We were excited to book Jo-Anne Vandermeulen on the Marketing Tech blog radio show but about 20 minutes in, our Internet access went down and we had to discontinue the show. It was disappointing since we were really getting great advice from Jo-Anne.
Jo-Anne is a self-publishing promotions expert. After retiring as a teacher, she's written a series of books… and in the process learned how to master promotion of her publications. She's now dedicated her business, her blog, her podcast, and her newest book to helping authors promote their writing.
I wish that I had met Jo-Anne a couple years ago… well before writing Corporate Blogging for Dummies. It's not that the book isn't consistently selling well – it's just that I don't believe I did everything I could when to promote the book. Along with Jo-Anne's input, I've put this list of lessons together.
- Whether you are self publishing, going through a small publishing firm, or traditional publishing… you will be responsible to market yourself and your books. You are able to do this yourself, even if you don’t have a marketing degree or wish to seek a professional marketer, BUT, it will take time and energy – and knowledge.
- Launching a blog is a necessity. Present yourself accurately as an expert, supply valuable content your viewers can take, and give and give some more. Be authentic, welcoming interaction with your audience. And of course – don't forget to put a call to action on the sidebar to your book(s) with a clear purchase button and functioning links!
- Having a presence in social media is a valuable faucet to gain MAJOR exposure (we're talking 1.2 Billion members on Facebook alone by the year 2012. That's a heck of a lot more then you’ll ever dream of connecting during a book signing). Target your audience, be ready to make yourself (and your books) visible in as many networks as possible, and spend time creating relationships which will eventually open the door to many many opportunities.
- Promotion of your book starts the day you have an idea for the book! Building anticipation with your audience is critical. Too many folks (including us) wait until the book goes to print before they promote it. We lost a lot of time and momentum on this one! I wish we would have pushed pre-orders and had a site up much sooner.
- As a speaker, some of my fellow speakers have boosted book sales and distributed many more books by requesting the event purchase books for the attendees rather than paying a speaking fee. This is a great idea because it works on 3 levels… associating you with the book, selling more books, and having an audience of readers going out and talking about the book. It's a win, win, win!
- Reviews matter! Send out copies of the book to other authorities in your industry and request their honest feedback and reviews on Amazon and other book review sites. Those authorities who have blogs will often write blog posts about your book and help you to promote it.
- Promote your readers! For our book, we had videos all the way from South Africa up to a photo from eBay's Chief Blogger, Richard Brewer-Hay, last week! Your readers want to have a personal connection with you as the author – so be sure to take advantage and build that relationship when the opportunities arise!
Be sure to pick up a copy of Jo-Anne's new book, Premium Promotional Tips for Writers.