Book Marketing Realities
I’ve published two books. The first one, Beyond Drama: Transcending Energy Vampires, was self-published and we did very little to market it. The second one, Conflict Without Casualties: A Field Guide for Leading With Compassionate Accountability, was published by Berrett-Koehler shortly after we launched it at an industry trade-show. I am part of a training and consulting company and both of my books were written to compliment our work. We have positioned and marketed Conflict Without Casualties both as a stand-alone book and an integrated component of our Leading out of Drama training and coaching system.
My experience has borne out several realities of book marketing.
- Finding a publisher who cares about you and works with you as a team is invaluable.
- The author is the anchor of the marketing effort. No amount of support from publicists or marketing professionals can replace the role of the author. Buyers want to know you, hear you speak, and get to know you.
- It takes consistent and sustained effort to build momentum.
- Your readers are your most important asset. Stay engaged with them.
- Unless you are a NYT best-selling author or celebrity, don’t expect book sales to make you rich.
- Value-adds and follow-on products can make all the difference by leveraging an already engaged audience.
- The book is just the beginning of your writing work. The more writing you do about the concepts in your book, the more exposure you will get.
- Professional looking, well laid out, actionable book website page for your book. It is critical to have a central location where people can learn about the book, buy it, share it with others, and learn how to connect with you.
What has worked best for us:
Speaking engagements with book specials.
We sold more books and booked more paid speaking engagements via speaking engagements than any other avenue. Our keys to success with speaking engagements include:
- have a solid, engaging and motivational keynote presentation;
- Until you have developed your skills as a motivational speaker, worry less about a speaking fee, more about the ability of your client to promote the event and bring in a good audience;
- make book sales and signing is a central part of each engagement, and get someone else to take payment so you can focus on signing and meeting people;
- Have a “special.” We’ve had great success with a “One for $15, two for $20” deal, 90% of people buy two;
- Partner with sponsors to buy a book for everyone who attends your presentation. Here’s my speaking page.
Writing articles for industry publications is a great way to gain exposure.
Most outlets will include a link to your website or book page. A good PR person helps find opportunities. Then it’s your job to deliver good material, be responsive, and be easy to work with. Here’s my
Podcasts, radio interviews, and other appearances.
It takes time to yield results, and having a PR person to help is critical. Being a good podcast guest is key because hosts talk to each other and many opportunities come by word of mouth. Have your key talking points ready, don’t ramble, respect the format and focus of the podcast, be responsive and kind.
I write a weekly blog focused on practical applications of the concepts in my book. I try to keep my posts to 300 words or less and include plenty of how-tos. My posts usually link to the book page on our website. It’s a great way for people to get to know me personally.
A catchy hook.
We have No Drama stickers that are a huge hit. We give them out everywhere we go and include them with any book purchases. Keep it very simple, useful, and make it something people would want to talk about