Writing a Book – Marketing And Promotion

Vintage Ad #1,193: We've Kept Our Promise! Here They Are!

Earlier posts in this series:
Writing a Book – Finding Time
Writing a Book – Discipline
Writing a Book – Structure

Writing a book doesn’t stop when you’ve handed in the last of your edits. Oddly, most authors think that it’s the role of the publisher to market their book, but this is fairly far from the truth. I’ve worked with two mainstream publishers and one widely-published-author-turned-publisher, and in all cases, they’re more like “air support.” It’s still your job to be the primary marketer of your book. So, here are a few thoughts that might help you get into the spirit of that.

Marketing Isn’t Bad – Bad Marketing Is Bad

What we as creators tend to think about marketing relates to the bad stuff we have experienced. For every “now how much would you pay?” that you’ve seen on TV or for every ham-handed email you receive from marketers (or worse, friends), who are trying hard to sell you something you don’t want, just accept that these aren’t the droids you’re looking for. The marketing you want is another kind entirely. Bad marketing is bad. We’re going to talk about ways that you might do some interesting things that will help.

Social Media is Your Friend

One day, I knew who Greg Pak was, and the next day, we were all kinds of chums. The difference? Greg’s presence on Google+. You see, Greg shares interesting things there, sometimes about his work as a comic book writer, and other times about things of interest. This interesting connection made me suddenly more interested in his work. Suddenly, I found myself visiting several comic book stores to find issue #1 of a new mini series he’s penned, simply because of how friendly and back-and-forth he was using social networks like Google+ and Twitter.

The same super powers are in your possession, or they can be.

On Twitter, Search is your friend. Are you writing a book about archaeology? See who’s talking about it. Looking for Buddhists? Oh, they’re there. Look for them. Start following them. Start seeing what they’re talking about. That’s the first key to using social media to market and sell your book. Learn about them first. Say it with me: learn about them first.

Talk about what they’re doing. Learn what’s interesting and find them information about that. And then, after all that, share a bit about your stuff. 12:1 their stuff to your stuff. Does this make sense?

Blog

Blogs are such great ways to promote your books, but not by talking all blah-di-blah about your book. People really don’t care much about the secret underpinnings of how fascinating your research was; they want to learn something that feels “secret” or “behind the scenes.” It’s not easy to give them this sometimes, but you’ve got to give them that, or it just will feel like you’re still promoting yourself. The best way you might look at blogging for promoting your writing is to use your blog as a place where you can grow connections between people who might eventually love your book, and/or who might eventually share that work with other people.

Shoot Video

Books are an experience, but they don’t have to stay in textual format. Shoot videos of yourself talking about what’s going to be in the book. Shoot interviews with people talking about topics that will be in your book. Do everything you can to make some interesting video happen. Put it on YouTube, but share it also on your blog, and/or on the outposts like Google+ and Facebook and Twitter. Or post the video on YouTube and your blog, and point people back to your blog via those outposts.

Guest Posts Go A Long Way

Interviews and guest posts help people find your work. If you’ve written a nonfiction book, swing by Alltop and figure out where you should post. Connect with people. Do what you can to figure out some interesting audiences. For instance, if you wrote a book about fly fishing, people who fish will probably know about the book, so where could you get a guest post or do an interview that isn’t your core audience? That’s the gold. Make sense?

Offers Actually Help

When Julien Smith and I wrote Trust Agents, we both came up with ways to make offers. I did things where I’d trade a speech for 200, 300, and then 500 books. You don’t have to do that exact offer. Maybe if you’ve written a fiction book, you could include a “secret chapter” that you make available to people who buy 3 copies, etc. Get creative and have fun with it. You could offer dinner with someone who buys 10 books to give away to friends.

You know, secretly, you could just look back on years and years of Seth Godin’s blog and see how he promoted all his books. LOTS of those methods are fun and work well. Believe me, you could have worse mentors in this one.

Promise Not To Be That Guy

I’ve put out a few books. I have a bunch more in me. I’ve also had the pleasure to meet some of the best authors in the world, as well as some of the most annoying people who somehow managed to publish a book in the world. And here’s a hint: I think we all are both at some point. I think at some point, we tend to get really excited about our books and then we want to shake everyone down who can’t run away as fast as they’d like, and we want to talk about how this book will be really useful to them, etc.

Here’s a request. Don’t be that guy. (gender unspecific, mind you) It’s okay to promote your book, but as best as you can, try to do it in that way that lets you be helpful to them. Share what you think they need. Help them. Connect with them. That’s way better than trying to sell your book, because people will come to really appreciate that you’re in it for them.

It makes a world of difference, I promise.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about making money.

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  • http://www.parmfarm.com/blog1/are-you-burned-out/ Amy

    Chris:

    Thank you.  For everything.  Really.  It’s like gifts in my mailbox every day.

    Hope you are getting plenty in return…

    Amy Parmenter
    The ParmFarm

  • http://www.dannywhitehouse.com/ Dan Whitehouse

    Great read, thanks! I wrote a book a long time ago and it failed because I didn’t market it properly.. 

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Happens to a LOT of people, Dan. Try again. : ) 

      • http://www.dannywhitehouse.com/ Dan Whitehouse

        The content was probably a little immature and naive as well. Taken on board. Will definitely give it another go soon :) 

  • Brenda Layman

    May I share this great advice with my writers groups? One of them is an online group.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Of course! Just spell my links right. : ) 

      • Brenda Layman

        Thanks!

      • Brenda Layman

        Thanks!

      • Brenda Layman

        Thanks!

      • Brenda Layman

        Thanks!

  • Brenda Layman

    May I share this with my writers groups? One of them is an online group.

  • http://twitter.com/iconic88 iconic88

    Fantastic post Chris. Thank you!

    I know a few people will absorb a lot of these scoops you share ;)

    Best,
    Mahei

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Thanks, Mahei. Glad to throw some rum raisin up onto your cone. : ) 

  • http://pizzaspotz.com Brian

     Talk about annoying authors, not long after signing up for Twitter, I encountered an author who was pimping his book. He had about 35,000 followers. One day I kept seeing his tweets. Each one was about this being the day he was going to sell 5000 copies of his book. Tweets were like, “Five more copies of my book sold tonight and only 1,248 to go.” I would refresh his twitter page every so often, each time he had less followers about 20-50 at a time would leave him over his obnoxious pimping. There wasn’t even a premium for selling his book. No % going to a good work, a charity or anything. It was pretty pathetic. He probably made his goal but I wonder if it was worth all of the lost followers.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Yeah, that’s not really an easy way to do it, I’d offer. : ) 

  • Anonymous

    I’m jazzed to see Steve Ditco’s “The Creeper,” albeit only cursory to the subject material.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      I was looking for something fun to post as a graphic and that came up. : ) 

  • http://mattreport.com Matt Medeiros

    With “Don’t be that guy” in mind, what’s the best way to reach out to popular folks like yourself to get them to read an excerpt (or the whole book) in order to get reviewed? 

    • http://rickmanelius.com Rick Manelius

      I’ve asked the exact same question. Maybe a better bet is to not target someone like Chris (who probably gets a ton of requests), but find a few up and comers that are more likely to jump at the opportunity?

      It may take longer, but you’ll also build out some great relationships in the progress.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Personally, me specifically, I get dozens of books a week and have instructed my assistant to stop saying yes to new books for a while. To me, I think the point would be to find others who would be just as useful, but maybe who aren’t getting as much exposure right now. 

  • http://rickmanelius.com Rick Manelius

    The ‘search’ advice is a key that I’ve been missing. Yes I’ve grown bigger ears and subscribe to a lot of people via RSS. But that is still limiting me to a very small slice of people.

    I think searching with broader casts will help me find more people, but also hear what they are talking about.

    Great, I now have my next homework assignment :)

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Hooray! : ) 

  • http://www.MacStartup.com KevinCu

    Thanks Chris for the helpful hints and “secrets” of getting known. I recently had connected with a another author, we spent an hour conversation about books and what it was like being authors. I helped another author with her Mac questions and all she talked about was how others “sponged” off of her information as a member of the National Speaker Association “in the know” and then proceeded to SPAM me signing up with her list. I have not heard back from either of them since. Me, on the other hand, I have communicated with regularly with those that connect with me. It seems these others want me to know them, but not the other way around. It’s about a conversation, not a monologue.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Yeah. I love when that happens. : ) 

      • http://www.MacStartup.com KevinCu

        As Mother Teresa said, “Do it anyway.” 

  • Anonymous

    Thanks so much for this very helpful information!

  • http://theresadelgado.com Theresa Delgado

    Chris,

    Great insights on how to promote your products (or yourself) in an effective, non-annoying way.  No one, at least the majority, wants to be “that guy/girl”.

    Thank you for sharing business tips you have learned. :)

    Theresa

  • http://theresadelgado.com Theresa Delgado

    Chris,

    Great insights on how to promote your products (or yourself) in an effective, non-annoying way.  No one, at least the majority, wants to be “that guy/girl”.

    Thank you for sharing business tips you have learned. :)

    Theresa

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  • http://www.mynotetakingnerd.com/blog Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2

    “they want to learn something that feels “secret” or “behind the scenes.”

    I love how you disclosed something like this on Marcus Sheridan’s site. You know the comment you made about having bad self esteem. What was so awesome is that everyone has this issue, yet few are willing to say it out loud, especially if they’re looked up to by even one person.

    Damaging admissions endear. But they’re a counter-intuitive action. Everything that’s scared inside of you says to never let anyone in on what isn’t so shiny.

    Dan Kennedy is who really showed me how powerful this principle is in his book, “Unfinished Business.” I cannot recommend this book highly enough to anyone with a pulse. He’s also a beast when it comes to promoting books so I’d recommend paying attention to him on that front too.

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  • http://www.Kens411.com Ken Brand

    Nice One.  Man is it ever hard not to be that guy, when you’re all giddy about your book. Gah, I gotta not be that guy.  Thanks.  Maybe if I write it down 1,000 times, “I will not be that guy.” “I will not be that guy!….

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      People will never forget it. : ) 

  • http://www.danieldecker.net Daniel Decker

    3 things I’d add for authors, especially those who are new to the game… 1. Start NOW. Don’t wait until your book is fully written to start marketing or building your platform. Building TRUE influence, the real kind that actually matters, takes time. If you try to rush into it then you’ll be tempted to hard-sell and be “that guy” that Chris mentions. No one likes “that guy” and typically if “that guy” has any degree of success… it’s short lived.2. Be Strategic and Use the Power of Sync. When you launch a book, you need to do everything you can to create momentum, harness it and leverage it like a laser into a narrowed window of time (at least initially). The bigger splash you can make from the start will help your buzz factor increase considerably. 3. Don’t Chase the Success of Others. Warning… warning…. the thing that can derail you the fastest is if you are trying to be another Chris Brogan or Tim Ferris or whoever. I mean, you might want what level of success you perceive that they have but don’t compare yourself to any other author and don’t try to be them. Every author is unique. Every book is unique. Be you. Find your own way. Don’t be afraid to try new things, get creative and be the next “somebody” that everyone else wishes they were.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      If I could pour yellow highlighter in the comments section, I’d do it for Daniel’s comment. He’s the #1 book marketer I know right now. 

    • http://my168project.com/ Matches Malone

       Just getting caught up here. Does it make sense to put together a book from all my various blog posts that exists on all the sites that I post to?

  • http://www.smallbizartist.wordpress.com Jeff the Copywriter

    You nailed it with “social media is your friend”. Authors of the past didn’t have the luxury of promoting their books using a medium that multiplies the word-of-mouth effect in such a rapid manner.

    Searching for like-minded readers or getting a new buyer to share the knowledge in the blink of an eye would have been unimaginable just a few short years ago.

  • http://www.smallbizartist.wordpress.com Jeff the Copywriter

    You nailed it with “social media is your friend”. Authors of the past didn’t have the luxury of promoting their books using a medium that multiplies the word-of-mouth effect in such a rapid manner.

    Searching for like-minded readers or getting a new buyer to share the knowledge in the blink of an eye would have been unimaginable just a few short years ago.

  • http://www.i95dev.com/ecommerce Ecommerce Solutions

    Social Media marketing is helpful only when you have a great network on the platform. If you do not then I think the efforts would be waste.

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  • http://theaveragegenius.net James Hussey

    Bloody genius.  Funny how it’s always common sense – but it’s not so common, come to think of it.  For example – leveraging Twitter search may seem ‘mundane’ but I can’t recall how many times I’ve ever used it properly (not much)…or “Don’t be that guy…” 

    ” I think at some point, we tend to get really excited about our books
    and then we want to shake everyone down who can’t run away as fast as
    they’d like, and we want to talk about how this book will be really useful to them, etc.”

    Slap me if you see me becoming that guy.  Amazing timing here, I just released ‘Duct Tape SEO: WordPress SEO Done Dirt Cheap,’ I couldn’t have paid you enough for these reminders, Chris.

  • http://essaychampions.com/ buy essay

    interesting thoughts

  • http://www.nahzu.com Mark Smith

    One thing I have come to realize is that authority sells. The problem is that everyone online is an authority these days. All they have to do is put “expert” after their name and BANG!!! They’re an instant authority. These days, though, you have to actually BE one because people are more skeptical than ever. Know your stuff and you’ll seperate yourself from the pack.

  • Anonymous

    in this article a complete information is provide by the author after and before the book writing so the writer get a lot of knowledge by this article .

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  • http://www.wfgwomen.com/ WFG

    This blog details are very much interested to the customers and frequently visit this website….The problem is that everyone online is an authority these days….

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  • http://www.wfg-online.com/ World Financial Group Inc.

    Well in my opinion the best way to promote any things…You can get lots of content from the internet also..

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  • Stephen Tiano, Book Designer

    Terrific marketing of bad books, making bad books successful books, is worst of all.

  • Stephen Tiano, Book Designer

    Terrific marketing of bad books, making bad books successful books, is worst of all.

  • Pat Bertram

    About not being that guy: It’s a line so few authors see, but it’s an important one. On the other hand, such guys sell books.

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  • http://www.handles4doors.co.uk/ Door Furniture

    The marketing aspect is by far the hardest part.. Especially for a book too. You really do need something of a budget.

  • http://www.keystrokecapture.ws/ keylogger

    wow. its really nice video, Thanks for your informative….

  • Sophie

    And why do we get 10% again ? :)