You Have to Promote Your Book

I’m an introvert; I get it.

You wrote a book because you don’t actually have time or want to deal with people face to face.

You wrote a book to promote your business and now I’m telling you that you have to promote your book.

How does that help?

A book is a marketing tool. Promoting your book helps you promote your business. The book gives you a reason to be out there marketing. It is something of value that people will benefit from. But they need to know about it. You can’t just throw a book up on Amazon and think people are going to automatically find you. (If I could, I would.)

I am writing this because I have spoken with a number of people lately who want their book to be “one and done.” It seems so simple, doesn’t it? Write the book, go on Oprah, make a million dollars.

And of course, we all know that’s a fantasy.

But we hold onto some variation of this in our heads.

Write the book, put it up on Amazon, have people buy it and then they contact us for our services. Sweet. And you know what? Sometimes that does happen. It’s the exception, not the rule.

If you want people to know about you and your book, you’re going to have to do a little work. (Sorry.)

At Least Do the Basics

A better way to get your desired result is to let people know you wrote a book and tell them how to get it. For those of us who use a book as a marketing tool, it’s not important if our target market pays for the book or gets it for free. (It is important that they actually read it and benefit from it, but that’s a different story.) Our goal is to get our book into as many hands as possible. And that means we have to promote the book.

The steps you can take vary from very simple and free to complicated and expensive. I recommend a combination of approaches when I work with my marketing clients. But let me give you some ideas to get started.

Add a short line about your book to your email signature block along with a link to buy the book. Every time you send an email, people will see that you have written a book and have the opportunity to find out more about it. FREE.

Add “Author” to all your social media profiles along with a link to the book and if possible, an image of the book. You want people to associate your name with the fact that you have written a book. FREE.

Create a promotional meme for your book (or five different ones) that you can post on social media. Don’t know what to say? Take a quote from the book to use as a tip so you give people some value. Add a link to buy the book to the meme. FREE. (Or, if you’re not graphically gifted, $10 — $20 using a service such as Fiverr.)

Donate a print copy of the book as a raffle item at networking meetings. Better yet, raffle it off yourself so you can collect people’s names and email addresses. It runs between $3 and $5 to print a book using a print on demand (POD) platform.

Speak to local or regional groups (your target market, of course) and sell the book at the back of the room. If the group can pay a speaker fee, great. If not, see if they have a “Materials Budget” and offer to sell them enough copies of your book at a reduced rate to give to all the attendees. FREE.

Buy a minimum of 10 copies of your book to have on hand to give to someone who is a good prospect for your services (or better, someone who can put you in front of multiple good prospects). DON’T hand them out to everyone you see. That devalues the book. And you. ($30 — $50 plus shipping.)

Guest on podcasts that have the same target market you do. Offer something for free — whether it is an excerpt of your book, a worksheet or mindmap, or ten tips from your book that will benefit the listeners. Put that information behind an opt-in form so you can collect names and email addresses of people who are interested in your topic. Then follow up with an interesting and informative email series. FREE.

These are basic steps. They are a minimal effort. They are inexpensive or free. If you did ALL of these things, you couldn’t spend $100. No excuses.

Reach into Your Pocket

We have become so tainted by the idea of getting everything for free, especially online, that we are penny-wise and pound foolish. In American terms, we step over dollars to pick up pennies.

You spent a lot of time and effort (both of which cost real dollars, whether you realize it or not) to write and publish your book. You need to take some time and make some effort and yes, spend some money to promote your book, too.

You may have to spend some money on travel, on buying books, for shipping and postage. You might (gasp) look into buying Amazon ads or put an ad in an industry newsletter or pay to play to speak at a large event.

Marketing costs money. Being in business costs money. You can spend your time researching ninja hacks and guerrilla marketing tactics, or finding the cheapest source of everything you need. But time is money, too.

I’m not telling you to throw money at everything that moves. In fact, I repeatedly tell people not to do that. Spend your money wisely: On the tools you will need to make your business run smoothly. On advertising that puts you in front of your target market. On people who can help you shortcut your learning curve.

However, please realize upfront that you will need to spend some time and money to promote your book. If you’re writing a book just to write a book, knock yourself out. But if you’re writing a book to build your business and you’re not willing to actively promote your book, don’t be disappointed when nothing happens.

Barbara is a writer, speaker, and marketing consultant. She specializes in helping business authors leverage their books. Learn how:

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