Tips for Marketing a Book through Companies and Organizations
By Lisa Tener
When Tony asked me to write about book marketing for his blog, I thought to myself, "It's been a long time since I've marketed a book!" My second thought was, "Lucky for me, many of my book-writing clients and students are published authors and they're all up to interesting things."
I figured I'd interview a few of them for the article, but once I interviewed Kathy LeMay, author of The Generosity Plan (published by Beyond Words and Simon & Schuster's Atria Books), I knew I didn't need to go any further than Kathy to blow your socks off with her vision, strategy and brilliance.
How would you like to have big corporations and nonprofit organizations bringing you in as a keynote speaker and buying books in bulk to give out to their customers, employees, donors or board members?
You've probably seen tons of tactics all over the internet—"Become an Amazon bestseller," "Start your own radio show,"—these tactics can work for you if they fit in with your strategy and vision and you execute them properly, but they're not a marketing plan.
We all know that the days of multi-city book tours in bookstores are going the way of the stegosaurus and that the internet provides a huge venue for book sales, but there is something about seeing people in person to get a buzz going—in the same way The Secret created buzz both through Unity Churches and other groups, while going viral on the internet.
Kathy's main strategy has been to work with corporations and organizations as a keynote speaker, have them buy books to give out or sell, raise interest and awareness in audiences about the idea of generosity—changing the world through strategic giving of time, talent and treasure—even helping folks start generosity clubs.
You've probably heard that publishers will focus on distributing your book into bookstores (and possibly some publicity) for three months and that's it—unless it hits the charts big time. One of the reasons Kathy chose Beyond Words as her publisher was that they "got" the book and were in it for the long haul.
Cynthia Black, President and Editor-in-Chief of Beyond Words Publishing, told Kathy that she and her staff anticipated that The Generosity Plan would do for generosity what The Secret did for gratitude. Cindy shared Kathy's vision that The Generosity Plan would become a movement:
- For all people—no matter what their income or budget or time— to see themselves as philanthropic and able to make a difference
- For people to be strategic about the type of changes they want to create in the world
- To carry through long-term on their philanthropic vision by giving generously of their time, talent and treasure
- And to transform our world one step at a time
A big vision calls for throwing convention to the wind. Here's how Kathy and her assistant Emilia Stoneham made it happen.
Kathy said, "People have so much on their plates. It's too small a return to cold call people. Rather than cast a wide net, let's go deep into the networks I've built in the past 15 years. We went through all our nonprofit clients, donor clients and corporate clients for my business, Raising Change, and created a master list that said how we'd approach each relationship and why.
"We put ourselves in their shoes and asked, 'If I were a top executive at a financial services firm, what's the benefit for me? Given their specific responsibilities in their job—what they're trying to achieve—what can we bring them that helps them meet their goals and benefits their company?"
For financial services firms, Kathy and Emilia saw that they could help these firms distinguish themselves among their client base: not just caring how you invest your money, but how you give the money you do. By bringing Kathy in as an expert, having her share her expertise, answer questions and share the book, the financial services firms helped their clients think of their financial picture in a holistic way. This helped deepen the relationship and make their firms stand out in a competitive field.
With nonprofit organizations, such as YWCAs, Kathy asked, "How do we fit into something that's already in place: an annual dinner, luncheon, or other way to meet their needs?" Again, putting herself in the place of the organization's leaders, she positioned her services as "How does this book and Kathy's presence help you advance and deepen your relationships with your clients, donors and customers?"
It worked: Emilia and Kathy have not been turned down by anyone they've approached. In fact, every host has said they'd like to have Kathy back to do it again and, in every audience, someone has come up to ask Kathy, "Can you do this for my organization (or company)?"
Here are Kathy and Emilia's 6 Tips for Marketing a Book through Companies and Organizations.
- Deepen your own network rather than start with cold calling people.
- Look at the value you can bring to an organization that fits their goals, priorities and needs.
- Make it easy and effortless to work with you. Get them what they need when they need it.
- Have a plan and an agenda that works for you. Stick to it.
- In your presentation, slam it out of the park. Make them look great. Your success is their success.
- Ask folks you're working with, "When this event is over and everyone has left, what are they leaving with that they didn't come in with?"
---- National book writing coach Lisa Tener helps authors write a nonfiction/how-to book and get published. Her clients have been featured on CBS Early Show, Oprah and more. Lisa has been on ABC World News with Peter Jennings, PBS-TV and interviewed in Glamour, Body and Soul Magazine, WebMD and many others. Lisa serves on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School CME publishing course. Get Lisa's book writing and publishing blog, her bi-weekly book writing and publishing tips, and her free one week e-course to get started writing your book.
Kathy LeMay wrote The Generosity Plan in Lisa Tener's 8 Week Book Writing Program: Bring Your Book to Life. Says Kathy, "My book wouldn't be what it is without the feedback I got from Lisa and from students in the course. In fact, I'm not sure I would have even finished it without Lisa's step-by-step program."