Book Promotion: How to Effectively Sell Your Book

Most new authors are under the impression that as soon as their book is written, their books will fly off the shelves and they will be swamped in sales. They’re brought back to reality when they open their royalty check. The real truth is that the author’s real work starts when their book is finished.

 

Great authors started by selling books out of the back of their car. Their career didn’t start with a bang and they did not have a budget for publicists and PR firms, but they are hugely successful today.

 

You need to work on marketing, promotions and networking every day. We’re talking for the life of the book, while you balance your own life.

 

A common misconception is that book signings and individual stores stocking your book will be the key to success. I’m sorry to tell you, but that’s wrong. Even in larger centers with massive promotion, a signing or reading event may get you a couple hundred one-time sales.

 

Small stores can expect less than ten sales. You’ll be spending over two hours at the event, is it worth your time? This isn’t even counting your preparation, event marketing and promotion materials, which you may have paid for in advance. Signing events don’t pay authors to appear, so any books sold might not even cover your travelling and hotel costs. What about parking, supplies or any time off work?

 

The worst part: The sales you get only last the duration of the even (or a couple days before/after) but rarely long-term.

 

Term Another shocking statistic is that most book stores only stock less than 1% of the three million plus books on the market. Stores have discount arrangement with publishers, and authors’ royalties are paid only on what the publisher gets.

 

So is it really worth the hassle to get your book on the shelf?

 

I’m not saying you shouldn’t do signings or events, but you need to think outside the box. Focus on areas that deliver the best results. Expect some people to have a negative attitude – both in the media and your audience. Promotions and marketing is a long-term game, you need to persevere to succeed.

 

Lots of authors live in small towns and have normal jobs or physical limitations which prevent them from doing out-of-town promotions. The good news is that you can still promote successfully.

 

Use the Internet and think outside the box. Work your contacts – remember: Be persistent!

 

Everyone thinks about newspapers, libraries and bookstores. Because they’re the most obvious, it’s hard to get their attention. You should work on your image and produce beautiful promotional materials which makes you stand out.

 

To succeed, develop a marketing plan for the long-term – and don’t give up! Make sure you work hard for the full length of your contract with the publisher. Keep notes so you can draw from your knowledge when promoting your next book.

 

New authors when faced with promotional tasks get overwhelmed. It’s true: it takes a lot of effort to market a book. You need to plan a set of tasks for the week, then focus a goal for today. Do it every day. It’ll help you form a steady pace and stop you taking on too much.

 

One last tip: Newsletters can be useful when promoting your book, although the subscriber numbers are usually between five and seventeen thousand.

 

Online newsletters (or e-zines) typically have more than five thousand subscribers. If you are featured in a few of them in a month, you could be reaching a large amount of people.

 

You don’t need a lot of money or a publicist to succeed, you just need to be extremely determined.

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Your Book’s Cover: More Important Than You Think

You know the old saying, don’t judge a book by it’s cover? As unfortunate as it is, people do.

 

Your book’s cover design could be make or break for you as an author: If you have an ugly cover, people will skip your book, meaning no sales. Publishers drop authors who have no sales.

 

Designing the inside of your book is also important. You need it to be easy to read to share your message with your readers. The inside design should be complete before moving on to cover design and you should present friends and family with options before setting it in stone.

 

Where possible, include pictures and/or graphics if they’re relevant to your message.

 

Remember: A poor design reflects on the book and its contents. Do it right!

 

You need to work with a graphic designer who knows his or her stuff. These are the magic services you need to look out for. To keep costs low, try to find one person who is knowledgeable in all areas.

 

Book cover design

 

Case wrap design

 

Book jacket design

 

Text layout

 

Barcode and image scanning

 

The major stages in a best seller are:

 

Part one: Design component

The design component encompasses the book cover design, general book layout and the inside pages.

 

Part two: Publishing

 

This includes editing, copywriting and typesetting plus illustration.

 

As soon as you have completed these two major steps, it’s time for printing.

 

You need to be aware of the spine width of the cover, which is determined by the page count.

 

The last process is deciding whether to print as hardbound or softbound. Make sure everything’s in order (such as titles, subtitles and headings) then send off your manuscript in Adobe PDF format.

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How to Give Your Book a Great Title

Publishers employ expensive people to work exclusively on titling books and headlines with the goal of making the book as commercially viable as possible.

 

Many great books were initially given lousy titles. Let me share some examples:

 

Gone With The Wind was originally Tomorrow is Another Day

 

Peyton Place was originally Blossom and the Flower

 

Free Stuff For Kids was originally The Rainbow Book

 

The Zucchini Book was originally The Squash Book

 

Lady Chatterly’s Lover was originally John Thomas and Lady Jane

 

The Great Gatsby was originally Trimalchio in West Egg

 

Of Mice and Men was originally Something that Happened

 

Catch 22 was originally Catch 18

 

 

Here’s an exercise: Go into your local book store and browse through the best seller section. Watch the other store patrons, especially how they choose a book, quickly scan the front and back covers, then move on to another book.

 

Time them, this process usually takes around two seconds per book. That means you have two seconds to make the only impression on a potential reader (and customer). You must target all of their senses: Sight, speech, hearing and touch and smell.

 

1. Sight: Your book’s title has to be aesthetically appealing: When a potential reader initially comes in contact with your book’s title, it’s usually via the front cover. What this means is you need to consider spacing, fonts and colors.

 

2. Speech: If a potential reader has difficulty with the words, you have made it 10 times harder to market your book. Tim Ferriss pained over his first book’s title (The 4-Hour Work Week) and you must too.

 

3. Sound: Jim Rhone, the noted business philosopher said you must have something good to say to have effective communication. You need to get your message across as well as possible, as many times as possible. Lots of people will hear your book’s title, you need to make sure that, firstly it’s good and secondly, it’s said well.

 

4. Touch: In the sense that it’s relatable and has an influence over potential readers. Your book’s title must touch people and have a strong influence over them. Remember: The goal is to sell books!

 

5. Smell: Once again, in a figurative sense. Your books’ title must give off an aroma! That doesn’t sound very concrete, but it needs to project an atmosphere, or at least a special quality. If potential readers perceive a lot of thought went into the title – that it actually means something – they will assume the same about the entire book.

 

 

Lastly, but most importantly, your title needs to be short and simple. Nothing complex! Take a look at this week’s best seller list. Out of 20 books, how many have a one-word title? How about a two-word title? Keep it simple!

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Promote Your Book on Talk Radio: 10 Expert Tips

For almost 30 years, publicists and consultants have been advocating the value of talk radio as a promotional tool for your books.

 

Here are some expert tips to be the kind of guest hosts want on their show:

 

1. Be yourself. Whether you’re naturally loud or quiet, don’t put on a false front. If the audience thinks you’re fake, your message will fail.

 

2. Tone down the politics. If the conversation veers toward a sensitive political view, always acknowledge that the opposition has some good points. On the radio, your audience is diverse! You gain points and credibility by giving and taking.

 

3. Bone up on current news. Before your interview, check out a local newspaper or use Google News and be the expert on your topic. Make sure you’re aware of any local or news story that’s in your field. Being knowledgeable will add to your credibility with the listeners.

 

4. Use a local angle, if possible. Whether you’re doing a show in Ohio, Chicago or Los Angeles, connect the local area to your message: E.g., if your book is about business or investing, you could talk about that city’s unemployment rate or local property values.

 

We’re trying to localize your message and drawing the audience in further: This keeps them tuned in and interested in your book!

 

5. Always call in via a landline. Cells are patchy and unreliable, especially when calling interstate. Getting cut off wastes precious minutes as you have to re-dial and go through reception etc. and listeners may tune into another station. If you have telephone problems during your interview, it is unlikely the station will reschedule you.

 

6. Don’t get off topic and always hit on your key points. Talk radio hosts are great conversationalists but don’t let them get you too wrapped up. This is business and you need to sell, sell, sell!

 

7. Your interview pace must gel with the radio host’s. Speed it up if the host is a fast-talker and slow down if they’re slow-and-easy. Adapt to the rhythm! This means you’ll form a camaraderie with him/her and the rapport will keep listeners interested.

 

8. Don’t be a nerd: Limit numbers and statistics during the interview. If there’s a specific statistic which applies to your message, let everyone know. However, if you share too many numbers, the audience will tune out.

 

9. If you’re unsure about an issue, don’t fake confidence! If the host brings up an issue that you’re not familiar with or don’t know the answer to a question, admit it. Pretending on-air will lose credibility with listeners and they will discount your message. On the flip side, your credibility will skyrocket if listeners think you’re being honest.

 

10. You want your interviews to have an intimate feel. Even though lots of people are listening, radio is a one-on-one medium. Talk in a conversational and personal manner to both the host and any callers. This keeps everyone interested and they’re more likely to relate to you.

 

Remember – You want to enlighten the listeners about your book and persuade them to purchase it.

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