How to Drive Buyers for Your Book, in Droves

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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.


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.


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

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Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO 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.