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A Book: Your Passport to the Media
Why a book can help propel your business
America (the whole world for that matter) is fascinated by books. You take the Harry Potter series as an example. People could not put them down nor wait for the next one. It inspired children and adults, and spawned the most successful movie franchise and first author billionaire, ever.
Of course you also have others like James Patterson, Suze Orman, Janet Evanovich, Tom Clancy (may he rest in peace), and the list goes on and on. There is something about an author that commands respect and some may even say awe; which is why when a CEO or professional writes and promotes a book, they join a class that opens doors—even to the media.
You may be thinking, “I already have media. I advertise on radio and TV.” While that is a form of media, when I use the term media, I am referring to the news and talk shows. Advertising is not media.
Use yourself as an example. You’re sitting in front of your TV watching the news or listening to your favorite talk radio show. A commercial comes on and you start to talk to your family, go to the kitchen, etc. The show comes back on and your attention is rapt, listening to the host and most often agreeing with him or her. He or she introduces a guest, who is referred to as an expert on the subject matter and the author of (fill in the blank). In what light do you see this guest now? If you’re like most, you see him or her as credible and you probably have a bit of trust created. This was all made possible because he or she had the gumption to promote a book as a marketing vehicle.
Let’s take this one step further. If you needed the services or expertise that this person offers, would you consider contacting him or her, or their company, or going to their web site for a little research? Or would you rather have someone who did not promote a book; they just say they are good at what they do? Given the choice between the two, most people would want to speak to the author.
All of this started with a book. Well, it really started with their passion, experience and expertise; but when it was packaged into a book, to the public it became more real and credible, and to the media it became a passport.
Since the media doesn’t exist to help anyone sell anything (unless it’s through their advertising departments) getting a company or product covered on the news is very difficult. However, since they DO exist to provide entertaining and informative content to their readers, listeners and viewers, if there is a news item where your expertise can contribute to the story, it makes it easier to open that door and get your company and web site known. A book does this, because when you promote a book, you enter into a special class of individual, who has shown they are willing to do what most will not.
Since exposure is crucial for a company to grow, and credibility and trust are must haves for sales to occur, your book provided all this through the third party endorsements of hosts and producers you received by appearing on TV or radio, or being quoted in the newspaper or magazine. While it may not be an actual endorsement, to the public, having you on their show means they approve and trust you; hence it’s an implied endorsement – and perception is reality.
When the audience of that show or the reader of the article is in the position you were before (the consumer of the news) they will see you and your company in a different light. You will become more credible and known, and you will have earned a modicum of trust that will grow the longer your PR campaign lasts.
So whether you write a chapter a week, dictate it to your secretary or hire a ghost writer, write a book and then promote a book, and you will see how having a passport to the media will help propel your company to new heights.
Promote A Book: A Business Card Can’t Speak, But A Book Can
In today’s information world, a business card no longer has the impact it once had. Sure it gives the relevant contact information and a general idea of what you do, but it doesn’t deliver a message. It can’t reveal what you do best that would be the reason they should do business with you. However, a business card can’t speak, but a book can; which is why you should make sure you promote a book.
Ask yourself, “If two people were to come to my office looking for a job and one gave me a business card, the other handed me his or her book, which one would I be most impressed with?” If you answered the one with the book, you’re not alone. Why? Because a book not only shows that you had the discipline and drive to do what most people won’t, it also says you are an expert on the topic you wrote the book on.
Everyone has an expertise, something (whether from a life experience, tenure in your industry, passionate hobby or interest that drove you above and beyond) they can share. If you harness this knowledge and passion, you can become what is known as an expert celebrity. Some known expert celebrities are Dave Ramsey, Rachel Ray, Bob Villa and Julia Childs. The only thing they had in common was a passion for what they did—and a book. More importantly, they knew how to promote a book.
Now when I say write a book, while a fiction book or literary work whose main purpose is to make money on sales is one approach. I am suggesting a book that would be a marketing vehicle for you or your business. You see, your book will serve to tell your story and deliver your message by touching on each point you feel is crucial for the prospect to understand. Why you do what you do? How you do it and what you can do for them? Often times, a business meeting may not be long enough, or have too many distractions to give one the opportunity to deliver their message completely. But, with a book you not only deliver it completely, you are part of a prestigious group that commands respect—authors. And when you promote a book, it will reach further than if you just gave it out in a meeting when necessary. Why? Other people you may never have met will also come to know who you are and what you do, plus when you hand out your book, they will have heard about it and give it more credibility.
So what are you passionate about? What is it that makes you stand out in your industry or life? What is it that people come to you for advice on, or recommend others to you for? The answer to these questions is the topic of your book.
So take the next step. Write that book and position yourself as not only a leader in your industry, but as a thought leader as well. Then take your business to where you want it to go, leaving your mark on every reading table along the way. Promote a book as a marketing vehicle and it will become your new business card.
Don’t Spend Major Time on Minor Things
Why implementing a book promotion plan in the wrong order will stifle your success
In everything we do, there are always very important things (the majors) and not so important things (the minors). For instance, in a marriage, communication and spending time with your spouse is a major thing; while giving him or her gifts is a minor thing. Now some may object, but if you bought many gifts but never talked and had alone time, how long would the marriage last? This is what the late Jim Rohn, author and speaker, called “majoring in the minors.”
Now this isn’t to say that minors aren’t important nor have any value. On the contrary, they support the more important aspects. If you spend time with your spouse and communicate, you will have a solid marriage. Then if you give each other gifts, it strengthens the affection and love. Done in the right order, it’s a huge success. Done in the wrong order, it can be a dismal failure.
When you need to promote a book, the same concept applies. There are major aspects to promote a book that are the foundation of its success. There are also minor aspects that build on the major ones to extend and strengthen the campaign.
For example, a book signing is a minor. While many authors use this tactic, it doesn’t get you the exposure you want on a grand scale; it only serves a small portion of a local market. So to promote a book with this tactic as your major approach would cause your campaign to fail. Plus, if you are a relatively new author, if this was done first, about the only people that would show would be family and friends.
Having an effective marketing website and blog, complemented by a PR campaign consisting of talk radio interviews and editorial print is a major and a MUST. The PR campaign will bring you national, regional and local exposure, credibility, trust and respect. Moreover, when they get to your website from this exposure, they will be drawn into your message and book. Now when you do the book signing, it supports your overall PR effort and more people will show up—because they’ve heard of you and your message, and your website projected the very best user-friendly experience needed to create interest.
Again, minor things are important and add value, so as we look at a list of minors, don’t think I am discounting them; I’m just putting them in the proper priority. Here are some minors.
- The already mentioned book signing
- Book readings
- Social Media Marketing
All of the above have their priority as well. For instance, social media marketing is a major in the minor category. It provides great value, but absent the PR campaign, it’s very difficult to create momentum so you can go viral.
I’m sure you’ve all either heard or seen the analogy done with a jar, big rocks, pebbles, gravel and sand. For those who have not, it goes like this. If I were to put the sand in first (the most minor of things), then the gravel, then the pebbles, there is no room for the big rocks. However, if I put the big rocks (the most important things) in first, I can then put in the pebbles (the next most important) and they will fall in between the rocks. I would follow with the gravel (some of the minors) and finish with the sand (the least important). In the right order, it all fits perfectly; in the wrong order, the majors never made it.
In other words, if you spend major time (and money) on minor things to promote a book, you will have exhausted your resources and energy, and may never make it to the major things (website, PR and social media), because the money was spent on the wrong priorities and you’re burned out.
So in what order should you create your plan? The following are the steps you need to take in order to promote a book.
- Get an effective, professionally designed marketing website. It is the hub of your entire plan and a poorly designed site will make all your other efforts and investments a loss. For tips on what makes a good website, read, What Makes a Good Website?
- Public relations: You need to get media
- Social Media: Push that media out in the social-sphere and bring that traffic to your website
- Book signings
- Book readings
So take the time to really think your book promotion through. Prioritize the majors and minors. Start with the majors and work your way down to the minors, and you will see that the result will be a far greater success.
Promote a Book – Planning Your Book Promotion Should Be More Meticulous Than Your Book
When people want to promote a book, most creative people plan their work with the highest of detail, but seem to throw a promotion program together rapidly and without much thought. Is it a wonder that most authors when trying to promote a book never get their book known?
I have to admit that until I became a marketer and PR professional actually in the business to promote a book for authors, I was one of those creative’s who did not understand the value of a solid, well-planned marketing and promotion plan. Since my mind was not on the business of how to promote a book, but rather on creating, I figured that any work that is good will eventually find an audience through word of mouth.
Many creative people, like authors, have the same mentality when they try to promote a book that they have written. They view promotion and marketing as a necessary evil that cannot be trusted; hence they fear reaching out to learn what their options are, since all marketers and PR professionals are thieves and liars in their opinion. If you’re reading this, you are probably agreeing with me right now.
So what they tend to do is look for the inexpensive to free, quick solution to promote a book that will promise a high return—like online promotion programs, doing social media marketing for themselves, doing book readings whenever possible—and when it doesn’t work, they move on to the next inexpensive to free option because they are desperate to promote a book that they have written. Does this sound like you? It definitely was me.
What I learned was that ALL the inexpensive options I tried to promote a book, for fear of speaking to a professional book publicist that I thought would be too expensive, cost me a small fortune. That money would have paid for an entire PR campaign that would have gotten results. Like it’s been said, “Advertising is expensive if not done properly; it’s free if done correctly.” This is especially true when you need to promote a book beause it pays for itself in the return of exposure, credibility, sales, and trust engendered.
When you decided to write your book, you probably counted the cost for design, editing, binding and publishing; but you didn’t count the most important cost; the cost to promote a book. Without the promotion, writing the book will just be a personal satisfaction, but it will find little to no audience.
Well if you are one of these poor souls trying to promote a book, take heart; it’s not too late to start. First and foremost, avoid all the cheap stuff that everyone else is trying in his or her efforts to promote a book. After all, if it worked, there would be many more bestsellers today. Second, do some research and find several good book publicists you can compare that truly know how to effectively promote a book. Find out how long they’ve been in business, what do they specialize in, who have been their clients, ask for testimonials from their clients and what method do they use. When I say method, I’m talking about how they charge to promote a book and whether they are a retainer-based or a pay-for-performance agency.
Retainer-based agencies charge you a monthly retainer to promote a book and then bill against it for any service they may provide (phone calls, e-mails, faxes, shipping, strategizing, etc). They guarantee best efforts only; in other words, we will try our best to get you as much exposure as possible. You don’t know what you will receive, until you get it.
A pay-for performance agency charges no retainer to promote a book and typically guarantees a certain amount of interviews and/or editorial coverage. In other words, if you want 15 radio interviews in top 100 markets, you get 15 radio interviews in the top 100 markets and it’s the only thing you pay for. If you don’t get it, then there is no charge.
Finally, once you’ve found the agency you feel comfortable will really do a good job to promote a book that you have written, sit down and create a promotion plan that will get you and your message out to the public.
So if you’re in the process of writing your book, or starting on your second edition, make sure you count the cost to promote a book as well. Research and have your game plan ready so that when your book is published, the demand has already been created and your efforts to promote a book will be firmly in place.
Promote A Book By Doing Things Right Instead of By Doing the Right Things
How to Avoid Being Busy But Getting Nowhere with Your Efforts To Promote A Book
When it comes to the business of trying to promote a book, or even a marriage, there are things that you should do to have success and things, that while are good, that are not a priority. You can get so focused on your efforts to promote a book that it is easy to get those priorities mixed up. What it boils down to if you are going to be successful in your activities to promote a book is it is imperative that you are doing the right things versus doing things right.
Let’s take it out of the realm of your efforts to promote a book and for an example, let’s say that you started a new sales job. You’re supposed to create a list of prospects and make a certain amount of calls during the day, because it’s a numbers game. So you sit down at your desk, you reach for the handset on your phone and you look at your desk and think, “What a mess! I can’t work like this.” So you proceed to clean and organize your desk.
Now you’re happy. You reach for the phone and you look down at your legal pad, and notice that it’s halfway used with old scribbles and torn off sheets. You think to yourself, “Oh, this won’t do. I need a fresh legal pad so that I don’t get confused with previous notes.” So you proceed to go to the supply closet to get yourself a new legal pad.
Okay, now you’re ready! You reach for the phone and notice that your pencil is not sharp. You think to yourself, “That’s not good. I need to sharpen ALL my pencils, so that I don’t have to stop when I start making calls.” So you proceed to sharpen all of your pencils.
You reach for the phone and you think, “When I start talking, my mouth and throat will get dry. I’d better get a nice hot cup of coffee so as to wet and warm my throat.” You proceed to the kitchen and run into your cohort, who starts to talk about last night’s hockey game and how the Lightning swept Washington in the playoffs. You talk for about 30 minutes. When you get back to your desk, you reach for the phone and notice that lunch is 10 minutes away. You think to yourself, “There’s no way I can do anything productive in 10 minutes. I guess I’ll go to lunch and continue when I return. BOY, WHAT A BUSY MORNING!”
You’ve been doing figure 8’s, doing what you thought were the “right things” to do. After all, a clean and organized desk, sharpened pencils and a fresh legal pad are great things, but they got you no results. Had you been doing things right, you’d have been dialing the telephone and talking with prospects, trying to make a sale.
When it comes to your efforts to promote a book the same concept applies. Often, authors do the right things, but they don’t do things right. In other words, they do the things that will get little to no results when you promote a book; wasting resources and time that could have been used for doing things right—like hiring a book publicist.
For example, a book signing is a right thing to do to promote a book; eventually. Since it is a tactic that has been used by many authors for decades and can be relatively inexpensive, authors will gravitate to it. In their mind, they think, “Book signings are good and will cost me little, so I will start with book signings in my efforts to promote a book.”
The problem is they don’t get you the exposure you want when you need to promote a book on a grand scale; it only serves a small portion of a local market. Plus, if you are a relatively new author, if this were done first, the only people that would show would be family and friends.
Another promote a book tactic is that of book reading. The same dynamics of the book signing apply here with a book reading. Now a book reading and signing are not inherently a bad way to promote a book, but they will not get you the results you need. So if that were the case, why would you waste time, money and effort for something that will only suck up resources that could have been used to promote a book to get you better results?
If you want to get known, create awareness of your book and gain credibility with your public as you promote a book, a PR campaign consisting of talk radio interviews and editorial print is what you need. The PR campaign will bring you national, regional and local exposure, credibility, trust and respect and will successfully promote a book to the masses. These are all things that are needed before anyone would be interested in a book by an author they’ve never heard of before. This is doing things right!
I’m sure you’ve all either heard or seen the analogy done with a jar, big rocks, pebbles, gravel and sand. For those who have not, it goes like this. If I were to put the sand in first (the most minor of things), then the gravel, then the pebbles, there is no room for the big rocks. However, if I put the big rocks (the most important things) in first, I can then put in the pebbles (the next most important) and they will fall in between the rocks. I would follow with the gravel (some of the minors) and finish with the sand (the least important). In the right order, it all fit perfectly; in the wrong order, the majors never made it.
In other words, when you promote a book if your priorities are skewed, you will have exhausted your resources and energy, and may never make it to the major things (PR), because the money was spent on the wrong priorities and you’re burned out.
So take the time to really think your efforts to promote a book through. Prioritize and make sure that you do things right. Stop doing figure 8’s, wasting time, energy and money, and get the success you want and really succeed with your efforts to promote a book. Stop sabotaging yourself and then wondering, “What happened?” You put thought and prioritized well in order to write your book. Take the same attention approach in your efforts to promote a book that you have written and you may be the next bestseller.