When I was younger, I dreamed of being a rockstar, an astronaut, or a successful entrepreneur. I still have dreams, but I never dreamed of being an author. Then again, I never thought about being a blogger, podcaster or speaker, but that's what reluctantly happened. All of the professions above work together. Being a musician who plays to large audiences makes speaking in front of crowds easier. Owning a recording studio made podcasting a natural transition. Talking into my computer made blogging and writing so much easier.
Life has a funky way of making plans for you. Those plans can turn into stories, and stories turn into blogs and podcasts, and those in turn can become a book. If you have a book in you, then let it out, but you better be prepared to not only spend time writing the book, but also finding partners to help you make the best book ever.
The old days of finding a traditional publisher and having them do everything is over. Every book needs a writer, editor, designer, proofreader and a cover. Some need an indexer, publicist, public relations person, marketer, and much more. Whether you are working with a publisher or self-publishing, you may have to be one or all of the above (or at least you will need to hire them). Most importantly, you are in charge of the brand of your book. You have to be ready to be in charge of marketing (if you plan on selling a bunch of them).
The Big Picture
This may seem like a disconnect if you are not planning a book, but don't sell yourself short. These tips and techniques can work for a product launch, a new business or website, or anything that can benefit from a strategic promotion plan. Here are a few of my best tips…
- Start With The Cover (and the title) – Way before the book becomes a reality, you have to have something to market to. I had my book cover designed half way into writing my book. Having a solid title helps to begin with, but it can evolve as you get deeper into the book. Start with a concept and maybe have a few choices. Use social media and ask your friends and family to vote on the title and the cover. My book was originally called “It's Not About You … Relationship Marketing In a Social Media World”. That was until one of my clients infused “BACON” into the title, which changed the course of my book and my life forever.
- Build A Website – Having a home base to market to is huge. Trying to have just one website to sell your business, speaking, programs and books, just confuses people. Keep it simple. You can post the cover, sample chapters, reviews, and so much more. Pick a domain name that has more life than just the book title. I chose www.notaboutu.com so I could market more than just one book. Think of “Guerrilla Marketing“, “Chicken Soup For The Soul”, and other books that have turned into a series. Make it compelling, purposeful and a place for all of your book marketing activities.
- Build The Buzz – One of the best book launches I have ever seen was done by Brian G. Johnson with his book “The Trust Funnel“. Brian seeded his excitement by signing and sending his book to influencers. Those people took selfies and posted them on social media. Those posts built a fever pitch right up to launch day with friends of the influencers wanting to be part of the crowd and all of this drove the book to #1 on launch day with Amazon.com. Using the power of social media and social proof is crowdsourcing at its best. Don't forget to get booked for radio interviews, articles and more to spread the word.
- Plan The Launch – Many authors do nothing but announce the day the book will be available. You need to make this an event, a spectacle, and give people a reason to want to purchase on launch day. You can offer special bonuses for people who purchase and prove their purchase by posting their receipts. You can give away special video training, tickets to an event or even give away an iPad or iWatch as a random drawing (make sure laws in your state allow for that). It's up to you on how you can turn that launch date into an event for all your friends, family and followers.
- Have An After Party (many of them) – Most people think the next step is book signings (and that is awesome). You are in charge here. You have to book the location, the food and beverages, invite the guests, plan the giveaways (I did book marks and still use them), and much more. It does not have to stop there. Maybe consider doing a post launch webinar, a live speaking event, a blab, Google hangout, or something to keep the buzz alive after the launch. This can go on for weeks, months and even years. Keep it going until your next book, event or whatever!
This process may sound like a lot of work, but it can make all the difference. Doing it right can mean the difference between selling 10 or 1000 books; it can make the difference between 20, 200 or 2000 butts in seats; it can make the difference between a $200, $20,000 or $1M product launch. Let face it, hope and prayers are great, but preparation and plans lead to much better results.
The line between sucks and success is a few letters (and a good spellcheck program). My final advice is to never hesitate to ask for help or advice. My book is the best 300 page business card I have ever produced, but it would not have happened without my willingness to pay experts and ask friends for help with promotion. Was it all worth it? Most definitely, as it still gets me presentations in front of people who need my services and respect my experience. Give it a try!