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The Hard Work Comes AFTER You Write Your Book

How do you get your book to stand out amidst all the clutter out there? Many people have been trying to figure this out for a long time.

Mostly, it’s about marketing. Marketing, schmarketing, you say. “I poured my heart and soul into this book.” “Writing is an art, not a science.” “People will know good writing when they see it.”

True on all counts (I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt regarding your heart and soul). But, with all the options out there these days, why should they buy your book?

What is Marketing?

First of all, like writing itself, there is a lot of creativity that goes into marketing. And yes, it is also a science, especially when it comes to testing – which I highly recommend.

To explain what marketing is, perhaps a few maxims are in order:

  • “Find a Need and Fill it”
  • “Sell the Sizzle, Not the Steak”
  • “Give the Lady What She Wants”
  • I think you get the point. People buy on emotion and justify their purchases using facts.

    So, consider the following options when promoting your book. Perhaps you have already thought of them (and, don’t think for a minute this is an exhaustive list):


    What category (or categories) do you have your book listed under? I would suggest you avoid general categories. “General fiction” is probably the worst. If your book dwells there, it resides with hundreds of thousands of other books. You would essentially be asking the reader to find the proverbial needle in a haystack.

    What are you doing to get your book in front of potential buyers? What solutions are you providing? Keep that in mind when choosing a category.

    Related: Are Books Still Relevant?

    What is Your Elevator Pitch for Your Book?

    Most people have elevator pitches for their businesses that they share at networking events. Why not have one for your book? It will help you move the needle on sales.

    Get reviews, interviews and (other) publicity

    I can’t stress enough the benefits of getting reviews for your book. The more, the better. Set goals of 10, then 25, 50, 100, 250, etc.

    Interviews and other PR assignments help you gain exposure, thereby improving a book’s discoverability.

    Digital Marketing

    Are you using Google Ad Words? If you don’t see ROI using Google, try Bing Ads. They’re less expensive. If you don’t see the benefits of social media yet, I can’t help you.


    Remarketing is essentially putting a cookie on someone’s computer so they’ll see your ad for about a month. Amazon does this all the time and it’s very effective.

    Target Librarians, Booksellers and Active Bloggers

    These are the people you want to promote your book. They can influence readers.


    If people hear you speak, and like you (that’s key), there’s a good chance they’ll buy your book (assuming your talk was even remotely related to what your book is about). If you’re going to be speaking regularly, be sure to have a high quality video. People are used to watching television. If what they see isn’t entertaining – or it’s of inferior quality – that’s one more reason why NOT to hire you. There are plenty of other speakers out there. Make sure they choose you.


    Deborah Tannen, author of That’s Not What I Meant and You Just Don’t Understand, often alluded to metamessages, which, she described as “the message beneath the message.” If you said “I’m not angry,” but your tone was harsh, your fist was clenched and you hissed it out through your teeth, the words that were spoken were less believable than the way they were delivered. Likewise, “metatags” are the keywords or phrases that are used to describe what you want to say.

    There are many more marketing techniques out there which can draw attention to your book. Start with a few and add as you go. It takes a while. But, every little bit helps. Edmund Burke said “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.”

    As I tell people, many think the hardest part of the book process is writing it. After it’s written, they realize that publishing it is even harder. Then, after it comes out, the hardest part yet is marketing it effectively. The tips listed above should help