Marketing Your Book

You wrote a book to help promote your business, or maybe you had one ghostwritten. Now what? How do you make it a true asset for your firm? It's all about marketing, marketing, marketing your book.

Start Marketing Your Book Before It's Finished.

Build interest prior to your book's publication. One way to do that is to add a page about the book to your website is a good way to accomplish this goal. At a minimum, the page should provide a short explanation of what your book is all about and an image of its cover. You may also want to post your book’s table of contents and/or a sample chapter, and later, you can add positive comments your book has received, links to any media interviews you do, a list of events you may be doing to help promote the book, and so on.

Be sure that the page on your website offers visitors an easy way to purchase the book -- a link to Amazon, for example -- assuming you are selling it. If you are giving your book away, letting visitors download a PDF is a simple option.

Tip! If you will sell your book at your website, consider offering visitors a discount if they pre-order a copy.

Other good pre-publication marketing your book activities are: blogging about it, tweeting about it, and promoting it in your e-newsletter.

Prior to publication, you should also map out a written plan for marketing your book and establish a realistic budget for implementing it. The plan should clearly identify the audience/s for your book – for example, 50 to 60 year-olds getting ready to retire, affluent couples without estate plans, consumers with too much debt, entrepreneurs about to start their first business, twenty and thirty year-olds who need an introduction to financial planning, physicians who know little or nothing about money management and estate planning despite their incomes, etc. It should also spell out the activities you will use to market your book to each audience, establish a timetable for the activities, and identify who within your firm will be responsible for what.

Marketing Your Book After It's Been Published.

Do media interviews. Media interviews are a great way to market your book and to raise your professional profile and increase your firm’s visibility at the same time. You can hire a book publicist to schedule interviews for you or you can try to schedule them yourself.

If you want to try publicizing your book yourself, you should:

# 1. Identify what is most interesting, useful or timely in your book. These are the topics that you believe the media are most likely to want to interview you about.

#2. Build your media lists. Your lists should include the journalists (local and/or national) and radio/TV producers/hosts most likely to be interested in the topics you’ve identified. The least time-consuming way to build the lists, assuming you want to do interviews beyond your immediate area including interviews with national media, is to subscribe to a service like Cision or Meltwater. Such a service is pricey and make not make financial sense unless you intend to make doing media interviews an ongoing part of your firm’s marketing efforts.

If you intend to limit your interviews to local media in your community and surrounding ones, it’s fairly easy to develop your lists using the Internet and to supplement the information available there with calls to the media outlets you add to your lists.

When you are gathering information about local radio interview opportunities, look for locally-produced shows that seem like a good fit for you based on the guests they have interviewed in the past and the descriptions of the shows. For each show, get the name and contact information of its producer. Do the same to build a list of local TV opportunities.

For print and online media, become familiar with the kinds of topics specific reporters write about and focus on the ones with the most potential for you. In other words, if your book is about investing or consumer law-related, reporters who cover food, parenting or travel don’t belong on your lists.

#3. Contact the media on your lists. Introduce yourself and your book and suggest one or more interview topics that you believe would be of interest to whomever you are contacting. When possible, tie the topics to something in the news, a new survey, a trend, and so on.

By the way, most media prefer to be contacted via email, although some are okay being pitched by phone. Also, when you write a pitch, put your most important information in the first paragraph of the message because the recipients may read no further. Use bullets to make especially important information stand out. Also, make your subject line attention getting, but not hyperbolic.

Tip! It's not unusual for someone in the media to not respond to your first email. Sometimes it takes a couple emails to get an answer one way or another. However, I draw the line at three. In my mind, if I've not gotten a response from someone after sending three emails, I assumption that he or she is not interested in my pitch. 

Let the media on your lists know that you are happy to serve as a resource. Be willing to answer their questions and provide them with information without the expectation of getting anything in return right away. Being added to a reporter’s resource database will almost always result in an interview sooner or later however. When you do do an interview and you are asked how you would like to be credited, be sure to make "author of...." part of your answer.

Schedule opportunities to speak about some of the topics in your book. If it’s an option, sell or give away copies of your book at the end of each talk.

Tip! Generally, unless you have a reputation that extends beyond your general community, you will have the most success booking speaking engagements with groups in your area. 

Explore opportunities to talk about your book at local bookstores and at libraries in your area. Offer to help promote your talk to your clients and potential clients rather than expecting the bookstore or library to do it all of the event marketing. Work together to make sure that each of your talks is a success for everyone involved.

Offer seminars or webinars related to some of the topics in your book. If you charge for these events, consider building the cost of a book into your price assuming you are not giving your books away for free.

Write a series of blog posts about information in your book. Tweet about it too. Always include a link to your book’s website.

Include a link to a book excerpt in your e-newsletter.

Share your book with professional associates who are likely to refer new business to you.

Build a buzz about your book by sharing it with thought leaders, who may blog about it, share it with others, review it, etc. This suggestion assumes however that the book tackles old issues in new or interesting ways or addresses provocative new issues. Most thought leaders will not be interested in a how-to book.

One Final Piece of Advice for Marketing Your Book

If you don't have the time or the resources required to market your book or if you are not getting good results from your own marketing efforts, consider hiring a book publicist A good publicist will pinpoint your book’s potential, identify the best ways to tap into it and then prepare and implement a publicity plan.

Working with a pro can be money well-spent although you should always get a written proposal from a publicist that clearly outlines what he or she will do for you and how much the publicist will charge. Also, make sure that the publicist has experience publicizing books similar to yours.

Need marketing assistance? Let's talk. Get in touch!

Return to top of page: Marketing your book