– day 5 –
How to Get Major Exposure for your Book (and why most authors get this COMPLETELY wrong)
Did you know that according to Bowker, there were 458,564 books published in 2013?
Think about that for a second…
That’s 1,274 books published EVERY DAY…
Which works out to about 1 book published EVERY MINUTE.
That means when your book launches, you’re not only competing with the hundreds of thousands of books that are already out there, but also the 1000+ IMMEDIATE competitors who are launching on the same day…
Those are the books that could take your bestseller ranking from you if you happen to launch the same day as a blockbuster…
Or the same day as someone using savvy online marketing techniques to get more exposure, reach, and sales.
Have no fear, in today’s lesson I’m going to show you how to overcome this obstacle…
And I’m going to show you a strategy that will help you blow past the competition, no matter what category you’re launching your book in.
This lesson is all about how to stand out in a very noisy, very crowded marketplace.
Let’s get to it…
Next Steps in Your Book Launch
As a quick review, here are The 14 Steps of The Bestseller Book Launch Sequence once more (the steps we’ll be talking about today are bolded):
Step 1: Create a Book Launch Sequence Working Document
Step 2: Identify Key Players
Step 3: Set Your Launch Date
Step 4: Clarify Your Goal
Step 5: Centralize all Materials for Your Book
Step 6: Create an Early Notification List
Step 7: Create an Ambassador Group
Step 8: Develop Your Influencers Circle
Step 9: Identify Alternative Marketing Channels
Step 10: Build Your High-Converting Book Sales Page
Step 11: Get Your Book Ready for Distribution
Step 12: Notify Ambassadors and Influencers
Step 13: Final Prep and Pre-Launch Marketing
Step 14: Launch
Step 9: Identify Alternative Marketing Channels
Just about every person with any experience in the online publishing space knows you need to do certain things to launch a book if you want ANY sales on day one…
Things like email your list, connect and promote on social media, reach out to influencers and pray they’ll share your book…
Here’s the problem.
All these strategies are obvious.
- It is OBVIOUS to email your list to let them know your book is about to launch…
- It’s OBVIOUS to promote your book on social media platforms, especially where you already have trust built up with your audience…
- And it’s OBVIOUS to try to get as much press as possible during your book launch…
These things aren’t bad – they’re actually necessary if you want to get early traction on your book launch…
But just doing the OBVIOUS is not enough.
Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor, philosopher, and soldier said it best:
The secret of all victory lies in the organization of the non-obvious.”
In order for you to succeed as a publisher (indie, self, or otherwise), you need to organize the non-obvious. The first step to organizing the non-obvious in the online publishing space is all about identifying ALTERNATIVE marketing channels.
What is a marketing channel?
A marketing channel is any place or medium where you can promote and sell your book.
Conventional marketing channels include:
- Email list, social media, personal connections
- Other selling platforms like the Apple store, Barnes and Noble, etc.
These channels are conventional because they work (or rather – can work…).
BUT – these channels aren’t enough to get you the visibility your book deserves…
That’s where alternative marketing channels come in.
How to Get Your Book Massive Exposure on Launch Day
The following is a list of alternative (non-obvious) marketing and sales channels. Use these to get a major leg up on your competition (trust me – the VAST majority of authors and self-publishers are NOT pursuing these channels, which is what makes them so effective).
1. Niche Podcast and Blogs
How do you think someone like Tim Ferriss winds up a bestseller every book launch?
You could say it’s because of his platform, and that’s true for his most recent book – but what about for his first one, The 4-Hour Workweek? If you paid attention to that launch, you’d know that the key to Tim Ferriss’ success was connecting with HUNDREDS of niche blogs and podcast to promote his book.
What he lacked in a big audience at the outset of his book launch he made up for in hustle by connecting with niche bloggers and podcasters.
By reaching out to niche blogs and podcasts, he was able to get his book in front of hundreds of thousands of people in his target audience. Many niche blogs and podcasts not only have engaged audiences, but many of them belong to the “early adopter” realm of new product adoption…
Which is to say they will be the first to buy and share new things when they see them.
To clarify: a niche blog or podcast is anything outside the mainstream.
We might think it would be great to be featured in Forbes or Inc. or whatever, but these types of publications RARELY move books (trust me, I speak from experience).
Niche blog and podcast promotion almost always results in more sales than generic mainstream press or PR attempts.
When a book is mentioned on Forbes, or Time, or whatever, it’s nice press…but it’s not very useful (except for the ego).
A mention about your book by Seth Godin, on the other hand, will move hundreds of books.
Or for that matter, an article on TheArtofManliness.com, or Fizzle.co, or PaidtoExist.com, or the thousands of other niche blogs and podcasts that are out there (I’m giving these as examples because I primarily deal in business non-fiction, but the same rules apply for ANY genre).
For your launch, list out 100 niche blogs and podcasts that cater to your target audience. If you can’t come up with a list of 100, you’re not thinking hard enough (or creatively enough).
Here’s a free copy of a tracker that I use for EVERY book launch:
Dan Norris spoke at a conference the weekend before the release of his book, The 7 Day Startup. This was an excellent opportunity to promote his new book before it launched. And because of the success of Dan’s book (and the awareness in the tech community about what a great business Dan had created), he was invited to many more conferences.
What better place to promote your book than to a captivated audience of people who PAID to hear you speak?
Note: conferences are also great for selling bulk orders of your book…so make sure you have bulk order discounts and packages ready to go before you launch!
3. Live Google Hangout Events
Every book launch is an event and a live Google Hangout, possibly with give-aways and other surprises is an excellent way to spread the word and get people excited to contribute and share your work.
Jeff Goins organized events like this for the launch of The Art of Work. The live webinar that he hosted resulted in hundreds of attendees and moving over 1,000 books on launch day!
Now, not everyone will have the reach that Jeff does, BUT the fundamentals are the same: live events are fun, engaging, and a great opportunity to promote and sell your book, without being a salesmen (the key is to make the point of the event all about helping your target readership…do that and people will buy).
4. Listing sites and Communities
A listing site is any platform where groups of like-minded people share interesting ideas / products / links…these are sites like Reddit.com, Producthunt.com, Bootstrapper.io, etc.
Listing sites are almost completely ignored by the publishing world, which is what makes them so powerful for book launches.
We were able to get Dan Norris’ The 7 Day Startup on Producthunt.com, which resulted in 5,000+ eyeballs on his book sales page during launch week (just from this source). Dan ended up with over 12,000 sales in the first week alone – I have no doubt that exposure from listing sites was responsible for at least 1,000 of those copies.
Again, these results are not common, but any author is capable of leveraging sites like these to drive more awareness and traffic to their book sales page (even just a few hundred extra visitors could move the needle on a book launch and help you rocket to the top of the charts in your category).
5. Physical Spaces
Does your book belong in artisan coffee shops? What about coworking spaces? Or maybe in micro-breweries across the country?
In the era of digital marketing and sales, too little focus is put on the traction that physical spaces can produce for book launches. Tim Ferriss tied in his most recent book with multiple physical spaces throughout the country (Tea shops, Panera Bread, etc.).
If you’re an indie publisher, it may be harder to work big chain deals, but that doesn’t mean you can’t develop relationships with smaller, independent shops across the country.
Note: this strategy costs money, which is why I don’t recommend putting a ton of time or effort into it…BUT, if your book would benefit from being in a physical location (like a book on startups would work really well in a coworking space…or a book about craft beer would find a nice home in craft-breweries throughout the country), don’t ignore it. Reach out – you may be surprised who will buy your book in bulk or at least act as a stockist (someone who sells your book for you).
6. In-person Meetup Groups
Are you a part of a writers group? Are you a part of a weekly runners group? Do you know of any other local or in-person events that cater to your target audience?
These are all great opportunities to share and promote your book. Make it about the people who come to support you by treating them to something special.
Note: book signings are a traditional, very obvious marketing channel…the problem is they don’t work well for people who don’t have established platforms (and hundreds of people waiting to see them in every city they visit).
What I’m proposing is leveraging unconventional in-person events in your favor.
- Sponsor a round of beers for your runners group and share your book with them
- Host a live training event and ask people to buy a copy of your book if they felt the training was valuable
- Host a private party during a big conference and leverage as many big names as possible to get lots of people to show up (this is a particular skill-set you will need to acquire which I won’t go into here…but it starts by connecting with great people long before you need to ask a favor of them)
Because in-person events are time intensive and can be expensive, this isn’t the first channel I would recommend you approach, but it doesn’t hurt to brainstorm these channels to see how they might work out for your book launch.
A Dozen More Alternative Marketing Channels…
These are just a handful of the DOZENS of alternative (non-obvious) marketing channels out there for your book.
In Publishers’ Empire, we cover several dozen of these marketing channels, show you how to use them, and even provide the marketing materials you need to reach out and promote on them.
In a couple weeks I’ll be opening up seats for new students, but for now…
It’s time for you to help me help YOU.
HOMEWORK! (comment below)
In the comments below, let me know:
What alternative (non-obvious) marketing channel do you plan to use for YOUR book (and why)?
Not sure? Let me know what type of book you’re writing (genre / topic) and I promise I’ll help you come up with at least ONE compelling alternative sales channel your competitors aren’t using.
See you in the comments below!
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