Book Marketing

Book Marketing FAQs

This is the 3rd blog post in a sequence, and it is on book marketing FAQs.  The prior 2 were on book writing FAQs and book publishing FAQs.

1. How do you run a book launch?

Answer:  There are many different types of book launches.  Some people have small cocktail parties, some have large events, some have book signings, some launch their books through social media and blogs, and some do discounted or free book campaigns with joint venture partners contributing free products and services to anyone who buys your book on the launch date.  What kind of launch you should have depends on your objective for the launch, the preferences of your target audience, how much effort you want to put into it and how much money you want to spend on it. It’s a good idea to plan a launch about 3 months after you expect your book to be published. That way, if there are any snafus with the publishing, you won’t have to postpone the launch.  

2. How much time should I plan to spend promoting my book?  

Answer:  The more you promote your book, the better the results will be from it.  If you spend only a few hours promoting it, you won’t get much in the way of results.  If you don’t have the time to spend promoting your book yourself, you may want to hire someone to promote it for you.  Plan on spending at least 40 hours during the months leading up to your launch sending emails, posting on social media, preparing press releases, sending your book to reviewers, getting your book on your website, planning your book launch and other marketing tactics.  Then figure on spending at least 10 hours/month after your book is published.

3. What are some of the best ways to market my book?

Answer:  There are many book marketing tactics.  In fact, there’s a book called 1001 Ways to Market Your Book, by John Kremer. You can conduct an email campaign, a social media campaign, a blog tour, a PR campaign, a free book campaign and a bestseller campaign, to name just a few.  Some are free and relatively easy to do yourself, such as the first 3 listed, while others take more time and require more expertise to do right, and can cost a lot of money.

4. With so many different ways to market my book, how do I decide what actions to take?  

Answer:  Three keys to determining what actions to take when marketing your book are (1) know your objective – what do you want to achieve from your book? (2) Know where your audience is likely to be — are they on social media frequently?  Do they read trade journals? Do they listen to certain radio stations, or follow particular blogs? And (3) identify tactics that align with keys (1) and (2) and fit your available resources.

5. Why would I want to run a free book campaign?

Answer:  If your aim for your book is to get more people to appreciate your expertise, then running a free book campaign will get your book in front of more people.  It also tends to create momentum that leads to book sales once the campaign is over. In addition, people who receive a free book tend to write more reviews.  Getting good reviews can also help your book sales after the free book campaign is over. You can run a free eBook campaign through Amazon’s Kindle Select program if your book is exclusively on Amazon.  You can run a free print book campaign on Goodreads.com.

6. How do I get book reviews?

Answer:  This is a good question, as books that have a large number of good reviews do much better than books that have few reviews.  Amazon has started denying the reviews of anyone they think might be in the author’s family or network. Still, start with your friends, family and colleagues and ask them to post reviews.  Here are a few more tactics:

     ✔️ Include a sentence in your book requesting that the reader provide a review for you.

     ✔️ Do a search on Amazon for books like yours and try to reach out to anyone who reviewed those other books to see if they will review yours.  Sometimes their contact information is available.

     ✔️ Try a free book campaign, which can lead to more reviews.

Do you have questions on book marketing that you want answered?  Email me at judy@skillbites.net and I’ll get back to you with my answer.

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Book Publishing FAQs

In last week’s blog, I answered several FAQs concerning book writing.  This blog covers FAQs concerning book publication.

1. After my book is written, what comes next?  

Answer:  There are several steps needed before your book can be published.  The three main steps are:

  • Editing and proofreading
  • Book layout design
  • Book cover design

After these are done, the publication process can begin.  You’ll need to have created your meta data (e.g., the price you want to charge for your eBook and print book, and your book description).  You should review the digital proof of your book and after you determine that it looks OK, you should order a print proof. Once you sign off on the print proof, you can approve your book for publication and it will be live within 5 business days.

2. How long will it take from the time my book is written until it is published?  

Answer:  The timeline depends on a number of factors.  Key among them is your ability to turn around drafts.  When you get an edited draft of your book, will you review it right away or will it take you some time to get to it?  How many rounds of review are you asking for from your editor, book layout and cover designer? Also, how long is your book?  Editing and proofreading take twice as much time for a 100 page book as for a 50 pager. On average, SkillBites is able to perform editing, book layout, cover design, formatting and publication of a 50 page book in 4 to 5 months, when the author is able to review drafts and provide feedback and responses quickly, within 3 days from getting a draft or inquiry.

3. Should I create an eBook, a print book or both?

Answer:  I recommend that you create both an eBook and a print book.  With an eBook, it is easy to send the eBook file to a prospect or colleague, and it’s free.  You can also use the eBook as an opt-in on your website, to help you build a list of prospects.  With the growth of e-readers, many people prefer reading on a tablet, where you can increase the font size, and you don’t have to carry around the books that you want to read.  However, the majority of readers still prefer print books. Unlike eBooks, people can take notes in print books. Also, when you hand a hot prospect your paperback book, it is much more powerful than sending them the eBook file.

4. How much should I expect to spend on publishing my book?  

Answer:  The cost depends on many variables. A short book will cost less than a long book.  If an illustrator is needed to create illustrations for the book, that will cost more than a book with stock images or no images.  A book printed in color will cost more than one in black and white. The cost also depends on what you decide to do yourself and what you choose to outsource to others. You can do it all yourself, but of course it will take quite a bit of your time, you’ll probably become frustrated when things don’t work the way you think they should, and you may not get the quality you desire.   The average SkillBites customer who has written a 50 page book and hires SkillBites to provide editing, book layout, basic cover design, formatting and publication on Amazon as an eBook and print book, spends roughly $2500.

5. How do I find a publisher?  

Answer:  Finding a traditional publisher is hard.  You need to write a lengthy proposal, and you can anticipate a lot of rejections.  Publishers are looking for authors with a blockbuster book, a large following and a strong marketing plan.  It’s rare that they accept a new author unless the author can show great promise of selling a lot of books. That being said, you can read the acknowledgement section in books in your industry, and you’ll often find an agent or publisher listed there that you can contact.  If you want to get your book published quickly, you can either self-publish or utilize a hybrid publisher such as SkillBites to manage the publication process for you.

6. What kind of royalties can I expect from my book?  

Answer:  From a traditional publisher, you can expect to receive somewhere between 5% and 20%.  From SkillBites, you would receive 75% of the net revenue with most of our packages. So if SkillBites has published your book on Amazon for $20, Amazon will take out its share, and you’ll receive 75% of the amount paid to SkillBites, which will yield to you about $7. Keep in mind that you can make much more from leveraging your book to get more customers buying your services and products than you can from the sales revenue from the book itself.

Do you have questions on book publishing that you want answered?  Email me at judy@skillbites.net and I’ll get back to you with my answer.

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Book Writing FAQs

In this blog and the next 2, I will answer some of the frequently asked questions I get on writing, publishing and marketing a book.  This blog covers FAQs on book writing.

1. How long should my book be?

Answer:  Your book should be as long as it needs to be to get your message across.  That could be 30 pages or 300 pages or longer. Keep in mind that most people don’t read 300 page books any more, particularly non-fiction books.  In fact, the average reader gets through just 18 pages of a non-fiction book before putting it down and not getting back to it; so if you write a short book with the most important information on your topic, your readers will appreciate it.  Besides, if your main purpose is to use your book to get people to recognize your expertise, then a short book is fine.

2. How many words do I need to write for a 100 page book?

Answer:  The number of words you need to write depends on several factors, including the dimensions of the book, as well as the size of the margins, the type and size of the font and the quantity and size of any images, graphs or charts in the book.  A common size for books is 6” x 9”. There are about 250 – 300 words/page using normal margins and font, and no images. So a 50 page book in 6” x 9” without pictures is about 12,500 – 15,000 words, and a 100 page book is roughly 30,000 words.  

3. What if there are lots of other books on my topic?

Answer:  The fact that there are lots of other books on your topic is actually a good sign – it means there is lots of interest in your topic.  How many weight loss books are there out there? And yet there’s always room for more. Most of the information in books is available on the internet for free anyway, so why would anyone buy a book when they can get the information for free?  Because it can take hours to find good quality free information, and information in a book is perceived to be good quality. In addition, books are generally well organized, provide guidance and action steps toward overcoming whatever it is that the book talks about and thus save time, energy, effort and money for the reader.

4. How do you find the time to write a book?

Answer:  This is one of the biggest issues for business owners and professionals who are already overburdened with work.  There are three key steps to finding the time to write a book. The first is determine whether your book is truly a high priority for you. If so, then you’ll make it happen; if it’s not, then you’ll find other issues taking up your time, and you’ll lose interest.  The second step is to understand why it is important for you. When you know your why, it will help you evaluate whether to work on your book or do something else that has come up. The third step is to create a plan for getting your book done. The plan would identify when and for how long you will write, where, when you will be done with the writing, etc.  You need to schedule the time just as if you were scheduling an important meeting, and keep to your schedule unless issues of greater priority intervene. If you can carve out even as little as 15 minutes per day, you can make progress.

5. How do I find a topic that my audience would be interested in reading?

Answer:  I have a 5-step process for this.  Basically, you want to identify a topic that solves a problem that your target audience faces.  It doesn’t have to be entertaining. Provide value: save money, save time; make things easier, get over a hurdle; reduce aggravation or pain; increase revenue; obtain some other benefit.  Once you’ve identified the topic you want to write on, you should confirm interest in that topic. You can do that by conducting a survey, or hold a focus group, or reach out on social media.  You can also do market research on Amazon or Google, or on blog posts and YouTube videos.

6. How long does it typically take to write a book?

Answer:  That depends on many factors, such as

     ✔️ the length of the book you are writing,

     ✔️ the amount of time you devote to it,  

     ✔️ how much material you have already created on the topic of your book that you can incorporate into your book,

     ✔️ how clear you are on your topic and how much research you need to do, and

     ✔️ whether you will do the writing yourself or hire a ghostwriter.

If you are writing a short book (50 pages) yourself, you are clear on the topic, and you don’t need to do any research, then if you can spend roughly 5 hours/week, you can get your book written in about 2 to 3 months.  That does not include the time for editing and other post-manuscript services, but is a ballpark timeframe for the writing of a first draft of a short book.

Do you have questions on book writing that you want answered?  Email me at judy@skillbites.net and I’ll get back to you with my answer.

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Getting Others to Promote You

When someone brags about their own abilities, we generally take it with a grain of salt; but when we hear someone else extoll someone’s expertise, we take notice and give it more weight.  And when that someone else is a commentator for a TV or radio program or a newspaper reporter, we are even more likely to believe it. So if we want to build our reputation, a good way to do that is to get media interviews.

How do you do that?  Maura Sweeney, this month’s guest on the SkillBites Show, shared a number of resources and tips for getting media interviews.  Maura is an internationally acclaimed speaker, having traveled to over 60 countries, speaking on such topics as influence, leadership and emotional intelligence.  She is also a published author of 6 books, a podcaster and a frequent media guest.

Maura advised that pursuing media exposure does take a lot of work, patience, commitment and getting out of your comfort zone, but it is well worth it.  Each time you land a media interview, you get better at honing your message, and then you get more interviews. When you direct your energies toward getting media exposure, then you are more likely to get media opportunities.  

Maura shared some stories of how this worked for her.  One such story involved her getting on BBC Radio. She was in Liverpool, England on vacation, and decided to do some research on the Beatles for her own personal interest.  While there, she noticed the BBC Studio building, and thought there might be someone there who could tell her what the Beatles were like before they became stars. It turned out that the person who might have been able to help her was not available, but a BBC reporter asked to talk with her. He took her out for tea and invited her to be a guest on a BBC Show.  Not long after that, she got a second opportunity to be a guest on the BBC.

Maura recommended starting small – seek interviews with podcasters and local radio shows on your topic, or who have audiences who would benefit from hearing about your topic.  A good source for finding appropriate radio shows and podcasts is radioguestlist.com.

Another source is newspaper interviews.  There’s a free resource for this called HARO.com (Help A Reporter Out).  It’s an email that gets sent to subscribers a few times every day with a list of all the topics that reporters are seeking experts on.  It is time consuming to go through the emails, and the response has to be quick; but if you land an interview, you’ll get your name in an article that will go to thousands of people.  It’ll take your profile to a whole different level; and again, the more times you get selected, the more likely that you’ll get selected again.

Another resource Maura shared is InterviewGuestDirectory.com.  This is a paid directory that media personnel use to find experts they want to interview, so if your profile is in the directory, they’ll find you if your expertise is what they are looking for.

Before you proceed down the path of seeking guest interviews, however, you should prepare a message that you want to share.  Then, after you land an interview, you need to find out who the audience is and how long the interview is. Prepare some questions that you can send to the interviewer and practice answering them in the time that is allotted for your interview.  The better prepared you are, the more confident you will be in the interview and the better you will come across.

Maura offers consulting services to help people hone their message and prepare for media interviews.  She generously offered to the listeners in the SkillBites community a 30 minute complimentary consultation.  To take advantage of this opportunity, email her at maura@maura4u.com, with the subject “SkillBites”.

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Should you try Facebook ads?

If you are curious about whether Facebook ads would be a good way to go for your business or to promote your book, then read on. In this month’s SkillBites Show, Julie Friedman Bacchini discussed the power of Facebook ads and provided some pointers to running an effective Facebook campaign.

Julie is the owner of Neptune Moon, a digital marketing firm that she founded almost 19 years ago, at the inception of digital marketing. She began her talk by distinguishing Facebook ads from Google ads. When you do a Facebook ad campaign, it’s more like having an ad in a magazine. People reading the magazine will gain awareness of your product or service by seeing your ad, but they may not be interested in purchasing at that moment. Google ads are tied in with what people are searching on, so there is a more direct correlation with their interest in buying something similar to what you are offering. If your main objective to increase awareness, then Facebook ads can be a good tactic to try. Moreover, with the terrific targeting capability of Facebook, you can place your ad in front of your ideal audience, the very people you want to be aware of your product or service.

With Facebook, you have two main options: you can create an ad that consists of text and an image or carousel of images, that appears on the news feed, or on Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) or in Facebook Messenger; or you can boost posts, such as when you want people to be aware of a sale you are holding, or an event you are hosting. For both of these options, it is critical to have defined who you want the ad or post to be seen by. Facebook offers considerable granularity for your selection – demographic information such as age, income level and geographic region as well as interests, family, pet ownership, etc. You can also use Facebook’s Look Alike feature, and ask Facebook to find people who have similar background to the people you identify, either to include those people or to exclude them.

You also want to determine how long you want the campaign to run and how much you want to spend. You can set a budget of how much per day or how much for the duration of the campaign, and that can be as low as $5 or $10. For budgetary purposes, Julie recommends a minimum of a three month campaign with $500 per month. Anything less than that will not give you the data to determine whether the campaign is effective for you.

In that regard, you definitely want to track how well the campaign is working, which you can do by putting Facebook pixels or URL tag on the landing page that people who click on your ad are going to. Then you can use Google analytics to compare how long they are spending on your landing page, what other pages they are visiting and whether they are buying your services or products more frequently than people who are coming to your site other than from the ad.

Julie advised that Facebook users respond much better to visuals than text. You’ll want to have several images picked out so that you don’t run the same ad images and have people get bored with your ad. You can also use video in ads, and not just static images.

In addition, you must make sure the landing page or website you are sending people to is fast and mobile responsive. It won’t help you at all if people abandon your site before they get there because it is too slow to load. And when people come from a Facebook ad, it will be slower than when they come directly to your site, so keep that in mind.

For more information on Facebook ad campaigns, you can visit Julie’s website, www.neptunemoon.com, or communicate with her via Twitter (@neptunemoon) or LinkedIn.

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