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Speaking To The Heart Of The Dog

May 12, 2008
You don't turn a book into a bestseller by accident. It's the result of multitudes walking into bookstores and logging onto websites with your author's title in mind. But for that to happen, your author must first establish himself as a respected authority whose name comes to mind when the audience has an itch that needs scratching--and that's called branding.

Now, there's a valid scientific background to branding audiences with your author and his book. Ivan Pavlov won the Nobel Prize for branding in 1904. Of all things seemingly unrelated to marketing, he was investigating the gastric function of dogs by analyzing their saliva. Imagine that. And he noticed they were salivating before he actually gave them their food. Pavlov found this "psychic secretion" intriguing because salivating is an automatic reflex in dogs. So he immediately abandoned his original experiment and redirected his focus. The new study entailed ringing a bell and then rubbing meat paste on the dogs' tongues in an attempt to establish an associative memory between the two occurrences. Sure enough, the dogs were soon automatically salivating every time to the sound of the bell in anticipation of the meat paste!

It's important to note that Pavlov chose meat paste because meat is something that always matters to dogs. A bowl of limes would not have produced the same reaction because dogs simply don't have it in their hearts to care about limes. It's the same sort of thing with readers. You can publish the best book that's ever been written, but if it doesn't speak to what matters to the heart of your audience, they're going to pass it by for something that does.

What does the audience care about? Does your author's book focus on important values of the audience? If it does, that's a good start toward a strong marketing platform, and good marketing platforms lead to book sales. But if you want your author to be the one people think of first and feel the best about when they go searching to fulfill a value, then encourage him to utilize the three fundamental elements of branding: frequency, consistency, and anchoring.

Frequency is all about repetition. Pavlov rang that bell and distributed that meat paste day after day after day. He didn't take a day off every now and again just to test the dogs' memories. And neither should an author take a day off when he's attempting to build a significant brand or marketing platform for his book. He has to find creative ways to keep getting in front of his audience on a regular, frequent basis, such as creating an online newsletter, arranging interviews on TV and the radio, setting up an Internet blog where he can have daily interaction with prospective and current buyers of his book. Suggest these possibilities to your author to get him into that frequency mode. And maybe you even know some people who would interview him. A little helpful info goes a long way.

Consistency has to do with your author always delivering a valued experience to the audience. Pavlov rang the same bell before every feeding. He didn't mix and match between a multitude of high-pitched sounds. Nor did he vary what came next. He wanted those dogs to recognize that bell and associate it immediately with one thing, the taste of meat--just as you want people to associate your author and his book with a particular valued experience every time they think of that value. Is his book about a new management technique? Then suggest he offer to speak for free at local business college and community colleges, and encourage him to keep using the keywords and phrases that encapsulate his insightful business concepts. If he's got a logo, then make sure he consistently displays that whenever and wherever he can.

Seth Godin, author of the bestseller Purple Cow, understands frequency and consistency in a book marketing and public relations campaign. He practices frequency and consistency through----

1. Permission marketing is a process by which marketers ask permission before sending ads to prospects. Godin pioneered the practice in 1995 with the founding of Yoyodyne, the Web's first direct mail and promotions company. He sold it to Yahoo! three years later and became VP of Permission Marketing for Yahoo!.

2. Fast Company magazine, where Godin is a long-time contributing editor.

3. Seth Godin's Blog is one of the most frequented blogs in existence.

4. Public speaking. Successful Meetings magazine named Godin one of the top 21 speakers of the 21st century. Words used to describe his lectures include 'visual', 'personal,' and 'dynamic.'

5. ebooks. In the year 2000, Seth made his new release, Unleashing the Ideavirus, available to everyone through a free download. More than one million people responded. And that sparked huge sales of the hardback copy of the book.

Anchoring, the third and final piece of the branding puzzle, poses the greatest challenge. Anchoring has to do with creating an association between your author and something already valued and rooted firmly in the audience's heart and mind. Pavlov chose meat paste because meat already exists as an important matter in the heart of a dog. This is anchoring at its finest. As Seth Godin puts it, "Create something they want to talk about and make it easy for them to do so."

Because you are publishing his book, you know your author has something that thousands of people value and are interested in. To help your author anchor his book in the hearts of that potential audience, refer him to books by marketing gurus such as Roy H. Williams (The Wizard of Ads, Secret Formulas of the Wizard of Ads, Magical Worlds of the Wizard of Ads), Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg (Call to Action, Waiting for Your Cat to Bark), and Chip and Dan Heath (Made to Stick). As he learns great techniques for stimulating the attention, interest, and desire of his audience, he will create book marketing efforts that link and anchor their values to his book.

What is your author doing to help people think of him first, and feel good about it, when an important value of theirs comes to mind or when their itch needs to be scratched? Is he just irritating the dogs?

Questions about publishers helping authors with branding may be directed to Michael R. Drew at the Austin, Texas, headquarters of Promote A Book: 512-858-0040. You can also contact Michael via email at Michael@promoteabook.com.
About the Author
Mike Drew - Book Publicist http://www.beneaththecover.com/michael-drew Mike is a book marketing and promotion specialist. Mike can tell you just what all the marvelous benefits are that you will get from becoming the author of a bestselling book; selling a lot of books is just the beginning.
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