Book Marketing

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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Tips on Book Marketing

Many authors don’t realize that they need to treat their published book like a business.  If they don’t market their book, it won’t sell or garner them the results they sought when they wrote the book.  On this month’s SkillBites Show, Susan Friedmann discussed how to develop a marketing platform and other tips on marketing one’s book.

The first step of developing a marketing platform is to identify one’s target readership.  Without knowing this, the marketing may not reach the right audience.  With this knowledge, you can tailor your message to resonate with your audience.  To help people determine their target readership, Susan has developed a 10 question assessment tool, which she has offered to provide for free.  To get her tool, simply email her at susan@avivapubs.com and request the tool.

Next is determining where your target readership hangs out, and where they go to obtain the type of information you are providing in your book.  Do they attend trade show or industry conferences?  Do they read blogs?  Magazines?  That information will help you decide where you want your marketing message to appear so that it reaches your ideal reader.

Another aspect of developing a marketing platform is to think about what else you can do with the content in your book.  How can you leverage that material?  Perhaps you can create a speech that you could deliver to your target market, or create a webinar or training course, or offer group coaching.

It’s important to keep in mind that marketing is an ongoing venture.  One of the biggest mistakes that authors make is promoting their book for a short period of time, such as a few months.  To get good results, you need to put time in every day, week and month for as long as you want to keep getting good results.

If a marketing campaign appears to have stuttered, Susan counsels authors to try “CPR”, which she explained is:

  • Changing one’s perspective or mindset, such as by refining the target market;
  • Planning the campaign; and
  • Reigniting the author’s passion for his or her book.

Susan offered a 15 minute consultation to help people with their book marketing, but advised that she will be unavailable until after February 1, 2018.  To take advantage of this offer, send an email to Susan at susan@avivapubs.com

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Book Marketing and Promotion Tips

Dan Smith, CEO of Smith Publicity, appeared as the guest on this month’s SkillBites Show, where he shared a number of tips for authors to promote their books:

  1. Authors should begin promoting their books as early as possible, and should think about how they will want to promote their book even before writing the book. Knowing how the book will be used can help an author write a book that can be more effectively promoted.
  2. Getting publicity for a book is a powerful way to spread the word about the book and the author, whether by radio, TV, newspaper, podcasts or other media. When an author is interviewed by the media, it’s a terrific credibility boost for the author, and the author can share the interview on their website, in marketing collateral, in social media and other places.
  3. When determining the right strategy for book publicity, Smith Publicity considers the topic of the book, the author’s background and whether there is a reasonable opportunity to secure media interest. Only after determining that they can help an author do they then discuss the appropriate services that fit within the author’s budget.
  4. Authors can gain media exposure for their book themselves if they:
    1. Are willing to educate themselves on how to gain media exposure;
    2. Have the right personality to promote themselves;
    3. Have the ability to write a good press release;
    4. Know their target market;
    5. Are willing to put in the time and effort to determine which media outlets cater to their target market and determine the right contacts at those outlets
  5. Common mistakes that authors make when doing the publicity themselves include:
    1. Sending a press release out on a news wire without any personal approach or follow-up;
    2. Being too overtly promotional;
    3. Writing an amateurish press release;
    4. Responding inappropriately to rejection;
    5. Cold calling media personnel;
    6. Not educating themselves on how to conduct a publicity campaign.
  6. There are many good resources to help authors educate themselves on book promotion, including:
    1. www.Goodreads.com;
    2. www.NetGalley.com;
    3. The Smith Publicity website, www.smithpublicity.com, which has many free resources and tools, and a helpful newsletter;
    4. www.BookMarketing.com, run by John Kremer, author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Book.
    5. Various podcasts and blogs.
  7. Regarding social media, it is widely expected that authors will promote their books on social media, but this should be considered just one tactic out of a set of tactics for promoting a book. Also, it is much more effective if the author is active on the social media channels being used to promote his or her book. If the author isn’t actively posting, then a post about the book won’t have as much credibility.
  8. When determining which publicity firm to hire for a book marketing campaign, talk to multiple firms and do research on them to ensure a good fit or connection with the firm. Read their testimonials and even follow up with some of the people who gave the testimonials. Make sure the firm has experience in the same genre as your book. Remember, there are no guarantees that the firm will be able to secure media exposure for your book.

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The Power of Audio Books

Did you know that audio books outsell eBooks by 3 to 1? According to Tina Dietz, world class audiobook publisher, sales of audio books have experienced a meteoric rise in the past several years, with over 20% growth year over year. People are listening to audio books while driving, flying or working out at the gym, when reading isn’t convenient. At the same time, the cost of producing an audio book has dropped by 50%. It’s also a different audience than readers of print books and eBooks, so if an author does not get their book made into an audio book, they are missing out on a sizeable audience.

Tina shared a number of issues to think about when considering whether to have a book made into an audio book. First, she suggested that every author read their book out loud prior to publishing the book. The more conversational the book, the more the book will build an intimate relationship with the reader and the greater likelihood that the reader will enjoy the book. Reading the book out loud will provide a very different sense of the book than reading it silently. It will also give the author a sense as to whether there are portions of the book that could be problematic for narration, such as exercises for the reader.

Another consideration is how the audio book fits in with the business. Interestingly, when an author has an audio book, the author can do 2 launches, using basically the same marketing material, thus doubling the bang for the buck. Also, if the author has plans to do the audio book as well as the print book and eBook, the author can include a link to a sample from the audio book in the print and eBook versions, which can drive more traffic to the author’s website.

Audio books do not require much equipment to produce. The most important equipment to have is a good microphone, and that runs less than $100. Tina recommended either the Blue Yeti or the Audio Technica 2100. The software can be downloaded for free, such as GarageBand or Audacity. It is essential to record the audio in a room that will be absent of any road noises or echo. The author can narrate the book herself, but it is strongly recommended that she take the time to learn good vocal and breathing techniques that are central to audiobook narration.

From a timing perspective, Tina advised that a professional narrator spends about 5 to 6 hours recording one hour of audio, which is about 10,000 words; so for a typical 100 page book, or 30,000 words, it’s about 20 hours for a professional to complete the narration. For an amateur, it would take considerably longer.

Tina has developed a 12 step Audiobook Production & Best Practices guide for authors interested in producing an audio book, and has offered that guide to the SkillBites community. You can download it by going to launchyouraudiobook.com. For more information about Tina Dietz, visit her website, StartSomethingCreativeBizSolutions.com.

SkillBites has partnered with Tina Dietz and StartSomething Creative Business Solutions to offer special audiobook production packages. If you are interested in getting your book turned into an audio book, click here for details or contact us.

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