Your already existing networks are your greatest asset in book marketing. Your book marketing efforts will succeed (or not) based on your follow-through in reaching and mobilizing your networks.
As part of our book launch process, we brainstorm lists of networks with our clients, outlining every possible group or individual with whom the author is connected who may be supportive of their book marketing efforts. We include obvious networks —like professional organizations and community groups — and less obvious ones, like siblings and neighbors. I encourage authors to list these affiliations in a spreadsheet and to identify key individuals, then to match specific requests with each group/individual. The challenging part starts next: following through to contact each group or individual with specific asks.
When an author has a key network that is primed and ready for their work, such as facilitators already teaching content from their organization, it is even more critically important to have a strategic and focused way of involving those people.
Here are some suggested way of mobilizing your built-in network in marketing your book:
Involve them early. The sooner you involve your network, the more they will be invested in your success. Share glimpses of your journey to publishing your book. Tell the story of why the book is important for your organization and, (by extension), for them. Let them know as early as you can that you view them as integral to sharing the message of your book. Remember, book promotion is not promotion of you as an author — it’s promotion of the important messages contained in your book.
Personally invite them to be involved in the marketing effort. The more personal your requests to support your book marketing, the more likely people will be to follow through. With an already existing group identity, for example,”facilitators”, you have a short-cut to a group identity. Take it a step further, call them Ambassadors of your message or some other catchy name.
Provide a place for your network to connect and share ideas. A temporary Facebook group, for use during the book marketing campaign, is a great place for people to collaborate on book marketing ideas and for you as the author to celebrate people’s contributions while fueling their participation. The more insider-information you can share in the group, the more important and involved your group will feel.
Plan a schedule of requests and email/post these requests regularly. Before starting your formal asks of the group, let them know what to expect. You might let people know that you’ll be emailing a requested activity weekly for 6 weeks, for example. Then plan out the asks and write as many of the emails in advance as you can.
Here is a suggested list of weekly asks, starting 6 weeks before book launch:
- Six weeks before launch, request pre-orders and encourage your networks to invite others to pre-order the book.
- Five weeks before launch, ask your network to get involved by promoting your book locally. Ideas could include contacting local bookstores to host events and stock your book, sharing about your book with local media, or inviting local friends to a Facebook group discussion about your book. Encourage individuals to reply with their specific action steps.
- Four weeks before launch, encourage your network to share a favorite quote from your book on social media channels or in email marketing to their lists. Provide graphics to make this request easy to fulfill.
- Three weeks before launch, ask your network to prepare to share Amazon reviews. This message can include a reminder to people to finish reading their advance copies of your book and some simple instructions to craft a 2-3 sentence review. You can also request that your network remind those they may have told about the book to participate in writing Amazon reviews. provided they’ve also received advance copies.
- Two weeks before launch, involve your network in promoting any launch week events including webinars or in-person events. Encourage them to invite others through social sharing, email marketing, or individual email outreach.
- During launch week, request that your network buy the book to share with others while sharing about the book through social media channels, email marketing, or personal emails.
Look for ways to support and reward the people who help. Expressing gratitude for the ways people are involved is an important part of the process. Consider creative ways to express your thanks.
Include your network in an ongoing plan. Your built-in network showed their commitment to your work/message before getting involved in your book marketing. They are likely a long-term member of your community. Involve them in plans to spread your book’s message far after the launch. Are you creating new certification programs based on the book’s content? They are the first ones to invite. Are you creating new events? Invite your communities participation. Consider involving your network in the planning as well as the execution of any ongoing work.
What other ideas do you have for involving key stakeholders in your efforts to spread your message in the world?