By: Scott Andrew James
Speakers and authors know intuitively that we will benefit from writing and publishing a book. A new book will raise our profile, open doors to new speaking gigs, and generally elevate the legitimacy and power of our message and business. James Altucher wrote a great post about why every entrepreneur should self-publish a book. And writing a book takes work. But one mistake that many of us make is that once we’ve written the book, we press publish and expect the accolades, speaking opportunities, and legitimacy to come rolling in while we sip mai tai’s by the pool. Not going to happen.
We have to market the book. And we have to throw events around that book. Those events may be release parties, workshops, speaking gigs at conferences, Google Hangouts, webinars, Skillshare classes, or any number of other kinds of events. And even if we know that, sometimes we expect people to turn out for those events all excited and ready to love us without understanding how to get bodies in the door. This post is about 5 of my favorite semi-secret ways to get 100 people at your next book event.
1. Market the Event, Not the Book.
As authors we are proud of our books. We spend months and years working on them, so when they come out we tend to think of the fact that it is published as an event in and of itself. Head over to Twitter or Facebook and you’ll find no shortage of authors tweeting something like, “My new book just went live on Amazon! Check it out here: http://amazonlink”. But the thing is, that’s not very compelling to anyone but us and maybe our friends and family.
When you throw an event based on your book, your digital strategy needs to marketing the event itself, not the book. Once you get people through the door, then you can start talking about what’s in the book and why they should buy one at the table in the back. But when your goal is to get people to sign up or buy a ticket, pitch the benefits that the person will get from the event. Make your tweets and shares and event description about what makes the event unique, who will be there, why the food and drinks will be great, or why it’s a special opportunity to hear original talks from special people. Don’t get lost trying to describe in detail what the book is about. You’re trying to get them to an event first, not trying to sell them your book.
2. Target the Audience That Needs You, Not the Audience Like You.
Marketers spend a lot of time talking about target audience, and we should. When you have an event, online or offline, you have limited time and energy to get the word out. Make sure you are getting that word out to people who have a good chance to be interested in coming to the event, not just other people in your industry who are doing the same types of things you are doing.
Authors and speakers have a tendency to have social media profiles full of connections to other authors and speakers. This is good on a day to day basis because it keeps us up on current trends and news, and it keeps us learning and getting better at what we do. But when it comes to marketing events around your new book, your primary audience is often not the same people you have close connections to. It’s people who know less about what you wrote about and want to learn more, or it’s people who don’t write books but who read them. Make sure you target the right audience.
3. Enlist Your Community Rather Than Doing It Alone.
A lot of authors and speakers I work with try to market an event alone. We do contact people and ask them to tweet about, share about, or blog about our event or book, but that’s not what I mean. That’s level one.
What I mean is reaching out to your community to find allies who will help you think about, network toward, and make things happen around promoting your book event. What I mean is asking dozens of your colleagues to help you brainstorm places and ways to promote your event, then asking those colleagues to help you promote it there with an introduction or coordinated social media sharing. It’s helpful to have people share your link, to be sure. But the real power is in having a team of people helping you extend your reach far beyond your own network.
4. Start Working Before You Start Marketing.
To make #3 happen, we have to start more than just a few weeks before our event. I advise my clients to start 3 months beforehand. That means asking people for help before your event is even listed online. That means seeing who is interested and available weeks before you actually ask them for their help. That way it’s in the back of their mind and they think about it as they are going about their day.
You’re priming the pump. Then, when you ask them to take action and help you brainstorm 2 months before your event, they’re ready. And when you ask them to share and promote your links and articles the month before the event, they are involved and know what you’re asking for, rather than finding yourself starting from scratch when it’s already crunch time for promoting.
5. Talk About The Story, Not Just Your Event and Your Book.
We know that people respond best to stories. It’s human. When you promote your event and your book, remember to tell that story in every tweet, share, article, and description that is out there.
Repeat the key pieces of the story and emphasize how it involves the people you want to respond and come to your event. Tell people how they will feel or what they will be able to do once they read your book. Don’t harp on about how great your book is and expect people to fall in love with it based on a few lines. Focus on telling the story, getting them involved by telling them the benefits they will get, and getting people excited about your event. When they come through the door, they’ll be ready to want your book.
Scott Andrew James is an author, writing coach, and content strategist. He helps authors and speakers sell more books by marketing with precision and integrity. Read more about his work at http://redhatproject.com.