Use Your Words: Marketing Your Book

'Bookstore' photo (c) 2009, Martin Cathrae - license:

Every Tuesday at noon EST when I’m not speaking, I host a BlogTalkRadio show dedicated specifically to speaking! This week we went off the reservation a bit to talk not just about speaking, but also about how to market your book.

Normally I just do a condensed version of the show on the blog, so that people can catch what they missed listening to, and I’ll try to do that here, too. But I’ve got to tell you, this show was packed with really useful ideas, and so you really need to listen!

Here, though, is the nutshell version:

The key to marketing is not to create an audience for your book. It’s not even to bring the audience to you. The key to marketing is to figure out where your audience already is, and then go and stand in front of them!

You basically have two main circles of influence to do that in. You have those people that you know in person and will meet in person, and you have the online world. You can’t ignore either sphere. The people that you know personally you have a deeper relationship with, and you’re more likely to be able to sell to them. But they’re such a small proportion of the population. You also need to reach out to the masses. So you need a wide reach on one hand, and a deep reach on the other. Let’s look at how to handle both these groups:

A. Marketing to Your Personal Spheres of Influence

1. Ask your friends for help

Send out an email to your friends announcing your new book. But don’t JUST announce your new book. Figure out who the main reader of the book will be, and what their main problem is. Is it young Christian moms? Is it recovering alcoholics? Is it men who have just been through a divorce?

In your email, say this clearly, like this:

“I know single, Christian women will really appreciate this book. Can you do me a favour and forward this email to FIVE single, Christian women that you know? Thanks so much!”

Ironically, naming a number, like five, makes it far more likely that the email will be forwarded. If you just say, “forward this email to single, Christian women” people won’t do it, because they don’t have an easy way to measure how big a task that is. Specify a number, and they’ll do it!

2. Figure out Where People Meet

What is the main problem your book is addressing? Or if it isn’t addressing a problem (let’s say it’s a women’s devotional), then think about the key people in your niche, and ask what problems they have.

Here’s why: people are more likely to meet to solve a problem then just to be together. So you have support groups for everything under the sun. Figure that out, and then contact those groups.

B. The Online World

The online world works on RELATIONSHIPS, not on marketing. If you start a blog, or start a Facebook page or a Twitter account where your main goal is to sell your book, and you make this obvious, you won’t be successful.

For your presence to be felt online, you have to participate in conversations that are already occurring. So start a blog where you talk about the problems your niche group faces (again, people are more likely to go online looking for answers to problems).

Then find people on Twitter who talk about those problems. Identify two or three good influences, and look at who they follow. Chances are they will follow people similar to your niche. Follow them, too.

Then just start participating in conversations. Share great YouTube videos. Retweet people. Put up interesting content.

Yes, you can share your book, but it is actually better to develop a relationship first, so that you stand out in the crowd and you build goodwill.

For instance, I once saw a tweet from a woman who was looking for a specific knitting pattern. I knew where to find it, and I tweeted her the link. It took me about 45 seconds. Now I love to knit, but my books have nothing to do with knitting. But that woman was so grateful, and she remembered me, that now she retweets almost everything I post about marriage. I made a connection by doing something helpful.

That sounds like a lot of work, you say. Yep. It does. But that’s what online marketing is. Try to schedule a little bit of time everyday to read through people’s tweets and respond, and to post interesting stuff on Facebook. If people think of you as someone who collects information in your niche, they’re more likely to listen to you when you talk about your book!

That’s the quick synopsis of the show, but there is so much more there. So listen in to this 30 minute recording, and take notes!

And if you want to know more about how to build an online community, my download, Build Your Online Community, is invaluable!

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One Response

  1. I don’t have a book (yet!) and I’m just starting out in this speaking/writing for ministry world, but I really appreciate this. God’s enabled me to be building relationships in my niche community for a few years now so, hopefully, I’ll be a little ahead of the game when I’m ready for more obvious up-front ministry. I knew there was a legitimate reason for me to spend time reading blogs and scrolling FB! :^)

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