Strictly speaking, publicity doesn’t sell books. It’s not one of your four main sales channels. But publicity is incredibly important in terms of creating awareness of you and your book and is a very effective strategy to incorporate into the overall mix of your marketing and sales efforts.
In general you want to use publicity for the following:
1. To make people aware of your book’s message and how it will help them
2. To establish you as a credible “thought leader” about your topic
The results you want to see from your publicity efforts should be:
1. An endorsement or plug for you or your book (e.g., a positive book review)
2. A forum to talk about your message and the benefit it brings the reader (e.g., an article quote, a radio interview, a television interview, a speaking engagement)
The best way to get significant publicity for you and your book is to hire a publicist or publicity firm to work with you. Most typically a publicist will want a 4-6 month engagement to bother working with you. At HigherLife we’ve vetted several top publicity firms and can set you up with one that will meet your needs and fit within your budget.
Some publicity strategies may focus on generating internet connections for you, getting popular bloggers to write about your book or excerpt your book as a guest blog. Other publicists are stronger in getting radio and television interviews set up for you. Still others specialize in generating newspaper and magazine articles about you and your message. Ideally you want to get as much publicity as possible.
One key to remember though…in every media engagement you get, always make sure you have a strong call to action. Make sure you do or say something that will motivate the audience to respond. Just because you are interviewed on Good Morning America or some major media outlet, no matter how charming or engaging you are, if the interview doesn’t motivate people to call in to order your book, or go on line to order it, pick up a copy at the local bookstore or download the eBook, then all that publicity, while great for your ego, doesn’t translate into book sales!
Even if you already have a personal or professional website, it is a great idea to purchase multiple web domain names for your book. You can then develop multiple micro-sites that each share content from your book or you can have one primary website with multiple URLs that point to that same site. Depending upon your topic and strategy, either can work. You want to make it as easy as possible for a potential buyer/reader to find your book and you.
Buying website names is both easy and challenging. The actual process of searching and purchasing a website URL is easy. At HigherLife we can do this for you or you can go to a website such as www.godaddy.com to purchase your domain names. At the same time, getting the right domain name is challenging because you may quickly discover that “all the good ones are taken”. Well, all the “good” ones aren’t taken, but most of the obvious ones are. It is time to put on your creative hat again and get brainstorming.
Think of all the creative ways to incorporate your book title, as well as your message, into your domain name. Don’t forget to think not only of the title of your book but the message and benefit of your book. For example, if you have written a book about goat farming, www.goatfarming.com is likely taken. But how about www.goatfarmingforprofit.com or www.goatfarminigsecrets.com or www.theincrediblegoatfarmer.com or www.goatfarmuniversity.com or www.yourgoatfarmingbusiness.com? You get my point.
It is possible to buy a domain name already owned by someone else. If you just know in your heart that you have the perfect domain name, but someone has already purchased it, all hope is not lost. Many people purchase domain names in bulk speculating that someone will want it down the line, and be willing to pay for it. Generally, the shorter names are more expensive, while longer, more convoluted are less expensive. First, go to the website. If it is a genuine business that is currently in operation, you are likely out of luck, but if you don’t find an actual business, then find out who owns the domain (www.whois.net) and approach them with an offer. As with any business transaction, approach it with discretion and a reasonable amount of caution.
Often I meet an author and ask them how they plan to market and sell their book. You’d be surprised how many times I hear a response something like this: “Right now I’m not thinking about that. I am just focused on getting my book published!” My response is always the same – “Well, you need to be thinking about how you are going to sell your book!”
No matter how compelling, people today are busy, distracted, often overwhelmed. Your message is competing for their attention and unless you’ve got tons of money to burn in attracting the attention of your reading audience, you need a plan.
Right now, while your book is still in development and your release date is still probably a few months off, take time to draft a strategic marketing plan!
You will sell your book in four main ways:
1. Through the internet
2. Through bookstores
3. At events where you may be present as a speaker or exhibitor
4. Through other non-bookstore retail outlets or organizations.
As a starting point in your strategic marketing plan, take time to work out these areas:
a) What will be the price points at which you sell your book
b) What is the central benefit your book offers the reader. You need to be very clear in presenting this through all your marketing efforts
c) What special offers or incentives can you offer your reader that will motivate them to stop what they are doing and order your book right now, rather than waiting until later.
d) Define who will be your most likely reader — your target audience.
Once you have your answers, then you can begin to start thinking through and listing all the things you plan to do to get your book in front of your potential readers.
If you need help developing your marketing strategy and plan, call us. We can help you move from general ideas to specific strategies that are both executable and measurable.
As you begin your publishing journey, make sure you stay on track by establishing what I call a “Publishing Playbook”. This is a summary document where you outline basic information about your book, your audience and your message.
In your playbook answer these questions:
1. Why am I writing this book? Answer candidly and date it. It’s important that you have a clear handle on your motivations for writing this book. What will determine if you are successful? The fact that you wrote it? If it sells a million copies? If your mother loves it?
2. Who is your intended audience? Describe the typical person to whom you are writing. What is their age, gender, ethnicity, social/economic status? What are the common areas of influence that bind them together? Even if your message will have appeal to a wide segment of the population, for this exercise, identify who you think will be the most likely reader of your book. Don’t think about a generic, general audience of people. Think about a specific person.
3. What is the central benefit to the reader? Your focus here is not on what’s in your book or what your book is about but how your book will help the reader. How will your message help make their life better? Will it make them smarter, sexier, thinner, happier, or richer? You need to be very clear about what your book promises to do for the reader.
4. What is the unique message of your book? What you are going to say that hasn’t been said a thousand times before or how are you going to say it differently? How are you going to make your book compelling to read?
5. What marketing opportunities do you bring to the table? Nobody-not your publisher, not your publicist, not your best friend-nobody should be more passionate than you about seeing your message get into the hands of the people who need it most. You must be your greatest cheerleader for your message. So decide right up front that you’re going to do whatever it takes to get your message out into the marketplace.
January 28, 2013
Some of us are just now getting up to speed on SEO (Search Engine Optimization), which is the process by which we design our websites so that an individual searching for us, our product or service, or just wanting to know what we know can find us easily. I recently typed into Google “running a bed and breakfast” and came up with over 17,000,000 hits. Yes, that is seventeen MILLION hits! How, if you have a book about your experiences running a bed and breakfast, are you going to appear in the top of that very long list? And if you’re like me, you probably don’t bother looking at sites past the first page or two on any search you run.
But SEO is a constantly changing and evolving thing. It used to be you would load your website with key words and phrases that internet searchers were using and make sure your content was updated frequently. Those two activities were sufficient enough to raise your internet profile. Not anymore.
Google is on the move with a series of top-secret algorithms they have code named “Panda” and “Penguin”. The focus now is on quality rather than quantity (of key words in this case). So how do you make sure your website is providing the quality that Google values? Well, it will take much more than a short blog to answer that, but here are some simple tips:
• Make your website all about the visitor – what you can do for them rather than how wonderful you are (which I’m sure you are)
• Short statements rank far higher than large blocks of text
• Photos and graphics over words
• Use as simple language as you can to convey your message
• Go beyond fact and make your customers emotionally connect with you or your message
• Create as many backlinks to your website as possible.
As more and more people turn to the internet to search for information on products and services, and as more and more companies payour more and more attention to internet marketing, search engine companies such as Google, Yahoo and others are forced to keep updating their formulas and strategies.
I’m as baffled as you are at how Google is accomplishing this feat, but they are. It is critical that we respond to the changing landscape to make sure our messages are getting out loud and clear – with lots of photos, simple language and an emotional hook, of course.
For years, I’ve conducted new employee orientations and have shared with new-hires the core values I’ve observed that make for a stand-out person. I believe operating by these principles with bring you a higher level of influence, impact, and satisfaction.
So here goes … “Dave’s Top 10 Traits of Success”:
1. Diligence. Work hard. Exceed expectations. Go the extra mile. Give more than you take.
2. Initiative. Don’t wait to be told what to do. Look for the need and meet it. Find ways to increase your value. Be a problem solver.
3. Resourcefulness. Find alternative ways around the mountain. Be an independent thinker. Figure things out on your own.
4. Humility. Don’t take the glory for yourself. Share your success with others. Recognize your dependence on God and others. Live in reality.
5. Be teachable. Stay open to new ways of doing things. Don’t rely on past experience alone. Your way may not always be the best way.
6. Believe the best in others. Be a “glass half-full” kind of person. Look for ways to affirm others. Be an encourager. Assume the best in people.
7. Choose not to be offended. Don’t let others’ actions, opinions, or attitudes derail you. Don’t live with an offense, and don’t pick up another’s offense. Move on.
8. Stay motivated. Find ways to stay charged up. Set goals and move toward them. Don’t wait for circumstances to be ideal in order to remain positive.
9. Have integrity. Keep your word. Do what you say you’ll do. Be trustworthy with responsibility. Keep confidences. Don’t gossip. Show up on time.
10. Don’t depend solely on yourself. A person who understands his or her need for God and looks to God for direction is wiser and stronger than the person trying to prove something to others. Even Jesus did what he saw his Father doing and lived to bring glory to God.
Well, there you have it. Dave’s top 10 traits for success. I hope you found something of value to chew on. Until next time . . .
The other day, I ran into one of our author clients at a charity event. He said, “The publicist you connected me with is doing a great job of getting me media engagements but it’s not translating into people buying my books.” Sound familiar? You see marketing’s job, well good marketing, is to not only connect you with the right target audience, not only convey the core benefits that you have to offer, but do so in a way that compels them to respond. Getting media exposure and creating brand awareness are good things…but at the end of the day, if they don’t translate into a sale, something’s wrong.
You have to remember that humans are subject to a law of physics called inertia. Inertia essentially says that objects tend to stay in their present state until an overwhelming force causes them to do otherwise. In marketing lingo, that means people essentially resist change and don’t want to make the commitment to buy something, to change their status, to let go of their hard-earned lunch money unless you give them an overwhelmingly compelling reason to do so. You have to give them a convincing “call to action” that moves them to respond. You have to take away all their objections, and the little voices inside their head that tell them that it’s easier to do nothing than to pick up the phone and call or go on line and click or stand at the book table and pull out their credit card.
So how do you do that? How do you move someone who likes your message, who suspects that if they read your book or bought your product, they’d be better off, how do you get them to actually buy? Entire seminars are devoted to this topic, but here are a few very simple principles to try:
1. Make sure before you start your presentation or interview, you state clearly that you have authored this book (and hold it up it), explain in a simple “elevator speech” who the message is for and how it will help them, and that what you are about to share is a small sample of that information. Connect the dots between your presentation and your product. The more often you can make this connection, the better.
2. Be clear about how they can get the book, don’t be shy in specifically telling your audience what you want them to do and how to do it. For example: “If you’d like to put these proven principles to work in your own life, all you have to do is go to my website at www.letmehelpyou.com and click on the special offer.” Don’t assume your audience knows what to do.
3. Give them some kind of time-sensitive incentive to buy now as opposed to later. For example: “As my thank you for attending this seminar, I’ve agreed to give everyone who buys my book today, a copy of my bonus report “10 More Ways I Can Help You”. You can take this bonus report home with you today.”
You wrote your book and created your message to bring value to people’s lives. Now don’t be bashful in helping your audience get past their inertia and make the good decision to BUY!
Well, first, think about how you buy a book. You pick it up, look at the cover, and if you like the visuals, title, and subtitle, you flip the book over and skim the back cover. This is the last piece of promotional material that has the potential to sell the book.
The back cover copy must pull you in and make you want to know more!
Contrary to what most people believe, back cover copy is not a summary of the book. It’s the tease that draws the reader in and compels them to buy it right now! It should be provocative and engaging enough to hook a reader’s interest, yet not give away too much of the story. Who-what-where-when is a good journalistic formula, but for purposes of the back cover copy, it should only hint at what’s inside.
Think of the back cover copy as valuable real estate. There is only so much space, so you want to make sure that everything included sells your book. With that in mind, consider these things:
- Hook prospective readers with a statistic, a shocking statement or a question that forces them to think. For example: What would you do if you and your family had to survive on $500 a month?
- Think twice before you add your picture. If it doesn’t help sell your book (which it probably doesn’t if you’re an unknown or a first time author), don’t include it. If it means a lot to you, you can put it on the inside.
- When writing your bio, stick to information about your background and credentials. Answer the question, why are you qualified to write this book?
- The back cover is a good area to highlight reviews a book may have received, as well as promote the author. Try to stick to 2 – 3 sentences per review since space is limited.
- Highlight what the reader can expect to learn from the content. This often is best achieved with bullet points. (Ironic, huh?)
Consider back cover copy to be the movie trailer or preview of your book. Based on the trailer, you will decide whether to see the movie, or not. The same holds true with your book. Your cover design and copy must entice readers and make them hungry for more.
If you need help creating compelling back cover copy that will hook readers and lead to more book sales, contact us. We have professional copywriters that would love to help you share your message with the world!
A colleague of mine introduced me to a phrase a while back that hit home with me. He talked about suffering from a condition he called “money weakness.” That’s an interesting phrase. What is it?
Essentially, money weakness occurs when an individual or organization is afraid to charge a fair, value-based price for their product or service because of an internal fear rather than a market-driven reality.
It’s charging less than what the market is willing to pay because of an internal fear of what the customer will think if you charge more.
Here’s what happens.
You determine an initial price for your product or service. Let’s say it’s $1,000. Then you go to a conference where you meet a sharp businesswoman who does essentially what you do but charges $10,000. You know your business costs are about the same. How can she get away with selling it for ten times your price?
The answer is that she’s based her price on the value it brings to her customer.
She wasn’t afraid to charge what the service was worth to the actual customer. As a result, her company is healthier, can attract better employees, pay better benefits, and upgrade their services more easily because they’re not cash-strapped.
Is her company price-gouging and ripping people off? Of course not. They simply haven’t succumbed to money weakness. They’re confident in the value they bring to their customers and price their services accordingly.
So step back and take a look at your pricing structure. Do you have symptoms of “money weakness”? There’s no magic pill you can take to get over this ailment, but the good news is that the condition is curable!
Bring incredible value to your customers, and communicate that value today with confidence.
There’s an old saying: “If you want to catch fish, go where the fish are.” The marketing and publishing corollary to that saying is, “If you want to reach your audience, you need to capture their attention in the way they prefer to be reached.”
Maybe you like reading the newspaper. Great. But does your target audience? If you’re trying to reach teenagers or 20-somethings, a full-page advertorial or feature article in a newspaper won’t gain you much ground.
For a younger audience, you have to make use of online social tools, like Facebook or YouTube or an iPhone app. If you’re trying to reach stay-at-home moms, think about where they hang out. They get a lot of information from online “mommy bloggers,” so perhaps you’ll go after a chance to be interviewed by one of those sources.
My point is simply this.
You need to tailor not only the style and presentation of your message to your target audience, but you also have to deliver that message through the mediums your audience already uses.
Need help figuring all that out? Let us know. We love getting helpful messages out to a culture that needs to receive them, in whatever forms and formats make the most sense.