Want to sell more copies? Awareness is key. | Blurb Blog

Want to sell more copies? Awareness is key.
15 Dec 2015

Want to sell more copies? Awareness is key.

You have just finished your self-published book. Now what? If you’re looking to sell your book—whether it’s a memoir, photography tome, or cookbook—you need to drive awareness of your project. How you get it done is simple: Explore every avenue possible to get exposure. And, yes, it actually is that easy. Here’s how it’s done.

Create a website:
When Elinor Griffith released her new book, The Virtues of Cooking, she promoted it on her own website, and created a site for the book, www.thevirtuesofcooking.com.

“When I was in the final stages of producing the book, I knew I needed to have a website just for the book, and it had to be spectacular,” Griffith says. “I wanted people to see the book and want to buy it, but give them an experience at the same time. The site should be something that looks good on all screens—computer, tablets, phones—and clearly articulates the story at the same time.”

Most important to include are the popular search words that are useful for your website, so that people can find you during random online searches. This is especially crucial if you are selling your book on Amazon. “Having the personal website is great but creating a book website further credentials the book,” Griffith says.

Get social:
It’s clear that using social channels to get the word out about almost anything is a must-do for anyone in business. Social is, after all, another media outlet. Forget the term “social media.” It’s media. Period.

Establish an online presence and remain active throughout the promotional life of your book. Besides starting a Facebook page and a LinkedIn Group for your book title, you should grow your digital footprint on Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest. Ask your connections to like, share, tweet, retweet, and pin. Not only will you have people talking about your book, you can establish contacts for any future books or projects. You’ll likely receive third party endorsements that you can share and retweet.

Another channel to explore is YouTube, where you can create compelling, promotional videos with a smartphone and post in a matter of minutes. You could present a short “how to” video about how you made your book, what tools you used, and helpful hints. Leverage your expertise. If you’ve written a cookbook, do a brief cooking segment. Photography? Showcase your work. When you integrate video with your other social channels, you’ll be able to spread the word, drive awareness, traffic, and views.

Griffith is promoting her book on both her Facebook and LinkedIn pages, but is also utilizing video opportunities, thanks to two of her media appearances, which we’ll get to.

Get out there and go:
Don’t forget that face-to-face contact is still a great way to do business. Make sure you are attending relevant industry events and engaging with everyone you meet.

Griffith has been busy working her connections with libraries, bookstores, and her alma mater. “I get to know people who know the owners of bookstores and they sent them notes about me and how the event could be promoted,” she says. “I have an event coming up on December 16 at RJ Julia, in Madison, Connecticut. It’s one of the largest indie bookstores in the country.

“I am also chatting with the folks at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for a talk with student communities next spring.”

Additional in-person opportunities are coming through Griffith’s connections in the business world. She knows someone at financial services giant Merrill Lynch, which has invited her to host a small talk for some of their clients just before the holidays. “It’s all about pulling people together as a community to talk about the book and how it will resonate with them,” she says. “We’ll pair wine and cheese and have a fun chat about food and drink ideas for holiday entertaining.”

Griffith is also excited about an upcoming cooking presentation at a family resort, from another one of her connections. In addition to her cooking demo, she will be spending time with some of the guests, answering their questions, chatting up all things culinary, and her books will be for sale in the resort gift shop.

Probably the most significant event Griffith held was a The Virtues of Cooking book launch at a local civic center that is known for celebrating the writing community in New York. “I invited my family, friends, friends of friends, acquaintances, and press,” Griffith says. “With the press folks, even if they could not attend, they were very eager to follow-up.”

Use the power of the press:
This is where Griffith’s efforts really paid off. “People who I had invited that weren’t able be there, but wanted to follow up, opened the door to several media opportunities,” Griffith says. “I wrote my first piece for the Huffington Post and I’m set to write another in a few weeks, again in another few weeks, stories in the coming months and so forth.”

Griffith then connected with Guideposts Magazine, who ran a story for their six million readers. They also produced a promotional video for Griffith. “This connection came from a friend of a friend, and it gave me my first legitimate boost,” she says. “We had a photo shoot and made a video creating a recipe.”

In addition to her excerpts from the book in Huffington Post and Guidepost, she was able to tap into another resource that proved invaluable: An appearance on the “Chappaqua Library Talk” show, which airs on local television nearly every night of the week. “Every author has a library in their community and often there are media components involved, which is a wonderful resource,” Griffiths says. She is in good company in utilizing this resource, as Chelsea Clinton and Mitch Albom have also appeared on the very same Chappaqua Library TV program.

Another tactic is to write a press release for PRWeb, or any other online news distribution service. These user-friendly services provide simple uploading tools for news releases, photos and videos, and provide a highly effective way to distribute your book news, increase visibility, and attract potential customers. It’s a great way to get some backlinks to your site and garner some press interest.

Know how it all works together:
Having a website, rocking it on social channels, and working connections for events and press coverage are all a part of the integrated publicity efforts you need in your toolkit to really promote your book.

  • Events: This gives a foundation—one thing builds on another. Work your connections with libraries, bookstores, companies, resorts, and industry events. Bring plenty of business cards and know how to describe your book in just a few minutes. If you have the opportunity, do a presentation at a local meet-up group. Provide great information and make sure to have some books on hand in case people ask.
  • Website: A great way to introduce the idea of the book and how the book happened. Give the sense of the process. “A lot of people have books in them,” Griffith says. “They wonder, ‘can I do this? Is it possible?’ I hope everyone knows that yes, they can do this and if I can inspire people, then that’s amazing.”
  • Media: What might not be as obvious when promoting your book is how you can reach out to your regional press and garner media exposure, simply by finding and angle and pitching your story. This can be done by writing guest posts for blogs or landing interviews on radio, television, and print outlets. Find out if there is a local NPR affiliate in your area, and also any regional online publications that target your core customer base.
  • Connections: “You just have to be fearless in leveraging contacts, friends and everyone you know,” Griffith says. “Work all of your angles. Work your friend’s angles. They will go to bat for you—they want you to succeed. I have family in Oregon who I will visit next year, so I’ll work those angles as well, to do some promotion, book fairs and other events.

“Just take it day by day, a little bit at a time and don’t get overwhelmed. I took on this project completely for fun. I don’t want it feel onerous, or heavy. It’s a long haul and something I’m excited to work on for the next couple of years. But keeping the energy going every week towards the success of the book is so worth it.”

Contributing Author

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