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Cristina LePort's Journey to #1 on Kindle:

Updated: 1 day ago

Mastering the 4 Ps of Book Marketing


Maybe you’re an indie author who has yet to publish or has stagnating sales. Perhaps you’ve recently published with a small or traditional press and discovered, to your surprise, that you will be having a much larger role in marketing than you anticipated. 


Photo of Dr. Cristina LePort

If the mere mention of marketing jargon like the 4 Ps makes you want to roll your eyes, you're not alone. However, while some authors’ ascension to mega-sales may leave us feeling like there is some kind of magic to book sales, understanding the marketing framework behind them not only demystifies the process, but gives you a formula to reach your own book sale success. 


Let's unravel how Doctor Cristina LePort, cardiologist turned author, transformed her debut medical thriller Dissection ranking from #​250,000 overall to #​1 in Political Thriller and #​2 in Medical Thriller in just one day. Her story is a masterclass in the 4 Ps of marketing: Product, Placement, Price, and Promotion.




1. Product: Perfect Your Book 


While working as a cardiologist, Cristina decided to finally take the plunge into her long-time interest in writing. She wrote a novel and gave it to a friend for feedback, only to hear that,

The only good thing was the story, and everything else was wrong.

Discouraged, but not daunted, Cristina hired a writing coach with whom she worked for three, long years. However, despite all her hard work, that book never made it to publication. 


However, it did lead her to write her second book Dissection which was yet another learning experience. This time, she hired a well-known editor; and together they worked to perfect her manuscript. 


This leads to the first P in marketing, Product. One of the most painful uncertainties for first-time authors is the question, Is my book good enough? Cristina's commitment to perfecting her manuscript, despite the endless setbacks, is the core of successful book marketing–the quality and appeal of the book itself. If you’re unsure where to start, go back to your work and see if there are improvements to be made. If you’re at a place where you simply don’t know if your work is ready, consider working with an editor, finding a writing coach, or joining a critique group. Without knowing where your work stands, you simply won’t have the confidence to approach the next three Ps.



2. Placement: Start with Your Network 


Once Cristina had polished her work, and discovered a query letter hook that really worked, she finally landed an agent. She then found a publishing company to publish her book. (Yay!) Only to discover that she was going to be a key player in the marketing process (Not so Yay). She says,

The publisher has his own people and will do some marketing. But after that you have to market your book.

Place has to do with how the product or service is distributed to your market. For books, this placement will typically be through bookstores or online services like Amazon. However, in order to attract the right kind of customer to the place you have published your work, you will find yourself searching for your audience. How do you do this?


Cristina started by leveraging her existing network. Cristina's medical thriller had a ready-made audience among patients and doctors. She created thousands of bookmarks and distributed them at medical conferences. 


How can you know where your audience is? Start by gathering feedback from your original beta readers about their demographics and reading habits. This can provide valuable insights into where your potential audience may be hiding.



3. Price: Understand Your Market 


Perhaps the single most important thing to understand about pricing when it comes to your first book, is that no matter the price, a debut work is unlikely to yield significant profits. Cristina understood this when her first book went on sale. She says, “You do it as an investment, and you're not gonna recoup it with your first book.”


You might be wondering, If my first book won't generate income, why bother? Cristina provides the answer, saying,

But if you're gonna write more books… It’s like an investment… You create your own brand.

No matter the price you set for your work, think of your sales in the long-term. As a debut novelist, you may want to price your work a dollar or two below the competition, remembering that it’s not about short-term revenue. You are building a brand. 



4. Promotion: Leverage Promotional Tools


Promotion, the fourth and final P, became the game-changer in Cristina’s journey to build a substantial audience base. After publishing, Cristina’s book had a mediocre ranking on Kindle, her total ranking at about #​250,000. Now here’s where her story of progressing through the four Ps gets really interesting. Her publisher had the idea to use a popular platform to promote her book. She says, “My publisher paid the fee and then one day they sent an email probably to thousands of people about my book. And my book for one day was $1.99, the Kindle version; and we kept it that price for another week. My book that one day went from being around 250,000 on the entire Kindle…down to 163.” 


The promotional tool? Bookbub. When it came to genre categories, her results were even more impressive. She says,

Dissection was Number One Political Thriller, Number Two Medical Thriller.

Cristina clarifies that the primary objective in this case wasn't immediate profits; it was about audience building. “You sell hopefully thousands of books in one day, and then although the price is small—maybe you're not gonna make a lot of money—but you create a mass thing that then feeds itself because then readers tell their friends.” 


Consider promoting your book via services like Amazon, Goodreads Giveaways, or Bookbub. As we saw with Cristina’s journey, this can significantly boost visibility and readership not only for your current book, but for all your books to come.



Conclusion

Successful book marketing isn’t achieved by magic or luck. Instead, it’s achieved through a systematic marketing approach. Consider applying the 4 Ps (Product, Placement, Price, and Promotion) to your own book. Cristina's story shows us that, with dedication and the right strategy, even the most challenging ascent can lead to the pinnacle of achievement. Your marketing journey begins today–make it remarkable!




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