Monday, October 19, 2009

Advice for New Authors--Do These Six Things Now

A Look at One Author's Successful
Book Launch and How She Did It

By Susan Kendrick

It’s always a pleasure to feature a new book from one of our book cover and marketing clients. We couldn't be happier to see Susan Berg launch her timely and important book, Choose on Purpose for Twentysomethings: Finding Work You Love, Places to Grow, People Who Care. If you have a special twentysomething in your life, consider Susan’s book as a gift for them. It’s that good.

Hit the Road Running!

As an author, take a look around Susan Berg’s Choose on Purpose™ website. It’s a good example of how you can have an all-in-one book and brand presence, actively promote your book and your services, and engage on many levels with your online visitors.

Even better, in this article you hear directly from Susan Berg about what she’s been doing to not only successfully market her book, but to use her new book to get speaking engagements, be invited as a featured guest on a national webcast, line up workshops, be a guest blogger, and more.

What’s Working for This New Author Can Work for You

After going back and forth with Susan Berg over the last few months about all the good things that are coming together for her, she and I compiled the following list of marketing musts that are working for her and can work for you, too. Check out what Susan Berg has to say about her book-marketing journey.

1. Submit Your Book for Review

… For attention from Library Journal, B&N, and others
“On the book front,” says Susan Berg, “some very good news. Both Barnes & Noble college and retail have approached me to sell the book in stores. We're very excited about this, as the book made it through those high walls all by itself. That’s the book cover copywriting and design at work. I also got a review from Library Journal. According to Dan Poynter, that can be good for sales of anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 books. I'll take it!”

… The American Marketing Association
“More good news,” says Susan Berg, “is that the American Marketing Association approached me in August to do a national webcast. There were more than 1,000 people signed up from companies and colleges all over the country! The AMA even purchased 25 books to promote the webcast. I believe this invitation came through someone at the AMA keeping up on professional book reviews, and she caught the Library Journal review of my book. So, submitting your book for reviews, while it can feel futile, can pay off.”

… Twitter group following, and more
“What's also important about this AMA webcast is that we got a Twitter group following from it as well as inquiries for follow-up materials and a request to be a guest blogger. Most of all, my daughter and Chief Outreach Partner, Kirsten Berg, and I got a chance to work together. That was wonderful.”

2. Make Public Appearances

“As for getting the word out about my message, public appearances of any sort are the ticket for me. And, whether it is speaking, workshops, or presentations, the book is my calling card.

The Media
“One outlet for connecting with the media has been HARO (Help A Reporter Out). For someone like me who doesn't want to invest in a paid newswire service while they’re still learning the ropes, it’s a way to see what kinds of stories and interviews people are looking for. I have gotten interviews through HARO, so again, that’s something that has been worth trying. The media kit (go to “Media Downloads” on this page) you and Graham developed for me has been invaluable in getting these interviews."

Speaking Engagements
“All the speaking engagements I am getting I have gone after myself. My media kit and of course my website have been a big help for showing who I am and what I can do. I work through my contacts to find people willing to talk to me, then I meet with them and propose a speaking engagement. Other new authors and speakers should know that it can be a lot of leg work, and you have to be patient. It usually takes weeks to get the appointment, then months to actually have a speaking engagement. For example, a friend who works at a liberal arts college introduced me to the director of the Career Center in July. In August she agreed to schedule me to speak. I will be conducting the workshop in early November."

More on the Power of Speaking for Authors:
For more information on the effect speaking can have on your book sales, see my last post, “The ‘Rules of Fives’ for Successful Book Marketing.” If you would like more information on how to create a speaker one sheet to promote yourself to meeting planners and speakers bureaus, contact us and we’ll walk you through the components of a typical speaker’s kit. As Susan Berg mentioned, above, the media kit we created for her (again, see “Media Downloads”) can double as a speaker's kit, at least in getting started.

3. Connect With Colleagues

“The other thing that is working for me,” says Susan Berg, “is ‘top of mind’ phone calls to colleagues with whom I have been out of touch. I don't ask for a thing. I call only with the intention to reconnect. But, what I'm finding is that my passion about the book somehow gets other people excited about getting involved. I've found, as a result, at least one opportunity for a workshop with an old colleague who will help me promote the book, as well as a new relationship with a non-profit with whom my advisory board can get involved. This helps us further promote our work. Just calling and talking to people who know you does wonders! Sometimes it generates opportunities, but it at least always results in a pick-me-up and validation for the work I'm doing. Some days, that’s enough.”

4. Get a Book Cover That Opens Doors

“As for the book cover, for me it is everything. The positive response I get to the front and back cover copywriting you created for me does its work everyday. The language is so simple; it reaches people on contact. My ability to turn that copywriting over and over into marketing sound bites and content I use on my website and elsewhere allows me to use my time more effectively. I’m not constantly re-inventing the wheel. You perfectly mirrored the book’s content with wording that is comfortable and compelling. That message, complimented by the cover graphic, is consistent with the reader’s experience throughout the book.”

Check out these links for more info on creating book titles and subtitles and for creating book back cover sales copywriting.

5. Build a Great Website

“How important is my website? CRITICAL!” says Susan Berg. “I point people to it for detailed information on me and my work. I especially have them look at the Media Room page for insight on my speaking approach. Nobody wants to look at hard copy anymore. It's all on the web. Having links to Amazon and B&N also makes me look credible. This is where the copywriting you created plays a big role. I re-use it or adapt it, so I’m not creating everything from scratch. And again, it ensures that the website mirrors the book content. You hit a home run aligning the marketing message on the book cover to the book and my work”

6. Get a Professional Media Kit

“Having a good media kit is really important. I have had several people tell me they were impressed with the thoroughness of the media kit (see media downloads) your partner, Graham, created for me. People who accepted my responses to HARO make this comment as well as publicity people. They are impressed, for example, that the kit already includes interview questions they can use. A media-friendly kit like this makes you look professional and like you know what you’re doing, even when you feel like the learning curve you are on is 100% vertical, and you're figuring things out as you go."

Whether you are in the planning stages for your book or coming down the home stretch, Susan Berg and her Choose on Purpose book, brand, book cover, website, media kit, and her experiences as a new author can help you see what you can do to successfully launch and promote your own book.


If you have any questions about anything discussed in this article or how Graham and I can help you with your book cover, website, or media kit, do not hesitate to contact us. You can also call us at 1-888-634-4120.

To the Success of You and Your Books!

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