Articles tagged "publicity"

How Free Books Build Your Brand as an Author and Authority

Scott Steinberg wants to help parents navigate the weird world of gaming and technology as they raise their kids. He wants to help them so bad, that he’s literally giving this advice away for free. If they want it for free, that is.

In an interview with Portfolio, Steinberg describes how his new book, The Modern Parent’s Guide to Kids and Video Games will not only be released in different formats, but at vastly different prices as well (ranging from $17.99 to zilch.) On his website, he offers a paperback version of the book (available through Lulu), and a digital version, available free for the Sony reader.

But how effective a business model is offering both a version that costs money and one that is absolutely free? Is that even a business model?

As Steinberg explained, “Free giveaways facilitate brand-building, cement subject matter expertise, and foster huge publicity wins. These opportunities not only allow you to do something positive that benefits readers, they can also potentially lead to new relationships, fruitful speaking engagements and heightened goodwill.”

By offering a free version, Steinberg sees the tradeoff between profit and publicity as being completely equal. It doesn’t mean completely giving up on the idea of turning a profit on your self-published book, but by giving digital copies (or excerpts) away, an author can help promote their name and foster goodwill (resulting in even greater exposure and sales).

In the traditional publishing model, authors have to promote their books. But in self-publishing, we’re finding more and more that authors are using their books to promote themselves — especially when it comes to how-to guides or areas of specialized knowledge. For Steinberg, who is established in the field of advising parents about technology, his book aims to help build his flourishing brand.

Sometimes, the best way to establish that you’re a qualified source of information, is to literally have written the book on it. If you’re pursuing a career in consultancy, self-help, or expert analysis, self-publishing is a great way to build your brand and establish you as a bona fide source of knowledge.

Put succinctly by Steinberg, “Many authors consider books the best form of business card available.”

For additional reading on the topic, check out our blog post Make More Off Your eBook by Selling it for Free.

Thoughts? What examples do you know of authors selling their eBooks for free? Did it incentivize you to download the book?

What Do St. Valentine and Book Publicity Have in Common?

In a nutshell they are both misunderstood. Poor St. Valentine–there is actually no historical evidence that his sentiments were intentionally romantic. It is reported that he healed the blind daughter of his jailor and then wrote her a note signed: “From Your Valentine.” That was his name after all; how else would he have signed it?

Just like the St. Valentine story, perceptions of the best way to promote your book are not always true. You might want to dump the idea of promoting your book and start courting the notion of promoting yourself. Let’s remember whose idea the book was: yours!

You are the best publicity tool, not the book.

It was never the Valentine’s Day card that did it for me; it was the message in the card that made me smile thinking of the sender. For fun, let’s say your book is the card and its contents are the message. The most compelling part of that idea is the author behind it, you. Think about the last few books you’ve loved. You should be able to tell me something about the authors: their history, credentials, education. Those are the things your readers will need to absorb to make the same connection with you. Once that connection is bridged, you might have a relationship that surpasses a first date, your readers will know you as the expert on the topic or a leading resource in your genre.

How does this happen? For example, if you’re an expert on ancient Rome, and have written a book about Roman saints, now would be a great time to be promoting your expertise. Think of all the newspapers, magazines, and TV shows that want to talk about the origin of Valentine’s Day! You could be their go-to person to explain the myths and little-known facts about poor misunderstood St. Valentine.

We’ll never know if St. Valentine’s intentions of romance in his note were real or not. What IS real, however, is the impact that a great publicity campaign can have on your book sales!

Setting Realistic Goals for Marketing Your Book: Part 2 – Realistic Expectations

In a recent post, I wrote about how treating yourself as a business can positively impact the way you market your DIY book.  While changing your perspective, researching what works with other companies, and coming up with a plan that you can follow through with are all huge steps towards reaching more readers and selling more books – that’s only part of coming up with a successful marketing strategy.

By completing your book, you’ve done something remarkable.  You’ve put so much hard work and energy into, it can be difficult not to be emotionally attached to your work.  But the key now, is to take a step back and start setting realistic expectations to go along with each of above steps. Otherwise, you may become frustrated or disappointed if you don’t think your book is gaining a large enough readership as quickly as you’d like.