Whenever I’m being interviewed, or teaching a workshop or panel, the question invariably comes up about what I’m reading. “What’s on your nightstand?” The interviewer (or an audience member) will ask me. If you’ve ever been in this position to be asked this question, and didn’t know what to come up with – you’re not alone. Many authors I speak to make little or no time to read other books, which always surprises me. In some unfortunate cases, when asked what books they are reading, authors can only cite their own, which is a mistake. While I realize that book promotion likely takes up a lot of your time, reading will not only help you broaden your horizons, but help you sharpen your writing skills, too.
Stephen King once said: “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time (or the tools) to write.” So why does this matter? Well for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that we always need to be learning and growing in our genre – when we don’t, our book promotion suffers, even at times growing stagnant. But also, it’s just good business. As a business owner, I am always getting to know my competition. Sometimes I network with them or support them in some other way.
Helping Your Readers: With so many books published it’s hard for readers to know what worth their time. Helping your readers find good books is a great way to build even more loyalty among your readership and a great way to help readers connect with other, great authors. They won’t forget you or your books. In fact you’ll easily become a great resource for them to find new books and authors. And if you’re not sure who your ideal readers are, then take a moment to download my free reader profile brainstorm here!
Be a Fan of Your Market: I never really understood authors who aren’t a fan of the genre they’re writing in. In order to be a good writer of your genre, you must be a fan first and foremost. If you aren’t a fan, it’ll become evident in your content and your book promotion, too. (Learn more here about why becoming a fan can help you sell more books!) I read pretty voraciously in my market and I’ll share some book recommendations below!
Learning/Growing: If you aren’t growing and learning new things, your book promotion is probably suffering from it. I learn so much when I read other books, I can’t even tell you. And even in some cases if the author is restating something I was already aware of, sometimes they’ll frame it differently, or shape the topic in such a way that I’ve started to think of it differently, or in a new way which may spark some new book promotion ideas.
Reviewing: We all need more book reviews, don’t we? And despite what Amazon may tell you, I often review other books in my genre. So, if you’re going to spend the time reading other/similar books, also be sure to make the time to review them and, when you’re done, let the author know on social media that you did this. It’s great book promotion.
Networking: Reading, recommending, and reviewing other books in your genre is not just good book promotion, but it’s also a great way to network with authors – regardless of how big they are. Book recommendations are a fun way to engage and get to know other authors – and letting them know on social media that you reviewed their book is a great way to introduce them to your books, too. Because networking works both ways.
Share their content: Here is another opportunity for you to not only read and recommend other books, but to share their content, too. If you want people to share your stuff, you need to become someone who shares and recommends others’ content as well. Also, consider how much more robust your social media content will be if you’re not just sharing your own stuff.
Explore other Genres: You never know where the big ideas will come from. That’s a great line from a 1990s movie called Working Girl starring Melanie Griffith and Harrison Ford. When Melanie’s character was asked why she read a particular publication. What she said is really true. You never know where the best ideas will come from. So I often read other genres, also publications – even if I’m just scanning them for highlights. It’s never smart book promotion to live in a vacuum.
Now I’d love to share some books I read this year that I absolutely love, I hope you will, too!
This is Marketing by Seth Godin
I’ve been pretty much waiting for years for Seth to write a new book – I love everything he writes. He’s in a word: brilliant. And this book is no different. If you want to explore some hard truths and great insights on marketing, grab this book. You won’t regret it. It’s not author-specific, but everything in here is applicable across the board. You’ll gain some valuable insights into new book promotion strategies, and beyond!
The BadRedHead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge by Rachel Thompson
Both the tone and the content of this book are outstanding. I loved this author so much in social media (and I follow her) I decided to pick up a copy of her book. It did all that it promised and then some. If you haven’t seen the kind of book sales you want to, or if you feel your book promotion is dragging, pick up this book. I especially love that she keeps the cover updated (with a 2018 mention) and the reviews are current, even though the book is a year old. Now that’s smart book promotion!
Contagious: Why Things Catch on by Jonah Berger
Even though this book was published in 2013, it’s as relevant today as it was five years ago. The book and the concepts are ones that I often refer to in my workshops. And understanding why some things catch fire and some do not which is always helpful when you’re trying to promote your book. I can honestly say I’ve woven many of his ideas into my own book promotion!
Buzz: The Ultimate Guide to Book Marketing by Dara Beevas and Roseanne Cheng
I was sent a free copy of this book by the authors and my first impression was WOW. First off, it’s absolutely beautifully designed. And as someone who has seen a lot of so-so looking interiors, I’m always swayed by a beautifully designed book. It’s appealing to the audience in that the layout and content aren’t overwhelming, complex, or difficult to navigate. Both the tone and content were super helpful and relevant. These ladies know their market, for sure. It’s a great book promotion tool for anyone starting out in the indie book publishing world!
Strangers to Superfans: A Marketing Guide to the Reader Journey by David Gaughran
When it comes to really effective book promotion, not enough has been written about the reader journey, frankly and this book is not only well-written but highly relevant in this uber-competitive world. I loved it and, despite the fact that it was geared largely to a fiction crowd, I found it completely relevant and informative. David also has a fabulous blog, too which I follow diligently! If you’re going to market your book effectively, you need to understand your reader, reading habits, and what drives someone to not only finish, but recommend a book.
And I saved the best for last.
Hyperfocus: How to Be More Productive in a World of Distraction by Chris Bailey
I heard about this book on one of my favorite podcasts called Something You Should Know and I thought I’d go look it up. It was pricey for an eBook ($15) but it’s been worth every penny I paid. I’ve read it once and now I’m going through it again. While you’ll learn absolutely nothing about book promotion, it’s got a lot of solid information relating to being better focused in your work. We all face far too many distractions. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve lost many solid hours of book promotion to distraction, and other types of mind-biases that tend to lead us off in unproductive directions.
So what books did you read and love this past year? I’d love to hear what you read, what you loved, and what you’d recommend to other, similar readers. One of the authors we’ve worked with has already done this, and you can check out her list here.
You don’t have to recommend books all the time, but certainly getting into the habit of becoming someone who is always on the lookout for the next great read, will not only ingratiate you to the authors you’re recommending, but makes good book promotion sense!
What are some books that you have found invaluable in your own book marketing efforts? Please share in the comments!
Did you find these recommendations helpful? Please share them! I’ve made it super easy with some pre-made tweets below!
Click to Tweet: These awesome books will launch your 2019 book marketing A-Game style. Check out @bookgal’s recommendations! #bookmarketing #bestbooks https://wp.me/p6TMt8-6RZ
Click to Tweet: Spoiler alert – these book recommendations from @bookgal are what you need to level up your own book promotion in 2019. #bookmarketing #bestbooks https://wp.me/p6TMt8-6RZ