Category Archives: Book Marketing

Authorship and Marketing

As a start-up entrepreneur, one of the many lessons I’ve learned in business is to start marketing your product as soon as possible, even before it is ready for customers. Marketing creates demand and you should start building awareness early.

When a few of my colleagues mentioned I should write a book, I had no idea what I would write about. I just knew it would be about start-up companies because that’s what I’ve done for years and the stories always seem to fascinate people over lunch.  So instead of starting with the book, I started a blog and shortly afterwards, I started article marketing.

I wrote about a lot of different aspects of start-up companies, everything from product development to humor about employee antics to advertising. I watched what attracted readers, and there seemed to be three topics that were the most appealing to them – funding, marketing, and customer engagement.

Fourteen months later, I held my first book in my hands.

I knew marketing and promoting my book would not be easy and quick.  I reached out to all sorts of people, investigated many different types of marketing approaches, and I have tried a few different ones. You’ll find authors who swear by one or two methods, but no two authors do the same.

Virtual Book Tours

These are online book promoters. They use their network of contacts to get you placement in blogs, in online magazines, and on blog talk radio shows. They may even do Facebook advertising and press releases too.  Some are specific to different geographic locations across the globe. I engaged several of these services and I found each one to be quite good. Each one has their own set of contacts. You can exhaust their contacts within a couple of months and so I needed to use more than one. These services suit my personal schedule as they do all the leg work, and I just need to be available or provide the content.

Traditional Public Relations and Publicists

This is one of the more expensive options and many of these firms have gone to a la carte service model, so some part of their services is affordable.  The trick is going to the right firm, one that deals in your subject matter.  These firms have contacts into the mainstream media from news organizations to television to radio to magazine. In six months, my firm secured more than 25 placements and they focus on media engagements with large audiences.

Guest Blogging

I hired a guest blogging consultant, who recommended doing four guest posts per week. In his experience, this really builds an audience like nothing else. He recommended researching the blogoshere to find the appropriate blogs, spending 2 to 4 hours getting to know each blog and its audience, and then proposing a guest post. Finally, he suggested spending 8 to 10 hours writing each guest post. It didn’t take more than a minute to figure out that this would consume more than 40 hours per week of my time, and it just didn’t fit into my personal schedule.

Article Marketing

Next I met a highly successful Internet guru, who swore article marketing works to build an audience. This is how she built an audience of millions. I was already doing some articles, but not with structured intent. Steve Shaw, the founder of SubmitYourArticle, said it takes 6 months before you can see noticeable results from article marketing and recommends at least 8 articles per month for each article website that you use.

Email and Internet Marketing Campaigns

One of the techniques many authors swear by is joint venture marketing campaigns. The trick bestselling authors use is to concentrate all the promotion is a short time period such a one day and to build a group of authors that all cross-promote to each other’s fans. In brief, you contact bloggers, social influencers, website owners, newsletters providers, bestselling authors, and anyone with a substantial online presence and ask them to promote your book to their audience. These are your joint partners. They suggest gobbling together an email list of at least 500,000 people and a million person list is preferable. I tried this for about six weeks before I gave up, it was consuming all my time. I know authors who have done this method and it took them months to organize all the necessary joint partners.  You can hire services to do this on your behalf, but as I found out, these services are specific to a particular genre and reader demographics.

Book Reviews and Book Contests

I have reached out to podcasters and other authors with complimentary books to review my book. I search Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Lulu for possible authors to contact.  iTunes is a great place to find podcast candidates.  I have also paid for sponsored book reviews and entered independent book contests. I got the most traction from those that I contacted and secured their help for free. One day I may win one of those book contests, but the winners (at least in my non-fiction business category) tend to be serial authors from the smaller publishing houses.

Social Platforms

The Internet is full of advice about authors building social platforms. This includes a website, a blog, a Facebook page, a YouTube channel, Twitter and LinkedIn.  There are services that will offer to build this platform for an author, but that’s the mechanics. The real work is in generating the content, interacting with the audience, and building your fan base – and I have not seen a service yet that will do this part. You may ask yourself why building a fan base is important. What I’ve learned is the media will check you out online before committing to having you appear in their publication or on their show. Even joint partners will search for you online.

For Facebook, I set aside a small monthly budget to advertise my fan page. On LinkedIn, I share links to my blog posts in groups that are related to me topic. This brings readers back to my website. For Twitter, I use the free version of socialoomph to queue up tips that I tweet to my followers.  I also send out links to my blog posts to send readers back to my website.


Closing Remarks

My advice to authors is not to take on more than two marketing services or efforts at a time. I find I can’t handle too many requests. I may have to spend 20 to 60 hours setting up of a new marketing service.  One week I had to write 15 guest posts and articles, and everyone wanted unique and different topics.

The lead time to just get into the line-up for many of these marketing services can be four months. The shortest lead time I’ve experienced was 8 weeks.

There are consultants and services for just about everything for authors.  You need to pick and choose what you want to do and how much you want to spend. I’ve been quoted fees from $500 to $50,000.  There are service firms who arrange for speaking engagements, virtual conference events, Facebook parties, and just about everything imaginable.

For me, it is a matter of how much time I can spend promoting my book.  Yes, you can do-it-yourself, and on my own I’ve managed to land articles in such publications as Entrepreneur magazine.  But my time is limited and I need others to help me promote my book.

About the Author

Cynthia Kocialski is the founder of three tech start-ups companies. Cynthia writes the popular Start-up Entrepreneurs’ Blog and has written the book, ““Startup From The Ground Up – Practical Insights for Entrepreneurs, How to Go from an Idea to New Business”.





Launch: The Elevation Principle for Business & Life

Michael Stelzner’s new book Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition has fired me up and helped me launch a couple of my own new ventures.

How? Because Mike’s been there, done that.

Mike’s Got Street Cred

I always like to know who’s doing the work. If I’m building a new house, who’s my contractor? As a baseball fan, I love to check out the players’ stats. And I never miss a new U2 or Newsboys CD because I know they always do good work.

In the case of a book, I like to know something about the author.

Mainly, is he an authority in his field?



In 2007, Mike authored a white paper entitled Writing White Papers that landed him universal acclaim and assignments writing white papers and consulting for over 100 corporations. His work launched his career into the stratosphere.

Not one to rest on his laurels, in 2009 Mike launched Social Media Examiner, which in less than 5 months was declared the #1 small business blog in the world by Technorati.

I read SME faithfully because its articles and resources are always a big help to me and my businesses.

So Mike writing a book about launching is like Ted Williams writing about hitting, F.L. Wright writing about architecture, or Picasso about painting. Mike knows launching.

A Book of Principles

The principles in Launch will give you and your ventures more

  • clarity and direction (what to do);
  • efficiency (how to do it better);
  • synergy (how the steps and ingredients can complement one another); and
  • joy (how putting other people’s needs before your own ends up making everyone happier—both others and you yourself).

How can this claim be true and why is it essential to your success?  Simple, really.

Being principled works—both in your business life and your personal life. Good, honest, generous, selfless principles make people successful and happy.

What a concept, right?

The Elevation Principle

Mike’s main marketing principle is counter-intuitive: don’t market and don’t sell. Instead, meet “the core desires of prospects and customers by helping them solve their basic problems at no cost.”

Talk about a principle.

His EP formula is Einsteinian elegant:  GC + OP – MM = G. That is, great content + other people – marketing messages = growth.


Makes such beautiful sense.

  • Write great stuff that people can use. Inform and teach them. Show them you know what you’re talking about. And give it to them for free.
  • Get other people involved. Welcome them into your world, your sphere of knowledge. Help them.  “If you lift people up, they’ll lift you up.”
  • Don’t sell! Don’t be pushy! Shift your emphasis from “What can we sell you?” to “How can we help you?”
  • That formula will result in growth. Not just for your business, but for you too—growth as a person of principles.

Consider Others Before Yourself

Mike never preaches in this book. Never stands on a soap box. That’s not his style, thankfully.

But the subtext, the really beautiful, inspiring, implied message is this: life’s really all about living for other people.

When you get yourself out of the center of the universe and realize that your main purpose—and most enriching and rewarding strategy— in life is to live for other people, those people benefit and so will you.

Because people usually reciprocate. Especially when they sense genuine good will coming from you.

Igniting the Elevation Principle

So how can this principle be activated and used to launch you and your business? Back to the EP:

  • Help people solve their problems. Write how-to guides. Show them what you know. Show them you’re there for them.
  • Don’t push, manipulate, or pressure people into buying what you’re selling.
  • Give gifts—freely and without any expectation of getting one back. What gift can you give? Your knowledge. Your time. Your friendship and good counsel.


What’s the payoff for paying it forward? Business, likely. Possibly lots of business. Because people like to do business with people who are low key, caring, giving, and knowledgeable.

Your bottom line—and your life—will benefit from following this principle of putting others first.

Not many people are like that. So you’ll be different—as a business and a human being.

“Helping people ensures your business will stand out from the competition.”


Mike Stelzner introduces Launch from Michael A. Stelzner on Vimeo.

Sound Business Sense

Mike’s wisdom about putting people first would be enough reason to read Launch. But there’s plenty more great advice about many subjects. Such as these practical, action steps to take to launch your business and yourself:

  • Crafting and measuring “SMART” goals
  • Implementing specific social media marketing strategies
  • Inspiring yourself by “looking outward”
  • Finding role models
  • Working with experts
  • Attracting  and engaging “firestarters”—people who can help launch you


The Primary & Nuclear Fuel: Great Content

The first part of the EP equation is GC (good content). Why does Mike place such great emphasis upon GC?

Because great content sells. Its persuasive. It explains what you know and shows what you can do. All at once.

And, as the great French poet Jean de La Fontaine said, “By the work one knows the workman.”

As a teacher of writing and literature for 38 years, I’ve read a lot of books, poems, articles, essays, dissertations—you name it. Mike’s work contains all the elements of good writing.

For just one example, his metaphoric motif (getting literary now!) of the launch and the rocket, its fuel and trajectory, are all poetically persuasive.  Poetry persuades. Its rhyme, rhythm, figurative language, and compression unconsciously convince us.  Mike’s a poet and he may not even know it!

Launch is a living demonstration of good content: it’s clear, crisp, fun and easy to read, and packed with rocket fuel to propel you.

All you have to do is ignite its principles and watch them rocket you up, up and away!


We Have Lift Off: Read Launch!

Once in a while the planets align perfectly: things are happening in your life that link up magically and wonderfully with outside forces or events.

That just happened for me. Launch just launched at the same time I’m launching a novel and a new startup business.

Could the timing have been any better for me? Nope.

And the timing is right for you, too. Because there’s no time like the present.

Launch is a winner: its solid gold principles and inspirational mission plan couldn’t make more sense or work any better.

So, Launch yourself now! Get on board and take your dreams for a ride straight to the stars!



Congratulations! You’ve written or are on the path to completing your manuscript. It’s been a long journey; yet in many ways the life of your book is just beginning. At this stage it’s important to begin looking ahead and planning how you will market your book–to consumers, to retailers, to workshop attendees, and more.

Before you can market your book, you need to know who your readers are. To what age group are you reaching out? Is your readership specific to a certain geographical location? Do they share a certain passion, like woodworking or knitting? Are they lovers of a certain genre, such as sci-fi or romance? Are there certain professional groups that are likely to be interested in your book?

The better you understand who you are trying to reach, the better you can plan where and how to reach them. For example, while a recent Pew Research Center study found that 13% of online Americans use Twitter, the same study found that the largest percentage of users are in the 18-29 age group. So, if you are marketing a book about paying for college, Twitter might be a bigger slice of your overall campaign than if you were marketing a book about financing a home.

Different blogs and publications have different readerships; by having a clearly defined picture of your reader, you can ensure that you properly allocate your resources (including your time) so that your campaign is as effective as possible.

Also, think beyond consumers at bookstores: Are there organizations that might be interested in purchasing your book? Attendees at workshops or speaking engagements? Think about everyone you are trying to reach, and then plan on how best to reach them.

What will your marketing plan look like? What materials will you need for your campaign? Every book is different, and goals differ as well.

For some books (typically nonfiction), an active ad campaign on Google makes sense. For others, a press release sent to specific areas and industries is an effective approach. For other books, an aggressive social marketing campaign is the right focus. And if you are planning to approach traditional media and websites that review books, then you will need a well-written pitch letter and press kit.

A well-rounded marketing plan–whether created and executed by BBP, a publicity firm, or you the author–will incorporate some or all of these elements.

Ultimately, the materials you will need depend upon where and how you intend to market your book. We encourage comprehensive online outreach, through your website, your WordPress blog, social networks, relevant blogs, news sites, and Google and other search engines. We also encourage you to actively promote your book on Amazon, Barnes &, and Google Books, and to immerse yourself in online communities (more on that below).

Timing is a crucial element of book marketing. Decide when you want to release your book–your “pub date.” Is there a specific time of year or an event around which it makes sense to release your book? For example, if you’ve written a diet book, you probably want to release it in January, when many publications and retailers are focusing on “New Year, New You” themes. Or perhaps you’ve written a novel that is perfect for beach reading, or an in-depth exploration of a historical event that has an important anniversary coming up. Tying your book to events that are already getting media attention can be a great way to generate buzz for your book.

Another consideration is giving bloggers and editors enough time to review or feature your book. Certain national newspapers and magazines are considered “long-lead publications,” and require lead times of 3-6 months to schedule reviews or features. Many blogs and websites, on the other hand, require less time, as they don’t plan their stories or posts so far in advance.

Also, while publications want a review to come out on the heels of the book’s publication, a news story or other feature does not need to be linked so closely to the book’s publication. For example, if you’ve written a book on solar energy, and a new solar energy incentive is introduced in your state, your pitch to write a related article for an environmental blog would still be relevant after your book’s publication.

–by Meredith Hale, Marketing Manager at Edit911, Inc.