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A new way to promote your book

Do you have a book? Do you have a site for your book?

Everyone and their dog has a website these days. It’s how we do business.

So when you have a new book, you obviously stick it up on your site for sale.

How is that working for you? No need to answer. It’s not.

I know this because I’ve worked with multiple clients who sell their books on their own sites.

Often they choose to sell the book themselves instead of simply providing a link to Amazon and letting the big guys take care of fulfilment.

The reasons for doing this are many – but they generally come down to the same thing, money.

Amazon takes a whopping 55% of your retail price. So your $20 book becomes an $8 book. And then you have to take care of printing costs.

But compare how many people go to Amazon each day with how many people come to your site.

You can sell 1 or 2 books a weeks yourself or 1 or 2 hundred through Amazon. You make more per copy yourself, but you’ll generally make a lot more money if you sell a lot more books through Amazon.

So then why do you need to have your book on your site?

Well the job of promotion is still yours.

Recently I did some thinking about how authors could promote their books more effectively online.

I think I came up with an interesting approach that may sound counter-intuitive.

Give the book away.

Not all at once. But in dribs and drabs.

I toyed with this concept a few years back with a client. We posted a new chapter each week to a custom site built around the book and also created videos around each of the chapters.

That was way back in 2007 – a million years ago in internet terms.

Last week I reached out to this old client to ask permission to use that content to create a proof-of-concept site where folks sign up to receive a free chapter each week accompanied by a video delivered directly to their inbox.

Each mailing comes with specific calls to actions that encourage people to not wait for the full 15 weeks to accumulate the whole book in separate PDF chapters – and just buy the book from Amazon or grab the ebook from Smashwords.

Have a look at the site – www.promoting-a-book.com.

[Update July 14th 2012: Check out this new one for Craig Price – Realist-Revolution]

Here are the key benefits:

  • A dedicated blog specifically for the book
  • Complete integration into Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin (share with networks, friends etc.)
  • Auto responder let’s anyone sign up at anytime and start at Chapter 1
  • Links on every email encouraging folks to buy
  • List building opportunity.
  • Search engine optimized site

I really think this is an option that most authors should consider. If this is something you might want to explore, send me a note.

So you want to publish a book: self publishing & project management

This series was originally posted in 2008

To self-publish or go with a one of the big guys
One of the first questions I was asked (after how long does a book have to be?) by more than one person was how do you get a book deal? Well, if I’ve learned anything from the last five months, it’s that you don’t need a book deal to get a book published. And frankly, there’s not much hope for an unknown writer sending in an unsolicited manuscript to a large publisher anyway, so it’s really up to you.

For the purposes of this blog series, I’m going to assume that you’re going to self-publish your opus. The risks are great, but the potential reward is greater. Why? You front the money- risk. You keep all the profit – reward.

And for the second question, Moose on the Table was about 52000 words or 120 single spaced pages on MS WORD that came out to a 176 page softcover.

Project management
So you know you’re going to go forward and get the book out there. How do you arrange typesetting, printing, find editors, illustrators, and distribution? A good project manager should be able to help you with all of this and pull together a budget based on what you need. You may be surprised to learn that typesetting and printing costs – while substantial are actually a very small percentage of your overall budget.

With Moose on the Table – we went with Heidy Lawrence and Associates. You can find out more about her operation at www.wemakebooks.ca.

Heidy sourced out 6 different printers to get the best unit cost. She also took care of the typsetting, cover design, and look and feel of the book, from a font and layout perspective. Most importantly, she was able to provide us with a short ist of highly experienced editors and illustrators.

In the end, we went with Donald Bastian as the editor and William Kimber as our illustrator.