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How to publish a book: pre-launch strategies


How is anyone going to know you just wrote a book?

For the past 16 months Beth Kuhel (my mother) sat researching and writing. She identified opportunities for job seekers across the country, became a career coach, received a certification as an employment interview professional, and was recruited as a weekly contributor to popular career and branding blog. How can a freelance web designer get work in Chicago? Can you actually get a job just by using Linkedin? How can you leverage your alma matter and find work in a sustainable industry? If you have a high paying job can you take a break to date and raise children? These questions warranted answers.

The anxiety associated with looking for work and scraping together money to pay off student loans can paralyze the sharpest mind. College gradutes are grateful for anyone that can help them navigate through the natural cacophony of being a job seeker. This anxiety prompted my mother to write “From Diploma to Dream Job” and privately coach college students and recent graduates.

The book was a few months away from becoming available in print. The rough draft was sent to various editors to make sure everything was up to standard. As my mother continued coaching, she began thinking about how to make sure the public knew about her book release. She spends most of her day writing and coaching. What kind of marketing campaign can a self-employed writer/coach effectively implement (outside of blasting out emails and Facebook posts to family and friends)?

This question is interesting to me because my mother is probably a case study for many self-employed entrepreneurs around the country. How many personal small wealth management firms, public speaking coaches, accountants, lawyers, and smaller SEO firms can you think of that provide much needed services but have trouble getting thier name out? Alternitively, how many people do you know that could use a web designer, a career coach, or a personal finance guru to help them mitigate their debt? A profound distance exists between expert and consumer. Lets strategize and find a few ways to bridge the gap and promote a book (pre-release).

Kickstarter Campaign: Prize Inducement and Community Development

As I have written about before, Kickstarter is paradigmatic of the rise of vibrant online, self-organized, communities focused around people’s shared interests. There are many instances where you can synthetize the value proposition of your book into a 1-2 minute promotional video for a kickstarter campaign. Try to raise a modest sum to get the final edits or to pay for a graphic designer for the project. In doing so, you will showcase your talent to the Kickstarter community and build a following pre-launch. You need to offer substantial, interesting prizes to the community quid pro quo. This could be a free copy of the book, a t-shirt with your logo, a series of private coaching sessions, and a public speaking event. As you are delivering your prizes to your audience you recieve their contact information and can alert them to your book being launch.

Small Public Speaking Events:

Plan public a speaking tour before the book is formally published. Find community colleges, local libraries, high schools, and groups on college campuses that relate to your field of expertise. For example, if you are an expert in SEO you can offer to speak to marketing students at a college campus. In doing so, you can make a list of people who want to be notified about your book pre-launch.

Exclusive Access: Bloggers

For every field and industry there are many bloggers. Begin researching influential bloggers in your respective industry. Make a list of the top 15 bloggers and offer them a free copy of the book pre-release, an interview, and any additional content they may find useful. In return, ask for their feedback and to be featured in their blog. This benefits both parties and will help you syndicate your book to a larger audience come launch.

3 Month Weekly Webinar Campaign:

As you approach the 2-3 month mark before the offical release of your book take the time to prepare and host a weekly webinar on each chapter. Go through the information you researched and present it with slides via webinar. At first, you can invite your exisiting clients and network to tune in. As you continue to publish compelling, useful content you will see an increase in registration for the webinar. Provide follow up via twitter and linkedin. Make sure to collect the participants contact information. Once you are three weeks away from your book’s release send out an invitation to pre-order the book at a discount. If the consumer purchases 10 books give them a private consulting session. If they purchase 20+ books invite them to a book release party.

Publishing a book does not guarantee  people will know about your book (let alone buy it). The publishing industry is relentless and many useful books are lost in the tsunami of self-publishing. Pairing a webinar campaign, small speaking tour, Kickstarter project, and a concerted effort to connect with influential bloggers can sometimes be as important as the book’s content.

Take a look and see how expert marketer, Chris Brogan, promotes his book.


Ryan is a co-founder and account manager at Hublished. He writes about marketing, social media, and PR. Ryan is also a coffee lover and amateur foodie eating New York one bagel at a time. You can follow him @ryankuhel


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