The publishing industry is in bad shape right now. Although some books are getting out there it’s very difficult to get yours noticed, especially if you don’t have the fire power of being recognized as a best selling author.
And believe it or not, just because you write a book, it doesn’t mean that you will become instantly rich. The average advance for a non-fiction book is 5,000 dollars. That may sound like a fair amount but most publishers then expect you to invest that money into marketing so that your book will sell. Once the advance is gone, your income is dependent on a portion of the sales.
I know one author with an essay in an anthology who gets 11 cents per book sold. Let’s just say that she is not ready to buy that vacation home yet.
Whether your book is published by a commercial publishing house or whether you self-published it, you can still get bang for your marketing buck by being a little creative and taking full advantage of various forms of media.
Social Media is HUGE in book promotion
- Create a Twitter account that tweets specific information from the book
- Any news about the book, any reviews, any progress or updates go on your Facebook page
- While we’re on the subject of Facebook – create a fan page for your book and use it to send our messages to those who have signed up. I recently won a signed paperback by a NYT bestseller by replying to his Facebook fan page (along with thousands of others who were interested).
Send your book to a review site
Some review sites charge a fee, others don’t. Know that a single review from one person can then be posted on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Google books, as well as in blogs and websites. Push to get the biggest bang for your buck.
Know the difference between a reviewer and a critic. I am a book reviewer. I have read some horrible books that should never have seen the publishing light. Although my job is to be honest, my job as a reviewer is to also point out what the author did well. Reviewers try their hardest to encourage.
Book critics are more brutal. I was once hired to critique a fiction book. It was terrible and had some of the worst editing mistakes I had ever seen. The dialogue was terrible and the characters unbelievable. I broke the spine on the book throwing it against the wall so many times. I couldn’t give it a good recommendation. The author chose to not use my review and (understandably) I have never gotten any work from him again.
That is the life of the book critic; we chew them up and spit them out. Unless you are very secure in your writing use a reviewer.
And speaking of editing mistakes, if you are going to have someone review your book, listen to the comments. Reviewers want to encourage authors but we also want to see excellence. With a good reviewer, you could be getting valuable information that will only make your next book more effective.
Have your book prominently displayed on your website and easily orderable
- Your book should be featured on your home page. Consider it your baby and show it off as much as you can. You can’t order a book if you can’t figure out how to order it.
- Consider giving a discount with multiple orders. Ultimately it’s the amount of books published and sold that will make the biggest impression and give you the most credibility.
- Create give-a-ways for comments feedback, or stories. Collect questions. Offer a copy of your book to the person who submits a story of how your ideas apply to what they do. They get a free book; you get ideas for future articles, posts, and books.
- Include testimonials on your website. Any positive review comments gathered prior to publication should go in the book. We all took those Meyer Briggs tests, we all know that there is a sub-population that is swayed by “celebrity endorsements” use your testimonials and reviews to go after them.
Create add-ons to your book available through your website
While some book related products can be free (they will entice people to further check out your material) others can have a price. It’s important for authors to think of add-ons as another revenue stream. Have items like:
- Tip sheets
- Work books
You can even have products created that enhance your book’s theme or ideas, for example, a timer for a time management book or post-its and a whiteboard for an organizational book.
Offer to be a speaker (making sure that you have plenty of your books on hand to sell)
- Offer to provide signed copies of the book to your local bookstore.
- Give a free workshop at local libraries.
- Do a class at the local senior center or offer one to a local college.
Write an article for your local paper
- Newspapers are in their death throes. Many will gladly accept a well written news article if it is local, relevant, and does not come across as an advertisement. Submitting courtesy photography along with the text betters your chances of the article running.
- If something happens in the news that relates to your book, (new regulations, laws, etc) write an article about your views on the subject and back it up with your credentials.
- Write a letter to the editor on something to which your book relates.
- Create your own news by sending out press releases (again, not just advertising) announcing a new edition of your book, sales status (did it make it on any kind of list?), and business that has been obtained as a result.
Create a workshop where your book is used as the text
If you are versed in training, put a workshop together which outlines your techniques and information. Be sure to not give all your best points away. Design the class so that it can be followed by an “advanced” or “part two” class. Always think ahead to the next step.
Authors have to be savvy these days in order to get their message out. It can be done and it can be done well without breaking the bank. You just need a good dose of creativity, a good understanding of what is available, and a desire to do what it takes to get your book noticed.