Seems everyone today wants to write a book. Since we are in the publishing and marketing business, that’s good news for us. However, I see so many people start off with good intentions and along the way get stuck. So here are my comments on how to make it happen.
Have a Plan: Good intentions, even desire, are not enough. Give yourself a deadline to have your manuscript written. Start by articulating, on one sheet of paper, concise answers to the following questions:
- WHY do you want to publish a book?
- WHO are the people you most want to help and serve through this book?
- HOW will what you want to say benefit these people?
- WHAT are your going to say that either hasn’t been said a hundred times before or what is going to be the unique way you want to say it?
Next, come up with a simple outline of the key points you want to make. These key points will become your chapters.
Lastly, commit to a writing schedule. It can be a chapter a day, a chapter a week, or something in between. Following this plan will get you a book manuscript in three weeks to three months, depending upon how aggressive your writing schedule.
Find a Publisher or a Publishing Coach: You wouldn’t consider building a house by yourself. Publishing a book may not be quite that complex but there are a ton of significant and strategic decisions that need to be made along the way. A qualified publisher or publishing coach will help you avoid the minefields of doing it wrong.
Set Your Sales Goals and Expectations: Do you expect to sell 100 copies? 1,000? 10,000? 100,000? Anything’s possible, but if you don’t know what you’re shooting for you won’t be able to properly evaluate whether your strategies and plans can get you there.
Create Your Book Launch Marketing Plan: Remember that once you establish your marketing plan, you have to monitor it. Book marketing takes a lot of constant input and effort. There are very few “overnight success stories” out there. Things change so when you implement a strategy you want to monitor it. Most things in marketing aren’t “set it and forget it.”
Identify Your Influencers: Who are the people you know who have a larger platform than you, who have a larger sphere of influence with the people who might be interested in your book. How can you leverage your relationship with these influencers so that they are motivated to help you? An author I worked with many years ago wrote a book called “There’s a Miracle in Your House”. His point was that most of the things you need to be successful can be found in the relationships and connections you already have. Where you are lacking, be intentional to put yourself out there and get known by the people who already have influence with the audience you want to serve with your book.
Build your Platform: The easiest way to do this is to start being intentional in capturing email contacts every place and in every way you can. Most authors have some form of email database already established. They communicate with these folks through e-newsletters and e-blasts. But most people I know can be much more intentional in capturing more names. I want to encourage you to do this.
Use Social Media More Effectively: If you haven’t already discovered this, you will soon learn that a “like” in social media does not translate easily into a book purchase. Asking someone to like a post takes little to no effort or commitment. Don’t assume your 10,000 likes will translate into 10,000 book sales, or even 100 book sales. Most people need to be romanced more. Start finding ways to get your social media contacts to give you their email address. Do this by offering lots of valuable free content coupled with your promise not to badger or misuse their contact information.
Develop an Ethical Sales Funnel: What is the path that someone who gives you their email address can expect to follow? Have an intentional strategy to move people who have shared their email address with you into greater levels of engagement that may include purchasing your book.
Always Offer Value and Something for Free: Freebies or “Freemiums” are a great tool to entice someone to share with you their email address. Have a plan to move people from engaging with you by downloading your free content to deeper and more meaningful interactions with you—interactions that will benefit them and generate income for you.
Be Everywhere: While it often makes sense to have a more targeted book marketing strategy, over time you want people to find you and your book in as many places as possible. I don’t advocate being on every social networking site (because who has time to manage all of that?). There are a lot of sites that you can list your book on that require nothing but the time it takes to post the listing. Free eBook sites, for example, are a good place to be present:
And don’t forget to post articles (which can be excerpts or adaptations from your book to the many blog sites that are read by your target audience. Do the research to find out what blogs are most read by your target audience and engage in that conversation.
Don’t Be Shy in Asking for Help: Consider assembling a “Street Team” of super fans of you or your message. Now, more than ever, it’s important to engage your fans—the people who like you (or your message) the most. Ask these people to recommend your book, purchase copies to distribute to their friends, write positive reviews for you, leverage their own network of contacts to help you. Make sure you are gracious and appreciative. What can you offer them as a bonus or incentive to thank them for their help?
Let this be the year you stop talking about writing a book and actually make it happen. For more help, encouragement and support, call us. We would love to partner with you in making a positive difference in the world.