Ep 169 Marketing Your Book To Bestseller StatusMay 23, 2022
Learn The Marketing Strategies That Will Launch Your Book Into The Bestseller Stratosphere
Hopefully you're reading this blog or listening to the full podcast episode because you either have plans to write your own book, or you're in the process of writing your own book, which makes me giddy with excitement for two somewhat predictable reasons:
- I love reading books (obvs), and;
- I love writing them (even though it is soooo bloody hard).
But there is also something about the process that I love more than anything else, and that is what happens after wrapping up the actual writing of the manuscript.
To me, a marketer-at-heart, it's beyond exciting that once you´ve pushed out that beautiful book-baby of yours, you get to promote it and get it into the hands of as many people as humanly possible so that it can have a big, beautiful impact.
Now Is Time To Go ALL-In
Writing a book is a deeply personal experience, and let’s face it - long before you have popped your sparkly marketing hat on, you have already put a whole lot of effort in. More effort than you ever thought it would take - so much in fact, that it’s hard to fathom that there is any more left in that body of yours to pour into anything else once those pages have been published.
You can also feel incredibly exposed.
You have bared your soul and shared the very best of what you have got inside of that fabulous brain of yours - but there is also a huge part of you that wants to shelter yourself and protect your ego (which has also taken quite a beating during the editing phase). So of course, it’s natural to resist that exposure and protect ourselves a bit ‘just in case’ things don’t go as well as we were hoping.
Please don’t self-sabotage by going anything but all-in on your marketing and publicity.
You’ve done the hardest part, and nothing is going to change what is written on those pages and what you have already put out into the universe with your words, your wisdom and your journey. Your book deserves to be seen and heard by the world, and so do you.
You owe it to yourself to give your book-baby the best chance of survival, so don’t hold back. If ever there was a time to go all-in, marketing your book is that time!
Paying To Play
Unless you’ve already been diving into the nitty-gritty of marketing your book for some time, you might be surprised by how hard it is to find actual information online about the costs involved . Yes, there are a whole lot of people glossing over how much it actually costs, but I learned very early on that like most things, turning your book into a bestseller is a “pay-to’play” game.
If you want to play the game, you've got to put up some funding.
My first book, “One Life” was self-published, and cost me about $60,000 to create that whole book and market it from start to finish. “Million Dollar Micro Business” (the bestseller, yay!) is my second book, and by publishing this book through John Wiley & Sons Australia. I didn't have to pay for the production of the book.
But what I did have to pay for was the promotional materials, including:
- Influencer packs
- Pull up banners
- Media walls
All of these will set you back at least $5K, depending on how much your publisher will chip-in based on their marketing budget.
Beyond that, some other costs you may not have accounted for include:
- Author copies to giveaway, sign or sell at your speaking events will set you back around $5 - $10K
- A good public relations agent will cost around $3K per month for 3 months to get the best exposure (PR tip: ask around for someone with book expertise and contacts in the book industry!)
- An epic, well-planned photo-shoot ahead of your book launch will set you back a couple of thousand dollars but is a must-have for your all-in marketing strategy and will provide you with great social media content to build anticipation and take your followers on the journey with you. Grab my complete done-for-you author’s photoshoot checklist here
- Getting prime book placement by purchasing catalogue space will get you prime book placement in bookstores and retailers (You know how you see the most appealing books on aisle-ends and front-of-store displays at the airport? That shelf-space is real estate available to be purchased by authors like you and me!)
- Your book tour is another great way to get your book into more hands than if it were just sitting on a bookstore shelf waiting to be found. The investment on a tour can vary hugely, so make sure you account for things like renting a location (co-working spaces are a great and cost-effective option), food, drinks, flights, accommodation, special guests, etc.
If you take your tour to different cities, then one way to get great local traction is to employ a host in each of those cities who will share it with their local networks. Your host can then invite their friends and colleagues, and also interview you.
What A Bestseller’s 8-Step Marketing Plan Looks Like
I am a huge fan of planning, mainly because I know first-hand how a lack of it can blow your mind into overwhelm-zone very quickly. When you've got a thorough, strategic plan, it allows you to get all of your ducks in a row and just focus on being present.
The marketing plan for your bestselling book may look different to Brene Brown’s, but there are a few fundamentals that every author needs to have in place in order to be on your way to bestselling status.
Step One - Buy Your Domain. Whatever your book is going to be called, buy the domain for that before you’ve even gone to print. Go ahead and buy it as soon as you have the idea for it! (I've got an idea for my third book - I may never write it - but you bet I've bought the domain already, just in case). This gives you the opportunity to feature your domain all throughout the book itself, and you can then funnel people there for pre-orders or downloading bonus digital resources.
Step Two - Create Your Website. Using your shiny new domain, this website is going to be your page for pre-orders and digital resources. Yes - even if you already have a gorgeous website with all of the bells and whistles, you're also going to have a whole website just for your book.
When you're writing your book itself, always circle it back to the digital resources that you have available on your chosen domain.
Step Three - Prep Your Pre-Launch Marketing. Truth be told, I believe that your pre-launch book marketing is probably more important than any other marketing you will do for your book. The month before and the month after publication is definitely the most important part of your marketing strategy where the most traction is going to happen.
By doubling-down on your pre-launch book marketing strategy (and includes setting up custom copies, bulk sales, creating a media hit-list etc), you’re going to be best-placed to shoot to the top of the charts.
Step Four - Be Proactive In Getting Ranked. Where people are buying your book is going to make a big difference in your rankings, so it’s important (where possible) to lead people to the best supplier for your reach. For example, in Australia our largest online book retailer is Booktopia which means we lead everyone to Booktopia to buy the books. If you are in the USA, you’ll be directing your audience to Amazon.
Not only can you set up affiliate links for both major online retailers, you also want your buyers to go to the one place where you have the best chance of hitting the number one bestseller list.
Step Five - Bulk Up! Custom copies and bulk sales are a great idea that you can plug into your pre-launch marketing plan three to six months prior to publishing.
Approach companies that you know would benefit from buying bulk copies of your book, and if any business pre-orders more than 2000 copies, you can even create a customized cover or personalized pages just for that company.
For bulk order of less than 2000, you can still provide your book and offer discounted rates. When done well and with your publisher onside, bulk sales are a great way to get your sales and rankings up.
Step Six - Become Besties With Your Booksellers. Before your book is released, take a close look at which stores you're going to be stocked in, and put some time into showing those stores that you care, and that you are going to be worth stocking (in a prime location, of course).
Make sure you let all of the stores know when you're going to be nearby on your book tour, and offer to come and personally sign some copies OR host a book-signing in store. Do as much groundwork as you can to go into all of those different stores and celebrate them on social media because they will do the same for you.
By making an effort with your retailers, it’s more likely that they'll place your book at the front of the store and they'll also be able to feature it on their special shelf of “Signed By The Author” titles.
Step Seven - Feature On All Of The Podcasts (yes ALL of them) The final thing that I highly encourage you to include in your marketing plan is podcasts. Social media and podcasts were the two biggest strategies that I implemented to release my books. When Million Dollar Micro Business was released, I spoke as a guest on 60 to 70 podcasts over the course of 90 days.
Sure, I may have been sick of my own voice by the end of it, but it didn’t stop me from going on every podcast that would have me. I have zero doubt that the reason the book did so well was because I could record a podcast and share different things with an audience who would be interested in my content, before telling them to preorder the book where they could learn even more. Where possible. work with podcast hosts to time as many of your podcast episodes to come out 7-14 days before your book’s release date, as well as the week or two after release date.
Step Eight - Share The Journey. As soon as you start writing your book, you also need to be all over Social Media sharing videos and pictures of the journey.
Yes, I’m talking about pics and videos of you writing your book, looking at different chapter outlines, drinking your eighth coffee for the day, having a mid-morning breakdown….everything!
By sharing the whole journey in the lead up to your book release, you’re building anticipation and rapport with your growing audience before really doubling-down on your social media marketing in the final weeks before launch.
Leave no stone unturned in terms of sharing as much content as you can, including quotes from your book, reading a sneak-peek on Facebook or Instagram live, and doing anything that can encourage more people to go and buy the book.
As you can see, in order to give your book the best possible chance of becoming a bestseller and making an impact on as many people’s lives as possible, you need to start planning crazy-early.
Early planning with every aspect of your marketing strategy - from your book tour, to pre-sales, to signings and beyond - is going to ensure that you are EVERYWHERE, which is exactly what you want when you finally push your beautiful book-baby out into the world.
For access to my complete done-for-you book marketing Canva kit, click here!
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