Like many first-time authors preparing to launch their book into the world, I’ve been studying potential ways to make my book stand out from the crowd. After all, there are thousands upon thousands of books that are released each year. If you’re not a celebrity or promoting your book on your show every day, do you stand a chance?
Complicating my goal is the fact that my book is in a rare class of books that is difficult to categorize. It’s a self-help and a success book for you personally or your business, but it’s also written as fiction. I wanted to write a book that you would read on a plane, and I know that most professionals want an escape from the typical business book—not to mention that the research shows we remember a story much more than we do a list of facts.
Violate the Imagination Rule
Brainstorming promotion ideas with a small team, we landed on one that is somewhat controversial: the book trailer. Many authors will tell you that a book should allow the reader to start from a mental blank slate. A book trailer goes against that rule, pushing images into your thoughts before you’ve had the chance to create and connect characters and settings. Business book authors also tend to have trailers that are more explanatory or even a mini-lecture.
I’ve decided to do both, violating what I call the imagination rule.
First, I allowed leeway in the making of the trailer. It isn’t a replica of the script, much like a movie isn’t always duplicative of the book. In this way, you can watch the trailer but, because of the difference in the words, create your own version. I hope you watch and enjoy the trailer above to The Book of Mistakes: 9 Secrets to Creating a Successful Future.
Second, I am releasing videos that explain the book in a more non-fiction way. These will be more descriptive of the benefits of reading the book. They will include reasons: we more naturally learn from others’ mistakes instead of their successes. We often are frustrated with not achieving our goals.
(Compare the two videos above and below and see how each targets a different audience.)
Have you written a book but need some marketing tips?
How do you get the message out about your work?
How to Increase Online Effectiveness
Today it’s not only about the manuscript but also about how to get the word out about your book. Online marketing and social media have upended the traditional methods to market an author. Today, your effectiveness online is crucial to the success of your book.
In my own experience in the book business, I have seen the shift to social media and the rise of the author’s platform as major marketing tools. One of the notable experts in this field is Fauzia Burke. Fauzia is the founder and president of FSB Associates, an online publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. She’s the author of Online Marketing for Busy Authors: A Step-by-Step Guide. Fauzia has promoted the books of authors such as Alan Alda, Arianna Huffington, Deepak Chopra, Melissa Francis, S. C. Gwynne, Mika Brzezinski, Charles Spencer and many more.
I recently asked Fauzia to share her wisdom about the best ways to market a book online.
“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” -John F. Kennedy
You’ve personally witnessed online developments from inception to today’s social and mobile world. Compare and contrast today to pre-online. How is the world different for authors today?
Oh, wow. Everything has changed . . . the most significant being that there’s never been a better time to be an author. Now, for the first time in the history of publishing, authors have direct access to their readers. Social media has changed the publishing landscape. While there is more competition in the marketplace today, there are more opportunities than ever before.
The new accessibility of social media allows authors to reach their audience directly, and this makes a long-term online marketing strategy absolutely essential for authors. The key to success for authors today is to build and grow their platform long-term. If they earn the trust of their readers, they can do anything.
“There’s never been a better time to be an author.” –Fauzia Burke
What are some of the biggest misconceptions authors have when it comes to book publicity?
Many people feel book publicity is not quantifiable. I disagree with that notion. We can absolutely quantify the effects of publicity. When book publicity works, we see an increase in sales. Today, we can also judge the value by an increase in social media visibility and more traffic to an author’s site. Unfortunately, we can’t often duplicate success or land book sales each time. How a book resonates with its audience is magic. We can’t make people buy a book, a fact that is more frustrating to us as publicists than to anyone.
The other misconception is that there is a short launch period when an author gets media hits and goes on a book tour, and then an author moves on until the next book. That is just not the case anymore. Book publicity is a marathon, not a sprint. Authors are expected to engage with their readers whether they have a book to push or not.
Josh Charles, an actor on the TV series The Good Wife said when he exited the show: “I think that the beauty of social media is the ability to stay in touch with the fans and share with them what they’re going through and let them know that I’m there and the character may be gone, but I’m still involved in the show.” Authors too start a conversation with their community that is ongoing and lasting. It can’t stop at the end of a book tour.
“How a book resonates with its audience is magic.” –Fauzia Burke
Work on an online marketing strategy. The few authors that have become huge bestselling successes without a digital or social strategy are anomalies. Most of us need to work on online branding every day for the success of our businesses, books and careers. I encourage authors to develop their online brands. Online marketing is not about selling; it’s about making buying easier. It’s about forming real connections.
Authors need to have a professional website. Your website will be your home base for your digital marketing efforts, and it is critical to your credibility. People do judge a book by its cover and an author’s expertise and quality of their writing by the look of their website.
Be patient. If you are a little overwhelmed by the rapidly changing world of online marketing, you are not alone. Remember all of us, experts and novice, are learning as we go. You don’t have to become a social media strategist to be effective. By using the most important online marketing outlets for your audience in a targeted way, your book, brand and bottom line will benefit.
“No matter what your pursuit, the most fulfilling part is sharing it with others.” -Eli Broad
My perception is that, after writing the book, most authors breathe a sigh of relief and think “It’s done!” and then they learn the real work is ahead of them. Is that your experience? How do you ease them into the reality of what’s ahead?
Ah, yes. Of course, for every author, writing their book is a labor of love and incredibly hard work, and so understandably they exhale a sigh of relief when the book writing process is finished. It’s tough to immediately say, “Wait until you see the work that’s still ahead.” We all complain about social media because it’s time consuming, but it’s the way the world has changed, and as authors, we need to change with it. We have to adapt. Once authors embrace the need to change with the times, I tell them some good news:
You don’t have to do everything.
You don’t have to constantly switch directions to follow the next shiny thing.
You get an unprecedented opportunity to build a community of interested readers who want to support your success.
It’s really a privilege to be able to talk to people and form relationships with your readers. I think authors breathe a sigh of relief when they realize the best way to engage effectively online is to be authentic.
“It’s a privilege to be able to talk to people and form relationships with your readers.” –Fauzia Burke
If you think branding is a logo or an advertising campaign, think again. You may think you don’t “do” branding, but then you will miss learning some incredibly important business ideas—because corporate branding means more, and all of us have a personal brand.
Denise, when most people think of branding, they think of a television commercial, an internet ad or a new logo. It’s ironic to me that branding itself is not branded properly. Your book completely redefines what great branding is. Why do most people have the wrong impression about branding?
Branding actually refers to the practice of putting a symbol on a thing – ranchers used to brand their cattle with a unique mark to indicate their ownership. The practice was then adopted by companies selling products. They developed logos to put on their products to distinguish them and to signal which companies made them. Over time these symbols became cues of product quality and meaning – people would assume a product from a particular company had a level of quality consistent with the company’s past or other products, and they would attribute some meaning to it when they associated the logo with it. Marketers worked hard to develop compelling logos and strong positive associations with them.
So technically the understanding of branding as a business practice is still correct, but it’s clear that the value of branding has diminished. It’s no longer enough to develop a creative logo or to launch clever marketing campaigns to express what your brand stands for. Companies must execute on their brand identities too. Today’s savvy customers can see through a branding veneer, so a company must translate its brand vision into customer reality.
Let’s touch on a few of your branding principles to give a flavor for your unique approach to brand-building. The first is great brands start inside—with culture. Why is organizational culture the starting point?
Culture is the necessary first step when you want to define or re-define your brand because culture is what ensures your employees understand and embrace what your brand stands for and understand their roles in interpreting and reinforcing your brand. So great brands rally their people around common cultural values and use their brands to focus, align, and optimize the inner workings of their organizations.
Brad Meltzer is a New York Times best-selling author of numerous books including The Inner Circle, The Tenth Justice, and TheBook of Fate. His newest book, The Fifth Assassin will be released January 15th.
In addition to his many thrillers, he has also written two non-fiction books and is the author of two critically acclaimed comic books. He’s the co-creator of the TV show Jack & Bobby. If you’ve never read his books, you may have seen him on Brad Meltzer Decoded on the History Channel. And it doesn’t stop there. He’s also created his own inspirational clothing line.
In this nine-minute video interview, we cover a number of topics:
What thriller writer inspired Brad to be a novelist?
Knowing Brad and all of his many accomplishments, I decided to write down the first five “success factors” that came to my mind. These may apply to Brad but clearly are important for success no matter what you do.
1. Total immersion. If you read the books or watch the shows, you will see it. He becomes immersed in his work.
David and Marhnelle Hibbard have just released Soar Selling, a new book designed for anyone in sales. And, in my opinion, all of us are in sales and can benefit from learning the techniques in books like this one. The subtitle is, “How to Get Through to Almost Anyone-the Proven Method for Reaching Decision Makers,” but it’s more comprehensive than that subtitle suggests. It’s a must read for anyone in the world of selling.
I recently had the opportunity to ask David and Marhnelle about SOAR and their observations of the world of selling.
First, what does the SOAR acronym stand for?
It stands for “Surge of Accelerating Revenue” because when organizations install SOAR… revenue ‘surges!’ – It’s about driving net new business. Through years of training sales, we have seen client attrition in organizations, mergers, economic shifts, loss of major accounts, etc….as a result, it is critical to consistently drive new business to protect base revenue! So SOAR is about driving strategic call activity to potential new clients.
As your subtitle suggests, you have methods for getting to decision makers in this book. It’s impossible in a quick interview to delve into all of the tactics and methods for doing that, so we will briefly touch on that and then hit other areas. What have you observed is the biggest problem for sales people reaching decision makers?
Multiple, but one of the primary is their “mindset.” Salespeople often approach making the call with an attitude of “TRY” or even worse…“I don’t think I’ll get through – I’ll probably get blocked or the receptionist is out to get me.”
Mindset and attitude figure prominently in your teaching. Tell us more about mindset.
“If you think you can or your think you can’t …either way you are right.” We teach the techniques of getting through and there is a specific formula SOAR reveals; however, the power of mindset and strategic SOAR mechanics ends up defining results!