dozens of articles and placed them on my own web site and made them available to countless others. I published an e-zine, contributed to news groups and online forums, posted press releases, gave away promotional e-books, and made lots of new friends via e-mail. More recently I’ve added a blog, a podcast, and am now embracing video content.

The Snowball Effect

All of these efforts act like layers of paint that build up over time. At first, the image is fuzzy and only a handful of people know who you are and what you do. As you continue to create content and leave these little promotional crumbs across the Internet, your notoriety slowly expands. Eventually, a multiplying effect takes hold and thousands of people are hearing about you and responding.

The thing is, no one e-mail or article or sample chapter or blog post makes a huge splash. It’s the combined effect of all your marketing efforts that builds over time. They are drops in a bucket that turn into a steady trickle and, before you know it, a full-blown waterfall that erupts into a tidal wave.

That’s my secret to success. Hopefully, it will help you reach your creative goals. Now get busy leaving your own promotional crumbs somewhere!



  • Bob,
    Thanks for the recent email. I now know that you have a neat blog. I had ordered two or three of your resources back in 1996. I was trying to learn ways to promote and market myself. I found each to be helpful. I was working in healthcare and in the personal growth field. I like this recent writing. I do believe that it is many of the small things and there's no quick fix. I still struggle with finding a niche market as you have done so well. I think that is the key for me. I love to inspire, educate and motivate people towards their purpose and passions. I will check back to your site. I found your insights and your willing to share to be very valuable. To me, the idea of service is number one versus the money. That is what I am striving for.

    By Blogger BE YOUR BEST, At 12:58 PM  

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