So, You Want to Write a Book? Marketing

You’ve done it! You’ve written and published your book. That is such a fantastic accomplishment, and you should be so proud of yourself. There is only one more thing to do: that is to let the world know that your book exists and how they can buy it. This is called marketing, and while it is presented as the last step in your process, you should have been thinking about it from the very beginning. That is the pre-marketing stage in which you let people on your email list and social media followers know that the book will soon be available. You can blog about it and even advertise it on Facebook and any other social media sites you frequent.

The point is to start talking about it way before your publishing date. Then of course, by the time you are holding the book in your hands, you will have already planned your launch. There are whole books out there on how to launch a book, and there are certainly a million sources of advice if you just search “how to plan a book launch” on your favorite search engine.

Assuming that you have done all of the above, let’s talk about the nuts and bolts of marketing. If you’ve never done it before, marketing may seem overwhelming, but remember how overwhelming the prospect of writing a book was before you started? First, you need a marketing plan, which doesn’t have to be twenty pages long. In fact, you can fit the whole thing on one piece of paper. At the top of the page are three boxes, which are going to be the foundation of your plan.

Three Key Statements

It’s important to be able to explain what your book is about and what it will do for the reader in a single sentence, for two reasons: 1) it clarifies in your mind exactly what you’re writing about, 2) and it provides a simple answer to the question people will ask you when they know you’re writing a book. Your book is a promise to your reader: what she can expect, what she will learn or gain, how she will benefit. Finally, you must have a very clear picture of who your ideal reader is.

Your book is not for everyone, although you may think it has universal appeal. You need to be having a conversation with a single person whom you can picture sitting across from you as you write. Everything you do to market your book must be consistent with those three boxes. In other words, you can’t wander off your topic, you must stay true to your mission or promise to the reader, and you must always keep that reader front and center in your mind. Those three boxes are the heart of everything that comes next.

Your Goal

Next is your overarching goal—what you want to achieve. Is it to be number one on Amazon, build a successful speaking business, or become a thought leader in your field. (Let’s assume it’s the third one).


Whatever your goal is, the next question is how are you going to reach it? The answer is with three well-thought-out strategies. A strategy is a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim. A strategy is big picture. For example, if your goal is to become a thought leader—someone viewed by colleagues and peers as an experienced, successful, authority in your field—what is it going to take to achieve that? Here are three possible strategies you might choose.


Tactics are concrete actions— things you will actually DO to move you closer to each of your strategies. The question you should be asking yourself is what is it going to take to establish myself as an expert on the subject of my book? One tactic should be to research people you consider to be thought leaders, visit their websites, read their blogs, check them out on their favorite choice of social media, and emulate their behavior. What are they doing that is working? What are people saying in their comments? What are their reputations, as far as you can determine?

If you’re thinking that this is way more work then you had envisioned, consider how much time, energy, and money you invested in writing and publishing your book. If you don’t market it, what you have is a very expensive memento to put on your bookshelf that no one will ever read unless you lend them your copy.

Writing, publishing, and marketing your book is a process that requires determination and discipline. There are significant steps in this process; every single one of them is important. You wouldn’t spend six months to a year writing your book and having it professionally edited, only to slap an amateurish cover on it or have it printed at Office Depot. Similarly, you wouldn’t invest your heart and soul into something you did not intend to share. If that were your goal, you could have just kept a journal.

So, let the world know about your book. There was a reason you wrote it, a promise you made to your readers. You can’t keep that promise unless you commit yourself to the real and important work of marketing.


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So You Want to Write a Book? Publishing

Have you thought about how your book will be published? Wherever you are in the process, it is not too soon to consider your options. But first, you need to know what those options are so you can choose the one that is best for you, your book, and your budget.

If you are a new author, you may not know a lot about publishing. When you look at shelf full of books in a bookstore, all you see are their spines, all neatly lined up in alphabetical order. Publishers manage to squeeze quite a bit of information onto those spines, including the name of the book, the author, and the publisher. The Big 5 book publishers—Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan Publishers, Penguin Random House, and Simon and Schuster— are all based in New York City, the US hub of book publishing. Read more ›

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So, You Want to Write a Book? The Competition

There are two sides to choosing a timely topic for your book: The upside is that you can ride the wave of what’s going on in the world, knowing that people are interested in that subject; the downside is that you have to time it just right. Too soon is not good because people may not be tuned into it yet. Too late and you are playing catchup. What makes this particularly tricky is that some authors have an uncanny sense of timing and nail it every time. Read more ›

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So, You Want to Write a Book? Your Ideal Reader

What is your target market? Who are you writing this book for? Who will benefit the most from reading it? Who will love it enough to recommend it to friends or write a great review on Amazon? These questions are different ways of asking who is your ideal reader? The answer to this question is NOT everyone. You are not writing this book for everyone. Everyone will not benefit from reading it. And everyone will not love it. This may come as a shock to you if you have what you believe to be a universal theme—an idea that will resonate with all readers… Read more ›

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So, You Want to Write a Book? Your Idea

First, let me clarify that I am talking about nonfiction books, as opposed to novels or fantasy or horror or science fiction or poetry or anything else that is a product of your imagination. William Zinsser, who wrote the definitive volume on the art of nonfiction writing, explains that “nonfiction writers are those of us who are trying to write well about the world we live in.” Read more ›

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