5 Marketing Lessons from Fly-Fishing

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By Rob Eagar

In the last year, I took up fly-fishing as a hobby. There's something surreal and invigorating about standing in the middle of a river. However, catching rainbow trout is no easy task. They're smart, skeptical, and elusive. In fact, there are a lot of similarities between the challenge of fly-fishing and the challenge of book marketing:

1. You must offer tangible value. If you want to catch fish, you've got to present an offer that meets their interests. The flies I cast in the Spring generally don't work well in the Fall, because different insects hatch at different times of year. I have to figure out what the trout are biting on, and match their tastes. Likewise, readers have different tastes and interests in books. If you want to attract them, you've got to present your fiction story or non-fiction message in a way that represents something of value - otherwise people won't bite.

2. Offer a range of value. A big secret I learned in fly-fishing is to cast two or three different flies on the same line. I increase my odds of getting a fish's attention by presenting more than one type of food. In marketing, you'll be more effective if give customers a "choice of yeses." When you promote your books, do you give readers multiple formats, such as print, audio, e-book, or free resources, to purchase and enjoy?

3. You must stay persistent. I've never caught a trout on my very first cast. Usually, it may take 30 – 60 minutes before I find where the fish are hiding and what fly pattern they prefer. Similarly, marketing a book is the process of persistence. One media interview, one blog post, or one newsletter issue won't be enough. You can't expect to land a big fish on your first attempt. The goal is to continually offer value to prospects over time. As you continually offer legitimate value, readers will become attracted and take notice.

4. Go to where the fish congregate. Trout typically hide in low pools or eddies in a river where they can relax in colder water that's sheltered from the faster current. The good news is that when you find these spots, there is usually more than one fish available. Readers gather in large groups based on beliefs, interests, needs, hobbies, etc. Your marketing will be more effective when you identify these bigger groups and focus your promotional efforts on them.

5. Acting desperate scares away the prize. Trout are always on their guard. When I fish, I've got to remain quiet, avoid sudden movements, and stay out of their line of sight. Otherwise, I'll scare them off. As an author trying to market your book, you can also scare readers off by acting desperate. Begging people to buy your book, making ridiculous claims, or constantly changing your prices can cause people to raise their guard. The key is to believe in your own value first. When you know you've got a book that can entertain or help people, you can calmly promote yourself with confidence.

If you want to land the big fish, keep these five points in mind. Otherwise, "the fishing might be good, but the catching will be bad" (A.K. Best - Master Professional Fly Fisherman).


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Rob Eagar’s new book from Writer’s Digest, Sell Your Book Like Wildfire, is now available in print and e-book formats. This is the bible of book marketing for authors and publishers. Get 288 pages packed with advanced information, real-life examples, and tips to start selling more books immediately. There are specific chapters on social media, word-of-mouth tools, Amazon, and a chapter dedicated to best practices for marketing fiction. In addition, get over 30 pages of free bonus updates online. Get your copy today at:

http://www.writersdigestshop.com/sell-your-book-like-wildfire or http://www.BookWildfire.com

About the author:

Rob Eagar is the founder of WildFire Marketing, a consulting practice that helps authors and publishers sell more books and spread their message like wildfire. He has assisted numerous New York Times bestselling authors and is author of the new book, Sell Your Book Like Wildfire. Find out more about Rob’s advice, products, and coaching services for authors at: www.startawildfire.com

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