By Chip R. Bell
Ralph Waldo Emerson was wrong! Now, before we get in hot water with teachers of American literature, let’s set the record straight. Ralph was often misquoted. He never mentioned anything about a better mousetrap. What he said was, “If a man has good corn or wood, or boards, or pigs, to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles or church organs, than anybody else, you will find a broad hard-beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods.” Emerson was still dead wrong!
In Emerson’s day, people’s lives revolved largely around a village. Everyone pretty much knew everyone within miles. Gossip started at the blacksmith shop could easily reach the ears of about everyone within a day. Today, no matter how great your book happens to be, if your marketplace does not know about it, not even a few people will beat a path to your door. You must become a perpetual, hard-working marketer of your new book.
Today, book selling starts with the Internet and social media.
Create a Buzz
Marketing your new book begins long before you finish writing it. It starts with clearly identifying the main folks likely to be interested in your book topic. Think about what your target audience reads, what websites they visit, and the people they are likely to know. Brainstorm ways to get your book (or excerpts from your book) in front of them. Pull out short teaser chapters and find ways to place them in newspapers, magazines, or blog sites likely read by your audience.
Speak at conferences attended by your audience as well as before their civic and church groups. Always use a handout that includes information about and/or from your new book. Make certain your teasers have the words, “Adapted from the forthcoming book…” at the end. If you have a business card, put a photo of the book cover on the back.
Build a Platform
A platform tells your audience who you are and what you are about. And, your book is obviously a part of that platform. Your platform might include a website where book buyers can learn about your book, perhaps even order a copy. Write a regular blog for your website which gives readers a reason to come back. Make sure your name at the end of all your emails mentions your website address and information about your book. Make sure your contact information is at the end of your book.
Consider getting a memorable email address (called a vanity URL) instead of a Gmail or Yahoo domain address. JohnG@gmail.com is not a promotional email address. However, firstname.lastname@example.org carries a totally different message. Once you have your own domain, you can build an inexpensive website. Drive traffic to your website by including it with everything you make public. Create a short newsletter that goes to your email list.
To be continued on Monday with Growing a Network…
Chip R. Bell is the author of nine national and international best-selling books that have won numerous book awards. His newest book is Book Mark: How to Be an Author available through the Georgia Writers Museum (www.georgiawritersmuseum.com). He can be reached at chipbell.com.