Sending a book into the world is like playing the lottery: the odds of becoming a best-seller are about 10 in 250 million. As authors, we’re writing into a ridiculously crowded field, and odds are itty-bitty a book ever catches fire. But if it does, it will be by a combination of God and faithful fans. Compounding the difficulty is the fact that most authors are reluctant to market. We’re not natural sales-people; we’re authors who hunker down in the corner at Starbucks. And many of us are introverts.
For me, it’s especially complicated as a pastor. The thought that anyone would feel I’m more interested in sales than in helping people grow gnaws at me.
Even so, it’s part of the commitment. When a publisher contracts with an author, they expect the author to use every reasonable means to spread the word.
So here I am asking for your help. You can help your author-friend. We need you. Other authors have weighed in with excellent ideas on how to do this (Debi Raney here, and Jodi Hedlund here). I’ll try not to have too much overlap. Here are my top ten ways you can help your author-friend:
If your author-friend has a message, and you believe in it, pray for God’s blessing on the success of the book. I blogged here about Why I Write, and if you know me, it’s all about an incredible gospel of grace. If you can do nothing else on this list, please pray for God to use my books (or your friend’s books) to transform lives and destinies. I am so grateful for each person who prays for my writing ministry. Thank you!
- Don’t forget us after the initial book release.
My book comes out on June 15. [The Amazon gods messed with my plan by an early release. But that’s okay, because heaven’s God is on my side.] Did you know that National Happiness Month is August? I’m planning a special push then (after all, the title is Secrets to a Happy Life). The occasional link on Twitter and Facebook or the random blog post 3 and 6 and 10 months later would be awesome. I will love you extra-special!!!
- Write reviews.
They are a pain to post, and you have to leave your name and all that, but they are extremely important for sales. Here are the links to review my book: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christian Book Distributors, Goodreads. Nothing long or fancy… just a few sentences to help potential readers click the buy button.
- Facebook and Twitter and Blogs.
Yep, social media is the name of the game. To use these media effectively, don’t make it about sales. Make it about helping people. If there is something you find in my book that you think will inspire, encourage, guide, or in any other way bless your friends, by all means share it along with the book title and a link to an online sales site or the book site (www.secretstoahappylife.org). Share when you start the book. Share when you finish the book. And be a fan of their author-page. SHARE your author-friend’s Facebook posts and retweet their Tweets. If you have a blog, I’d love to do an interview, so hit me up!For my book, all of this is especially important THE WEEK OF JUNE 15.
- Suggest the book to your small group or reading club.
Thank you. My books have study guides. They’re in the book, and they’re also printable with space for your answers. You can download the latest one here: Happy Life Downloads.
- Advocate across your networks.
Do you know media people who might do an interview? Help make the connection. Do you know a library purchaser? Suggest the book. Do you know a pastor with a lot of connections who can spread the word? Give him a copy and ask him to tweet it. Does your church have a small groups director? Give them the book and offer to lead a group.
- Give the book as gifts.
Christmas. Birthdays. Graduation. Summer reading.
- Use my SHARABLES…
SHARABLE QUOTES: So, I wanted to make it easy to help you help me… Here is a massive list of quotes from Secrets to a Happy Life… two clicks and the quote is tweeted.
SHARABLE PICTURES: I have a bunch of inspirational-type pictures like the one below, on the book’s website, here. Share them. Tweet them. I’ll put them on Facebook and Twitter and you can share them from there. Thanks.
- Support Author Events
Share them with your friends, bring a friend, say a prayer, come and keep the author company. Book signings can be very lonely, especially if the author isn’t in his/her hometown. My events are all online here, and each one has its own social media share buttons… quick and easy. If you’re church or event needs a speaker, That would be awesome too.PS: Launching this Friday, June 14, at Barnes and Noble in Redding, CA. 3:00 pm.
- Join My Book Launch Team
If you’ve made it this far, it might mean you’re willing to help. I have started a private (secret) group on Facebook. It’s called Bill’s Book Launch Team, and we’ll have a secret handshake. All you have to do is commit to a couple of the items above. In return, I’ll provide access to a pre-publication book or two (works in progress), and my undying gratitude. Fill out the form, and I’ll send you the link.
As always, sharing is appreciated.