How to market a hard copy or e-book
April 28, 2013
Well the first thing to consider is what you want to
achieve. Most people think this is
obvious and say it is to make money. But
not everyone has that in mind. For some people it is about raising their
personal or business profile, for others writing a book is a lifetime ambition
and some people just want a best seller under their belt.
Of course, most people think that if you have a best seller
it means you will make a big money. But
it isn’t true. You see one of the tricks
of the trade is to ensure your book is a best seller on a single day. You hope it sells on other days but even if it
doesn’t it will still be a best seller.
I’ll explain how this is done as we go through my book marketing
Which is best format to sell; a hard copy
book or e-book?
Today anyone can self publish a book and have it online as
an ebook very quickly. Once proofing is
done and you’ve laid it out as you want it to appear you simply put it
online! Just like that.
Of course no one may buy it but you do have your own book
and it is published!
Hard copy books can be produced pretty quickly as well. Sites like www.Blurb.co.uk provide
an online template for you to drop your copy and pictures into and will then
print them as a hard copy book that you can sell. The quality is very good and you can have
small print runs .. print runs of one book make excellent presents ! But
again you do not have best seller and will not make a fortune!
So which is best?
Well ebooks can be produced without a publisher and can be sold online
with a good margin. Promoted correctly
they can sell in large numbers. However,
a hard copy book that sits on the bookshelf of a bookseller provides
credibility beyond a self published book; especially when it is published by a
genuine publisher as opposed to being a self published hardback.
Will a publisher
market my book for me?
Sadly having a publisher doesn’t let you off the hook. Of course they are good at marketing books..
it is their business. However, you need
to work with them to ensure you get the launch off to a good start. Let’s face it you know a lot of people who
will be interested in the fact you have written a book. Local people will also be interested and
might buy from you. People you have
worked with are also possible buyers.
Well you get the idea; you know many people and it would be good to let
them know when your book is being published.
This is how I would organise
my book launch
First, I would write a plan. Start by brainstorming ideas and
just make a note of them. It doesn’t
matter if some of the ideas sound a bit silly .. often they work out to be the
In my case my ideas might include
Media releases sent to my local paper/radio/TV
stations, trade press, community
publications and maybe even the nationals
Guest posting on relevant blogs and websites –
again think beyond your local area
Radio – try newsjacking a contemporary
story. I’d certainly go beyond a media
release; I’d look for a suitable programme and contact the producer.
Get your name on the speaker list for relevant clubs, associations,
business groups etc. Offer to talk about your book, the struggle to write it or
whatever is most appropriate to them
tours / signings etc. Offer to do a
signing for local bookshops .. they will then promote this for you
Ensure your local media (and as many of the others I’ve mentioned above)
have a review copy of the book. They can
then mention it, write a piece or interview you.
All the above lead to the potential for interviews. Don’t panic over this. Forget how many people are listening and just
treat it as a chat with the interviewer.
I’ve been heard on syndicated radio by over a million people in a single
day …. But could only see the interviewer, which meant the rest “didn’t exist”.
Use social media to promote all the above.
In my own case I’d especially focus on
LinkedIn. Join the right groups on LI,
post details of your book to them and you can be in front of huge numbers of
I’d also use YouTube. There are many ways you can produce a video
without even getting in front of a camera ….. for example, think about
producing a video from a PowerPoint and sound track produced on your laptop!
The secret of how to use the above is to promote the book
through them with the aim to encourage all of them to buy on launch day. You might decide to offer the book at a
discount that day, you might offer pre-orders on Amazon, you might even use
affiliate marketing to get other people to promote the book for a percentage of
sales. There are many tactics you can
use to get good sales on launch day. One
thing to remember is that many books only sell in the hundreds so if you get
this bit right you can outsell them quite easily. Once you are a best seller (even just for one
day), you can then get in the media for that reason and drum up even more
Once I’d roughed out my plan I would create a colour-coded
spreadsheet of people I thought could aid my launch. I’d then break the list
into social media followers, bloggers, websites, media etc. and set targets for
each of them. Of course you don’t need a
spreadsheet for this, a large sheet of paper can be used if you prefer.
After I’d brainstormed all the names I could think of, no
matter how big or small they were, I’d then research the top people in related
niches and add them to the spreadsheet just to make sure I had all my bases
covered. My final list would be quite
Next, I’d contact everyone on my list. When it comes to
traditional media (radio, TV, and magazines), I’d check with my publisher as
I’d need to make sure I didn’t overlap with them. In fact I’d keep them in the loop throughout.
Book launches need
Promoting your book isn’t going to be easy. It will take a lot of time and effort so you
need to start months in advance. The
more you plan, the more thought you can give to a product launch and the more
successful it will be. The key to success is a very thorough, multi-channel
You also need to use
multiple mediums. So don’t just focus on
conventional media and bloggers. Consider podcasters, webinars, and, if needed,
in-person events. This will allow you reach a wider audience.
Book Pre-order Sales Offers
I’d offer this at least a couple of times.
The first about two months before launch day and the second,
a larger one about one month before launch.
The aim is to get people to pre-order the book and to get launch day in
people’s minds for as long as possible. The second pre-sale will probably result
in higher sales but by starting earlier you begin to generate an awareness of
the book well ahead of time.
I’d also organise a
special launch day offer. This should give
people an extra incentive to buy. Maybe
the chance of getting in on the media hype or even just the chance for coffee
with you on launch day.
If you’d like to discuss how to market a new book or a product or service please contact me now.
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