“I don’t need to promote my book — I have a book contract with a big publishing house.”
It often comes as a surprise to many authors that books do not promote themselves. And don’t expect your conventional publisher to do that for you either.
The cold hard truth is you have to promote it yourself.
And while that may be a shock at first, you are by far and away the best person on this planet to promote your book.
Just follow the recommendations in this article to build the elements of your book promotion strategy.
What is Book Promotion?
It’s raising the profile of your book in your target audience’s eyes. Firstly you have to identify clearly what niche your book satisfies. And then you have to bring it to their attention.
Specifically, the aim of book promotion is to take your book from being unheard of through to being a must-buy.
Here is a list of media and strategies that you should consider when creating a book promotion strategy. Ideally, your book promotion strategy will include most, if not all of the elements below.
Media Interviews — Radio and TV
Webinars and Teleseminars
Press releases are official statements issued to newspapers giving information about a particular topic.
To promote your book, write and issue a press release that gives details of your book. Assuming this is of interest to their readers, the release may get published verbatim, or lightly edited.
Press releases follow a standard format, and adhering to this makes it more likely yours will be adopted. You can obtain suitable templates by searching online for “press release template”.
As many journalists rely on online pr sites for their material, being present on these sites makes it very likely that your release will be picked up.
The material you supply does need to be newsworthy, of course. Sales pitches masquerading as press releases are likely to be ignored.
If you are writing about a hot topic, just an announcement of the book may be sufficient. Otherwise, you may need to be creative and present controversial views or refer to current hot topics for your release to be picked up.
The advantage of these exhibitions is that those attending are typically interested in publishing or promoting your book. Don’t expect those attending to be your target market. These are recommenders, and your job is to find those recommenders that are relevant to your market and your book.
Book exhibitions can be exhausting, so planning is essential. Try to obtain a list of exhibitors beforehand, and identify those organisations to talk to. Take a stock of business cards with you.
Media Interviews — Radio and TV
For books with wide appeal, this can be a great way of getting your message out. It’s a good idea to get some media coaching so that you know what to expect, and are able to get your points across succinctly in what can be a very short interview!
On radio and TV, don’t expect to get more than three minutes at most. Your answers must be focused and to the point with no waffling.
At the very least write down the top seven points you want to get across. Prepare a sheet of sample questions and answers. The interviewer may not use these, but if they do, you have confidence that you can answer them.
Sometimes you’ll be asked a question you think is not really relevant. The art is to politely answer the question they should have asked. Watch politicians, as they do this all the time.
Getting influential people in your industry to review your book positively can be a great boost to your book’s profile. Approach these people in plenty of time, and send them a copy of your book, asking what you want.
Getting to be able to reach these people of influence can be a project in itself which requires tenacity and creativity. Always be respectful of their time and only approach them if you think they might be interested in reviewing your book.
The top bloggers and podcasters in your field should be high on your contact list.
Webinars and Teleseminars
One of the most neglected means of book promotion is that pioneered by Alex Mandossian — the webinar series.
Here you are interviewed in one, or a series of webinars (Alex originally used teleseminars, which work just as well). In them you reveal the content of the book in answer to your interviewer’s questions.
These can either be free or can be chargeable — especially for a webinar series. These packaged programmes can be sold for a significantly higher price than that of your book. So you may consider giving your book away as a bonus to people who pay for your webinar series.
Internet marketing includes email marketing, websites — especially blogs and podcasting. You can provide text, pdf documents, audio extracts of your book, videos of content related to your book on your site and via emails.
You can create an autoresponder email sequence to deliver extracts from your book either as a stand-alone sequence or in conjunction with your website.
Needless to say, you should promote your book to your online list, and consider joint ventures with those people who are likely to already have your prospects on your list.
It’s very easy to publish book extracts on your blog and on article sites like Medium or LinkedIn Publisher. If you then advertise these extracts with social media you’ll reach a larger audience.
What applies to webinars and teleseminars applies equally to podcasts. Podcasts are a complementary medium — you can podcast your teleseminar audios and your webinar videos.
And don’t forget other people’s podcasts, where you can offer extracts of your recordings to others in your field. You could even be interviewed by the podcast provider.
You’ll have generated a large amount of material in writing your book. If you were to reformat it you probably have more than enough material to create a membership site.
This allows you to charge a monthly fee for access to your material.
Think of each chapter as a module of your membership site. For each chapter you could provide a pdf version of the chapter, a mind-map of it, an audio recording, possibly cut into chunks and short videos.
You could add exercises, surveys, questions for reflection — anything that will add value to the material you have already created.
Social media can help create a buzz around your book launch and can also feed into other promotional channels.
The social media where you must have a presence for your book are Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and your blog. Depending on your market, LinkedIn may be relevant.
Consider setting up a Facebook Page (used to be called a Fanpage) dedicated to your book. Set up a YouTube Channel, if you don’t already have one.
Create a WordPress blog dedicated to promote your book where you can easily post blog entries, short videos and audios to help with your promotion. You already have a wealth of text to publish from your book, so make the most of this.
Of course, conventional publishers do launch and promote books. But although they do this for J K Rowling, don’t expect them to put any effort into launching your book unless you have agreed a specific book launch budget and what it will contain.
If you follow the guidelines laid out for internet marketing product launches pioneered by Jeff Walker, however, you can get a great deal of the effect while safeguarding your budget.
Very much bottom of the pile is conventional or mass advertising. Conventional adverts are expensive and have a horribly low response rate.
The challenge is the relevance of your advert in a mass-market medium like a newspaper or a magazine.
While more targeted periodicals are a better bet, there is still the fact that conventional adverts are a scatter-gun approach where you really need a sniper’s rifle.
Using the direct marketing techniques that I’ve covered above can be much more effective. This is because they are targeted at your niche specifically, so the relevancy of your message is much higher.
Because the relevancy of your message is higher, it’s more likely to be read and acted upon. In other words, your promotion is much more likely to reach those people who are most receptive.
Pulling It Together
I’ve covered all the elements that are considered by conventional publishers for promoting your book. And I’ve added a number of others that are not well addressed by them.
Your book promotion strategy needs to be comprehensive — to be successful it should contain most of these elements. It also needs to be planned and co-ordinated to ensure that you reach your target market and find them receptive.
Finally, to be successful, your book promotion strategy should operate consistently over time — I suggest a period of 90 days for an integrated book promotion strategy.
Alun Richards helps entrepreneurs to plan, create and publish their books. For more information, check out my Kindle Book Promotion Service, available at http://alunloves.it/bookpromoart