Since I wrote my book Uncomplicating Management, I have been asked regularly about book sales and what it takes to promote a business book. Most consultants know they should write a book and therefore want to hear what others have done, while those who have taken the plunge, want to simply measure their experience and success against others. Regardless, there is a bit of mystery to the process and for those who have written a book, you quickly realize everything you thought would happen, rarely does.
There is both a strategic and tactical approach to promoting your book—a process I clearly did not understand when I first wrote my book. I had thought, incorrectly, that the hard work ended once I turned the manuscript over to the publisher, allowing me to turn to focus on my dream about getting that call from Oprah and cashing royalty checks. Unfortunately, it is not that easy and I am still waiting for Oprah’s call.
At the same time, properly promoted, a book publication is the gold standard for every management consultant, as it can propel your practice to a much higher level. Here’s how:
Well before you publish your book, in fact, before you even begin writing, you must be clear as to your purpose in writing it. Your book promotion strategy flows from this core decision. Budding authors must decided between emphasizing books sales and thus positioning themselves as authors, or leveraging their book to enhance their professional reputation, positioning oneself as a thought leader/expert who has written a book. Your strategic objective will ultimately dictate your promotion tactics. But the strategy implications are enormous. The author’s focus is on book sales and generating cash from them. The thought leader’s focus is promoting one’s ideas contained in the book. In the latter case, the goal is to position yourself as the expert who business leaders/decision makers want to hear and meet, allowing you to generate growth in your consulting business. While sales of books remain welcome, it is hardly a focus. The strategy and tactics are used to leverage your position and reputation as a thought leader—not merely as another author.
A book publisher will never explain this to you. Their sole focus is on selling books. Your focus is on promoting you. Leveraging your book over selling your book generates greater consulting revenues for your business and counter intuitively even more significant sales of your books down the road. Giving books to CEOs has, in many cases, resulted in new business for my firm and multiple sales of the book to the CEO’s managers.
Before you begin penning your book, be clear about your purpose. This critical step will become the foundation from which you will build your book promotion campaign and consulting marketing plan.
Part 2: 51 Tactics to Promote Your Book will be posted in another day. Come back to read.