Category Archives: book promotion

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

How To Sell More Books

I’m starting to get geared up for the next book release… here are two posts I thought were interesting:

HOW TO LAUNCH A BESTSELLING BOOK (Michael Hyatt) – really, really good information about what it means to be a bestseller, etc. Honest, awesome.

25 ways to generate better online book sales – lots of details, lots of technical stuff. Mixing the author’s expertise of SEO and book publishing.

Tim Ferris / Charlie Hoehn on Marketing and Management

I loved this post by Charlie Hoehn, who works with Tim Ferris, on how they marketed Tim’s book.  Tim’s blog is well-known for his indepth posts, and this is one to print and refer back to anytime you think about doing a product launch or relaunch.

It’s long, so I’m going to just link to it here.  It’s mostly about marketing, but there are some nuggets about how Tim “manages” Charlie that are also awesome lessons.

12 Lessons Learned While Marketing “The 4-Hour Body”

Why Write a Book?

I got an email from a friend this morning and she was talking about the books she has inside her that she has thought about writing.  She’s wording about the process: writing, editing, revising, etc.  She didn’t mention PUBLISHING, which should be at the top of her list (although easy to resolve).

In my response to her I said:

“The bigger question is, why do you want to write a book?  Is it to sell the book, or get speaking engagements, or to be known as an expert?”

Let’s break that down:

To make money selling books: Everyone says you don’t make money selling books.  I’m here to tell you, that is not accurate. People make money selling books.  I’m one of them.  Over the last 4ish years my royalty checks have surpassed one year of what I used to make as the general manager of a software company. It’s not enough to live on, but it is a great supplement to my other revenue streams.  I’m expecting the book I’m working on now, 101 Alternatives to a Real Job, to sell a lot.  Each sale will be profitable. I will make money selling books.  And then I’ll get the benefits of the other things listed below.

To get speaking engagements: I told my publisher I had no interest in speaking (or consulting).  Then, a few weeks later, I was offered $5k plus expenses to sit on a panel interview at a conference.  In less than one second I decided that HECK YES I was a professional speaker! Since then I’ve been paid a number of times to speak at conferences, do training for companies, on webinars, etc.  I don’t know the exact figure right now, but since I started speaking I’ve made more than six figures as a professional speaker.

To be known as an expert: I had no idea that writing a book on LinkedIn would make me a “LinkedIn Expert.”  Sounds silly, I know, but that’s not why I did it.  I did it to get exposure for my company (  That worked, but a major side-effect was that I was known, world-wide, as an expert and authority on LinkedIn.  Will being known as an expert help you, somehow, in your career, even if you don’t care about book sales or speaking or consulting?

To just get it out of her mind, and off her bucket list: This is more of a vanity play than anything else… not that that’s bad, but there’s no real reason to do it, other than to say you are an author?

If you have a book in you, and it is just nagging at you to get out, why do you want to do it?  Is it one of these four, or something else?

New Email Signature

I think about these things a lot, especially when I’m speaking.  I think “my heavens, I need a new email signature.”


Because the current one isn’t communicating what I want it to communicate.

Here’s the old one, from this morning:

Any guesses on what each number means?  I’ll list them below, but here’s the new signature:

Here’s what each number is for:

  1. This is a special string of characters I chose to tell JibberJobber to not make anything below it a log entry.  I could change it, and probably will, but this is a very important line, even though it really means nothing to anyone.
  2. I think it’s important to put LinkedIn DVD, instead of just DVD.
  3. I moved this description behind the link, to be consistent with the other lines.
  4. I decided to take this off… my Twitter followers hasn’t necessarily grown, and if you really want to find me you can search for me.  We’ll see if I flop back on this one.
  5. I took the JibberJobber mobile link out… I think there are more important things to communicate…. like the new line for my LinkedIn book!

Luckily I can change things as often as I want… make changes for yourself… if you hate it, you aren’t locked into anything!

Here are other posts one when I changed my signatures:

Today I (tearfully) retire my email signature
A new email signature

Eight Lunches, Second Draft, Instructions

I just finished the second draft of Eight Lunches.  Whew.

If you want to review it, leave a comment here and I’ll email it to you.

Here are the instructions for the review:

  1. I’m sending a word document in case you are dying to leave anything specific in the document (with Track Changes).  I do not want too much of this, though, because last time I was overwhelmed to the point of paralysis and didn’t know how to digest it.  So, do it if you must, otherwise, see #3.
  2. I’m sending it to my editor after I compile the feedback… so don’t worry about grammar, spelling, flow, etc.
  3. I’d love one or two paragraphs, or some bullet points, of your feedback. I’m specifically looking for feedback that will help me make this tighter, better, stronger.  Feel free to be critical and negative… so I can find out what bugs people about what I’ve done.

I think that’s it… pretty simple… again, if you want to see it, please leave a comment on this other post.

I’d like to get this to the editor in the next 30 days… so I’d appreciate any thoughts in the next week or two. If you are a deadline person, consider July 31 your deadline 🙂

Unmarketing, ebooks, ebook readers, book reports, WOW!

I just read a really cool post by author/speaker extraordinaire Scott Stratten THE AWESOMENESS OF BEING A 2.0 AUTHOR. The title didn’t grab me and at first I wasn’t going to read the post but I’m glad I took a few minutes to get hooked.

WOW! Read the post.

Lots of great stuff there, but here’s one thing I didn’t know about… the ability to track what Kindle users highlight (see Scott’s point #3).

I checked out the top books highlighted and here’s what I found… check out each of these links if you want to see what other people highlighted from various top/popular books:

Here are Scott Stratten’s highlights: UnMarketing.

Is this cool or what?  See the front page of this feature here.

Want to be an author?

This is one of the most interesting reads I’ve seen on being an author and the publishing industry.

I’m working on my third book (Eight Lunches) and have a fourth on the back burner. I’m addicted to writing books, I guess.

Check out Thom Singer’s experience and learning from a publishing industry conference: The Changing Faeces of the Publishing Industry.

Eight Lunches Excerpt & Request for Feedback

UPDATE: I am not sending out any more versions of THIS draft, but will send out versions of THE NEXT draft… just leave a comment on this other post and I’ll shoot it to you when I’m ready.  THANK YOU so much for helping me get this far!

I just finished editing (second draft) my third book, which is titled Eight Lunches.  You’ll see why it has that title in the excerpt below, which is essentially the intro (or, chapter zero).

Writing a book is easy and hard.  Okay, maybe it’s just hard… writing isn’t hard for me, but when SHARE my books/ideas with people, very smart people, I become vulnerable (an easy target).  But that’s the way it is… and it’s time to become vulnerable… so here goes… if you want to review my draft just leave a comment on this post and I’ll send you the book (I had people contact me directly but it’s going to be easier if you leave a comment). What I’d like is this:

  • an HONEST review – what did you like or not like?
  • SUGGESTIONS?  What needs to be beefed up?  What am I missing?
  • any grammar fixes needed.
  • confidentiality – please don’t share the book with anyone YET.

I’ll share more of my vision for this book in a future post… here’s the excerpt:


“I’m about ready to wrap it up and get a job,” said Paul, clearly dejected.

“Why? I thought things were going pretty good… what’s really going on with your business?” asked Jason. They were at Kneaders, a local sandwich shop, for their almost-monthly lunch. They started these lunches about a year earlier, after they met at a network meeting and realized they lived in the same neighborhood.

Jason’s business was a couple of years older than Paul’s and Paul asked if they could meet regularly to compare notes and share ideas and leads. They both worked out of home offices so they didn’t get the face-to-face socialization they had at their corporate jobs. There’s nothing wrong with a workday without a commute, or unnecessary interruptions by colleagues, or sharing a community fridge, but both agreed that meeting for lunch with someone who has similar business challenges is more than refreshing.

“Considering how well your business is doing, I’m embarrassed to admit where I’m at. I mean seriously, I read your blog and see all the comments and announcements and can’t even imagine having a business as successful as yours.” Paul was desperate to know how to fix his business but it was hard to open up, or ask for help, from Jason.

“Ha, that’s funny,” Jason said with a big grin, “looks can be deceiving!” Everything can be deceiving, he thought – from website traffic to blog posts to buzz about your business.

“I’ve really been thinking about my business and where I’ve come from over the last few years. I actually started writing down some ideas… principles of my success, that have helped make my business what it is today. What if we meet more regularly and talk about these principles and how they apply to your business?”

“Sounds intriguing Jason, but I’m not sure doing what you have done will help my business-our businesses aren’t even in the same industry. You market online, I sell locally. Yours is a web-based product, mine is not technical at all.”

“I realize that, but remember, I’m talking about principles. It shouldn’t matter what industry we’re talking about, or how big your business is, or even who your customers are. I’ve actually been thinking about developing a system for entrepreneurs to help them with their business. I’m not a business coach, and I don’t plan on becoming one, but I love to understand business strategies and systems. Talking about these success principles will allow me to test the ideas in a totally different industry – what do you think?”

“Sounds too good to be true,” said Paul, chuckling as he’s thinking it probably won’t help.

“Maybe it is too good to be true, but I’m game to try it! I’m sure it will help my business too, as I’ll have to critically evaluate my own business and how well I’m doing with these ideas.”

“Okay, I’m sold… what next?” Said Paul, thinking it couldn’t make his business any worse.

“How about we start next Friday? We can have lunch here every Friday from one to three, for the next eight weeks.”

“Perfect. What do I need to prepare for next week?” asked Paul.

“I don’t know – let me figure out what we’ll talk about next week. One thing, though. To make this work I want you to be comfortable sharing stuff you might not have shared with anyone else. I might ask you some tough questions and to make this work you need to be honest with me and yourself. I’ve had to ask the same questions of myself as I’ve grown my own business… agreed?”

Paul didn’t even hesitate. “Not a problem Jason, at this point I’m willing to do what I need to get my business back on track.”

“Cool – see you next Friday,” replied Jason, wondering if he knew what he had just committed to!

And then we jump into the first lunch (aka, chapter 1)!