I couldn’t help but pass along this absurd, but true, example of how NOT to market a book. One of my clients sent me the following email she received from a first-time author trying to promote a new book. Read the text, and ask yourself, “How does this make me feel?”: (The author’s name has been removed to protect them from feeling like an idiot.)
“Hello friends, you can probably guess that I’m grinning from ear-to-ear over the release of my new book. The publisher has their marketing team doing its part in getting the book out to the public, but now I’m also asking for your help to create the buzz necessary to make this book move and get it into the hands of the audience. Let’s work together to move the first printing of the book out of the warehouse within this month! Here are simple ways you can help:
- Purchase a copy of the book for yourself and for at least one friend.
- After reading the book, write a review and post it on Amazon and Barnes&Noble. (A review is simply your opinion about the book. It can be just a couple of sentences, and you can post the same message on all sites, so this won’t take a lot of time.
- Ask your church to order 20 – 50 copies of the book. Keep one in your church library and give the rest as a resource to families. (If just 60 churches purchase 50 books each, we’ll empty the warehouse and send the book into its second printing!)
- Consider inviting me to conduct and/or speak at a seminar at your church or community organization. Books would be made available to all participants. I have put together a 5-session seminar through which I share valuable information about Christianity in our post-modern generation. Contact me for further information and to schedule a date.
- Forward the link to my press release to your entire e-mail mailing list. Send it with your endorsement and a personal note explaining your connection to me.
- Print out as many copies of the press release as you’d like and post it on bulletin boards at schools, churches, libraries, etc.
I really appreciate all the help you can give in promoting my book. Please dedicate within the next week to doing something (if not everything) from the suggestions given above. I appreciate you. Thank you in advance.”
If you’re like me, doesn’t this author seem to be a bit presumptuous? Expecting other people to do your book marketing is the sign of a novice…it’s also ridiculously selfish.
The right way to market your book is to give away free value that makes your audience want more. Secondly, you empower fans with free tools to spread word-of-mouth, rather than sending out emails begging for their assistance.
Examine the way you market your books, and ask yourself: Am I selfish in my expectations, or am I selfless with my value?