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Feb 04, 2005
How To

How to Market Your Business Book (Your Publisher Probably Won't)

SUMMARY: Having a published book can rev up your consulting career or agency. Prospective clients are often tremendously impressed. However, the sad fact is fewer than 5,000 copies of the average marketing book are sold before the title is put out to pasture in remainder bins.

If you're a first-time author, chances are your book won't get much attention from your publisher because you're not a sure-enough bet. It's up to you to make the difference. Here are a few practical tips, plus some useful hotlinks for more info:
Publishing a book increases credibility and helps bring in paying clients -- but marketing your book can be a challenge.

First-time authors tend to become discouraged when they realize that publishers don't spend much time or money turning books into bestsellers for anyone but the highest echelon author.

The bottom line is, whether you're published by a mainstream publishing house, a small university press, or are self-published, the job of marketing your book falls squarely on you.

We talked with Ned Barnett, public relations/marketing consultant to the publishing industry, about two areas on which to focus in order to become a media darling (whether your publisher helps you or not).

Area #1. Pitching the media

Barnett offers three tips:

a. “Snakepits to Avoid…”

You already know your subject line is supposed to be compelling. Barnett likes to use the phrase “7 Deadly Sins,” or “Snakepits to Avoid.”

So if you've written a book called “Technology Project Management: 10 Pitfalls to Avoid,” your subject line might read, "7 Deadly Sins in Technology Project Management."

Follow that up with: “There are seven deadly sins and three other pitfalls that project managers want to avoid when implementing new technology. Everyone wants to achieve results quickly, but that can sometimes lead to disaster.”

b. Give two options

"Try to go for one or two things that are easy to say 'yes' to," such as an interview or a column, Barnett says.

Your pitch might say, “I can write a column that boils one of the pitfalls down to 750 words, OR, I’m available for interview. Do either of these options interest you?

“If not, is there some other way we might work together?”

c. Submit a pre-written book review

Here’s a nifty trick we’ve never heard before. Most editors are swamped and don’t have time to do everything they want to do. Barnett suggests contracting someone credentialed in the field to write a book review about your book -- and then include it when you send it to be reviewed.

This allows editors to run a thoughtful review of the book without ever having to read it.

If you don’t have a friend in the field whom you can ask, try university professors. “They’re usually for hire and not that expensive,” Barnett says. “And anybody who’s an academic is assumed credible to write a book review.”

Your pitch wouldn’t say, of course, “Forget the book, just run the enclosed review.” Instead, try this: “I know your time is precious and, much as you may want to, you may not have time to read the book. If that’s the case, I’ve enclosed a review, already cleared for publication by the author. Of course, if you’d like to write your own review, I’d be thrilled.”

Area #2. Create marketing allies

Associations are always looking for ancillary income so they don’t have to raise member dues. Books they can sell to their members -- or give away as a member benefit -- often go over well.

You can form a deal between your association and your publisher that the association would buy 1,000 copies of your book specially branded with the association’s name (example: "The Technology Business Association’s Guide to Technology Project Management: 10 Pitfalls to Avoid”).

The publisher benefits by being guaranteed the sales of the special print run (which also brings down their cost per copy) and the association gets a branded book to sell.

This also gives you as the author a better opportunity to promote yourself through the association by speaking at trade shows and publishing in the newsletter.

Another example: If you're a regular contributor to a trade publication, consider a deal between the magazine and the publisher to co-brand the book ("Industry Week's Guide to Technology Project Management: 10 Pitfalls to Avoid”).

Useful links related to this article:

John Kremer's Book Marketing Blog (Our favorite on this topic):

Book Marketing Works - Booklets and consulting for authors who want to sell into "non-traditional" markets:

How to Get Happily Published -- Info on Judith Applebaum's book which is widely hailed as best-in-class:

Authors: How to Get Your Business Book Published -- a special report by MarketingSherpa's staff:

Barnett's site

See Also:

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