Writing a business book is a major endeavour but it’s only half the battle.
After a book is published, it has to be marketed to support sales. In many ways, marketing a book takes as much time, effort and energy than writing it. For many authors, it can be a daunting task because it means going into promotion mode to drive awareness. And let’s face it, many business professionals are so exhausted after writing their first books, they don’t have the mental energy to think of marketing their work.
Seek publisher support
For authors who have publishers, one of the advantages is your publisher will do a lot of marketing on your behalf. Their publicists will make sure the right people receive review copies, as well as arrange for media interviews and book tours.
Even with the support of a publisher, authors still have to be actively engaged with marketing campaigns. This could involve developing a website featuring excerpts and additional resources, as well using social media to talk about its availability, speaking appearances and events.
It is also a good idea for authors to tap their networks for opportunities to do presentations, workshops and book signings. In other words, you’re looking for ways to promote sales.
Another effective vehicle is guest posts on third-party sites and blogs. This can involve articles or posts about the topic covered in your book, or excerpts from the book. Look at how B2BNN syndicated several chapters of my book here.
And if you’ve published a B2B book…
An important consideration in promoting a book is obviously the potential audience. B2B-focused books may be more challenging than B2C books given the narrower focus.
For B2B book projects, one of the keys to success is publicizing it via a specific vertical. If, for example, you have written a book about mar-tech, it makes sense to try to find press via to small and large publications and outlets that deal with the subject. You should also reach out to influencers on Twitter who specialize in #martech and see if they’d like a free copy of your work.
Don’t forget events
One of the most fertile marketing opportunities for authors is events in which an author can demonstrate their domain expertise to a targeted audience.
This opportunity involves some tact because while you want to sell books, you may not want to blatantly sell because it can take away from your presentation or appearance on a panel.
One of the bets ways to sell books at an event is mentioning their availability at the beginning and/or end of your appearance. It is a “soft sell” because it involves a brief “pitch”, along with where to buy it.
Ideally, books are sold at events by having someone else do it. It could be an assistant or the event staff. Many conferences, for example, will have set up areas to sell books written by speakers. Such an arrangement lets authors talk to attendees, while letting someone else worry about book sales.
“You can have a table at the conference, or the organization might buy the books ahead of time on consignment,” said Jared Dees, a digital publishing specialist with Ave Maria Press.
“When you are presenting, it feels shameless but it is not a big deal. At the beginning of an appearance, you could have someone introduce you and mention that copies will be available at the back of the room. That is less shameless.”
Get innovative, be different
Another approach is using postcards that include information about the book’s content and how it can be purchased. Rather than sell books, you can hand out postcards so they have something tangible as a reminder.
Dees said email lists are good marketing tools because they provide authors with a vehicle to connect with target audiences on a regular basis.
Also, some authors get stressed about social media promotion.
Dees noted: “A lot of authors say ‘I need to build up my Facebook page or Twitter presence’. I say ‘don’t worry about it. You should be focused on building your email list because that is how people will really connect with you. They will not miss your email. They will see them, open them, and act on them, and you can build a relationships with an audience over time.’”
For people who publish books themselves, it is becoming easier to sell printed and e-books on e-commerce sites such as Amazon. Amazon offers a service called CreateSpace that lets people sell books-on-demand. Some retailers such as Indigo will sell books on consignment.
Authors may also find value in the writing-social network Wattpad, which allows users to share portions of their books to their rapidly growing audience.
One of the key considerations when writing a book is determining the return on investment from all the time and effort you pour into the project. For some people, they want to sell as many books as possible. For others, particularly B2B professionals, the value of writing a book has more to do with industry stature, branding and opening the doors for new opportunities.
Regardless of your goals, writing can be a rewarding experience. It is an intellectual exercise that can galvanize your experience, ideas and enthusiasm. It’s a workout for the brain. Having a book published is a lot like running a marathon. It involves a lot of work but there is an enormous sense of satisfaction.
Read my recent article on what CEOs should consider before deciding to write a book