Monday, July 25, 2011

Tips for Marketing Your Books

As you all know, writing your book is only half the battle. Whether you decide to traditionally publish or self-publish your work, you are still going to have to sell it.

But how? Set up a website. Blog. Tweet. We’ve all heard the tips. But what exactly are the nuts and bolts of book marketing? That’s where book coach Judy Cullins comes in.

Judy specializes in non-fiction book marketing. She calls non-fiction the books that fiction authors write to make money before they’ve made it. I recorded an excellent interview with Coach Cullins, which will be available on the Writers Radio Resource soon. But in the meantime, here is a synopsis of what we talked about.

How Does Your Book Benefit the Reader?

Judy says an important marketing technique is to let your audience know about how they will benefit from reading your book. In short, what will they learn? And, if this is a fictional work, what kind of experience will they receive? What kind of emotions will the reader feel when reading your work?

And for non-fiction writers... What need are you filling for your audience? It sounds simple enough, but people need to know what you book affords them before they buy it.

The Purpose of Blogging

Yes, we’ve all heard about the importance of blogging as a marketing technique. But, according to Judy, it’s not enough to just provide information about your books on your blog, or just to talk about yourself, as an author. According to Judy, your blog’s real purpose is to entertain and engage the audience. One way to do this is by asking questions. Write a post, then ask your audience to comment on the entry.

Or for fiction writers, provide a sample of your book where your main character is dealing with a particularly tough obstacle. Then ask the readers to comment about a time they have had to surmount their own obstacles.

HLAs, Huh?

HLA stands for High Level Activity. Judy told me that you must be performing three HLAs daily for you to successfully market your book. This means, each day, you must chose three marketing activities. It could be sending out an email promotion about one service, writing a blog entry, then tweeting about it. But regardless, Judy asks that we be specific. She said to write what HLAs you plan to do the night before— then do them! The more specific you are, the more apt you are to actually do what you say you’re going to do.

The Importance of LinkedIn

According to Judy, not all social media is considered equal. LinkedIn is actually one of the best social media outlets. This is because, on LinkedIn, your audience is very specific, tailored to exactly what you are selling. This is especially true when participating in all the groups on LinkedIn, which Judy said is important. In the groups, you can participate in different discussions, always adding in your URL to link people back to your site.

Your Website

Another thing Judy said is important, if you are selling a book, is to have a website. Create a website, then make it so that readers can buy your book there. If you expect readers to sift through all of the different books on the biggest ebook websites (aka Smashwords), good luck. On your website, Judy also recommends having a business that is related to your book, since you won’t really make as much money in book sales as you will through the business.

Of course, I am only scraping the surface here. We get much more in-depth in our radio interview, which I will post soon.

In the meantime, for more information about Judy Cullins, her informational blog and book-coaching services, please see her website:


  1. I had no idea there were even further capabilities on Linked In, such as groups. It sounds like I need to do some exploring on there. I have an account, but am obviously not using it to its full potential. Thanks for the synopsis of your interview! Very helpful.

  2. Excellent suggestions. I am on Linked In, but involved with what is for me a non-essential topic forum. I find it interesting and can see how something more relevant to my current goals could be helpful. I really must explore this one a bit more.

    Tossing It Out

  3. LinkedIn groups is a great place to leave back links to your blog or author website, to advertise your blog entries as well as to indirectly start discussions that relate to the material you offer on your blog. Of course, you have to engage and entertain. It can't be full-on spam!

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