7 Steps to Promoting a Bestselling Book

If you’re a writer, it’s likely you’ve spent countless hours conceptualizing, writing, and editing your book. You’ve also probably spent as much or more time getting it published.

Now what? Brooke Warner, publisher at She Writes Press, recently spoke at Publishers and Writers San Diego about the value of building an author platform. She shared an analogy that I loved, saying, “Some writers want to hole up as they write, only to emerge after the book is done or published with the expectation that the readers will come. But not working on your author platform while you’re writing is the same as coming out of a cave and hanging a sign up letting people know your book is out. How are people supposed to know you’re there? You need to do more than stick your head out of the cave, wave, and go back in.”

What can you do to assist in the promotion of your book? Beyond hiring a publicist, you’ll also have to be engaged in the process. Here are a few quick tips to help you on your journey to becoming a bestselling writer:

  1. Reflect

          Every story has a beginning. What was yours? Why did you decide to write your book? Spend some time remembering how you got the initial idea and why you were excited about it. When you access that feeling, hold onto it. That’s the emotion and energy you need to convey to any person or audience when you speak about your book. Enthusiasm is contagious and will help boost interest in buying your book.

  1. Blogging Helps Your Presentations

Start a blog about yourself, writing, and your book. This will help you become more known, especially if you share your posts through social media like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, LinkedIn or other sites. By sharing, you build connection.

Not sure what to write? Think about what you know. People connect through stories, and everyone has a myriad of stories to share.  Here are some possible topics:

  • What led you to become a writer
  • The concept of your book
  • When your characters talk to you during the writing process
  • How to write and also keep up with other obligations
  • The lost manuscript or the hurdles you jumped over to get your book published etc.

When you remember a story, write it down. You can use these stories when speaking about your book. An audience resonates with authentic, heartfelt stories. An added bonus is that telling a story that is meaningful to you will also help combat nervousness.

  1. Revise and Polish Before Speaking

Before you speak to an individual or group, organize the material you want to discuss. Every talk has a beginning, middle and end, just like a book.  For example, you could start with a humorous intro story, move on to describe the excitement of how you came up with your book’s concept and end with another story. When you have a rough draft, read it out loud to see how it sounds. Try it out on family and friends and get their input.

Remember being stuck in a classroom listening to a teacher drone on and on about a subject? Don’t do that. Distill your book’s message down to twenty-five words. Think about ways you can tell just enough about your plot and characters that people will feel compelled to buy and read your story. If you’ve written non-fiction, focus on the most fascinating aspects of your book and give your listeners a taste. If you’re stuck for ideas, read some book blurbs or watch some movie trailers. Consider how they’re used to generate interest and apply it to your book.

 

  1. Don’t Memorize Your Presentation

Often, if a speaker forgets something they’ve memorized, they freeze. It’s awkward, both for the speaker and the audience. If you want to use notes, try a bullet point structure. By organizing through bullet points, if you forget what you want to say, you can glance down at your notes and get right back on track. If you’re telling a story that you can relive and connect with, you probably won’t need your notes.

  1. Practice

          One of the best ways to improve public speaking is to join your local Toastmasters club. It’s $45 for a six month membership and will help train you in a variety of speaking categories.  You will learn to answer extemporaneous questions, prepare and deliver 10 basic speeches, and eradicate filler words such as um, er, like or you know. If you need to improve on a faster timeframe, hire a speaking coach.

  1. Relax

Prior to speaking, take time to do some deep breathing and voice warm-ups. Visualize your audience hanging on your every word, and the venue selling every copy of your book! Remember, the people who show up are there to support you and want to hear what you have to say.

  1. Socialize and Network

          If you don’t yet have a book signing just for you, that’s okay. Think about attending meetings or other events where people would be interested in hearing about your book. Remember, asking other people themselves is a great way to connect. Ask if they like to read and, if you think your book is a fit, give them one quick line about it. If they seem interested, hand them a card or flyer with where to purchase your book. Think about places that might need a speaker on your book’s topic and offer to give a free talk. Have copies of your book on hand for purchase. Be creative and get the word out.

 

Get out of your cave and become engaged! Building an author platform will help you on the road to becoming a bestselling writer.

WHY I WRITE

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Hey! Get away from my keyboard!

So rude. I hate it when other people’s characters sneak into my head when I’m writing.

*puts out Do Not Disturb sign*

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I blame it on all the books I’ve read and the movies I’ve watched.  The authors who created places, people and fantastical stories inspired me to think I could come up with something of my own. Occasionally, I have to stop and tell myself, “You know, that’s a bit of a trope. Do over.”

At age eight, I began experimenting with paragraph-long tales written in colored ink and hidden in a notebook. If it was a story about faeries, I added glitter. I wasn’t monogamous. I played around with all types of genres and became addicted.

When I got older, no matter what I wrote, my characters ran amuck. They waltzed in, spoke their lines and sighed with impatience as I typed their words onto the page. They developed characteristics I hadn’t considered.

When had my tough protagonist become such a pussy?

That’s who I am, okay?”  he said, clearly tired of putting up with me.

Maybe it’s a bit like God felt when Eve went for the apple.

Plot twist!

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Writing is like Willie Wonka’s world of pure imagination and limited by nothing except grammar rules and plot conundrums.

Like Hemingway said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

Some people are all about facts and reality, while those of us who write are about slipping into another dimension and turning ideas into stories.

Look, I’d love to talk more, but there’s a character that just came in and she’s got a lot on her mind.

Catch up with you in a good book somewhere.

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Beta Traps and Crocodile Brains

Are you job interviewing in this down economy? Pitching a book idea?  Picking a jury? Trying to convince a loved one they really need to go to that football game with you? Raising venture capital?

Life’s about sales, no matter if it’s business or personal relationships. 

I recently read a book by Oren Klaff called Pitch Anything! Klaff chased down every useable theory in the field of Neuroeconomics and formulated an answer to both how he could better forge a connection with the people he was pitching to, which led to multi-million dollar deals in venture capital.

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Klaff says that for more than 40 years, sales trainers have been teaching techniques and methods that help “situationally disadvantaged” salespeople (low social status) get an appointment, build rapport, package a business transaction in a thin and fragile emotional wrapper and, if they’re lucky or doggedly persistent, close a sale.  But it’s all WRONG. 

He talks about how people preparing to pitch ideas have several things to overcome:

1. Beta Traps

2. Crocodile Brains 

You’ve all sat in lobbies or conference rooms before being interviewed, pitching a product or giving a presentation. The moldy magazines, the indifferent receptionist, the bored audiences…you’re stuck in a Beta Trap. Klaf discusses how to change the situation and become an Alpha. It’s crucial in order for people to give attention to you and/or your ideas. 

Then, all the ideas you’re sharing that have been developed in the neurocortex of your brain are being heard by Crocodiles. Their brain says:

1. If it’s not dangerous, IGNORE IT.

2. If it’s not new and exciting, IGNORE IT.

3. Crocodiles will NOT send anything up to the neocortex for problem solving unless they see         
a)  a situation that’s unexpected and out of the ordinary or

          
  b) you have a product as sexy as the iPhone when it first came out that triggered dopamine and sent the brain a reward about pleasure. 

After reading his book, I saw the ideas he discusses can be applied to a wider audience. When I began my career as a prosecutor, the first thing I focused on learning was how to pick juries. I thought, if I didn’t have twelve people who would listen to my case, I might as well pack up before I started. 

Jurors might initially excited to be there, so that helps get around their crocodile brains, but if you can’t sustain their attention they’re going to SHUT DOWN.

If you’re interviewing for a job, if you don’t change up the situation and make them view you as an alpha and keep their attention, you might not get hired.

I highly recommend reading Oren Klaff’s book with a mind to how it can be applied on a broader basis in your life. http://pitchanything.com/book/

Selective Memories

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Let’s face it, I have a selective memory. People can quote things I’ve said and I wonder what they’re talking about. Sometimes, I’m not even sure who these people are. 

But, books. Those I remember. 

The memory of leaving the local library with the first book I checked out as a child, Cowboy Andy. Its solid, thick cover felt good in my small hands and I beamed with pride. Over time, I moved out of the children’s section and rooted around through the remaining stacks. If a book was out of place, I knew it.

The blue or yellow covers of the Nancy Drew books. Going off to fish at a lake in the White Mountains of Arizona, more intent on the story of Brains Benton than my bobber. Sitting on the back of a truck while taking a break from driving a tractor and reading The World According to Garp. 

Reading at stop lights, in lines at banks, at a restaurant over a meal. Reading and re-reading certain poetic sentences from The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz-Zafon. Marveling at Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Beating up a bad guy with Jack Reacher, listening to jazz with Harry Bosch, trying to figure out a way to marry John Taylor and learning that my towel is indispensable when traveling the Universe. 

Crossing the Delaware, hurtling through the night down a steep mountain with Vice President Teddy Roosevelt after he learns President McKinley has been shot, standing on Little Round Top with Joshua Chamberlain’s troops, riding through Iraq with the First Reconnaissance Marines…

These things I remember. And if I’ve had to push out a few real world memories to keep them, I can live with that.