When we talk about book marketing, we're mostly referring to fiction. But nonfiction is a booming business whether you're traditionally published or an indie author. Nonfiction books provide you with niche opportunities to build a business around your book. Partner member Karen Williams from The Book Mentor talks us through the nonfiction book marketing basics.
With increasing numbers of business owners writing and publishing a book, you have to stand out and get noticed. If you’ve read my recent ALLi guest blog post, where I considered what’s changed for non-fiction authors during the last ten years, you’ll have probably noted that it’s no longer enough to list your book on Amazon and hope for the best.
Success for many nonfiction business authors is no longer just about book sales: it’s what happens off the back of your book that counts in the long term. This may be through product sales, regular one-to-one clients or consistently filling your workshops.
There are dozens of ways to promote your book and your business, many of which I shared in my fifth book, Book Marketing Made Simple. Here are a few ideas to get you started to think about your own book marketing strategy.
Nonfiction Book Marketing Basics: Start With Marketing in Mind
When you’re writing a business building book, I suggest you start with marketing in mind. This means that before you even write a single word, you think about which book to write first and your goal for your book. This means that you can align your book to your business and later leverage its success.
As well as writing the right book, what do you want people to do after they’ve read it? Are you launching a programme or product to complement the book that they could purchase? Do you want speaking engagements? Don’t forget to tell people what to do next!
Tell People You’re Writing Your Book
Once you’ve started writing your book, it’s time to start your marketing. Although it may feel counter-intuitive to promote something you haven’t yet written – and perhaps a bit scary ‒ you’ll be missing a trick if you don’t start to talk about it now.
The first thing to consider is how you already market your business. If you’re already doing something that works, I suggest you continue with this. When there are a plethora of tools out there, from podcasts to video, social media, networking, mailing lists, and more, it makes sense to find something that you enjoy doing, as well as using methods that help you to reach your ideal clients and readers.
If you don’t already have a mailing list or you want to find out more about your ideal readers, you might want to start your pre-launch marketing with a survey. This has multiple benefits. For one it can help you to ensure that you’re on the right track with the content that you plan to write. It also helps you to consider areas that hadn’t been on your agenda when you planned it. I’m currently carrying out a survey for my sixth book to find out what people want to read in it.
With your survey, you can also capture people’s contact details and – as long as you have their permission and comply with GDPR requirements – add them to your mailing list. This helps if you have something valuable to offer in return.
During your pre-launch phase, your marketing focus is likely to be on community building, creating or developing your mailing list and building your profile on social media. All of these will be helpful when you launch.
And there’s nothing like someone asking you how your book is going to spur you on to write it!
Get Ready For Your Launch
Once your book is written, there are many things to think about with regards to your launch. You may wish to get endorsements for your book, such as a foreword and reviews from influential people in your field.
You may also start planning your launch. A question that I ask clients at this stage is: Who do you know who can help you?
The more people who are supporting you at this stage, whether you give them an advance review copy or ask them to share your book with their mailing list or on social media, the more likely it is to be successful.
Whatever you decide to do, I would certainly advise you to mark your book launch in some way, otherwise it may feel like an anti-climax.
Some Librotas clients have an Amazon bestseller launch and others have a book launch party, and the brave do both! A launch helps you to celebrate your achievement, even if you use it to thank those involved with the process.
I would, however, invite you to see your launch as a marketing opportunity. It will help you to sell copies of your book, as well as other things you offer. When you have other people helping you, together you can reach more people and make the most of writing your book.
Have an Ongoing Plan
It’s important to have a post-launch marketing plan for your book. It’s so easy to start to relax after your book has been written and published, but this is the time to really ramp it up! Whether you’ve published your book yourself or have a traditional deal, most of the marketing will be up to you. A book can complement other marketing activities. You may choose strategic partnerships, PR, sponsorship arrangements, speaking engagements and more.
That’s where I’d invite you to answer this question: Who else do you want to get your book in front of? Since many business authors are using their book as a calling card, this is the time when you may consider strategically giving your book away, especially if you wish to get it in front of new prospective clients.
Whether you wish to give away your book, sell it when you speak, incorporate it into a training programme or something else, do have a plan! And you may choose to write another one!
There are many ways you can market your book and the most important things to consider are your own preferences when it comes to marketing, how best you can reach your ideal clients and readers, and also who can help you on your journey.
Your book is one of many marketing tools you have, so start with the end in mind. Think about where it can take your clients next and how you can use it as a brilliant business building tool.
OVER TO YOU
What innovative marketing tactics did you do when you launched your nonfiction book? What nonfiction book marketing basics can you share with us?
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