By Tucker Max
All nonfiction book promotion comes down to two questions:
- What will I get from reading your book?
- Why should I listen to you, specifically?
If you can’t answer those two questions, no amount of promotion will sell your book.
If that sounds harsh, I’m not trying to be. I’m trying to save you from throwing away hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on book promotions that won’t work.
In fact, I wrote this post because of all the bad posts out there that list untested book promotion ideas—posts that don’t tell you the first thing about what really sells a book because they were written by people who haven’t actually sold any books.
I’ve sold over 4.5 million copies of my own books, and my company, Scribe, has put out books that have sold millions more. We know what we’re talking about, and when it comes to book marketing, this is it:
Line up these two answers first, and your marketing strategy will practically write itself.
The first question positions your book in the market.
Your book has to solve a need for a specific set of readers, or no one will care about it. I can’t stress that enough.
The only thing readers want to know about your book is what it will do for them.
The second question defines your Author brand, showing the reader why you are the right person to solve that need.
Ideally, you’ll answer both questions before you write even one word of your book.
Once you have those answers ready, I strongly recommend following Scribe’s proven step-by-step marketing plan.
It lays out:
- How to think about book marketing
- How to set the foundation for your book marketing
- How to leverage that foundation to reach your book goals
With that deep understanding of nonfiction book marketing in place, following these tried-and-tested book promotion tips will have a much better chance of getting the results you want from your book.
1. Create an Eye-catching Cover
One of the hardest things for Authors to do is to wear their “reader hat” when thinking about their own book.
A book is a tremendous investment in both time and money. It’s only natural to feel like that investment should be worth something in and of itself.
But the tough reality is that readers don’t care.
Think about the last book you bought. Did you buy it because you wanted to reward the author for writing it?
Of course not. You bought it because of what you expected to get out of it.
The right cover design sets that expectation for the reader.
For more specific help, read my post on creating a great book cover.
It’s never too late to create a great cover. If your book cover isn’t setting the right expectation, change it.
2. Write a Great Description
Your book’s description is the perfect opportunity to tell potential readers why they need to read your book.
It might sound counter-intuitive, but the point of the book’s description is not actually to describe the book.
It’s to show the reader what reading your book will do for them.
This is such an important point that I’ve written an entire post on how to write a book description that will sell books.
3. Take a Great Author Photo
Your book cover and description are about book positioning. Your Author photo is about Author branding.
The photo needs to position you as the right person to answer the reader’s question or solve their problem.
If you aren’t sure how to do that, read my post on taking a great Author photo.
It includes examples to show you exactly what I mean.
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