For solopreneurs, authoring a book is like having a business card on steroids. Not only does it get your name in front of more people who would be most interested in your service or products, but it also gives you a higher level of credibility because it establishes you as an expert in your field.
While some people stress over the actual writing of the book, it was the promotional process that caused me the most anxiety (and many of my clients have expressed the same!).
However, after now releasing half a dozen books in my name and walking through the process with numerous clients whom I’ve assisted with the writing of their books, I’ve learned a few very important lessons about how to effectively promote a business book.
Start Promoting Your Business Book Well In Advance
One of the mistakes I made when promoting my first book was not saying anything about it until it was actually in print. Though I thought I was doing the right thing by waiting—after all, why even mention it if they can’t get it yet?—I soon learned that the more excited you get people about your upcoming release, the more likely it is to take off straight out of the gate.
How early should you start your promotion? “Marketing should begin as soon as you have a book cover design and a way for people to engage with you,” says Rodney Miles, a writing and editing professional who provides several a la carte services related to book writing, publishing, and promotion.
“Any action taken pre-launch should also link to signups for your email list or a phone contact for a free appointment,” Miles adds. This makes it easier to keep the conversation going, and it keeps your services and products in the forefront of their mind.
So, start talking about your book on your blog, social media pages, and any other places you typically post. You might also consider creating a page on your website that is dedicated solely to your upcoming book.
Really Know Your Reader
Do you ever go on Amazon or other similar sites and look up bestselling books in your genre while dreaming of someday seeing your own writing in this distinguished slot as well?
As it turns out, taking this step isn’t just a motivator to make your final product as successful as it can be, but it also serves a valuable purpose in the book promotion process because it gives you a better idea of your ideal reader.
“Part of very smart book marketing is drilling down into your target market,” says Miles. What types of works do they like to read? What information are they searching to find? What style of writing do they prefer?
While you can garner some of this data by reading the summary of the bestselling books, Miles suggests also reading the reviews. What do the readers enjoy about the book? What information did they feel was lacking?
Learning this type of information helps you craft a book that is more appealing to your target reader. It also provides information you can use to help with the promotion of the book as, “once you have a handle on your similar books and a persona for avid readers thereof, you can include the names of those authors and books in your keywords,” Miles says.
“This is one area I wish more clients would take my advice,” says Miles, “because it can be the most powerful and immediate benefit of having a book. Books are news. Books are a perfect catalyst for publicity.”
I know this to be true from a reader standpoint because I’ve purchased many books after hearing the authors talk about them while serving as a guest on a podcast or in an interview on the radio. And these were books I’d never heard of before.
Don’t just look for huge ways to go public either. “One common mistake I’ve seen is authors reaching for the stars and neglecting starting small and giving up, when you should do both,” says Miles. “Small leads to large and the practice will be priceless.”
This means finding ways to share your book via local TV appearances, in blog posts (whether on your own site or someone else’s), doing a press release, or speaking at events that will likely contain your target audience.
Another option is to do a book signing. If you take this route, Miles suggests that you invite those you know to have a good turnout and get lots of great pics. “Those images on a website or in others’ media can be invaluable and catapult your reputation to new heights,” he says.
Refer to It Whenever You Can
“Years ago, I was lucky enough to create a book with Cynthia Freeman (The Power of Done), who is a pioneer in professional coaching,” shares Miles. “Once her book was released and she started promoting and sharing it, I was eager to meet with her again and hear all about her successes. The first thing she told me was how the book had become a valuable tool in her practice.”
Freeman ultimately told Miles how, when coaching clients, she often refers them back to her book. “It added to her authority, facilitated her coaching, and I have to believe it probably caused her clients to not only take her book more seriously but to share it as well,” says Miles.
This is something I also do quite frequently when I’m speaking at an event and don’t necessarily have the time to go in depth when answering audience members’ questions. I also do it when coaching clients who are interested in learning how to become better writers.
So, when you’re speaking to your customers or potential customers and they have a question about something that you’ve covered extensively in your book, refer them to it. Depending on the exact business you’re in, you may even want to bundle it with your other products and services.
Hire a Book Marketer
If none of these other options appeal to you, another way to get the word out about your book is simply to hire someone who offers this service for a living. But how do you know who to go with?
“My first advice on hiring is to get experts in the specific niche of books,” says Miles. “A marketer might have all the right suggestions for author infrastructure but not the intricacies of making the best use of a book.”
Additionally, the ground rules should be set up front. “Exact expectations should be established at the beginning of the relationship,” says Miles. This involves talking about how they define certain words as well.
For instance, the terms “bestseller,” “publishing,” and “writing” can mean different things to different people says Miles. Therefore, you want to be specific with their exact definitions when considering what services they offer, as well as what type of results they indicate they can provide.
Do What Works Best for You
In the end, the key is to figure out what works best for you given your parameters and your desired results.
“With my clients, I find each situation is best served by a custom plan depending on dreams and goals and available time, budgets and other resources,” says Miles. “But there is an effective plan for all situations and all goals, whether it’s simply raising rates and improving client retention, or launching a whole new facet to one’s life or career.”
“Books make booms when used correctly,” Miles concludes. “I’ve seen it plenty! And it’s a large part of why I still love what I do.”