Five Proven Tips That Will Sell Your Books

    November 5, 2004

Nearly any author or publisher can promote a book to bestseller status. All it takes is a little patience, a good plan, and a whole lot of following up on the details.

Since every book is different, and there are many market niches, it is impossible to use a “one size fits all” approach to book promotion. However, there are some strategies that work for most authors, most of the time.

Here’s five we’ve used again and again to promote books.

1. Pick a market and FOCUS

When asked who their book should be sold to, most authors give a one word answer: “anyone”… or, at best, “anyone” in some broad range. The truth is, no book will be sold to everyone.

The more you focus your nich, the better chance you’ll have or reaching book buyers. It’s like being a big fish in a little pond.

You cannot target too small of a market segment. If you can target all the 34 year old work-at-home dads that like to wear hats, go for it. In fact, make that 34 year old work-at-home dads that to wear hats and read. You can always add 35 year olds, small business, single guys in ski masks later.

2. Look like you are in the business.

When you identify yourself a self publisher or first time author, that exactly how you’ll be treated.

I’d never suggest misleading the bookstores, distributors, media and reading public, just tell the truth about the yourself in advance.

Do you plan on releasing a series of books? Will you be building to a national media tour? Put that in your plans and tell people that. Then follow up with the things that real business people do, business cards, web site, professional phone answering.

It’s not a bluff.. you really do become your plan.

3. Make every story about your story.

When talking to the press, remember that the media doesn’t want to hear about you and your book. They really want to get viewers and listeners so they can get better ratings that will keep their jobs and sell advertising sponsors.

How do they do this? By providing valuable information that their audience is looking for. So make sure you tell them that you have what they want.

When you pitch a story, make it about current events, popular topics and the target audience of the particular show you want to be on. If you have valuable information they are looking for, they’ll book you.

Then, once your on the air, don’t give answers like “it’s all in my book”. Remember, it’s all about the them and their audience. Offer as much content as you possibly can in the time allotted. Answer their questions, and they’ll want to have to back.

The more you give, the more they’ll want.

4. Use direct marketing

Mark Victor Hansen said “In book marketing, 95% of the work comes after the book is printed. Mark recommends that you build an information empire by treating the book as a product that needs to be marketed.

Every book should have a web site, and every author should have a mailing list. On the web site, make sure that you offer bonus information or extra materials to everyone that signs up for your newsletter.

Selling a book may or may not make you rich. Building a mailing list of people interested in your topic, can create ongoing wealth. We have authors who break even on book sales, they are using the book as a lead generator, getting more people on their mailing lists, because the list is so profitable on the back end.

Once you understand that your book is a product, you realize you are open to whatever works to sell a product, a “bounce back” coupons, premiums, direct mail or even yellow page advertising. Build a list, and you’re building an empire.

5. Use Endorsements and Testimonial

A reader should expect to get value from your book, but with all the hype in today’s market they’ll have trouble believing you and your book cover description. That’s why endorsements and testimonials are so powerful.

Hopefully, you have a forward, along with endorsements for your book. Put them on the inside and outside of your book. These can be repeated on your web site, and in your other direct marketing.

But don’t stop there. Approach others to get endorsements, reviews and testimonials. Encourage them to post a testimonial on Amazon, or another online service and give you permission to reprint them.

You’ll find that most people are happy to recommend or write favorably about your book. And once do, they tend to be more open to other things, like an announcement to their own mailing list or joint venture.

Using these five tips will certainly create more buzz, increase sales and build your reputation. Apply five, repeat them often, and make sure you keep each going.. adding more marketing as you go. When you do, you will see results.

Warren Whitlock, the Marketing Results Coach, a #1 bestselling author himself, has worked with hundreds of authors, promoting many to bestseller status. You can receive more tips at his web site