How to Promote and Market Your Book – Learn from Success and Failure

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Tip#9In this blog, I am sharing how I am mentoring a group of high school science students to write and publish a book about their science research experiences by April 2015 with the goal of selling 500 copies by the end of the school year.

It’s natural for a new author to be wrapped up in just writing the book and not to worry about marketing until after publication, but that is a big mistake. Promoting and marketing a book require a strategy the author must devise from the start, months before publication and release. I have already given a tip about blogging to promote a book while writing it. Blogs are a free way any author can promote his or her book, and blogging can help improve the writing process.

Blogging is just one part of a marketing strategy. One helpful source of information for other things an author can do is Book Marketing Tools at http://bookmarketingtools.com. This is a company that sells some online author services, but also provides many free resources and video podcast interviews of various writing and publishing experts. Their free Ultimate Author Marketing Checklist is a great overview of what an author should do from well before publication release, through release, and after. I have used it with my students. I have also used some of the interviews I have seen on their video podcasts.

Another valuable experience for new authors, especially students, is to attend a writers conference. Look online for a conference near you, then try to attend. If you are a teacher, contact the conference organizer and explain how you are mentoring student authors—people love to help, and they may let your students meet some writing and publishing professionals that otherwise might be inaccessible. The contacts made at a writers conference can also be helpful as you market your book. Other authors can help get the word out, and the speakers and faculty at the conference often travel to many other conferences, so they can spread the word about your book or project with students.

As an author, plan on both successes and failures as you market your book. Your marketing should be geared to your target audience. Talk about your book in the forums where they are, not where you are most comfortable. Some things you try may not yield any results, or may even be complete flops. Other things may be surprisingly successful. Learn from both. For more information, click to download my Marketing Checklist for Authors and use it to promote and market your book.

Next week, my post will have a tip on how to make a project like this into a valuable learning experience for students.

Subscribe to this blog at https://bryanholmesstem.wordpress.com to get email updates of my posts with weekly tips you can use in your classroom as I describe how I am mentoring six high school science students to become published authors by April 2015. Also, please give me your feedback, and please share blog posts with other teachers or anyone who may benefit.

First Step for Science Authors: Write a Book Proposal

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Tip#2In this blog, I am sharing how I am mentoring a group of high school science students to write and publish a book about their science research experiences by April 2015 with the goal of selling 500 copies by the end of the school year. 

TIP #2: Have students draft a book proposal as a first step in writing a book. Traditional publishers have always required a book proposal from a prospective author. It is like a business plan for the book, giving the summary of the book’s contents, the target audience, and a marketing plan to reach the audience. Each publisher has a different format for the book proposal, but they all have these essential elements. Even though we are self-publishing our books, by doing a book proposal first, we start out with the same disciplined approach to writing a book that a traditional publisher would give us. (Note: I got this idea from author/publicist, Carole Jelen, in an interview on http://bookmarketingtools.com called “How To Build Your Author Platform.”)

Here is the abbreviated book proposal we used:

  • A statement of what the book’s main focus or purpose is.
  • A general outline of the book.
  • Identification of sources for the book and where to find them.
  • Identification of the target audience.
  • A plan to reach the target audience.

What a book proposal does is get the students to consider their audience from the start. Unlike a term paper or other academic paper that is meant primarily for the teacher to read, a published book seeks to appeal to many readers. By identifying the target audience, students can put themselves in the place of the audience as they write. Students had difficulty with this first step, so I had to give follow-on guidance. One tip I shared from a writers conference I attended was to cut out a magazine picture or print out some other photo of a person representing the target audience and paste it on your computer monitor as a constant reminder to whom you are writing. There are many sources out there with good advice – I list some on the Resources page of my website.

Next week, my post will have a tip on scheduling out the project to build readership before publishing. 

Subscribe to this blog at https://bryanholmesstem.wordpress.com to get email updates of my posts with weekly tips you can use in your classroom as I describe how I am mentoring six high school science students to become published authors by April 2015. Also, please give me your feedback, and please share blog posts with other teachers or anyone who may benefit.