Authors are an odd lot. They often expect their book will somehow launch itself. In the movie “Field of Dreams,” a voice whispers in farmer Ray Kinsella’s ear, “Build it and he will come.” Would that this were true in the book marketing business. The truth is, publish your book and expect it to market itself and you will be bitterly disappointed.
Developing your business book presupposes you have an topic of interest to others. You want to share what you know about it. So far, so good. But the larger task remains: You have to get the word out to your potential reader. Don’t expect your publisher to do the essential market research; after all, you are the expert in the field and the best source of marketing information.
Grael Norton, director of marketing at Wheatmark, a Tucson, AZ-based publisher, tells his authors they need to set goals, then develop a strategy followed by tactics which implement the strategy. Stuff every businessperson knows by heart – and often fails to implement for their book.
We know of an excellent book written by two well thought-of practitioners, published by a prestigious business press. Two months after publication, it has but four reviews on Amazon. The title is buried in the publisher’s “store” of “books, cases, articles, audio and more.” One author hasn’t blogged on his publisher-sponsored site since last October, the other for over a month and a half. There is no website for the book.
But we don’t know these authors’ goal. Perhaps it is not to sell books, although that would seem obvious. Think about this:
- It doesn’t matter how good your book is, you have to do the marketing
- Regardless who your publisher is, you have to do the marketing
- Whether you are a first-time author or one with an insanely great business platform, you have to do the marketing
- Even if you have five-star Amazon reviews, you have to do the marketing
- If you don’t spread the word using social media, you aren’t marketing.
Another of our clients published a book with a well-known business press. He didn’t wait for the publicity or marketing people to discover his treasure. Instead, he trumpeted it to the world via social media, asking everyone he knew to write an Amazon review. Smart man. He sold books.
This is your book. You know it best. You understand the audience better than anyone. You know how to get the word out to them. You care about your book more than anyone on earth, so yes, you have to do the marketing.