- Article: “How to Build Success into Your Non-Fiction Book” by Jennifer Tribe
- Tips for Authors: “Building Local Recognition for Your Book” by Corinne Liccketto
How to Build Success into Your Non-Fiction Book
by Jennifer Tribe, HighSpot, Inc.
On the self-publishing journey, there’s the production of your book and there’s the marketing of your book. Two separate things, right?
How you create your book will have an impact on your marketing efforts. If you miss an important registration detail, fail to follow an industry norm or make it difficult for readers to find you, your marketing becomes that much more difficult.
While producing a great book doesn’t automatically guarantee sales success, a book with sloppy production values is hobbled right out of the gate. Here are some tips for building success into your book from the beginning.
Spend time on the title
Coming up with a great title isn’t easy, but it’s worth working on. Too many first-time authors try cramming a 25-word synopsis of their book into the title. They end up with titles that are insufferably long, hard to understand and impossible to remember. Yawn. Titles are usually very short, sometimes just one or two catchy words. The subtitle then picks up the job of describing the book in a bit more detail—but still use only five to eight words or so.
Hire a professional designer
People really do judge a book by its cover, even when it’s just a thumbnail. Whether people are browsing a shelf at their local bookstore or clicking through Amazon.com, whether they spy a copy of your book on a friend’s coffee table or reach your website from a tweet, the first they’ll see of your book is the cover. So much rests on the image your cover conveys that it’s foolish to risk a poor impression. Hire an experienced professional to design it. Can’t afford it? You can’t afford not to.
Register your book
Every book needs an ISBN. (Without one, you can’t even sell through Amazon.) Also register your book with your national library, whether that’s the Library of Congress or the National Library of Canada, and invest in having Cataloguing-in-Publication data created. These registrations ensure your book looks professional and is discoverable.
Remember the formula: If p, then e
Despite what you may read, print books aren’t in danger of disappearing anytime soon. Plus, print books still work best as gifts or client premiums; having something tangible to hand out is crucial to making the right impression. So it makes sense, most of the time, to plan on a print edition. Just don’t overlook e-books altogether. It’s so easy and inexpensive to spin off an electronic edition from print files that it should be an automatic part of every author’s publishing process. The more ways people can access your book, the greater the chance of a sale.
Edit your book well
Editing is last on the list, not because it’s least important, but because it supports everything else. You can have an outstanding title, a kick-ass cover and multiple available formats, but if people read your book and find the content stinks, you won’t go far.
- Fill your non-fiction book with helpful information, not promotional copy. People don’t want to pay money to read a long brochure.
- Keep it tight. If you can tell readers how to solve a problem in 200 pages instead of 300 pages, do it. If you can explain the topic in 100 pages, consider a shorter format, like a Kindle Single. Avoid padding just to hit a page count.
- Watch your stale date. A book is no small project so it’s best to create a product you can sell for years to come. As much as you can, avoid information that changes frequently. Instead, focus on timeless principles and point people to your website for information that needs regular updating.
- Hire a professional editor. In fact, hire a couple. At Highspot, we employ up to four different editors on each book because we know that fresh eyes at every stage of the process—from developmental editing through copyediting and printer’s proofs—help us catch more mistakes.
When self-publishing, it pays to think about your book like a traditional publisher: how can you get the best return on your investment? In a hypercompetitive market, give your book a fighting chance with top-notch production values, then market it as the great product you know it be.
Be a Thought Star! Jennifer Tribe is a partner in Highspot Inc., where she helps business owners package, brand and sell their intellectual capital. Helping clients self-publish non-fiction books is a specialty.
Building Local Recognition for Your Book
by Corinne Liccketto
It’s crucial you don’t neglect your hometown media outlets. While national placements are desired, such outlets are not the ideal place to begin pitching you and your book. Initially, building local and regional awareness for your book will allow you to get your feet wet with media exposure. It will also strengthen your platform and help you take your pitch to the next level to attract national attention in the future.
Here are 5 tips to building local awareness:
• Tell your friends, family, neighbors and coworkers: Let those you see on a regular basis know your book has been published. Most likely, the people you’re close with will want to support you so leave your modesty behind and talk yourself up! There is much to be said about word-of-mouth awareness.
• Contact your local newspaper: Remember - the key is to start small. Reach out to your county or town newspaper to let them know that you’ve written a book. Provide them with a synopsis of your book, the applicable audiences and, if possible, a review copy. That you are a local author means featuring you in the paper will be of interest to the local community, which is key to attracting the attention of local journalists.
• Build upon your initial interest: So the small community newspaper wrote a feature about you, the next up-and-coming local author? Put it on your website. Share it on your Facebook wall. Tweet the review to your followers. Write it into the book synopsis. In sharing your media placements, you’ll show potential readers and relevant media contacts that your book is getting people talking!
• Pitch to local television and radio programs: Does your book or message tie in with a particular event? Holiday? Community affair? If so, mention to the producers/program directors that you have a timely message to share with their listening or viewing audience. If you do not have such a tie-in for your book, remember that not you personally are ‘local news.’ Share with them the print exposure you received and send them your speaking points. The less work the producer has to do to put together the interview, the better!
• Hold a book signing: By holding a book signing in your community you have several advantages. Here are a few tips for promoting your local signing:
- Rally up the troops: Send personal invitations to your friends, family, coworkers and neighbors to encourage their attendance.
- Hang flyers in community stores and local businesses: Ask local business owners for permission to hang flyers in their stores. Find out if you can post an announcement on the supermarket bulletin board.
- Encourage local and regional calendar event listings: Contact your local and regional newspapers and community blogs and event websites to encourage calendar listings of your book signing. Register at http://www.patch.com/ to create your own local event listing.
Bottom line: Don’t underestimate the power of your local media market. Starting with your hometown and expanding to surrounding regional outlets will help you start building media credentials for you and your book. Think of media placements as resume builders for your book and message. By noting your achievements, you’ll have more appeal and credibility when pitching to national outlets.
About Smith Publicity
Beginning in 1997, Smith Publicity has evolved from a one-person operation run from a bedroom office to one of the leading promotional firms in the industry. Fueled by a passion for making good things happen for clients, we’ve worked with over 1,000 individuals and companies—from authors and entrepreneurs to publicly-held companies and business— representing a wide range of industries.? ?The Smith Publicity reach is international; we’ve effectively worked with clients throughout the United States, Canada, the U.K., and from Australia to Israel and Malta. We have offices in New Jersey, New York City, Los Angeles, London and Toronto.
While our expansion from boutique publicity agency to a multi-faceted public relations firm has greatly expanded the breadth of our services, the fundamental driving force behind everything we do is superior presentation, promotion, and positioning of our clients. Our refrain, “make good things happen for clients,” has propelled Smith Publicity from just another agency to a premier promotional firm offering outstanding, cost-effective service with unparalleled customer attention.