Guest Blog By Barb Stuhlemmer
To write or not to write, that is a question I believe every person comes to at some point. We all enjoy storytelling and have stories of our own we like to share. Most people are content not to put their stories to pen, but those of us who do, have only finished half the work. The purpose of telling a story, whether in a story circle or written down in the form of a book, is for someone else to hear the story. I have run into people in the past that say that they are just happy to have written the book. But for what purpose? Do they think it will be their legacy? No, not if no one else ever reads it. And this is where marketing comes in.
Marketing is the act of telling people about what you have to share in a way that will entice them to purchase it. Whether you are self-published or picked up by a traditional publisher, or any combination of the two, you will be required to tell people about what you have to share. It is a misconception that when your book is published by a traditional publisher, they will look after the marketing. Marketing a book is the responsibility of the author, especially when you are unknown. Here is what I’ve learned about marketing my book that has helped me increase my credibility as an expert in my field, open more doors for speaking opportunities, allow me to sell more books, and make more money.
As a first-time author with a small following online, I had the foundation to create the interest I needed to sell my new book. I am going to talk about one marketing opportunity you will need to focus on—your book launch—in detail, and then mention some other opportunities you may use to further your reputation and sales later on.
The Book Launch
The book launch date, which is an arbitrary date chosen by you, is used to focus interest on your new book so you can have a chance to become a bestseller and increase the credibility of your writing skill. It is important to use the time leading up to this date to create interest and desire for your book. To do that you need these three things:
- A Book Brand
“Brand” is a word that is used in business. Creating a brand around your business is a way for people to recognize and understand the values you bring to them and helps them identify your product as something they want to purchase. The good news (or bad, depending on how you look at this) is that your book is a business endeavour. You have a product you want other people to purchase. It may be a small business, but all the fundamentals required to run a larger business are true for you as a book author. You will have a target audience, people who will want to purchase your book because of reasons like, they like the genre or the content you teach. You will need an accounting system to keep track of books you purchase and sell so you can tell how much money you make. You will need to make sales calls (“argh”, I can hear you screaming) to get in front of your audience. And you will need a brand. This includes an image, like your logo, or your title, and the language you use to describe your style and the book, so people can recognize your book, and you.
My book is traditionally published, but the publisher wanted to design the book cover himself. Although his company had created many covers, I had particular ideas about how I wanted to express my brand through my book cover, and I felt a professional graphic designer would be better aligned with my vision for my book and my business, and, in particular, for my brand. I therefore sought and obtained my publisher’s permission to hire my own graphic designer to do this work.
Let me point out some key brand details about this cover:
- The use of coffee and coffee beans aligns with small business owners because they often find themselves working from and holding meetings at coffee shops.
- The coffee cups look like two eyes, one not yet awake (kind of sleepy looking) and the second fully awake. Again coffee is a stimulant and will do that, but the book is about becoming awake, so this image supports the learning inside the book
- The beans are shown rising from left to right. Since we read from left to right, this indicates a rise and parallels a financial chart showing an increase in revenue.
When I went to my book launch I had gifts for draws from a coffee shop on cards covered in coffee beans, bookmarks that looked like the book cover, business cards that looked like the book cover, and free online resources that also look like the book cover, using the same key details.
Stay tuned for Part Two of Barb’s blog, where she’ll look more deeply at the specific things you might want to consider when planning to market your book!
About the Writer:
Barb Stuhlemmer is the author of Entrepreneur Awakening: Making the Move from Employee to Business Owner. She specializes as a confidant and advisor to the CEOs of small incorporated businesses, to manage the planning and implementation of strategic growth. Her clients have experienced as much as 800% increase in as short as 11 months of working with her.