Amazon.com, America’s favorite online bookstore currently shows 1,904,234 results for a search on business books. If you want to drill down — you can choose from eight categories such as accounting (58,626), management and leadership (239,423) or small business and entrepreneurship (23, 812).
These books and their authors are your competition. Yes, some of those almost two million books have one and the same author but that doesn’t change your odds all that much. You have a task ahead of you … so, let’s look at the small picture and talk about ways you can compete. Regardless of how your book came to be published, it is up to you, the author, to create the attention that will turn into sales.
The good news is that it has never been easier to get your book noticed by the right people. In fact, before you put fingers to keyboard, before you type “Chapter One” on that pristine blank page — you should begin your marketing. You should be promoting yourself and your book, via the web, even before the book is done.
Shel Israel, co-author with Robert Scoble, of Naked Conversations, is creating his newest book online with the help of Twitter friends and blog comments. He and Scoble did a similar thing with Naked Conversations, and it reached bestseller status. The key is to talk about the book, share your writing stories, ask for input, and get your readers involved. The more involved I am in the writing of your book, the more likely I am not only to buy it when it’s done, but to help promote it to others.
Let’s talk about The Top 10 Ways to Promote Your Book in 2009:
(1) Create a Blog Book Tour
Your book blog, named after your book — or after you, depending on what you’re branding — should be an invitation to connect with readers, other authors, and business professionals. As you visit their blogs and leave comments (linking back to your blog), also take time to build the relationship and identify possible review opportunities.
Choose blogs whose writers are consistent in their posting, who generate comments, and who are able to speak to your expertise when they write about you and your book. If you want help, tap into this Blog Book Tour site.
(2) Create a Book Video Trailer
This is much like a movie trailer. Dr. Susan Reid, one of my authors, created an outstanding book trailer to introduce people to her book. It’s short, it outlines what the book is about and it creates the right “expression” — supporting the books’ goal to help small business owners tap into their “Inner Samaurai.”
Use a webcam or a Flip video camera, add some background music, and read from your introduction. Although Dr. Reid did not narrate her video, I recommend you narrate yours. Readers want to connect with you and hearing your voice brings you closer to being a “real person” to them.
(3) Be Creative with Your Press Releases
Today’s press releases are more than announcements. They are Search Engine magnets. Choose a good firm that understands the value of attracting search engines, and write a killer headline. A killer headline grabs the reader’s attention.
When I wrote my book Dickless Marketing (about marketing to women online, leaving behind the old Dick and Jane world of the 20th century), I created this headline: “Look, Dick. See Jane. See Jane Dominate E-Commerce.” I got a call the same day to be on a local TV station. The headline got the reporter’s attention. The body of the release, which revealed the title of the book, convinced her to have me on the show.
I covered two bases there – one was to be current and informative, the other was to be provocative.
(4) Find Local Sponsors to Buy Case Quantities of Your Book
With the economy forcing so many businesses to tighten their belts, this is a great time to be resourceful with your book. The price of a book (usually under $35) makes it a great giveaway for a bank or a business organization.
Banks are eager to attract more small business owners, and business organizations are always looking for qualified speakers – with books. Our local KeyBank supports women business owners and hosts a breakfast once a year, where they give away the speaker’s book after she speaks.
(5) Connect With Your Local News – Both TV and Radio
This form of marketing is not dead, as some would have you believe. The news editor is always looking for great stories about local people.
Send a letter, with an overview of your book and your press release, and a testimonial from someone of authority. Make it easy for the editor, tell her why covering your book will make a good noon news story. Take the 6 a.m. slot if that’s offered – a lot of people are up watching or listening to the news at 6 a.m.
(6) Speaking of Voices of Authority – Who do You Know That Can Offer a Testimonial?
Authors tend to leave this for last, thinking they need to have a preview copy of the book in hand before someone will grant them the privilege of a testimonial. This is patently untrue.
Tap into a former college professor, a CEO from a networking group, the author of a book you’ve enjoyed, or the founder of a popular website/social networking group. Let them know you’re writing the book and ask them if they would offer a testimonial.
Tap into your LinkedIn profile. Three degrees of separation can work in your favor. You do have a LinkedIn profile, don’t you? To learn how to use LinkedIn more effectively, visit Steve Tylock’s site: The LinkedIn Personal Trainer.
(7) Use Twitter
See what Guy Kawasaki, talking with Robert Scoble, says about Twitter in this video: On Twitter, you can easily connect to thousands of people you might never meet otherwise. Be selective but friendly. Don’t over promote your book on Twitter – rather, be on the lookout for people who will promote you – by sharing the link to your blog or your book’s sales’ page. Make friends … friends help friends out.
(8) Be Remarkable
Marketer Seth Godin swears by this principle, and it’s true that standing out from the crowd has its benefits.
When I say be remarkable, I’m leaning more towards the Scott Ginsberg model. Scott is “that nametag guy” … he wears a nametag everywhere he goes (he even has one tattooed on his chest!). If you search online, using any search engine, for ‘that nametag guy’ you will get hundreds of thousands of hits and they are all about Scott.
What phrase will you claim in Google or Yahoo? My phrase is the name of my book, Dickless Marketing, although I often come up on the first page of a Google search for just my first name (today, I’m #9 out of 29,100,000).
(9) Become an Amazon Best Seller
Connect with experts who know how to do this. It involves a lot of work, a lot of connections, and a focus on results. Kathleen Gage has done it for others, more than once, and can do it for you, too. Invest in the tools to create the kind of attention and build the kind of mailing list that will continue to support you and your book for years to come.
(10) Utilize as Many Facets of Social Media as You Can
Yes, create a Facebook page. Yes, join SWOM (Society for Word of Mouth).
Yes, follow Marti Lawrence’s lead and create a page on Squidoo. Her book, 7 Way You Screw Up Your Life, (Are you FUGGDUP? Forgetting, Underestimating, Gratifying, Grieving, Deceiving, Undermining and Procrastinating are some of the most common problems that cause your life to be screwed up. Is this scenario familiar?) displays her book cover, a compelling description, and an easy link to her buy page. Squidoo is free and worth the few minutes to create a page and a link to all the places we can purchase your book. Remember to add your blog and Squidoo page to your email signature.
The book industry is changing dramatically, in response to the social networking aspect of business life today. Authors are ever more qualified to be the marketers of their book, by understanding where their market hangs out and showing up now and then; online and offline. Joe Girard, recognized as the best salesperson ever, says it best: “The elevator to success is out of order. You’ll have to use the stairs … one step at a time.”
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About the Author: Yvonne DiVita, President of Windsor Media Enterprises, LLC: Books, Blogs and Beyond, is focused on consulting with businesses on how to effectively use new media tools. She blogs at LipSticking, with a focus on the women’s market.
Could you mention any successful book campaign that you think will occur during this year?
‘Dickless Marketing’? I have to go buy that just for the title!
I love the idea of a video trailer for your book promotion. Cross medium marketing can be very effective due to its uniqueness, it grabs peoples attention.
Awesome article, this is what I needed to get more ideas on how to promote my own book.
@Martin – campaigns that “will occur” in ’09? I think that’s like predicting the future! LOL . It’s safe to say that those authors who aggressively work at connecting with the market they serve, will have successful book campaigns. Remember – sales are not always the goal. Sometimes authors are looking for speaking engagements, or using their book as a “brochure” for prospects. Book as brochure has power!
@Vic – Provocative title for a serious subject. Thanks for the response. Keep a positive focus and never doubt for a minute that you, too, can reach greater heights with your book, this year.
@Matt – Book trailers promise to be huge. Video is so powerful because now the potential reader sees the REAL person behind the book. Remember to post your trailer to YouTube.
@tom – Glad you like the article.
Great article with something for everyone. I especially like Suggestion #4 about seeking sponsors to buy cases of your book. Most authors don’t think in terms of bulk sales, but it’s the fastest way to get lots of books out to your audience. Thanks for this post. I’ve already sent it to one of my authors who has a book for small businesses about how to increase profit centers with gift baskets, and linked to it on my own blog recommending it for authors of all genres, not just business.
Great article and I’d like to back up to make a point – #0 – You are the most important promotional tool for your book. Nobody else will care as much as you, so stay on top of your efforts.
And if you’d like to receive a notice when someone on the web mentions you or your book, find the right tools to do that;-)
The LinkedIn Personal Trainer
Yvonne: Great reply! Interesting to hear that you could use the book as a “brochure” for prospects.
I could write a “detective” story / “suspense” novelette based on my experiences from starting up a company. I have meet plenty of “interesting” characters that could be included in a fiction story. I am thinking of getting a ghost writer. I want to compile an e-pamphlet with my thoughts on trader principle, supply chain management and theory of constraints.
I have a suggestion for a tool if you want to create a special book trailer. I will send you an email regarding this video email system.
Steve: I agree with your point. The author is the starting source. I checked your website. I will get your e-book on how to use LinkedIn. I will send you an e-mail with some questions. Are you a member of the mailing-list LinkedIn Bloggers?
Thanks for this post…very informative! I’m in the process of writing a book and now know that it’s not too early to start promotion.
“Passionate about helping people find their potential”
Wow. I have read so many times how twitter can greatly help business enthusiasts. And tip number 10 is really perfect for times like this when most of the people opted to get help from these social media sites which gladly most are free! The connection was really made easy!
Much thanks for all these great comments. @SteveTylock – you know well that the author is the best person to market his or her book. Your book is an outstanding book of advice on how to use LinkedIn, and you are its most effective promoter.
@ShellyLieber – glad this was a help. I believe, especially in these tough economic times, the opportunity for bulk sales is tremendous. Businesses want to ‘court’ their customer and they get far more bang for their buck with books.
@DinoHerbert – for book promotion, sooner is better. EVEN if you do not deliver in the timeframe you ‘thought’ you would deliver – people will forgive you and still be eager for that print copy when it’s ready. Good luck!
@MaryGraceIgnacio – social media is a powerful tool – remember to pace yourself, be careful how you approach your ‘friends’ and ‘followers’ — offer good advice and content and only then mention your book. The better able you are to help me do something useful today, the more likely I am to click in to your Squidoo page or blog, and check out your services or book. And, when you post on Twitter or Facebook, many, many people see what you’ve added – and will click your link (if you’ve brought them value). Cheers!
Great advice. I had never heard of producing a video trailer. That sounds like a really good idea. I would consider buying more books if everyone offered a “sneak peek” of the content.
Sometimes, equally as valuable as information, is validation. As a newly published author (The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood), I am happy to realize that I am already doing the majority of things on this wonderful list. Luckily, I’ve had some very kind and savvy mentors along the way. 😉
Very nice list of tips, Yvonne. I need to look into putting together introductory videos for my two books too. Thanks again!
You are spot on with these tips. Even though my two books have not been in the business sector, I used some of these tips time after time!
I just found your article and it is exactly what I needed to get my book going. I thank you for posting. The tips were right on point. It will certainly help those of us who are not totally sure of how to go about getting ourselves out there!
Excellent article. All useful tips and techniques. I really like your emphasis on being creative in your promotions, as that seems to be the key today in terms of attracting internet buzz.
Great post Yvonne! I’ve implemented many of the suggestions above but continue to put off doing a video trailor. You have motivated me to put it back on the book promotion agenda! I’ve found Twitter to be a great tool and same with creating a fan page for the book. You are right about the Amazon.com launch campaign being a lot of work, but your efforts are highly rewarded if executed properly.
lastly, a great tool for authors and speakers is http://www.speakersite.com – lots of the strategies above are discussed in great length at this site.
Good luck to everyone!
all the best,
The named tag guy is my hero (although I’m afraid of needles so the tattooing thing is a bridge too far in my case). Seriously though, I think one of the keys is to have a large online social network in place BEFORE you write the book as opposed to nakedly attempting to build said network for the sole purpose of pimping your book.
I am hoping to find another job fast, but we all know how that is. ,
Attacks of this kind can compromise all future communications to the host. ,