It’s the Quiet Before the Book Release

The book release for my next book is in the making. and boy am I tired. I think I have a right to be tired. It’s a time of reflection, correction and checking things off the proverbial list.

There are only a few more days remaining before the BIG DAY (08/08). It’s been a whirlwind of activity getting things set up for this book release. Only a few loose ends remain.

We’re not just about sales – we’re also about building the reading and writing community.

This isn’t a complaint, mind you, it’s a statement of fact. Even with a team, there’s lots to do. Some of the activities include:

  • Setting up live events (release party, workshops, speaking)
  • Creating social media graphics (quotes and infographics)
  • Polishing up my press kit (revamping my outdated press kit)
  • Setting up remote sales sites
  • Connecting with bloggers
  • Designing online and offline contests (and checking the rules)
  • Soliciting prizes and awards
  • Recording podcasts
  • Meet the Author events (libraries, bookstores)
  • Uploading the book (print-only for the first month)
  • Developing the grand prize package
  • And more (this is just a snippet)

Whew! I’m tired just thinking of it. But I’m looking forward to adding my new “baby” to my other books.

What am I learning through this book release activity? Much of what I’ve said (uh, preached) all along. You SHOULD NOT wait until your book is published to begin your promotions. You should build in several forms of book promotions THROUGHOUT the writing process. This takes the guessing (and disappointment) out of book sales. (This topic will be covered more thoroughly in an upcoming e-course).

But we’re not just about sales – we’re also about building the reading and writing community. This will materialize during our extended release event (08/08 – 08/31) through the following:

  • Offering productivity software demonstrations at our live events (including the release party)
  • Hosting an author social
  • Donating a portion of sales to a nationwide children’s literacy program
  • Offering a call-in Help Desk (manned by me and some team members)

Did you notice I haven’t mentioned the title of the book? That would be a spoiler. If you haven’t seen any posts yet, that’s okay. There will be plenty coming out through the next three weeks and beyond. There will also be posts of the results of activities and more insight into various promotions.

If you’re planning to release your book in the next 90 days, add something to the comments about how you plan to promote it to the world. When we share ideas it makes each of us stronger.

Use this link if you’d like to see a layout of the activity. Feel free to join us at any of our events. Some of the activities are limited to Facebook so be sure to check there at the Write Brain page.

Looking to Get Noticed? Use Your A-B-Cs.

Everyone wants to get noticed. It ‘s a way of life these days. From the ever popular “Tweet” to “Periscope,” we can’t get enough of seeing or hearing ourselves. And we’ve convinced the world (for the most part) that they, too, should get in on the action. When it comes to book marketing, it’s not always fun and games. Yet it’s a requirement that we constantly communicate with our reader communities.

Many authors engage in posting on blogs or sending out other info in the hope of getting noticed. These tactics are designed to capture attention (and wallets). To be honest, the underlying motive for this post is to capture the attention of new readers and provide content for established readers.

We have learned (sometimes at an embarrassing cost) to avoid the infamous “BUY MY BOOK!” e-mails and posts. We’ve learned that spamming our e-mail contacts repels buyers rather than attract them. Yet it’s necessary to make such a request from time to time. This begs the question, “How do I maintain a balance between telling and selling?” Read on for some insightful answers.

FIRST THINGS FIRST
So exactly how do you get noticed? Before we delve any deeper on the topic, let’s make sure we’re on the same page. Marketing and promoting your book really isn’t the same thing as selling it. To sell your book, you must first find the people who want it. So asking everyone you meet to buy your book is a waste of your time, and theirs. A change in mindset can easily remedy this faux pas.

Marketing involves providing samples for your potential buyers to enjoy. It’s one of the easiest ways for an author to get noticed. The “try-before-you-buy” tactic is a tried and true winner. When done properly, your sample will easily convert a looker to a liker and then on to a buyer. Marketing creates the blueprint for them to follow.

By offering a taste of what is to come, you build loyalty with the audience. If they value what you offer, they will take the next steps and not only buy, but become repeat buyers.

Use Your A-B-Cs


A = ATTRACT ATTENTION
Do you know why clowns are so popular? Because they attract attention with their bright colors, oversized shoes, red nose, and more. They get you to take some type of action (laugh) based on the scenario they are presented in. You can easily apply these strategies to your book.

You, too, can get the attention of your readers and you don’t even need red shoes. You can get your audience to take some action they moves them closer to a buyer. You can have them   request a free chapter of your book; attend a telecall; take your complimentary e-course; respond to a questionnaire (survey) and more.

B = BAIT
In the business community, a Giveaway (aka a Freebie) is considered to be an bait (or an ethical bribe) to attract your niche. It’s the Standard Operating Procedure of marketing. It’s a shameless way to share tidbits about your writing style, your topics, and your products and services with other people. This creates interest and an opportunity to connect with them. If you have a related article or a free chapter you can forward to them, this would do much to create a sense of “knowing” on their part. If this proves to their liking, it’s quite possible a sale might ensue.

C = CONSISTENCY
Woody Allen, the famous actor/producer, knew how to get noticed. In addition to his award-winner movies, he made this quote, “80% of success is showing up.” It applies well to book promotions. You have to show up; you have to know how to capture the attention of your readers. You have to be consistent in whatever you offer. And you have to get your message into the eyes and ears of your established and potential audiences over and over again.

If no one is reading your blog, that’s okay. Keep writing and it will happen. If your books aren’t moving yet, keep working on it. Your consistency, paired with persistence, will pay off in the end.

That’s all there is to it. Now it’s your turn to get noticed. Take these A-B-C tactics and apply them to your book promotions. Try several combinations of ideas until you create a winning formula. When your tactics click with your audience, you’ll soon find credibility and see your profitability increase.
__________________________

Sandee Hemphill is an author, book marketer and book production coach who helps authors think outside the book. Subscribe to her blog to receive notice of her free book, “Your Book Won’t Sell Itself ” (available March 1). Visit the website (www.workyourbook.com) or contact her at sandee@workyourbook.com.

3 Things You Can Do to Promote Your Book

If you’re running short on marketing ideas, here are 3 things you can do to promote your book. They’re simple and can be set up quickly. And you don’t have to use them only once. These tactics can be added to your marketing schedule and be used over and over again.

Host a Contest. You can promote your book by hosting an easy, no-brainer contest. You can offer your book and a gift card—perhaps a $10 Starbucks card—to the winner (s). Your contest could be any of the following:

  • Post a quote from your book and ask for comments. Anyone who comments is entered into a drawing.
  •  Ask your social media followers to share a photo of themselves with your book cover. Each post is automatically entered into the drawing for a gift.
  • Ask readers to create a graphic based on a specific quote from your book. Be sure the prize for this contest is substantial.
  • Ask a question and offer a free copy of your book to anyone who answers it. Make this one super easy by directing the entrants to your Amazon Author Central page or a specific website page for the answer. Include the link to the site and use an online contest selector such as RaffleCopter to select the winner. You can stretch out this contest by offering a book every 2-3 hours or every 2-3 days.Create a catchy title for your contest such as “The One-Day Giveaway.” You’ll be amazed at the attention and traffic this simple tactic can generate. A word of caution: make sure you read and adhere to the rules for using RaffleCopter (or any other selector) as well as the social media sites where you promote your contest. Check out this article designed specifically for WordPress users for selecting your winner: Gleam vs. RaffleCopter vs. PromoSimple

Solicit Video Testimonials. Promote to your Tribe or potential readers by asking them to tell why they purchased your book. Ask they to describe their greatest takeaway. You can promote this strategy affordably by using  your social media sites and your website. If a testimonial comes from another author, have them hype their book as well. Note: if this strategy proves successful, transcribe their testimonial and post it on your website. Be sure to get the authors’ permission to do so.

Short on time? Create a tip sheet that promotes your book. Technically, a tip sheet is a news release or a publication used to distribute the most current publishing information. It’s a factual short-read loaded with facts on a specific topic. A good tip sheet should include these elements:
♦  Create an attention-grabbing headline that hints of the information on the tip sheet (Hint: thumb through a magazine for samples of attention-grabbing headlines)
♦  Add a brief introduction, if warranted
♦  Consider writing 5-7 bulleted points about your topic
♦  Promote even further by adding page numbers for your book for each points
♦  Use an appropriate length blurb and short bio (50 words or less)
♦  Of course you’ll include your name, the book title, and the cover graphic
♦  Design your tip sheet creatively and distribute in print and online
♦  Include a short link to take the reader to your site to purchase your book
♦  List your contact info, including social media links and an e-mail address

Although these tactics are simple, it may take a day or two to complete each promotion. That’s okay. The idea is that you have three new strategies to move forward in your book marketing. Depending upon how often you post to your list, you could easily have several month’s worth of promotions.

If you haven’t started a swipe file, you can get started with these promotions. Each promotion listed here is evergreen—and can be used over and over and over again. I always encourage my clients to keep at lease one promotion in the hopper at all times. You never know when you’ll be short on time or ideas. A ready-to-go promotion could be just what you need to stay top-of-mind with your readers.

Your Book Won’t Sell Itself! (Learn What To Do About It)

Do you know your book won’t sell itself?

It seems to be a well-known fact among published authors that selling a book is much harder than writing it. I often tell my clients that marketing a book is like having a part-time job. But if you think of the time and effort you’ve already invested in writing your book, marketing becomes more of an investment than a chore. And if you think about the publishing process logically, your book didn’t write itself. Therefore, the same consideration (and time) should be given to selling it.

WE ALL START AS INVISIBLE AUTHORS

Almost every week I have the unpleasant task of telling a newly published author this truth: “Your book won’t sell itself.” It’s disheartening, to say the least, and I take no delight in it. But it’s the truth.

Unless you are a well-established public figure or local personality, you won’t have instant book sales. This is a facet of publishing few authors investigate before completing their book. Sure, you may get your friends, family and colleagues to buy a copy or two, but that doesn’t go on forever. Instead, you’ll have to set up a marketing plan to sell books like the rest of us.

WHISTLE WHILE YOU WORK (OR CONNECT WHILE YOU WRITE)

Ideally, an author should build a tribe of targeted readers BEFORE they publish. But it seldom happens. As if the first half of the publishing formula [writing + promotion] isn’t difficult enough, now you are hit with an undeniable truth: “Your book won’t sell itself.”

It’s not that authors dodn’t know this all along. Its just that the task of completing the project – writing, editing, formatting, book cover, and more – dominates your attention. And now you have to plan a marketing campaign or see your labor go down the drain.

Now that you’re over the shock, the next thought is what you should do now.

GO BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD

Since your book won’t sell itself, you’ll need to promote it. My clients are offered three marketing plans. By this time, Plan A (Build While You Write) has already sailed. This plan required them to start promoting their book 6-9 months prior to publication.

Next, we move to Plan B. This plan begins the day we meet. It involves a massive visibility campaign where the goal is to be seen by large groups of people without focusing on sales. This involves an update of all social media channels to include the book cover and a brief blurb. In addition, emails are used to strategically connect with friends and colleagues where their new author status is announced. These are soft sell tactics that have proven to be quite profitable in the long run.

Plan C involves a budget-sensitive book launch, both online and offline. The launch involves several people and it must be strategically planned to move beyond exposure to capture mega sales. This plan uses some of the features of plan A but from a different angle.

START WHERE YOU ARE

Here are just a few of the suggestions I offer my clients. First of all, do something NOW! It is strongly suggested that you do something everyday – whether 5 minutes or 5 hours – to promote your book. Focus on visibility over sales. This means you should search out ways to be visible to groups of people who are your ideal readers. This could be at a networking event, a book club, a speaking engagement or any gathering point for your readers.

Although I’m not a big believer of free books, when used strategically, free can prove to be quite profitable. For example, if you write a book series, you can offer the first book on a permanently free basis and sell the other copies. This strategy works well for lots of new authors.

Another strategy is to donate a book or two to a public event. This kills two birds with one stone. You connect to the host and you have access to their audience. You may not know who is in attendance and what influence they have with other readers. The possibilities inherent in this strategy are endless.

BUILD MOMENTUM

If you can establish a regular schedule of marketing activity, you’ll create opportunities for your book to be purchased. Take time to create a list of actions you can take, then get them on a calendar. Start with two days a week and build from there.

It’s more important to establish a regular promotions schedule than it is to market vigorously for two weeks then taper off for two months. And by all means, set a schedule that works for YOU! Remember that visibility gives way to credibility, then credibility generates profitability.

Sandee Hemphill is an author, publisher and speaker who works with other authors to create their publishing success. She is the founder of Work Your Book(Learning to Think Outside the Book). If you’d like further information on this topic, join here for a free tele-call February 19 & 26, 2017. You can register here.

Publishing Nuts and Bolts for New Year’s Success

 

 

Yes, the holiday selling season is still upon us; however, you’ll want these Publishing Nuts and Bolts to build upon throughout the year. As 2017 approaches, you’ll want to continue your marketing momentum. Bookmark this post to guarantee that you’ll have it to jumpstart your success.

Book promoting is one of the most time-consuming aspects of the publishing journey. It’s quite similar to feeding a hungry elephant. It seems no matter how much you shovel in, there’s always a need for more. If approached incorrectly, it can be overwhelming and unrewarding.

Book promotion is how you make your book available to your potential readers. These strategies can be as simple as adding a blurb and graphic to your email signature line or as complicated as setting up a national tour. There are hundreds of strategies you can engage in between the two extremes. The bottom line is it’s your responsibility to promote your book, or to oversee its promotion.

Publishing Nuts and Bolts

  1. Publishing prepares your book for your audience.
  2. Understand the publishing process.
  3. Although publishers and formats vary, the final product should reflect your values.
  4. Know your audience and how to communicate with them.
  5. Research your topic thoroughly.
  6. Always fit your format to your audience.
  7. Follow standard publishing procedures.
  8. For broad receptivity, consider publishing your book in more than one format.
  9. Avoid technical information unless you can break it down to the level of your audience.
  10. The book cover demands professional attention.
  11. Review several cover designs prior to making a final selection.
  12. Check your work. Check your work. Check your work. (Did I say check your work?)

Promotional Nuts and Bolts

  1. Today’s book market is new and it demands new promotional strategies.
  1. YOU are your author brand; be sure it represents YOU!
  1. Build online relationships. Social proof is based on connections, not on just being there.
  1. Book promotions should be regular and ongoing.
  1. Successful promotions increase your brand recognition and your credibility.
  1. Don’t limit your promotions to online only. Look for offline promotions as well.
  1. Stay in front of your audience (readers).
  2. NSP – Never Stop Promoting!

By all means, take time to build slowly. There’s great wisdom in building this way. You don’t want to overextend yourself by reaching too high too soon.

Let the momentum of your established over the holiday season propel you to the next level.  Engage in different levels of communications—posting, sharing, giving advice, and adding comments when appropriate.

Remember — don’t try to sell on these platforms. Keep your focus solely on providing great content and you’ll easily grow a host of dedicated readers. And they’ll be ready for your next book.