10 Ways to Market Your Book Before You Finish It

You need to begin marketing your book even before you finish writing it. In fact, you should begin to develop your marketing strategy to sell your book at the same time that you begin to work on the outline for it.
Learn a lesson from filmmakers. How many months ahead do you usually see advertising for a new movie that is coming out? Filmmakers know they need to build an audience for a movie long before it arrives in theaters. You need to do the same for your book. Take a look at the ideas listed here, and see which ones you should start to work on today. The best thing about most of these pre-publication marketing ideas is that almost all are free!
1. E-mail signature: This is the most basic advertising you can do; in fact, it is so simple that many people overlook it. As soon as you have chosen a title for your book, add it to your e-mail signature. Keep the date of publication vague at first, then make it more definite as you go along. The phrase can change from “available soon” to “coming this fall” to “on sale Oct. 20” and finally to a link to your website shopping cart.
2. Word of mouth: You’ve heard it called “viral marketing” and other fancy phrases, but when I say “word of mouth,” that’s exactly what I mean. Tell people about your book. Tell your family, tell your friends, tell your co-workers, tell strangers who you meet at a networking event. It is amazing what the phrase, “I’m writing a book on…” can do.
3. Facebook and Twitter: If you haven’t started social networking, do so today! If you have a Facebook page, start posting about your book. These are your friends, and they are on your page because they are interested in what you are doing. But talking just to friends is not enough to turn a book into a best-seller. Reach out to people you don’t yet know by starting a second Facebook page for your book. Use the book title, and include links to your website, pre-order page and other appropriate pages. Don’t forget Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. All are excellent ways to promote your book.
4. Update your profiles: Are you on LinkedIn, Naymz, Google Plus, ZoomInfo or other networking sites that are aimed at business people? If not, you should be. However, even if you haven’t signed up for some of these sites, you may be listed there. Search your name on several networking sites, and see if you are listed and if the information is accurate.
5. Do you have a blog? A blog gives you the space to post longer excerpts from your book, and it can increase your credibility and your name recognition. Start your blog while you are still writing your book; it takes time to develop a following and prospective buyers for your book.
6. Start an e-mail newsletter: An e-newsletter is an excellent way to keep in touch with your fans, clients, prospects and anyone else interested in learning about the subject of your book. Experts suggest that 10 is the best number of newsletters to send per year – that’s compromise between keeping your readers informed without overloading them with so much information they feel as if they are being spammed.
7. Get an ISBN: ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number, the 13-digit number and barcode that you see on the back of every book that you buy. It is the single most important thing that you need to effectively sell your book on websites and in stores. Go to www.bowker.com to learn more about registering for your ISBN.
8. Get a website: If the book you are writing is connected to your business, you probably already have a website. If so, add a page to specifically promote your book. The page can have a pre-order form before you finish the book. Once it is published it should include links to Amazon, Barnes & Noble and any other websites where your book is available for sale, as well as to your own shopping cart so that people can buy the book directly from you. Even if you don’t want a second website, consider purchasing a URL with your book title and linking it to your website.
9. Put a pre-order form on your website: The simplest way to set up a pre-order form is to link it to Paypal. Make sure that you are clear about when the books will be available and what day you will begin to ship them – and make sure you follow through faithfully on it. It’s your word and your credibility at stake. Also, add shipping and handling to the price of the book. Find out the cost of the envelopes you will use and get an estimate on shipping costs from the post office or other shippers. Once you have an ISBN, you can also post your book on Amazon where pre-orders will be accepted and the books shipped after the publication date.
10. Develop your lists: Once your book is ready for publication, you will want to send out press releases, media kits, and let prospective customers know how to purchase your book. To do this effectively you need lists. If you don’t have a contact database, now is the time to start one. Separate it into categories such as clients, prospects, media, potential speaking engagements, etc.

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