Blog Carnival: Advice on Launching First Self Published Book

Many years ago I did a blog carnival and it was a blast.  This is when blogging was still in vogue.  I got an email from Marc Miller, who is writing a book called Repurpose Your Career, and he asked some questions. I invited some people to jump into a blog carnival with me… but then I didn’t follow up on it.  So, it’s an open blog carnival – hopefully a few others will jump in 🙂  See links at the end of my post for others who participated.

Marc asks: Do you have any advice on launching your first self published book?

Yes, I have years of advice 🙂  Where to start… here are some initial thoughts:

  1. Write the book.  But of course, you say, but from experience I know this is very, very difficult.  I know editors who have always wanted to write a book but never do.  I know all kinds of people who want to do it, but they never do it.  Just write the freaking thing.
  2. Choose your title carefully.   For my books I think the title is very important.  For some people I tell them the title will be more important than the rest of the book (and more people will finish reading the title than the book).  For non-fiction I am not sure that the title is as important (or should be as boring… er, as straightforward) as a non-fiction (like my books).
  3. Involve others. I call this pre-marketing, before the book is out.  From quoting people (who might not have ever thought they would be quoted in a print book(!!)) to asking for endorsements, involve as many people who are part of your target audience as you can.  Get them some “ownership” (without them being owner, of course). I believe this will encourage them to become evangelists… that is, people who talk about your book to others.  Think about it… would you rather have ten people who buy your book (and perhaps don’t read it) or ten people who talk enthusiastically to everyone they know about your book?
  4. Understand your goal from the beginning.  Do you want to sell gobs of books and make money from book sales?  Or do you not care about that, and want to get clients (consulting, speaking, etc.)?  Whatever your goals are will have a profound influence on what you do before, and of course after, the book comes out.
  5. Market well, right, and often.  If you thought writing the book was hard (see #1) you are wrong.  It was a freaking cake walk.  The hard thing is to get anyone to buy your book.  Marketing is not a one-time thing.  You must use a CRM tool to keep track of the evangelists you are courting, when you talk with them, when you need to follow-up, etc.  I’ll be completely biased and tell you to use JibberJobber, which is my site, and what I use to do this.  I can talk about marketing all day long, but some of Marc’s other questions touch on it, so I’ll continue with his questions.

I will be looking for speaking engagements for Q1 2013 on the topic of “Baby Boomer Retirement Paradox”.

If you position yourself well (as an author), you shouldn’t have a problem being allowed to speak.  Again, we can talk all day long about this stuff (speaking).

Are you looking for free gigs at job clubs?  If so, why? How will you eventually monetize it?  You won’t even cover gas money by book sales at those clubs.  Maybe you will use your authorship as a way to get into clubs, and then hope that someone from the audience pays you as a coach/consultant… that could work.  That definitely could work, as long as you are a good-enough speaker.

Or, are you looking for paid gigs at other places?  Where?  Who will pay you to talk to what audience?

These are critical questions to answer when it comes to speaking.

I should be in a national print magazine in January 2013 where the book will be mentioned.

I’ve gotten many, many “PR hits,” including a full, real article in U.S. News and World Report.  There are very few exceptions to the following statement: none of them produced any business value (aka, money).

I don’t want to knock your mention.  But don’t hold your breath hoping for sales or anything else.

The only good thing from these hits is you can say “as seen in” or “as mentioned in” and then list all the hits.  That might increase your credibility. But increasing your credibility doesn’t necessarily lead to money.

I am looking for other PR possibilities.

I wouldn’t spend much time on it.  Let me give you an example.  I was on various radio shows where the host claimed they had hundreds of thousands or over one million, listeners.  Had a great, exciting interview.

And NOTHING happened.  Nothing.  Not an increase in hits on my websites, not an increase in sales or inquiries.  Nothing.

Long ago I would get overly excited about these hits, but now I take them in stride.  I can’t get too excited and then let down by what amounts to a no-show, no matter how exciting the PR thing might be.

Oh, but I wish I could have been on Oprah!  And I think being on Glenn Beck would be awesome (and lead to sales).  But I can’t think of any other traditional PR hit that would really excite me.

I am looking for one or two published authors who would be willing to read the book and give me a quote.

Again, see #3 above.  You don’t want a quote from one or two, you want input from dozens and dozens.

And, why just “published authors?”  Look for any thought leader or potential evangelist, regardless of their credentials.

So that’s it… that addresses Marc’s questions.  Here’s who also wrote for this carnival (that I’ve been keeping a secret, only because of being slammed with deadlines!):

Angela Loëb: Advice For Releasing Your First (nonfiction) Book

2 thoughts on “Blog Carnival: Advice on Launching First Self Published Book

  1. Angela Loeb

    “The hard thing is to get anyone to buy your book.” Yep, Jason, you nailed it. Writing it is the easy part. By the way, a book that gave me a reality check and good advice on marketing books is “Bestseller: Must Read Authors Guide To Successfuly Selling Your Book” by George Arnold.

  2. Marc Miller

    I am working pretty hard to promote my book before it is released. I am putting plans in place so that I can be the next “Jason Alba”. 8^)

    I am putting together a presentation or more of a discussion called the “Baby Boomer Retirement Paradox” which sets the stage for the book. I am taking that out to various civic groups in the Central Texas area and plan to spiral out to San Antonio, Dallas and Houston.

    Thanks for the good advice. I am currently implementing several pieces.

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