Five top ways to Promote your Book online by Mike Clayton
Mike Clayton, the author of The Influence Agenda provides some top tips for promoting your book online.
Promoting a book these days is difficult when there are so many published, so, as authors, we increasingly need to take a chunk of the marketing into our own hands. Luckily, there are many ways we can do this, but it’s also a double edged sword: what are they all and where to do we start?
My advice is pick one or two channels and do them really well. First, I will describe my five top routes to promoting your new book, then I will give an indication of both the assets you can create to help you and the tools and technology services you can use to help you.
A website for your book
Whether you have your own website, a place on someone else’s website (for example, your institution) or none at all, a book can often benefit from a webpage that potential buyers and readers can go to, to find out more about your book, help make up their minds and find additional information. It can help to buy (relatively inexpensively) a custom URL (web address) to direct your readers to your book’s webpage and reinforce its brand. So, for example, my Palgrave Macmillan book is The Influence Agenda, and www.theinfluenceagenda.co.uk directs to a page on my website. On it I have placed some marketing material, some resources promised in the book and some additional material. If you don’t have a website that you can add to then I’ll offer some other suggestions below.
Bloggers, Interviewers and Interest Sites
Lots of news websites, special interest websites (you should know which ones there are in your subject area) and bloggers are on the look out for new books to review, authors to interview or good quality articles they can post. Find these sites and make the editors an offer. This is not dissimilar to how you would approach a trade journal or magazine, and much easier than getting something published in a peer-reviewed academic journal. See, for example, this blog article I did for The Association of Project Managers.
In the professional world LinkedIn is the primary social networking website. If you haven’t already done so, join it and complete as much of your profile as you wish – the more the better. This will enable you to market your book in three ways: as part of your profile, of course, through articles that will be seen when your contacts look at their home pages and through groups. LinkedIn Groups are often excellent; active spaces where like-minded people share ideas, ask and answer questions, and post interesting content. Join a few groups relevant to your expertise and the subject of your book and engage with the group. My public LinkedIn profile lists my books and also shows the articles I have written, if you look me up as a member, like this example.
Twitter, Facebook and other social media
These are not for everyone, but all allow you to post information, ideas and comments that can engage an audience who may also be interested in your book. Like articles and LinkedIn, they can help build your profile and your credibility. If you use Facebook, consider separating your professional persona from your personal life by creating an author page. You can invite your friends to Like it, but it allows readers to engage with you about your book without being able to see pictures of your family on holiday or your cat doing cute things with a teddy bear. Here is my Twitter account and Facebook Author page.
An email newsletter
Contacting readers and prospective readers periodically is a simple, inexpensive (probably effectively free) and effective way to engage and inform them. A short monthly newsletter that showcases ideas or content from your forthcoming or recent book and updates them on events you may be planning is a great way to spread a message and keep the story alive. Here is an example of a newsletter I sent while promoting The Influence Agenda.
What Assets will help you promote your book?
The web loves illustrations so create colour versions if you can of the diagrams, illustrations and pictures in your book, pictures of you and of your book, and of anything else relevant. Better yet are moving pictures and it is easy using a smart phone and free editing software to create short videos of you talking about your book or offering nuggets of valuable information.
If you prefer to avoid video or just want to supplement it, use the digital audio recording on your phone or computer to record short podcasts of you talking about your book or being interviewed about it by a colleague or friend.
Finally, prepare nicely formatted PDF tipsheets or tools, diagrams or templates, based on the content of your book. People love complimentary gifts that they can download from your website or from your social media pages.
The Tools of the Trade
All of this can be very easily achieved using web-based services that are free for low-volume users. You can set up a website free using blogging platforms like WordPress.com or Blogger (an out of date WordPress.com site for The Influence Agenda, before I put it onto my own website is at theinfluenceagenda.wordpress.com). Sign up to WordPress and build a simple site for no cost. Blogger.com is run by Google and is an alternative.
For hosting videos online, YouTube is the obvious choice. Again a free account will enable you to set up your own YouTube Channel and upload as many videos as you wish. These can then be shown easily on your book’s webpage, using the shortcodes that YouTube provides. If you prefer another service, both Vimeo and Wistia offer free level services. Here is my You Tube Channel: youtube.com/user/DrMikeClayton On it you will see an Influence Agenda playlist.
For hosting audio files a great choice is SoundCloud, but you may also want to investigate iTunes, Stitcher, Podbean or Buzzsprout. All offer a free level of service. My SoundCloud account is at soundcloud.com/mikeclayton01
Finally, for an emailed newsletter you are best advised to sign up for an email service, and one of the few that still offers free service for small users is MailChimp. Others to consider are Constant Contact, Get Response and Mad Mimi.
Please note that any implied endorsements of MailChimp, SoundCloud, YouTube, WordPress or LinkedIn are based solely on being a satisfied user and not on any robust assessment or comparative review. There are many good services out there and the best approach is to sign up for the free levels of those that look best for you and try them out. Remember, for small promotions doing something – even if it is not optimized – beats doing nothing hands down, even when you are doing nothing while searching diligently for what is the very best thing to do.
Mike Clayton is a best-selling author and trainer, and a regular speaker about personal effectiveness, project management and effective communication. After a PhD and a spell in academic research Mike spent the first part of his professional career managing projects and integrating complex change for clients working at international consulting firm Deloitte. During that time he learned that success is largely down to four things: intelligent persistence, following a sound process, a well-selected set of tools and techniques, and the support of your stakeholders. Mike has spent much of the last twenty years developing and honing his tools for engaging and influencing people. He spent a large amount of the second part of his career training people in just this, alongside other management, leadership, and personal effectiveness topics. Between 2002 and 2008 he founded two training businesses and continues to provide tailored training for selected clients. Nothing teaches the importance of The Influence Agenda like building and running a business. Now, in the third stage of his professional career, Mike spends most of his time writing, and speaking at seminars and conferences. Now a best-selling author, The Influence Agenda is Mike's twelfth book to be published. He lives in Hampshire, England, with his wife and daughter. Mike's website is www.mikeclayton.co.uk