September 19, 2014

How to Drive Buyers for Your Book, in Droves

Congratulations – you just wrote a book.  But if you think all the work is done, think again.  As an author of a business book, you still have work ahead of you.  You have to market your book.  After all, these days it’s up to the author to do most of the marketing.  Publishers provide a limited amount of marketing.

And as an entrepreneur, that usually means you have to be big on creativity — to make up for a small monetary budget.

The topic of marketing your book was one we explored recently in an hour-long chat on Twitter.  We tapped into the expertise of 4 “guerrilla book marketers,” plus savvy members of the community.  Talk about creative ideas for marketing books!   Highlights of the chat, along with additional resources, follow.

Chat Overview

On Tuesday, January 31, 2012, we were joined online for an open Twitter chat called “How to Drive Buyers for Your Book, in Droves.  The session was moderated by Ivana Taylor, who was joined by authors Stephanie Chandler, Phil Simon and Bruce Brown.  These savvy guerrilla book marketers provided insight into how to promote a book and sell more copies — what works and what doesn’t in today’s environment.

 Author Collage

Guest experts Phil Simon, Stephanie Chandler, Bruce Brown

The Twitter Chat was one of the festivities held in conjunction with the Small Business Book Awards, which honors the best small business books.  The Chat elicited hundreds of tweets — including these highlights:

Question 1: What’s better – self publishing or using a publisher and why?

“Authors no longer need bookstore placement to help sell books—too many opportunities online. #BizBookAwards” – Stephanie Chandler (@bizauthor)

“It’s not an either-or type of thing. It depends on the book and your budget. And not all #self-publishing is the same. #BizBookAwards” – Phil Simon (@philsimon)

Question 2: How important is the book’s title for sales?

“Title and cover are huge. People have low attention spans these days. #BizBookAwards” – Phil Simon (@philsimon)

“Title is #1, Cover is #2 in importance. #BizBookAwards” – Bruce Brown (@BruceBrownNC)

“I prefer snappy, short titles, but they likely won’t search well, SEO-wise. Funny titles backfire. #BizBookAwards” – Bruce Brown (@BruceBrownNC)

Question 3: Some authors have a website and/or blog for their book. Is this essential, nice to have, or unnecessary?

“Every author needs a website—with a blog. Need to give media/buyers a way to reach you. #BizBookAwards” – Stephanie Chandler (@bizauthor)

“If a specific site leads to one big sale or speaking gig, then doesn’t the book’s site pay for itself? #BizBookAwards” – Phil Simon (@philsimon)

“A website is a must. Authors without websites would be giving away a huge opportunity. #BizBookAwards” – Vedran Tomic (@VedranTomic)

Question 4: On a scale of 1-10, rate the importance for book sales of: social media, signings, publisher support, testimonials?

“Tough to say. Depends on the genre and luck. There’s no recipe for selling books. Tim Ferris is a black swan. #BizBookAwards” – Phil Simon (@philsimon)

Question 5: What is the single best method for driving book sales, and why?

“The majority of book sales happen online and so should your marketing efforts. #BizBookAwards” – Stephanie Chandler (@bizauthor)

“Don’t be afraid of giving away freebies, street teams, contests, etc.  #BizBookAwards” – Phil Simon (@philsimon)

“Raving, rabid readers. But seriously, having a sizable, international tribe that will promote it for you. #BizBookAwards” – Bruce Brown (@BruceBrownNC)

Question 6: How important is it to get on a bestseller list? Important enough to “buy your way?”

“Best-seller lists are antiquated and don’t count so many sources of sales. Ask @mitchjoel. #BizBookAwards” – Phil Simon (@philsimon)

Question 7: How much of a difference can a book publicist make?

“A more affordable option can be to work with a virtual assistant with experience promoting authors. #BizBookAwards” – Stephanie Chandler (@bizauthor)

“Publicists do have existing relationships that can grease the wheels with important media types. #BizBookAwards” – Phil Simon (@philsimon)

“No one loves your work and your message as much as you do. So unless you’re really gonna sell mongo, DIY. #BizBookAwards” – Bruce Brown (@BruceBrownNC)

Question 8: How do you find a publicist?

“Absolutely find one via referral from someone like you or like you want to be and who you trust. #BizBookAwards” – Bruce Brown (@BruceBrownNC)

“NOT a friend or family member who “wants to get into the business.” #BizBookAwards” – Bruce Brown (@BruceBrownNC)

Question 9: What are the benefits of being nominated for a book award?

“When you win, you get to call yourself “award-winning author” and that is pretty cool! #BizBookAwards” – Stephanie Chandler (@bizauthor)

Question 10: Any last words of advice for aspiring authors?

“Writing a book is a journey. Embrace the unknown. Do it because you like to write, not for external rewards. #BizBookAwards” – Phil Simon (@philsimon)

The Guest Experts

Phil Simon (@PhilSimon): Author of “The Age of the Platform” and “The New Small”

Bruce Brown (@BruceBrownNC): Author of “31 Days to Greeting Card Marketing Mastery” and a past champion of the Small Business Book Awards, 2010. Bruce also wrote a 3-part series about how he galvanized his community’s support to win the Award. Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Stephanie Chandler (@bizauthor): Author of “Own Your Niche” and “From Entrepreneur to Infopreneur.” Stephanie is also the founder of Authority Publishing and Business Info Guide.

**Bonus**

Although he couldn’t join us, John Locke (@DonovanCreed), author of “How I Sold 1 Million Ebooks on Amazon in 5 Months,” contributed an in-depth interview with his book selling insights.

Moderator

Ivana Taylor (@DIYMarketers):  Author of “Excel for Marketing Managers,” the publisher of DIYMarketers.com, and the Book Editor here at Small Business Trends.

Our Partners – Thanks

Thanks to our promotional partner for this special Twitter event — JustRetweet, a website designed to help you draw visibility to your Twitter account and make it easy for you to connect with others on Twitter.

And a big thanks also goes to the rest of our media partners for spreading the word about the Small Business Book Awards:

Basic Blog Tips  Your Virtual AssistantMomeo MagazineBizLaunchSeize This Day CoachingBizEnginePRNewswireBook BuzzBizSugarBizNikHawkeye ManagementGrowMapIndie Business Network
10 Comments ▼

Anita Campbell - CEO


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses, and also serves as CEO of TweakYourBiz.com.

10 Reactions

  1. I really liked the article. I recently published a book entitled, “Stand Up and Be Counted Now” and the article is right on time. It will help me in determining which direction to go in marketing the book. Three key points for me were (1) Hire a Virtual Assistant (2) website with blog and (3)use social media. Thanks!

  2. Hi Anita
    I love this post. It is so timely. The advice is helpful. Here’s why: Publishing a book is, and possibly always been, the best way to market yourself. Whether you sell products or services, sharing your insights and expertise via a self-published or traditionally published book is the way to go. It is the new business card. I have not published my first book yet, but I’ve studied many, many experts, bloggers, company owners and a book is one of the secret ingredients.
    Thanks for pulling these people together into one post. Worth sharing!
    TJ

    • Hi TJ,

      And I liked that these folks are truly “guerrilla marketer” types when it comes to books. The traditional marketing of a book is all about hiring a book publicist, getting book signings, getting your publisher to market it, and trying to get on the Today show. For most entrepreneurs, the guerrilla marketing is much more achievable.

      – Anita

  3. Anita: I enjoyed the chat very much! So many great ideas and the conversation had a fabulous flow!

  4. New authors are often surprised by how hard it is to market books. But remember, book marketing is a marathon–not a race! If you can devote a little time each day to promote your work, those small efforts can pay off in the long run.

    It was great fun to be part of this chat event. Thanks for including me!

    • Hi Stephanie, thank you so much for joining us. You did a great job. I can’t tell you how many people said “I learned so much!” from that hour-long Twitter session.

      Like I said, you guys are “guerrilla book marketers.”

      – Anita

  5. What an amazing summary! I never realized there were so many creative and effective ways to market your book! I’m going to have to write another one!

    I would encourage any budding author to search out this Twitter chat hashtag for all the tips that were mentioned here.

    There has never been a better time to get your book published and promoted.

    We also had an interview with John Locke http://smallbiztrends.com/2012/01/john-locke-shares-strategies-interview.html

    What you’ll love about his perspective is that he’s taken the “vanity” out of self-publishing and turned it into an entrepreneurial investment! In other words – your book is your product. I just love that.

    Thanks everyone for making this one of THE MOST informative, educational and meaty twitter chats for authors.

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