One of the dirty little secrets of the book publishing industry is that it’s easier to get published than ever before — but authors are mostly on their own when it comes to marketing their books.
That’s certainly true if you self publish.
It’s also true for books published through a traditional publisher. If you’re depending on the publisher to market your book for you, while you kick back to collect royalty checks, plan to be disappointed. Unless you are already a household name, it’s going to be up to you to actively drive book sales. Your work doesn’t end once the book is written. In some ways, you’re just getting started.
That’s where “Your First 1000 Copies: The Step-by-Step Guide to Marketing Your Book” comes in. This is a compact guide for authors who have recently written a book, are writing a book, or are planning to write one soon.
This resource book by author Tim Grahl is short. Amazon says 147 pages, but the electronic epub-format copy I got listed it at 76 pages. Regardless, you can read it in one sitting, in under two hours.
However, it’s not the kind of book you should read once and set aside. If you do that, you will not get value out of it. You’ll be skimming over points that you should be pondering and figuring out how to apply to build your book marketing strategy.
Instead, you should pore over this book — again and again. Squeeze every bit of juice out of it. Make notes. Set it aside so that the ideas sink in, then come back to it. As you re-read it multiple times, things will start to click. You will get a sense for how to apply it to your own book marketing.
What’s Inside “Your First 1000 Copies”
The premise of Your First 1000 Copies is that you need a system for marketing your book. Without a system, you’ll likely fail because your efforts will be sporadic or spent on the wrong things. You won’t maximize natural opportunities to sell your book.
This system is straight forward. The author calls it the Connection System, and it consists of these parts:
- Permission — as in permission to communicate with your audience. This typically means getting them to opt in to an email list.
- Content — this involves you as the author creating content (aside from the book you wrote) that you make freely and widely available, to engage your target audience.
- Outreach — once you have content and permission to communicate, you can connect with readers.
- Sell — using content and your email list to stay in touch and engage, and connecting with readers, is how you sell your book.
- Track — this involves collecting data and using analytics to see what’s working and what isn’t, and then adjusting your approach.
Nothing earth shattering about that, right? Well, selling a book doesn’t necessarily need to be earth shatteringly different. In fact, that’s really part of the author’s point. He says book marketing is about “systems, systems, systems.” It’s about setting up a system to market your book, and working that system with the right marketing tools, consistently over a period of time.
One of the things I liked about this book is the style. It’s written in an easy to read style. It has anecdotes and brief examples using well-known authors. It tells you some of their experiences growing an email list or writing blog articles (or not). Another helpful thing is that every section ends with the key points summarized in bullet points.
I consider this book a strategy starter. In other words, it’s the kind of book to kick start your own strategy for selling your book. You’re not going to get a “plug and play” or one-size-fits-all marketing plan all wrapped up in a pretty bow. You’ll have to put that together.
But what it does do is lay out a framework for how to structure your marketing plan. It gives you a way of thinking about your book marketing, and identifies the essential elements, so that you can create that marketing system. It’s up to you to flesh out your plan and decide exactly what goes in it.
About The Author
Tim Grahl, the author of Your First 1000 Copies, is someone who knows what he’s talking about when it comes to book marketing. Tim and his firm have worked with a number of best-selling authors: Daniel Pink, Pamela Slim, Daniel Ariely, the Heath Brothers, Ramit Sethi and more.
It’s not that he just happened to work with a few authors. Rather, authors ARE his business. Tim and the firm he founded, Out:think Group, are 100% focused on helping authors market their books. That’s their niche. On his website it says, “We’ll teach you how to build a passionate fan base and sell a lot of books. We’ll also build the platform you need to make it happen.”
Tim and I go back a ways, before he got into author marketing. We hired him, first for a few hours a month and then gradually for more time, to do our Web development here at Small Business Trends. We worked with him until he and his firm made the shift into author marketing.
In the book he talks about the conscious choice he made to focus on author marketing. He orchestrated that shift with a visit to the South by Southwest Conference. It’s an inspiring story for any entrepreneur who wants to change his or her business model.
Resources for Authors
On the author’s website, he includes free resources for authors. One resource I highly recommend is “The Insider’s System to Book Marketing.” This is an 18-page PDF download that contains a checklist of what you need to have in place to market a book. Thorough!
Tim is also the author of the My Books plugin for WordPress that helps you market your books on your WordPress site. While I haven’t used the plugin, I can attest to Tim’s skill. He and his team created custom plugins for Small Business Trends in the past.
For some fun, check out the Book Launch Journal on his resources page. It is a behind-the-scenes look at launching a self-published book. Not only is it fun to read, but it will give you clues about what to expect.
Who This Book is For
This book is ideal for non-fiction authors, especially those who write business or self-help books.
It is for new authors, those who are planning to write a book, those who are in the process of writing a book, and established authors who want to amp up the marketing for their existing books.
To get value out of this resource, you’ll have to be serious about marketing your book(s). You have to be willing to put in time and some money toward your marketing efforts. The advice does not require spending huge bucks, but it’s also not about “free” marketing. To market a book today, you need a strategy and must be willing to put resources toward achieving that strategy — people, marketing tools, technology. That said, Grahl’s system can be used by entrepreneur-authors on a budget, provided you are willing to dedicate some money and a lot of elbow grease.
It’s currently on sale for just $3.99 for the Kindle version on Amazon. That’s less than the cost of a big Mocha Frappuccino at Starbucks. Whereas the beverage will be gone in an hour, what you’ll learn from Your First 1000 Copies will stick with you. Doesn’t your book launch deserve at least that much? Get Your First 1000 Copies.
I’m always interested in publishing a book. I have a lot of ideas to share but I’m not a good writer. DIY is out of question. It’s only logical for me to hire a writer/editor. My “big” question is, where to find the right writer/editor?
I highly recommend Matt Gartland of WinningEdits.com. That’s who I used for my book.
Thanks for the recommendation, Tim – much appreciated!
Thank you for posting a review of this book. I’ll be getting a copy. And by the way, perhaps you might be interested in reviewing my newest book that helps adults reinvent themselves. It’s FROM THE SOAPBOX TO THE STAGE: HOW TO USE YOUR PASSION TO START A SPEAKING BUSINESS Thank you for your consideration Anita.
As an aspiring book author in the future, I will definitively get this book. I am planning to attend the big book fair in Gothenburg and visit the self-publishing association’s booth and tell them about Tim Grahl’s book.
I am also interested in an answer to Ivan’s question on how to find the right writer / editor for my future book projects.
I am very much a DIY person. I offer article writing and in the midst of having my first book published. The manuscript has been accepted by a local publishing house 8 months ago and hopefully the book will be ready by end of the year.
Thanks for the sharing, Anita.
This is definitely a must-read for me. I have considered myself as a passionate writer but then I always give the idea up when I think about marketing. I really have a lot to learn in this area. Although I can market online really well, I find it hard to market my own book.