How to Make Your Book a Best Seller

Turn on the light. Unlock the door. Here are the amazing secrets that can no longer be kept in the dark!

So how do books become best sellers?

Usually hyped out of this world by the publisher, if he thinks he has a good seller on his hands. But we’re not talking publishers. We are going to talk about you. I have seen books which were amazing and sold zilch. Why not? No hype.

From here we are assuming you have written a book. A “How To” type book which you fully researched before you even wrote it because we all know, don’t we? You check out the potential market first!

You spent day and night for 2 weeks writing it and editing. Your finished manuscript is at the printers. You had someone design a “hip” cover with a well thought out marketing blurb on it. It will be ready in 2 weeks but the cover design and blurb is done first so we can promote it.

Find all the digital stuff you own that can be sent by email. Don’t own anything? Get onto some gurus and do some in depth interviews. Put a retail value on the interview. Make sure it’s worth money. This is what you are giving away. You are happy. The gurus are happy because they get plenty of exposure.

Everyone who buys your book now has a compelling reason to do so. They not only get the book for $9.95 or $19.95 but a ton of free information worth more than the book itself. So, they buy the physical book from Amazon They show you the receipt. They receive from you all the digital items by email.

Get everyone and his dog sending out emails re your forthcoming book being released on “X” date, with picture of front and back covers. Send out to everyone on your email list, friends, family, business and get the gurus who gave you the interview to do the same.

This is the simple strategy to use. You must believe in your book. It must worth the read. It must be informative. It needs to get talked about. Ask everyone to tell everyone they know or pass it on to their email lists. On and On. Give tons of free stuff to all those who buy it. Buy eBooks, reports and any digital things which you receive master rights to sell as you wish. I am sure you will find other methods and ways

You might even earn a lot of cash besides becoming a guru.

About the Author
Publishing pro and author/filmmaker Barry Sheppard has written and published many books with hundreds of reviews in newspapers, TV and radio. He is now concentrating on eBook writing/publishing and starting his own television station.

Promote Your Non-Fiction Book

There are two things every author must know about promoting your nonfiction book. First, it is your responsibility, no matter what publishing method you use – conventional, print on demand (POD), or do-it-yourself. Second, promotion should begin long before your book is finished. In fact, you should be thinking about it from the very beginning of the planning process.

One of the first questions you probably asked yourself was who are my readers? Once you have identified them, your next step is to find ways to tell them what the book is about; what problem it will solve; why it is funny, informative, or moving; who wrote it and why; and, most important, why they want to spend money to own it.

What follows are seven proven ways to reach your readers with this information:

1.  Create a website.

You must have a presence on the Internet. A Website showcases your book, highlights the cover, introduces you as an expert author, delineates the main points, tells where the book may be purchased, and provides a place for testimonials. A Website doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate, but it should be professionally designed and constructed. Unless you are a Web guru, invest in a professional Website designer.

2. Brainstorm ideas.

Gather a group of your most creative friends to generate as many ideas as you can (It’s a good idea to feed them). Break your reading audience into subgroups, and list all the places to find them. Where do they hang out? What organizations do they belong to? Where do they shop? What are their passions, hobbies, and vocations? The spreadsheet you create is the beginning of your promotional plan.

3. Send advance readers’ copies (ARCs).

When the book is finished but not yet published, send bound copies of galley proofs to book reviewers at print and electronic media. Be sure to stamp them “Reader’s Copy” or “Galley Proof.” You want to time the reviews to coincide with the publication and availability of your book. Reviewers want to read it before it hits the shelves. Timing is everything.

4. Submit articles.

Your book is a goldmine of article ideas. Every major point is an article ready to be excerpted or paraphrased. Once you know what your target audience is reading, you have a list of potential publications, print and electronic. Write a 25- and 50-word author’s blurb to be printed at the end of every article. When you submit to an online article Website, indicate that the article may be reprinted at no charge, as long as it includes the author’s blurb.

5. Take part in book fairs.

Share a table or booth with other writers or with members of an association of which you are a member, if it is relevant to your topic. Book fairs can mean long hours on your feet if you go it alone; but, when you share the workload, the experience can be fun and rewarding. You’ll meet new people, reach readers directly, and become personally involved in selling your book.

6. Share what you know.

Offer to give free presentations at bookstores and other venues that carry your book. This is a great way to build your reputation as an expert in your field, provide value to the bookseller and the book buyer, and connect directly with your readers. It’s good for your ego to be asked to sign your own book. One caveat: if you don’t feel comfortable speaking in front of a group, join Toastmasters or hire a speaking coach. Don’t muddle through your presentation.

7. Assemble a sales package.

Put together a press kit to send to local radio and TV stations. Include a news release with pertinent information about the book and future scheduled appearances, an author’s bio, talking points to use in an on-air interview, a sample book cover, background information, and favorable reviews and testimonials. A press kit is like a resume; it gets you in the door. Once you get there, the rest is up to you.

Promoting your book is an ongoing project. It isn’t something you do once and then move on. As long as your book is available and there are potential readers who could enjoy it and benefit from reading it, you have a job to do. This is, after all, why you wrote it.

About the Author
Bobbi Linkemer is a ghostwriter, editor, and the author of 12 books under her own name. She has been a professional writer for 40 years, a magazine editor and journalist, and a book-writing teacher. Her clients range from Fortune 100 companies to entrepreneurs who want to write books to enhance their credibility. Visit her at http://www.WriteANonfictionBook.com

Book Marketing Strategies for Self-Publishers

marketingstrategySo you’ve written your book, self-published it, and now you want to start making sales. Once each of your friends, family, and perhaps a few other interested parties  have purchased your book, what next? How do you get the word out that you have a  potential best-seller?

The internet has been shown to be an excellent way to promote self-published books. It allows you to reach people that you would never meet otherwise. Here are some suggested online book marketing strategies to get you started.

  • Create a web presence — This can be done by setting up a regular website or a blog. Choose a site name that will grow with you. For example, if you’ve written a picture book for children, you might be tempted to call your website “PictureBooksforChildren.com”. But what if your next book is for young adults? Some authors choose to use the name of their book, but again, this can limit you in the future if/when you write other books. Wouldn’t you rather be seen as an author of more than one book? Many authors choose to ‘brand’ themselves by using their own name.
  • Increase visibility — If you choose to use a blog platform (e.g., WordPress, Blogger, Typepad) for your web presence, it’s important to write regular postings. When you provide interesting, informative, and/or entertaining content, it prompts your visitors to come back to read more, plus it helps your placement in the search engines.
  • Draw traffic to your site — A good way to draw traffic to your site is to promote yourself (and your postings) through social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). Article marketing is also a great tool for bringing in more traffic. You might also want to consider writing a short e-book about your subject matter and offering it for free from your website. (Be sure to include links to your website throughout the book.) Free offers are an excellent way to funnel visitors to your site.
  • Develop a relationship with your readers — Did you know that only 1% of first-time visitors will buy your book? This is why it’s so important to develop a relationship with potential buyers. An excellent way to do this is by offering a newsletter in which you provide valuable information about your book’s topic. If you’ve written a fiction book, you might want to consider publishing chapter snippets to entice people to buy and read the entire book.
  • And last, but not least — ALWAYS be sure to include a BUY NOW button on your website. Sign up with a payment service like Paypal so buyers can easily make their purchase. Also be sure to post a Privacy Statement on your website to allay any fears about spamming.

The Seven Deadly Sins of Book Promotion

Competitive doesn’t begin to describe today’s book market. The booming print-on- demand and self-publishing industries, coupled with mainstream publishers, has flooded the market with thousands of new releases each month. “The LA Times receives 600 to 700 books for review each week,” reports Steve Wasserman, book review editor. With an infinite number of books and authors vying for attention from a finite number of media outlets—and the trend of newspapers cutting back on space for book reviews—book publicity is a tough, sometimes brutal business.

While some authors choose to self-promote, and a lucky few have full support from their publishers, most authors reach out to professionals for help with at least some aspects of their promotion. For both novice authors and veteran authors alike, the pitfalls of book publicity are many. In my experience handling over 250 campaigns, I know what can sabotage success, the errors of both omission and commission that can derail a campaign, and how human tendencies can adversely affect promotion and yes, ultimately book sales.

What follows are the Seven Deadly Sins of Book Promotion; the mistakes and actions that can destroy an author’s chances to get substantial media coverage, and how to avoid these common pitfalls.

1. Sloth

If you think sitting back and watching royalty checks roll in is your destiny, think again. Virtually all authors must “get out there” and be seen and heard. Book signings and tours are not passive events; they require a hunger for success and kinetic energy level. Interviews can be a gold mine or a disaster for one who puts forth a half-hearted effort. Publicity doesn’t happen, you have to make it happen.

When an author is not only aggressive, but willing to put his or her time in a campaign—we, as publicists, are better able to build their exposure, and gain consistent local, regional and nationwide coverage.

One example is a financial client who has been with us two years.  His platform only touches on the topic of hedge funds. However, when hedge fund controversy hit the news, we suggested and he quickly responded with information for us to write a current and biting feature release. The result: national coverage, including reporters calling from the Wall Street Journal and other top financial publications. Because of his willingness to keep current, he is regularly called top financial media for expert commentary. His name and his projects benefit from this consistent, credible exposure.

Lazy authors languish in the million rankings on bookselling sites.

2. Pride

If you are promoting a book, prepare for your pride to be pierced a few times.  One of the most common mistakes I’ve seen authors make is letting a negative review or a bad interview derail their determination.

The author believes his book is a bestseller; it is his baby, his labor of love. He has great pride in what he has written, so much so that it has created an excessive belief in his abilities and his book; after all — his relatives and friends love it. When the tough times come, pride begets anger, which begets frustration which leads to disillusionment.

Authors must go into promotion knowing not everyone will fall in love with the book.  I often ask my clients, “Do you like every book you’ve ever read?”

Roll with the punches, and stay the course. Put your ego on bed rest.

3. Envy

Eight out of ten authors who call me inquiring about publicity tell me they want to be on Oprah. I tell them, invariably, that it’s probably not going to happen for them, that we can and should try, but the odds are akin to the lottery. But authors see others on the show and are envious. They ask “If that author is on, why can’t I?” or  “My book is better than hers!”

Envy serves no purpose in book promotion. The only way other authors get great publicity gigs is because they try. If anything, you should learn from them. Watch successful authors carefully, examine their topic, and then examine your own project. We all can learn something from others; I still do every day.

We helped a self-published, first time novelist promote her work on vampires. A difficult project? Yes. Impossible? No. Were we able to get her on Oprah? No. Have we been able to tap into the significant sub world of vampire buffs? Absolutely. For eight months, we were able to generate consistent and targeted media coverage.  Oprah, while a goldmine for any author, is unfortunately not a realistic goal for most.

4. Lust

How does lust come into play with book promotion?  I have both an extreme example and more common ones from my firm’s own ‘case files.’

Good publicity can be intoxicating. Appearing on talk shows, reading articles written about you … it all makes you feel good, and it should.  I always tell authors to enjoy the ride, because it won’t last forever. However, letting your good time change you, (or bring about actions which have nothing to do with the hard work of promoting your book) can be disastrous. Losing focus–taking your eye off the ball–is a surefire way to run into trouble.

Example #1:  During the first conversations with a prospective client–a middle age author with multiple books–he asked me (and I must paraphrase here) if the publicity generated would “attract” women. He was serious. Needless to say, his campaign lasted only one month; we tried to keep him focused on the steps needed to get exposure for his books, but we couldn’t, and we parted company.

Example #2:  The more benign type of book promotion “lust” comes in the form of letting success change who you are, and make you long for things which you never envisioned before. In our firm we call these clients “addicts”–they become so enthralled with success that the book becomes secondary. They seek more and more exposure, but not so much to sell books, but to feed their own newly found lust for fame, popularity and the overwhelming desire to have others simply notice them.

In the end, lust almost always makes for an unhappy ending to what can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

5. Gluttony

Gluttony in book promotion touches upon several of the other sins. In its purest form, it is the insatiable desire to “consume” as much publicity as possible, and not being satisfied with each opportunity. Local radio interviews, for example, become unsatisfying, and an author starts to shun them because she wants more and bigger opportunities. A book review in a small newspaper is dismissed as insignificant, because she wants bigger newspapers. A local TV opportunity is declined because there aren’t enough viewers to fulfill the need for exposure.

When I run into these scenarios, the campaign starts to slowly dissolve because the author is literally never satisfied, and will not appreciate “smaller bites” of publicity while the bigger opportunities are pursued.

Book promotion is like a seven course meal. You start slowly, testing the waters, then move onto the next course. You proceed in a steady, measured manner, enjoying every course while building confidence, momentum, and sales.

Don’t demand all seven courses be delivered to your publicity table at once.  Enjoy the entire experience of the meal and be patient.

6. Greed

Like gluttony, greed is the offspring of several other sins, and perhaps the most common sin of book promotion. Here is a classic example:

  • An unknown, first-time author comes to my firm. He is nervous, unsure and wary of what will happen in his campaign–all perfectly understandable and expected concerns. The campaign begins slowly; and a few radio interviews are secured.  All is well.
  • The campaign starts to achieve momentum. The radio interviews start streaming in. Instead of one a week, we are booking four and five a week.
  • Our client has confidence now, and is thoroughly enjoying the process, as he should.
  • Things start to change. The level of radio interviews takes a dip, and we encounter “the lull,” which happens in most campaigns. Instead of four or five interviews a week, it drops to one or two.
  • The author, having become accustomed to many interviews each week, demands more. He is not satisfied with the interviews we secure, and will not be satisfied until we reach and exceed the number of interviews we had achieved.
  • He becomes disillusioned and decides another firm can fulfill his hunger for more and more interviews.

When clients truly understand the nature of publicity, they are able to roll with the busy times and slow times, knowing it is the cumulative efforts of the entire campaign that count.  As a publicists, we gauge when the “party is over” for a particular angle, then work with the author to develop new and topical press materials with the goal of maintaining and improving media opportunities.

Greed is what I call a “coffin nail” in a campaign. Once it starts, it is very difficult to control and typically ends in a campaign which veers off track wildly. Greed may be good on Wall Street, but it will bankrupt a book promotion campaign.

7. Anger

Anger comes in many forms in book publicity.  I once worked with an author who received a brutal review of his book, and was so angry he proceeded to drive over 200 miles to the reviewer’s location, storm into the office, and scream at the reviewer.  This was, putting it mildly, a bad move.

The reviewer reacted by contacting reviewers at other newspapers in his company’s chain, and urged his colleagues to review the book.  Five additional negative reviews appeared in the ensuing weeks.

It is important to keep in mind when promoting your book, you are opening yourself up for scrutiny. In fact, you are inviting it. You want the scrutiny and attention.  Assuming everyone will react positively to you or your book is foolish and naive.

The same scenario happens in radio interviews. Many authors don’t realize that “hostile” interviews can make for great talk radio, and actually get more listeners curious and interested in your book. If a host starts throwing punches at you on the air, throw yourself into the fight. Trust me, you will have a good time. When your juices get flowing, you will be more animated and colorful, listeners will love it and books will sell.

We are all Sinners

Book promotion is a distinctly human process. It is an emotional, scary, exciting and stimulating experience. Authors promoting a book will, at various times, experience both disappointment and excitement. All authors will also be tempted to “sin” at various times in a campaign. As a publicist, I expect this and understand it. I am usually successful at coaxing our authors away from the “dark side.”

As in life, recognizing the sins of publicity, and stopping them before they cause problems is key. Book promotion is more a marathon than a sprint, and because of this, the opportunities to veer into negative promotional behaviors are many.

You can always atone for your sins by getting back on track, enjoying the ride, and realizing you are involved in a wonderful experience.

About the Author
Dan Smith is the president of Smith Publicity, a full service book promotion and public relations agency with offices in New Jersey, New York, and London. He has personally directed more than 500 promotional campaigns since 1997. Clients of Smith Publicity have appeared on virtually every major radio and television show, and have been featured in top newspapers, magazines and Internet outlets across the country. For questions, comments or a consultation about your book, contact Smith Publicity at info@smithpublicity or call 856-504-0136.

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