Wednesday, April 29, 2009

8 Tips on Creating an Army of People to Market Your Book

Thank you, Tony Eldridge who allowed me to "borrow" this post from his blog, Marketing Tips for Writers. Tony's blog is very helpful for all things writing related. You should check it out. After reading mine, of course.

Now here's what Tony had to say:
Let's face it; if you go at marketing your book alone, you will have a monumental, if not impossible job ahead of you. Even the NY Times bestselling authors need people to help them get the word of their book out. That's what we are talking about when we say "an army of people to market your book." How do we find people willing to be our spokespeople and tell the world about our book? Below are 8 ways you can start to build your own marketing army.

1. Put out a great piece of work. If you want people excited about sharing your book with the world, then you need to put in the work to create a professional book. If you are going to self-publish, then you need to treat your book like the professionals would. Have it professionally edited. Rewrite, rework, and revise over and over until you know it's as professional as you can get it. If you don't know how to do this, then it's incumbent upon you to learn. Take a writing class, read multiple how-to books, seek professional help. Your book is not the project you want to treat like amateur's night at the Improv. If you want it to go anywhere, then put in the elbow grease to make it as polished as you can possibly make it.

2. Start from your inner circle. Once you take the plunge and put your work out there for all to see, contact your inner circle of friends, family, co-workers, and other relationships to help you get the word out. Encourage them to send e-mails, blog posts, letters, phone calls, and anything else they can possibly think of to tell others about your book. These should be your most ardent supporters, but don't get discouraged if they all don't climb on board with you right away. Welcome to human nature. Even our closest relationships have good intentions but are sometimes hard to stir into action. Just keep at them; you will be surprised with what a little patience can accomplish.

3. Expand your inner circle. Don't be content with your current "inner circle." Look for ways to add others to it. Find those people whom you connect with, personally or professionally and recruit them to help you pass on the message of your book. I have been blessed by meeting some of the finest authors and marketers through my job. If it were not for them, The Samson Effect or Marketing Tips For Authors would be but a blip on the Internet scene. Even if your inner circle only tells a small number of contacts about your book, their cumulative effect can be extraordinary. And never judge a person by the number of contacts they boast. Having a friend with 10 quality contacts who each has 1000 quality contacts is far better than the person with 20,000 non-targeted Twitter followers. Passion for your book goes a long way to make up for a seemingly lack of contacts.

4. Be willing to be in someone else's army. Yes, if you want people to help get the word out about your book, then you need to be willing to serve in their army to get the word out about their pet project. In fact, be proactive about this. Ask someone what you can do for them. Just as much as you want and need people to spread the news about your book, they probably need people to spread the word about something they are doing. If you are truly a giver, and not just an emotional or professional vampire, then you will be surprised at the number of people who will gladly plug your book for you. And when you commit to help someone in their army, do it right. Put in the time and your best effort. After all, that's what your are looking for, right?

5. Network offline. Don't keep your efforts to network solely online. Get out in the community and meet people. Visit local civic clubs, volunteer to speak at your local library, or better yet, volunteer to conduct a free class at your library. Meet the editor of a small community newspaper and volunteer to write an article for them. With the 4th of July coming up quickly, find community events and see if any offer door prizes. If so, volunteer your signed book as a prize. All of these ideas put you into contact with influencers who can be powerful allies when it comes to getting the word out about your book. And many of these people are very well connected.

6. Meet new people online. Yep, gotta do this one. Why? Because online contacts can have your greatest leverage when it comes to telling people about your book. Be careful though--not all contacts are created equal. Just like you get junk mail, you can also get junk contacts. What you want to do is cultivate real life contacts. These are people you can interact with online, more than just send e-mails or tweets to. Of course you won't be able to create a real relationship with 30,000 Twitter followers, but you can make a point to reach out and touch base with a few new ones each week. Real messages, aimed just at them. All of a sudden, you just moved from being a spammer trying to sell your book to a real flesh and blood author. A personal message can make a huge impact and be the difference in someone spreading the news about your book or not.

7. Maintain contact with the people you meet. Dove tailing on the last point, it's not enough to start collecting contacts. You need to maintain communications with them. You can do this through e-mails, newsletters, web site updates, blog posts, letters, post cards, phone calls, etc... Someone is more likely to help a friend than a stranger. With each communication you have with them, the less and less of a stranger you become to them.

8. Ask. Sometimes we forget the most elementary lessons of all. Sometimes all it takes is to simply ask someone to tell their friends and family about your book. How may book sales have you missed out on already because you did not ask someone to tell people about your book? This is a very easy thing to do, but a very hard thing to get done. Make it a point to ask your neighbors, friends, your dry cleaner, your kid's teachers, anyone and everyone to help you spread the news about your book. Even a small percentage pf people who comply begins to make a difference when you keep asking more and more people to help you spread the news about your book.

So, your challenge today is to ask 10 people to help you spread the word about your book and to find 1 person whose army you can join. Good luck. I hope this helps you find more people to help you promote your book than you though possible.

Tony Eldridge
Forney, TX, United States

I am the author of the action/adventure book, The Samson Effect, that Clive Cussler calls a "first rate thriller brimming with intrigue and adventure." Read more about it at I also share my book marketing tips with fellow authors through my blog and through my free weekly video marketing tips for authors. I sincerely hope you can find something on my blog or in my videos to help you market your book more effectively.

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