Trust Agents- Marketing a Book

Trust Agents Facebook Page Neither Julien nor I have ever marketed a book like this before. We’ve helped friends promote their books, and we are both avid readers, but the difference between marketing something and liking something are the differences between a marriage and staring at a picture of someone you’ve never met in person. Along the way, I want to share some of what we’ve learned, especially because Trust Agents is a very different kind of book.

The Story So Far

None of what I’ll talk about accounts for what Wiley themselves are doing (until I’m directly involved, and then I’ll share that). I know they’ve started sending advanced copies to the mainstream press and things like that. Instead, I’ll focus on what Julien and I have done.

Site: – Julien acquired the URL for a few months back, and put up a landing page. We have some ideas for things we want to do there, but haven’t executed those yet. Just the same, it does make a point of presence where you can learn more about the book, see what people are saying on the web about the book, pre-order the book, and get our free eBook, so that’s a decent point of presence for us.

Twitter: @TrustAgents – We have a Twitter account, but haven’t started using that as a channel yet, because both @julien and @chrisbrogan have a following, and it seems silly to create a secondary silo for book information.

Facebook: Trust Agents Page – We built a Trust Agents Page on Facebook. As of this writing, there are 769 fans. We are currently growing at about 100 fans a day, but that’s with some active pushing and messaging around it. The page is so far successful insofar as we’re engaging people with conversations on the wall, and we’re staying really active talking about concepts in the book, as well as talking about people’s interests. So far, the Facebook page has been fun for me, and I suspect Julien likes it as well.

Other Touchpoints – I’ve done some smaller things, like edited my email signature to include a link to the book. I’ve added a link to the book into my Facebook bio. I just realized that it’s not mentioned in my blog bio page, but I’ll add it there, too. I’ve started adding elements of Trust Agents to speeches I do, and have definitely mentioned here and there that the book’s coming out. I sent out a mention of the book and the Facebook group in my email blast (thanks, BlueSkyFactory!), as well.

What’s Working?

We have no idea, but here’s some things I know: Sales Rank: #22,104 in Books (See Bestsellers in Books)
Popular in these categories: (What’s this?)
#49 in Books > Computers & Internet > Business & Culture > Manager’s Guides to Computing
#60 in Books > Business & Investing > Management & Leadership > Systems & Planning

Also Barnes & Noble says: Sales Rank: 18,390

Is that good? Who knows? The book hasn’t even come out yet and we’re rushing up a few categories. It’s not bad

What Comes Next?

Not sure, but here are some things we’re trying to manage:

  • Get on National TV
  • Get an article into a few national magazines
  • Do many face-to-face events (I’ve started trading my speaking fee for book purchases in certain cases)
  • Find potential institutional interest
  • Recruit other trust agents to share their stories

We’ll see where it all goes. But you’re along for the ride.

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  • Miguel Wickert


    Congrats thus far, all the best. Looking forward to the release. :) Cheers!


  • Sarit Amar

    I was surprised to read you wrote you're not sure what's working. I sort expected that the post would contain some tips :)
    However 796 followers on a facebook page is definitely impressive for a book that isn't out yet.
    Hopefully you'll keep us posted with tips.

  • Chris Brogan

    It's too early to know what's working. We don't have sales numbers for a book that hasn't come out yet, and sales is the obvious main measure of our success (at least from a cold marketing perspective).

  • paramendra

    I think it is fun to read this. Feels like being on the inside while you go out there and do what you got to do to sell many books. You are putting your money where your mouth is. You preach using social media for marketing purposes. Now you are having to apply your own lessons.

  • paramendra

    How to promote a blog?

  • Kneale Mann

    Chris (and Julien),

    Tell me how I can help.

  • Katie Schutrop

    Great post! Any tips for reaching out on Facebook and gaining fans for your page? I try to update mine regularly but becoming stumped as how to find new people outside of my immediate circle to push the page…

    Thank you!

  • AnnKingman

    Well, you know what I'm going to say, but I'm going to say it anyway.
    Don't forget the bookstores.
    Booksellers can be Agent Zero for you.
    You have a challenge, in that many booksellers don't read “business books.”
    However, you also have an opportunity in that many booksellers need and want to hear your message.
    Work that angle. Give me a shout if you need help or ideas.

  • chickefitz

    Chris – you are also dominating the top Google search positions with the term, so another great measure of success. And of course your video shows in the #1 spot on YouTube from your talk at BEA. But I would expect a leader in social media to have figured all this out!

    Love the fact that you say that “it is not all about you”. Totally consistent with what I've been saying about the word of mouth media relationship ladder and getting on the social graph. I took the liberty of featuring your picture on the slide about the top rung of the relationship ladder. It is really all about mixing humility and uncommon wisdom. Vintage Brogan from an observer's view.

  • edwardboches

    I think what's interesting, or lacking, is that you have no blog marketing strategy. Why wouldn't you attempt to enlist the many bloggers, like myself, who follow and read you. There are any number of ways we could help:
    –reprint, with permission, a section from book and comment
    –get an advance copy or manuscript for review
    –link to your site and or the book
    Seems pretty obvious to me that if you believe in and use social media, if you have a community with whom you've shared knowledge and information, or that engage with you regularly, then you're entitled to ask, or at least invite them to participate. As you say, you've done it for others.

  • Greg Pincus

    It's very interesting to see this as it unfolds, so thanks for sharing. A few added ideas:

    Since Trust Agents is a business book, I'd think you should have a LinkedIn component of your strategy. However you can spread the word through that network should largely reach likely buyers… and their networks, too, hopefully.

    You can focus on the blogosphere in a couple different ways – building buzz before you come out and then reviews/creating sales once people have read the book. I figure Wiley will provide bloggers of choice with review copies, but if you haven't created a list, you should. And I'd think your readers here and at the Facebook group would be able to give you name of influential book blogs you might not have run across.

    Have you thought about hosting a Twitter chat (or two)? Getting people actively involved there helps spread the word in a different way than retweeting links.

    And thanks again for letting us watch this all unfold.

  • Sandra Beckwith

    Hey Chris — You're going to have fun with this — I can tell. My free biweekly e-zine offers book publicity & promotion tips so you might want to sign up for it at The focus of the newsletter is on how to keep your book buzz going long after the launch so it might help you with long-term planning.

    Good luck!

    Sandra Beckwith

  • Chris Brogan

    Are you asking me how to promote a blog? I've got answers here:

  • Chris Brogan

    I just scheduled my first signing at an indie store (Book Rack in Newburyport, MA on Sept 4th at 7PM). I intend to get as many stores as possible to go for it. : )

  • Chris Brogan

    I love all these ideas, Greg. You're right that I haven't done anything with LinkedIn yet. Maybe that's next. Thanks for that.

    The Twitter chat idea is good, too.

    I've got a list started for book reviewing. Trying to get it to be mostly outside the typical social media sphere (the folks we know and love), so that we can expose our ideas to even more folks.

    The getting friends to make a list idea is awesome!

  • paramendra

    Yes Sir, I was. And I got more than I bargained for, in a good way. Thanks. I first found you on Twitter a few months back. Then I learned of your blog. I put it on to my BlogRoll once I set up my blogroll a few weeks back. As of a few days back now I am a regular reader of your great blog. I am going to call that progress. :-) I look forward to keep seeing you in your comments sections.

  • SuzieCheel

    looking forward to reading more and watching your progress

  • KeithBurtis

    I think there is NOTHING more important than trusty. Couple that with transparency and a good story! I'm in.

  • Patrick

    Trust seem to be the word of the day!

  • Alice Yoo

    I like how you've clearly communicated your goals and how you've made your readers a part of your journey. Good luck. We'll be watching!

  • @Bastien_B

    Chris, Julien,

    I've done consulting for companies like: Cirque du Soleil, MGM Grant, Universal Studio, Elle MacPherson, Molson-Coors, Sprint, etc. I agree, when it comes to promote your own product, it's a really different ballgame. Being the client is a whole different reality.

    I've never published a book. But I've spent all my money in producing a music album for a band called Loco Locass. Small local band in Quebec. I probably did all the mistakes possible. I wish you the opposite scenario, so here are my advices.

    1. 80% of the marketing budget and 80% of your efforts should be spend prior to launch. That is true for all entertainment products (movies, music, books, etc). You must absolutely build a hype prior to launch or your dead.

    2. Your book is specific. I haven't read it, but it has probably a hype factor due to Twitter. Will it be that interesting in 10 years for the mass market? Probably not. Twitter is “hot topic” right now. It's up to you if the sales go for 3 months or 3 years. The key will be to reach the “best seller” status within the first 3 months. If you do, you'll sell for 3 years and more. Time is an issue. Therefore, you should cover wide prior to launch because it will need to go fast.

    3. A book like yours is specific and specialized. I disagree with some previous comments. I believe sales will come from hardcore twitterers and they'll buy online. Anyway, traditional publishing is such a huge machine that there is no way that you can influence your distributer and its promotion in significant way. You should focus on other things… in my opinion more effective anyway.

    4. Blogs get you main traditional media coverage.

    5. Your fan base is the only real value that you have. Your fan base gets you into blogs. When traditional media speak about you, they try to get your fan base attention. No fan base, no coverage in traditional media. No fan base, no blogs.

    6. So here you go guys, you are some of the best Twitterers of the world. You must create a hype with your fan base, not with the journalists. Shall you succeed with your fans, you'll get more attention than you could imagine.

    7. You have only one month. Start now! Give 50 books to your hardcore fans! Get the word spread out that your book is revolutionary!! Your fans must start on Monday to say to people that they must buy it! Shall you only say, hey guys, we are cool and we hope you are going to buy it… it's not enough. Give some books to your fan base and get their comments published now. Each week is important, people start to go in vacation. It becomes more difficult to build a hype!

    8. Put a humongous crest: Buy our book in pre-sale and help us!!!!! I have searched a little bit and haven't found the place. Make it obvious. Show it big and bold. Be proud.

    9. Cover wide means, you should expose yourself to as much network clusters as possible. On Twitter by people reference, by topic, by multiple profiles, yes. You have one month to get people excited and pre-buy the book.

    10. Go out and drink: meet people. Listen to their comments. Publish the first chapter. Give some books to influential Twiterers. For instance, I am a small influencer. Shall I like the book, I could have only 20 people to buy it. But some people, if they say buy it, it can be bigger.

    I would continue for a long time to write advices. I have to stop not to bore you too much. In clear: Traditional distribution, promotion, media don't do that much unless you build the fan base phenomenon.

    1) Give some free books to loyals. 2) publish comments 3) publish excerpts.

  • Chris Brogan

    So, as I mentioned on Twitter, I have quite a blog marketing strategy. I have only written so far about what I've done. I might not have highlighted it above, but yes. We'll be sending out for some bloggers to check out.

    : )

  • authorityseo

    Looking forward to the book

    I hope the book lives up the your Facebook hype

  • johnhaydon

    Chris – I love how you have no idea what will work. Your in a constant state of draft – which is very cool.

  • Chris Brogan

    It's all I have, John. : )

  • Kelley Bell

    It sounds like you are off to a good start Chris. One idea I can share that might be helpful: I know many authors who have found success through book clubs. In your case, Pod Camp groups, and other social networking clubs (Like the networks Lewis Howes frequents) might be a good match. If you could encourage these local groups to have a book club type of event where they all read Trust Agents together, then meet up to discuss it, and maybe even follow up by inviting you to Skype in for the chat…

    -could be a powerful tool.

    Good Luck. I'm pullin for ya.

  • Kendra Kellogg

    Contrats! I should have thought of this before. A group that I created a WordPress site for called (don't be alarmed as they work with men) the Book Babes consult those going through the publishing and marketing process. There is also a phase beyond marketing your book. Their connections in the business are unbelievable. Judith Briles is a best selling author mutiple times. It would be a good match because you have the social media side in spades, and they only work in the tangible world.

  • Wendy Soucie

    I write reviews for I will write a review for that online publication. I also post my reviews on several online news publications & for a newsletter that goes to Credit Union Executives. I post on Squiddo, building an individual page there. Perhaps that is something you could encourage everyone to do.

  • Sandra Beckwith

    Hi Chris,

    Just one more thought related to your comment on what the publisher is doing to promote the book. You're in the loop on that, right? It's important that this be a collaborative process and that you know where their work ends so you also know where you should pick up. Publishers think in terms of launches, and you want to think in terms of the long haul.

    Sandra Beckwith

  • Layla Masri

    Thanks for your candor. It's helpful for those of us trying to figure out what will a) cut through the clutter; b) drive traffic/sales c) allow us to determine what metrics to success will be.

    It's nice to see that even the experts don't always have all the answers! Very interested in following your tactics and results.

  • Shelly Kramer

    Looks like you're doing a fantastic job, Chris. Can't wait until the book comes out! Let me know what I can do to help :)

    ~ Shelly

  • johnhaydon

    That, and a nice collection of avatars.

  • Larkie

    Can't wait to read your book– I just recently subscribed to your blog and have already learned a ton. Thanks for helping newbie bloggers like me!

  • Tony Karrer

    If trust agents is really about “online social tools to build networks of influence and how you can use those networks to positively impact your business” … then likely there's a larger opportunity here to be able to harness the network for a broader value.

    For example, you could use Browse My Stuff to pull harness content across the network that becomes a living version of the book and helps individuals understand the network. It will drive additional traffic, but make the book and related concept a topic hub.

  • AngelaConnor

    I am pretty much running a one woman marketing show myself for my new book, Chris and it is all new to me as well. I am trying everything, and I feel that the social web provides opportunities that we all have yet to discover. It's a tough, but fun adventure and seeing even the smallest fruits of my labor is gratifying. I am not so concerned with Amazon sales rank. In the wider scheme of things for me, I choose not to value that a TON nor will I run one of those deals where I try to get my book to number 1 on Amazon. I just don't believe the hype. I am making local connections. talking to libraries and building a portfolio that will be impressive enough to get me into more bookstores. I have some radio interviews coming up next month. One with Roger Parker of Guerilla Marketing and another on BlogtalkRadio. I am also getting a good return on my investment with SlideShare. I decided to post a media kit there. Just a few thoughts. I enjoy getting new ideas and sharing mine. Your huge following will be a great benefit, but I'm sure you are already well aware of that. :-) Best of luck!
    Angela | @communitygirl

  • hivesusan

    This is extremely interesting. Thanks for sharing the inside dirt – it's helping me mentally prepare for marketing a (much smaller) project.

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  • Jamie Favreau

    Sounds like you are doing things to make this book happen! I am sure there is a long haul but I am sure the journey is going to be rewarding!

  • Sarit Amar

    Good luck then, waiting for that future post.

  • Sherelle Salaver

    Thanks for this post, Chris! It's definitely interesting to see the process you two are going through in promoting this book. I have no doubt that it will be successful.

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  • TLHines

    What you've done right so far, Chris, is everything you did before writing the book: you built a credible platform. That, more than anything, is what publishers are looking for today; it's absolutely essential in nonfiction, and about 50% of the battle in fiction.

    One thing too many authors try to do (and I think both you and Julien would agree): focusing too much on selling, and not enough on immersing. Even when authors venture into social media strategies, the focus is on “buy the book now” rather than giving readers a chance to climb inside the world of your book, or the world of your life as an author. Part of it is because most of us are still steeped in the tradition of mass marketing–the “order before midnight tomorrow” mentality.

    One thing I think might be especially useful in your case and Julien's case, since you have a large following in the social mediasphere, and since you are a regular proponent of video book reviews: solicit video reviews from readers (journalists, advance readers, and regular readers), and aggregate those videos…probably on your site.

  • TLHines

    What you've done right so far, Chris, is everything you did before writing the book: you built a credible platform. That, more than anything, is what publishers are looking for today; it's absolutely essential in nonfiction, and about 50% of the battle in fiction.

    One thing too many authors try to do (and I think both you and Julien would agree): focusing too much on selling, and not enough on immersing. Even when authors venture into social media strategies, the focus is on “buy the book now” rather than giving readers a chance to climb inside the world of your book, or the world of your life as an author. Part of it is because most of us are still steeped in the tradition of mass marketing–the “order before midnight tomorrow” mentality.

    One thing I think might be especially useful in your case and Julien's case, since you have a large following in the social mediasphere, and since you are a regular proponent of video book reviews: solicit video reviews from readers (journalists, advance readers, and regular readers), and aggregate those videos…probably on your site.

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