Monday, March 24, 2014

Book promotion steps to take before you publish

 Guest post by David Small, the Wandering Promoter

This Monday blog features guest blogger David Small, author, international hockey coach and entrepreneur. His new book, The Wandering Leader, launched on Valentine's Day and is already climbing the Amazon bestseller lists in non-fiction.

David hails from Kenora, Ontario — I town I spent many summer weeks in as a youth. It's not exactly known as a hotbed of literature, and it's been literally decades since I crossed paths with anyone from Kenora. I couldn't resist asking him to blog about his approach to self-publishing and his success in promoting his book — lessons we can all use. 

Over to you, David: 

A couple weeks ago I published my third book called The Wandering Leader. This book is about leadership, world travel, and chasing happiness. I define a “wandering leader” as someone who is in a leadership role, but doesn’t have all the answers. They sometime have to improvise or fake it until they make it. As JRR Tolkien said; “Not all that wander are lost.”  Sometimes I feel the same when I am promoting a product. I fake it until I make it. 

I want to share with you my marketing blueprint for how I ended up going from a nobody, to landing on the Amazon bestseller list. Hopefully my experiences in marketing and promoting my book will help you, or give you some ideas to promote your own products in the future. 

Pre-launch required reading: Platform by Michael Hyatt (hyperlink address:

3 weeks before launch week: write down different ways you can generate exposure during your launch week. Here are examples that I used during my launch week: 
  • launch team (very important)
  • media interviews/Press Releases
  • podcasts 
  • guest blog posts
  • images and social media production
  • promotions and giveaways.

If you don’t know an exact date your product with be available across all retail channels, it’s okay to let it be live on some channels and wait for all other channels to come live. You don’t need a big “pre-launch” or “official launch day” — just pick a day on the calendar. You’re the boss. 

2 weeks before launch week: Start to research blogs and podcasts that are in your field. For example, my book is about leadership, so I spent time researching podcasts and blogs in leadership, management, or coaching. I contacted about 30 podcast producers and 30 blogs. Aim for about seven to ten agreements in each category. This will drive traffic during your launch week. Ask that the post or cast be published during your launch week with links to your site or book. 

1 week before launch week: Talk to your book launch team. This is one of the most important ways for you to get exposure. These are friends, family members, and people you know who have a social influence. I was lucky to have NHL hockey players that I used to coach who were willing to help me during my book launch. One NHL player tweeted about my book and instantly 30,000 people saw it. That’s great, personal exposure. Offer to buy a copy of your new book (or whatever your product is) for anyone who helps you during your book launch week. 

Send out a press release to local media. They often like to do human interest pieces. Get on your local radio station to talk about your book and your goals. 

Book launch week: Start your promotion. Don’t spend money on click advertising; instead, buy cool prizes from companies you love and give them away to people who buy your book. I am a big support of Star Alliance air network, so I gave away travel vouchers (fitting because my book is about travel). This cost me approximately $400, which was the most I spent on advertising during my entire book launch. 

Give yourself a target to hit during that week, and a deadline to hit it. This creates a sense of urgency with your buyer. People like to support a race or goal. If you ask your friends and family to buy your product and you think they’re going to drop everything and do it, you’re wrong. I have some family members that I love dearly, but who have never gotten around to buying or reading any of my work. People just don’t really care. If you ask them to buy your book within a given week, so you can reach your sales goal, they’re more likely to do it. I said I want to reach 500 sales within the book launch week. 

Learn about the bestseller list. The Amazon bestseller list can really help you out (if your product is available on Amazon.) This list is updated hourly, and looks at overall popularity, as well as sales within the not-so-distant future. Because I asked people to order my book during book launch week, it put my book sales up to a high point during the first week of availability. Then in the second week all those sales landed it on the Amazon Top 100 list for the categories the book is published under. Being on the Top 100 list is huge because it gives people another reason to get off their butts and buy your book. You can ask them “help me reach the #1 best seller on Amazon by ordering a copy of my book today.” This gives your buyer a sense of urgency and a feeling like they’re a part of your success. I had 136 clicks and 127 orders in 24 hours. This in turn shot my book up to #7 on the bestsellers list. Which then gives you even more fuel to light a fire under your customers’ butts. If you’re that close to the #1 spot, people will get crazy and buy four or five copies of your book in hopes you’ll keep jumping up the list. 

My book passed authors like John Maxwell, Dan Millman, Tony Robbins, Dale Carnegie, and Dr. Phil in the category Books > Self-Help > Success. I used their names to grab attention in my social media campaigns and keep people interested. I also reengaged my book launch team for a second round of social media sharing with the target to help the book get to the #1 spot. 

For my book launch team, I created a guide and a hidden page on my website for them to use as reference. There I put sample tweets, images with quotes on them, link short codes, and excerpts from the book. People are busy, so make it idiot-proof for them. Copy and Paste and they’re done.  

When you’re promoting a new product, don’t get discouraged when people don’t leap up to buy it. Be genuine. Use your relationships and personality to ask people to buy it, but don’t harass them or spam them (until you make the bestseller list, then spam everyone you know — the higher you climb up the list, the more likely people are to help.) Good luck! 

How have you promoted your product launches? What worked for you or didn’t work for you? 

About the guest blogger:

David Small is the author of the bestselling book The Wandering Leader. In this book, David explains how leaders don’t need to be perfect, but they should get things done. He focuses on seven areas of leadership that everyone can grow in; career, financial, social, physical, spiritual, intellectual, and family. David has been a professional ice hockey coach for over a decade and is an officer in the Canadian army reserves. David has guest lectured and been a keynote speaker at leadership events around the globe. 

Visit his:

1 comment:

  1. Contrary to most marketing strategies written/spoken, I find that this one has a lot to offer a fiction writer. Nice surprise since David is a non-fiction writer. Glad I read it. Thank you.