After two years of writing a book it’s almost finished. Hooray!
I had always envisaged that I would publish through a traditional print publisher. However as publication date approaches I’m having some doubts. Do I really want to hand over complete control of two years painstaking work in exchange for a (very) small royalty? If it doesn’t sell well it will be out of print within a year.
After all, the book, which is called “The Funnel of Trust: The System Behind a Thousand Profitable Websites”, is all about how to use the internet and online publishing to make lots of money.
Shouldn’t I really practise what I preach?!
This debate in my mind got me thinking about how I would promote the book if I decided to publish it myself.
Here are 50 ideas I came up with:
Sounds obvious but it’s not. One of my clients has just finished a book about investing in property. Not great timing!
There are lots of reasons for writing a book ranging from making as much money as you can to realising a childhood dream. Being clear about why you are doing it will influence how you market it. For example if it is to build personal credibility, you may not be as bothered about how much money it makes and be happy to give more away for free. If the book is your only income, free might not sound so great!
Online marketing will be a fruitless exercise if your key target audience are not active internet users.
A book should have a dedicated website preferably with the title being used as the domain name. If you can’t get the title try your/the author’s name. Three good book sites are:
Do you need a blog and a website? Yes, for several reasons. First your blog can be used to support multiple books, Second the blog will have a life after the book is off the shelves. Third you can use a blog to establish your credibility long before your book is launched. There are dozens of author blogs. Here are a few:
Start collecting email addresses six to eight months before launch. Your email list will be the best and fastest way to get word out about your new book. To get addresses offer a free chapter, a unique bonus chapter, discounts, extracts, input…whatever it takes
Whenever you go to an event, seminar or workshop collect business cards and email addresses. Remember to ask if you can add them to your email newsletter list
Chris Andersen wrote an article for Wired Magazine about his longtail theory six months before he released his book of the same name. By the time the book came out there was an educated audience desperate to know more
If your book involves doing interviews, record them and publish the best ones as free podcasts on your site, iTunes and other podcast sites
Whilst writing your book continually ask your website visitors for feedback on the content. Promise to acknowledge all those who help in the book. All these people will feel they have been a part of the creative process so will be eager to spread the word when it launches
Create a list of all the most important bloggers and websites in your niche. Try to think of a way of getting them involved with creating the book. For example ask for quotes, do interviews, use them as case studies, etc.
List all the journalists in the world who might ne interested in your book. Think how you can them excited about its publication; get them to contribute, refer to their articles, interview them, etc
Are there any notable academics and colleges that teach about your niche? Make a list and send them free copies when the book is available
As you complete chapters of your book, send extracts to people you quote or include for feedback. This will keep the project alive in their mind and hopefully looking forward to the completed book. James Caan provides some interesting and valuable business insights on his website
Endorsements and testimonials from personalities within your niche is worth its weight in gold. Build relationships early so these people trust you when you ask for their support
As you do your research you will be finding interesting facts and articles. Twitter them to your followers so they can get an idea of what you are thinking. Proactively try to build your Twitter followers
Search for terms relevant to your book on Twitter. When comments come up join the conversation
I have mentioned a few ways of building a community (website, blog, Twitter), but there are dozens more. You should think about where your audience hang out and then use the best services to build your community. Think about MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, LinkedIn, etc. Start networking well before launch.
I was recently asked to write an article for a real estate magazine about how real estate agents can use the internet for marketing. I was flattered by the editors kind words but halfway through the article I thought to myself real estate agents are not the target for anything I do. Why am I wasting my valuable time talking to them?
Approach any associations and societies whose audience is relevant to your book. How can you work together. Run a workshops, do a book signing, agree a co-promotion deal, speak at one of their events, write for their website or magazine?
Setup Google Alerts for your name, your book title, competitor’s names, competitive or complimentary book titles, etc. By following these alerts you can jump into the online conversation in a timely way
Seth Godin launched his latest book Tribes, by creating a private community for the people who pre-ordered it. Great idea (although most of don’t have the profile of Seth Godin)
If you are publishing through a publisher make sure you review all the marketing and promotion material before it goes out. You need the key messages to be consistent online and offline, and through all channels
The cover design and internal page layouts matter …..a lot. Publishers have professional teams to do this, but make sure you have your say. Self publishers find a book designer on eLance (www.elance.com). A good design is well worth the investment
The Book Marketing Network is a online community for authors and small publishers to share their knowledge and support each other. Lots of great ideas
I haven’t used this site, but it has got quite good reviews. You can have your book reviewed, sold as download and if it becomes popular published. Go to www.webook.com
If you are publishing through a big publisher your book will have about four weeks to produce significant sales. If it doesn’t, it will receive little marketing support going forward. Therefore your promotion efforts leading up to the launch could make the difference between success and failure
Create a competition on your website with ten or more copies of the book as prizes. Send an email to all the people who entered but did not win offering them a discount
You should have a list of blogs and websites where you would like your book promoted. Offer the website owner one or more free copies as a competition prize.
Before the book is available send out free copies to all the journalists, bloggers and influencers. Warn them it’s coming by email and then stick a signed copy in the post.
There is nothing like face-to-face book signings to create buzz and trust, but how do you find groups of interested people. Meetup.com is becoming a great source of finding niche groups
You should pick one specific day for your launch and ensure a lot of activity is planned for this single day (email your list, publish some YouTube videos, send out press releases, announce competition winners, launch a competition, do a webinar, etc). Hopefully a lot of activity will create momentum.
Create and post videos on all the main video sites. Make sure the videos are under ten minutes so they get published on YouTube. I use TubeMogus.com to hit a lot of sites all at once. The videos can be a book tour, interviews, book extracts, etc
If your book takes a controversial stand point start an online debate before you launch. Blog, write guest articles for other sites, go on forums and Twitter.
This is hard to achieve, but if you can get a large number of buyers all to purchase from Amazon on the same day this will increase the books ranking and get it higher up on the search results page. If you can do this blitz on a quiet trading day such as Thanksgiving or Christmas Day the impact will be all the greater
Get some images of your book cover and post them on Flickr, PhotoBucket and other photo gallery websites. Make sure you choose the tags carefully to reflect the subject
Give away the first chapter of your book for free as a downloadable pdf. At the beginning and end of the chapter add a summary of the rest of the book to encourage the reader to buy. Encourage people to share it.
Publish the content page on your website with a brief overview about each chapter. Make sure the page is optimised for the search engines. It may also be worth having a printable version
Create a post on your website which lists many of the questions that you have answered in your book. For example if your book is about professional blogging:
It is very expensive to do a nationwide or international book tour, but it’s cheap to do one online. Do a series of free webinars that people can dial in and listen to you talking about the book. Record them and publish them on your website or on specialist websites like Ask Database
Once the early buyers have had a chance to read the book offer to run a series of free conference calls where people can ask you questions. To avoid a free for all ask for questions to be submitted via email before the call
When you send out free copies ask the recipients to publish their positive reviews in Amazon. On your website ask people who liked your book to do the same. And again with anyone who sends you a positive testimonial
By now you should have a list of all the top bloggers for your niche. Offer the opportunity for them to do an interview with you. Its good content for their sites and great publicity for you
An author friend of mine sat next to a senior IBM executive on a short flight from London to Paris. They got chatting and he ended up giving him a copy of his newly published book. A week later he received an order for 100 copies! Always have a few books with you; you never know who you’re going to meet
Make sure you deliver on your promises. If you offered free copies send them. If you offered interviews, do them. If you said you would mention a contributor, mention them. You don’t want unhappy people in the blogosphere just after launch!
Create a section on your website called, “What People Are Saying On Amazon”. Copy the best reviews on to your site.
If you get speaking opportunities at conferences, seminars, universities, etc always ask the organiser if you can set up a stand to sell your books at the event. Better still ask the event organiser if they will buy a copy to give to each attendee
Tim Ferriss (Four Hour Work Week) tells the story of how he took some of his books into a Borders, placed then prominently on a shelf and took some photos which he published on his website. A cheeky trick for self publishers!
This list is just scratching the service. You won’t be able to do everythingh so pick a few ideas and get creative to make yout book stand out from the crowd.
Best of luck!