There are a lot of really amazing things you can do to promote your book.
Here are a few ideas you may have heard of:
- Host a video series on YouTube
- Create PDF excerpts of your book
- Host a live webinar on your book’s topic
- Release a top-notch book trailer
- Run a special discount sale
The possibilities are endless!
Here’s the truth, though: most of these promotions will fail.
Most great content never gets seen
I’ve been on conference calls with an author and their publisher in which they argue and deliberate over every nuance of a book trailer that probably less than 100 people will ever watch.
More bad news: most blogs are hardly ever read. And most podcasts get just a few dozen listens.
How does this happen?
In Your First 1000 Copies, I argue that the #1 thing you should be doing as an author is growing an email list of your readers. It’s the best way to communicate with them long-term.
Let’s back up and look at it from a different perspective. The main thing an email list is doing is creating a direct channel to your readers.
It gives you access to them, so you can get their attention when you have something new to talk about – a blog post, a new podcast episode, or a new book. It’s a direct way to let your audience know you have something new going on.
What is your channel?
A few months ago, a guy named Bryan Cohen reached out to me. He was putting together a Facebook promotion for a bunch of different authors, offering their books at a discount for one day.
I agreed to be a part of it, and as a result, sold more than 300 copies of my book in a single day.
Brian created a channel that brought new people directly to my book. The one-day discount by itself wasn’t enough. I had to use the right kind of channel to promote it.
When I publish this blog post, a few people will see it by chance. But it will mostly sit in obscurity until I email my list to let them know it’s available. (Thanks everyone!)
My email list is the channel that brings people directly to my blog post. The blog itself is not enough. I have to have a channel through which to promote it.
A lot of authors see the huge success Tim Ferriss has had with his book trailers, such as the one for The 4-Hour Body, which has now received over 1 million views. They decide they want to do a book trailer just like his, and they’re disappointed when it falls flat.
The difference is, Tim has a huge following – and a huge email list that he uses to promote his book trailers.
Just creating the book trailer is not enough. You have to have a channel through which to promote it.
I often see writers get absorbed in the different tools and events they use to promote their book. Meanwhile, they forget to create a channel, a reliable way to contact their target audience.
With everything you create, the question to ask yourself is: “How am I going to make sure people know this exists?”
Who is your audience?
In fact, you could reverse the process – find an audience first, then create something perfect for them.
Over the last several months I’ve done several webinars and Google+ hangouts for several different platforms. For each of these, before I went live, I did my research.
I studied the platform to find out who that topic’s audience was and what they normally talk about. I was then able to take my content and craft it in a way that would be the most helpful for that particular group.
So start with your audience. Who is going to want to see this content?
Create something that is perfect for them. Then create a channel, such as an email list, so you can contact that audience whenever you have anything new to share.
Your work should never exist in a vacuum.
You’re working hard to create great content, so don’t let it go to waste!
Make sure you are looking for and identifying new channels, new ways to reach your audience, so you can reap the greatest returns possible from your work!
May 2, 2014