Sunday, June 21, 2009

Book promotion tips—9 sure-fire strategies

1. Know your competition. How can you make your book better than what's already out there unless you are aware of your rivals? Look in the Subject Guide to Books in Print in a major library to determine what other books are available on your topic. Check out Then stop at a good independent bookstore and ask the owner or manager what three books on the subject he or she would recommend. Buy them. Study them. Don't emulate them! Find a way to make yours more complete, shorter, funnier, easier to read, more appealing in some way.

2. Include marketable mentions. Hoping to sell quantities of your book to a corporation? Include the name of the organization and a quote from the CEO. (Conversely, you might choose not to mention names to keep the content generic so it can be used in a number of different companies.)

3. Consider global appeal. If your topic will "travel" into other cultures, you might have potential for foreign rights sales or translations into foreign languages. If so, exclude words or ideas that might be offensive to people in other countries. It's not unusual for a book to make more money in foreign than domestic sales.

4. Get a well-known person to write a Foreword. Hopefully, you've been developing contacts in your area of expertise for years and database full of potential Foreword writers. It is often more graceful to simply request their feedback on the manuscript first. Then, once they've raved about it, ask if they would honor you by writing the Foreword.

5. Think about adding a Glossary. Especially if your topic is technical or if newcomers to the subject will be using the book, include a Glossary. One reviewer commented that the Glossary in our Complete Guide to Self-Publishing was itself worth the price of the book.

6. Create a bookmark. A bookmark is a miniature Mighty Mouse. The one we developed for Self-Publishing Resources founder Marilyn Ross’s book Jump Start Your Book Sales is a stand-alone order form. It includes a photo of the book, sales copy with bullets, testimonials, how to order, plus our Web address for people who want more information. We tuck one in everything that goes out of this office: invoices, sales letters, general correspondence, lead packages, proposals, etc.

7. Go after excerpts in magazines. Once the official publication date has passed, you can merchandise what is termed "second serial rights" to magazines and newsletters. Perhaps it will be a chapter, a quiz, a sidebar of information, or maybe a small self-contained section. They may pay you a couple of hundred dollars—or nothing. But your real payback is the ordering blurb you'll include at the end.

8. Recycle your publicity. Often it's the second or third time around that's more powerful than the first exposure! Include reviews, feature articles about you, interview pieces, etc. in speaking proposals, media kits, everywhere! People like to jump on an already-moving bandwagon.

9. Be generous with review copies. We sent out almost 500 free copies of Jump Start Your Book Sales. When the publication date was just a month away, we'd already received 16 reviews and there was a "buzz" starting. Assuming it is done well, your book is your very best sales piece. And don't stop sending reviews once the book is older. Always be on the lookout for new publications or prominent people who might be interested in a copy.

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