These are the words of Anna Huckabee Tull, Balboa Press author of “Living the Deeper YES”. Anna answered the call to write her book and self-publish with Balboa Press. If you’d like to learn more about Anna, you can visit her website. Download the Balboa Press free publishing guide to receive more information.
Selling Your Story
When it came time to take off the writer’s hat and shift into marketing mode, I FROZE UP, like just about every other self-publishing author I know. I’m a writer, not a marketer, I thought to myself. Why do I have to do this? HOW do I do this?!
The short answer is, one step at a time. Learning to promote a book and generate interest in it is a lot like learning to write a book if you have never written one before. It involves trying things, testing the waters, seeing what works and refusing to abandon yourself in the process.
But the single most powerful selling tool I have stumbled upon so far is so simple I can’t believe more authors don’t do it. In fact, as far as I know, I invented it myself, as I’ve not seen it done anywhere else. Here is my big idea: yours for the taking.
Every time I sell a book to someone–a friend, a neighbor, someone at a book event, and, importantly, every time I give a book away–to reviewers or endorsers, to those I mentioned in my book’s Acknowledgements Section–I make sure that book has an insert that compellingly asks the reader to consider helping me spread the word about this book, and lays out a number of ways they can do that.
Surprise Easter Egg
In my case, I print out an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper, fold it in half, and slide it between the pages of the book, onto about page 100, like a little Easter egg waiting to be discovered once they are pretty deep into their reading.
The paper looks beautiful. It has a picture of the butterfly from my book cover. In addition, it starts with a captivating headline, reminding the reader that, “85% of All Books are Read or Bought Simply Because a Friend Tells a Friend.” I then invite the reader to consider helping me “Give My Book Some Wings,” and I specifically list ways that they can do that. It goes something like this:
“I hope you love this book, and that it brings you closer to your own inner wisdom. I hope you can feel in its pages the care and energy I put into it. AND, I am inviting you to help give this book some wings so it can touch more people. Your endorsement matters. It can make a powerful difference. Here are 7 ways you can be part of the Magical 85%.”
Tips for Promotion
- Buy a second copy of this book and gift it to a friend.
- Post or tweet that you love this book, with a link to Amazon
- Send an email to your friends to tell them you loved this book and think they will too (I can email you a ready-made note that you can tailor!)
- Write a positive review on Amazon.com.
- Buy ten copies—have them ready for friends, for holiday gifts or birthdays.
- Host a book event at your house – a workshop or book reading complete with a musical performance by me, or a book group gathering run by you.
- Donate a copy to your library, church, or other support networks.
Engaging Your Readers
It’s amazing how many people actually LOVE knowing or meeting a real live author. They WANT to help, but, just like you when you started trying to figure out how to market your own book, are simply not sure how. They need you to invite them, they need you to inspire them, and they need you to give them ideas. And while it can be “too soon” to ask for this before they have actually read the book, at around page 100. It’s the perfect time to meet them at their point of enjoyment and invite them to spread the word.
Try it! You’ll be amazed! I’ve had MANY readers follow up to tell me they discovered my Easter Egg and want to buy more books as gifts for their friends.
I invite you to try it. It’s a beautiful way to invite help from the right people (your readers) at the exact right time–right in the middle of reading and enjoying your book!
Balboa Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books are invited to do so by using the submission form on the Guidelines page. We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. Balboa Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.