Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Book Marketing: What Really Works

"The Rule of Fives" for
Successful Book Marketing

From an internationally bestselling author,
who started out with a box of books just
like everybody else.

By Susan Kendrick

Every day, there are more ways available to market your book. But, if you are a new (or not-so-new) author, you want to know what really works, or just as importantly, where you should start.

Of course, we all know there is no magic bullet when it comes to book marketing. There is not one key you can turn that will keep your books flying off your website, amazon, or bookstore shelves.

Even bestselling authors and publishing experts like Jack Canfield and John Kremer will say that it is the steady, persistent effort of doing a few things every day to market your book that wins the race.

Still, some things work better than others ... right?

I asked a good client of ours this question.
Patrick Snow, author of Creating Your Own Destiny, has been so successful that he now guides other new authors through the book publishing process. His book, completely self-published, has done so well that he just got picked up by Wiley Publishing for a two-book deal. (See more of Patrick's results below.)

"Great question and great topic," said Patrick. "The following is what I coach / teach my publishing clients." When I looked over Patrick's remarks, I thought of "The Rule of Fives" as a good way to help you remember what worked for his book, and what will work for yours, too.

5 Most Important Criteria for Creating a Bestseller

1. Author's Willingness to Promote Their Book for the Rest of Their Lives
2. Book Cover Design
3. Book Title / Subtitle
4. Introduction of Book
5. Actual Content

Want to know more or pick Patrick's brain a little? Patrick has offered to do a complimentary publishing consultation with anyone who contacts him through this article. In your email to Patrick, just mention that you heard about him on Susan's Book Cover Coaching blog. Email

Next, how to market your book ...

The Top 5 Ways to Market Your Book

My book cover copywriting partner, Graham Van Dixhorn, helped Patrick create his title, subtitle, and back cover copy back in 2001, in other words, Patrick has had plenty of time to market this book and be the judge of what works. Here are his top picks for how to successfully market your book.

1. Speaking
2. Giving Away Books to Movers and Shakers
3. Becoming Your Own Publicist
4. Selling Books to Direct Sales / MLM companies
5. Selling Foreign Rights of Book

* Plus ... social networking. "It's becoming a bigger part of book marketing," says Patrick, "but people are still seeing mixed results with this strategy. Many people believe it should be number one, and I would disagree with that, at least for now."

There it is, pretty straightforward. That is a list you can get to work on right now. But, Patrick didn't stop there; he is
passionate about this topic of book publishing and book marketing.
He continued by saying this about his NUMBER ONE book marketing choice, speaking.

"The best way to promote your book is to speak
on the topic of your book as often as possible!"

The 5 Most Important Groups to Approach

Patrick confirmed that for speaking you have the following markets:

1. Corporations
2. Associations
3. Network Marketing / MLM
4. Colleges and Schools
5. Churches

Again, if you have questions, Patrick is offering a complimentary consultation to anyone who contacts him through this article (see details above).

So, now you have three Top-5 lists you can refer to every day as you market your book strategically and successfully, moving ahead based on what works. Here are those three lists again:

__ The 5 Most Important Criteria for Creating a Bestseller
__ The Top 5 Was to Market Your Book
__ The 5 Most Important Groups to Approach

More Results -- Or, What Can Happen When You Do What Works

Patrick has sold more than 150,000 copies of his book. He has been featured on the cover of USA Today and in The New York Times. When Patrick talks about his results, this is what he says: "My book cover was the best investment I ever made. Many people buy the book based on the title alone. My book cover has also catapulted my speaking career!" For more information on the writing and design principles at work on Patrick's cover and other successful authors, go to Bestselling Book Cover.

Patrick insisted we pass this on as well, because he knows first-hand what it takes to succeed in a field where it is easy to fail. "In no way would my book have had this success if it were not for the work that your company brought to the table with title, subtitle, and tagline.......and back cover copy."

If you have questions about the information in this article, especially regarding your book cover or how to get speaking engagements, please feel free to contact us, Graham and Susan by email or at 1-888-634-4120

Now, go do what works!

Susan Kendrick, Write to Your Market, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 1-888-634-4120.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

How to Test Your Marketing Copy to See What Works

Part One:
Let Your List Decide

By Susan Kendrick

See "Testing Tips to Get You Started" at the end of this article!

If you are working on a critical piece of marketing copy—like a book title or subtitle, business name or tagline, headline or other branding sound bites—you can get to a place where you know you have good copy, but it may not be clear if it is the best copy.

Why can “short copy” be so tricky?

There are two good reasons. First, the kinds of short phrases mentioned above are your primary “hooks,” the most visible components of your positioning and sales copy. Everything else depends on getting this short copy right, because it has the lone job of getting people interested enough to stick with you, read the rest of your copy, and take action—to literally “buy” what you have to offer. Whether you want people to buy your books and products, speaking presentation, consulting services, or just to contact you to find out more, your copy needs to get them interested enough to take the next step.

Second, writing this type of high-performance copy requires you to step outside of your own tastes and preferences. You know the value of what you have to offer, but how do you put that in terms that matter to someone else? Another way to put this is that is awfully easy to fall in love with our own ideas. Even the well-meaning feedback of friends and colleagues will still be somewhat biased in your favor. And, more to the point, your friends and collegues may not have anything in common with your target audience and what's important to them.

To resolve both issues associated with writing effective short copy, the best thing to do is test your copy in the real world. It is easy, relatively quick, and what you learn will amaze you.

It Takes a Village

The following copy-testing technique was suggested during a group coaching session with a client of ours who was in the early manuscript stage for his book series. He wanted to nail down the subtitle for the first book so his team could move forward with his website and marketing for this new brand.

The group that came together to talk about this book and product line included the client, editor, project manager, myself, and my favorite book marketing expert, John Kremer, author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books.

John gave his feedback on the subtitle choices I had created for the client. There were some solid options, and what didn’t work for the subtitle would clearly make great marketing headlines and branding sound bites on the client’s website and elsewhere. The task was to choose among these good choices for the best subtitle choice. John’s advice was to test our top two choices for the subtitle this way:

Create Two Versions and Let Your List Decide

To do this yourself, select something you can offer people as a free download. If you are testing a book title or subtitle, the download can be an excerpt from the book. If you are testing a business name or tagline, headline, or other sound bite, the offer can be for a special report, evaluation, checklist, or tip sheet.

Next, position the offer as if there were two choices. For example, if you are a financial advisor, you could offer a tip sheet with your unique approach to helping families save money. You will be offering just the one tip sheet, but the offer will be made to look like there are two choices, because each will have a different title or sales headline. One could be called:

“The Official Money-Saving Handbook for Busy Families”

The other copy you test could be called:

“Money-Saving Secrets of America’s Wealthiest Families”

(Not bad for two made-up names, huh?)

Again, no matter which tip sheet people choose, they will receive the same download, but you will quickly see which marketing copy gets more results.

Testing Tips to Get You Started

If you are on the fence about a key piece of copywriting you need to market your books, products, and services, keep the following tips in mind to get the best results:

1. When testing any marketing copy, test only two versions or two copy variables at a time.

2. Whether you are working on your own or with professional copywriters like my partner, Graham Van Dixhorn and me, make sure you are testing two good pieces of marketing copy that have already been carefully developed and fine-tuned as much as possible.

3. Carefully select the free download you offer. Make sure it offers valuable information you can stand behind and are proud to circulate.

4. Offer the free download to your own list. In addition to testing your copy, doing so will help you learn more about your list and their current needs and interests. This is information that will be helpful to you in continuing to reach out to them with your products and services.

5. If possible, also send the offer out to other lists, that of a colleague or expert in a related field whose readers and subscribers would value your offer.

6. Use this testing technique only once for each download you offer. In other words, don’t test two copy versions for the tip sheet above, and then test another two versions a week later for the same tip sheet, at least not with the same list of people. You can do repeat tests with different copy variables as long as you use a different list each time.

7. Put a time limit on the offer. You want immediate feedback you can start putting to use to move forward with your marketing.

8. Allow yourself enough time to use what you learn. If you need to finalize a business name or tagline, book title or subtitle, or website headline, and you are working with other team members like a graphic artist, book cover designer, or website developer, allow time to test, choose, and have your final copy ready for them to use.

If you have questions about which marketing copy you should test, please contact us at, or call us toll-free at 1-888-634-4120.

May Your Best Copywriting Win!

Susan Kendrick, Write to Your Market, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Creating Book Titles--From Working Title to Final Title

Is Your "Working Title" a Winner ...
Or, Does It Still Need Work?

By Susan Kendrick

Recently, our friend John Eggen of Mission Publishing, a Division of The Mission Marketing Mentors, Inc., asked us to help him answer a question for one of his members about when to finalize a working book title. This is an interesting question, especially coming from John, because he does a lot to teach authors and experts how to monetize their books before they are even completed, and a good working title is an essential tool for doing this. However, John is also adamant about quality and using only a really good working title, then making sure that the final title you decide on is the absolute best for you, your topic, your market, and your revenue goals.

Here, then, is the question from John's mentoring program member and our answer.


When Should I Finalize My Book Title?"

“My book is about how living organizational core values drives success -– profits and otherwise. I’ve interviewed 14 companies who practice living their core values and have “synthesized” 5 practices underlying living core values. I have my working title, (and it is available), but the subtitle is a work in progress. I’m working on pre-sales opportunities through speaking. People keep asking about buying the book and I need to have my website up, but I don’t even have the first draft done yet. My question is, how do I know when to lock in on the final book title? The target date for the book release is January 15, 2010.”


First, Understand the Purpose of a Good Working Book Title

Just as there is expert status associated with being the author of a published book, there is a similar status involved in getting out there with news of your "forthcoming" book. Therefore, using a good working title to promote your book while you are firming up plans for your book cover does many important things for you and your book.

A good working book title enables you to talk about your "forthcoming" book in a concrete way, in your emails, on your blog, on your website, in speaking presentations, and through your consulting. In this way, it lets you start building a loyal following for your unique ideas and approach to your topic. A good working title can also help you reach out to joint venture partners who will ultimately be very important to your promotion and sales efforts. In fact, since you are still writing the book, you have the flexibility to mention or quote these experts in your book, a great incentive for them to get behind you and your message.

How to Know When It's Time to Finalize Your Book Title

But, your working title and subtitle can take you just so far. The question remains ... when do you need to settle on the final title and how do you know if it’s a winner? The answer is that you need a firm title and subtitle to move onto the book cover design stage, and you need at least a front cover to start pre-selling the book on your own or other websites. So, when your book-in-progress starts getting enough exposure through speaking engagements and other channels that people are excited about it and want to buy it, it’s time to take these next steps forward. You earn income from early sales and build on the marketing momentum that you have created.

Simple logistics also come into play. If your target release date is January 15, 2010, you will need to count back through all the publishing production steps—from printing as the final step to creating your title as the first step—to determine exactly when your title must be finalized in order for you to meet that release date. You can download a Free Book Cover Timeline that outlines these steps and how long they take at

Is Your Working Title a Winner ... Or, Does It Still Need Work?

To tell if your working title is a winner or still needs more work, check your title against the criteria below. The subtitle should also help clearly define your target audience, what they get out of it, and even how that happens. In the case of a book with a specific number of practices or steps, for example, incorporate that into your subtitle. Specifics sell. And, clarity beats cleverness any day. Your title and subtitle should create a powerful one-two punch that draws in your target audience on contact and makes them want to know more.

The Book Title Checklist

Use this quick-start checklist to see if your working book title measures up or if you need to either rethink or fine-tune it:

• Your title or your subtitle contains a keyword or keywords related to your topic
• The title is easy to say, hear, remember, and talk about
• Your book title is clear and concise, i.e. no one who hears about it or sees it, regardless of their background, will go, "Huh?"
• The title stands out from other books on this topic because of some unique feature or benefit
• It is not already taken--book titles can’t be copyrighted, but you don’t want your book confused with another one out there
• Experts in the area of book covers and book marketing give you a thumbs up
• It will give you the flexibility to create a series of related books, products, and services
• Your book title captures the attention of your target audience, which you can determine either by a focus group or online tools like Google AdWords
• Your book title creates a defining brand that will grow your reputation and your overall business

My book cover writing partner, Graham Van Dixhorn, and I create book titles, subtitles, series names, back cover copy, and more for a wide range of non-fiction books, authors, and experts. If you would like help with your book title or would like feedback on your working title, please email us at
or call 1-888-634-4120.


Susan Kendrick, Write to Your Market, Inc. All Rights Reserved., 1-888-634-4120.