In a previous post, I talked about the difference between “writers” and “authors.” In my view, a writer’s goal is to write one book. After that, a writer pushes the book out into through world through appearing on podcasts, TedX talks, and at conferences. An author, on the other hand, starts with one book, but either stumbles onto other books he or she wants to write or plans from the beginning to write many books. For that person, making an investment in learning how to market books and connect with readers makes a lot of sense, but setting up a whole author infrastructure doesn’t make any sense if you’ve just written one book. (I’ll talk about strategies for authors in my next blog post.)
How Can a One-Book Writer Get the Book Written?
For anyone short of time and wanting to finish a book, ghost writers or dictation software are great options. One-book writers with an urgent message, hiring a ghost writer or dictating the book using dictation software is the fastest way to get their thoughts down onto the page. (One site I’ve used and recommended for this purpose is www.rev.com. If you can speak it, they can transcribe it.) But like I said, that’s if you’re a writer.
Because writing is not the one-book writer’s main thing, most likely you’ll need to hire a developmental editor and copy editor. These are two different kinds of editors. One deals with the book’s structure and content. The other deals with cleaning up the grammar and dusting the commas. Again, if you’re writing only one book, then you don’t necessarily need to spend years learning how to write. Get some help!
Letting the World Know About the Book
At some point a one-book writer thinks, “Phew! I finished that book. That was tough, but I got through it.” But now what? How do you get the word out?
Writers who’ve written one book may not have an email list to help them during the book launch. Nor do most self-published writers know how to plan and execute a book launch. But don’t despair. There’s still plenty you can do to find readers for your book. To see how one new writer succeeded, download my free pdf, Market Your Nonfiction Book.)
One-book authors develop tactics (selling strategies) that ensure the book reaches the widest possible audience. Where are these people hiding? Not in bricks and mortar bookstores, that’s for sure.
Podcasts Can Reach a Broad Audience
Right now, podcasts are one of the most effective ways to “get the word out” about your single book. With the growing popularity of podcasts, a writer may even find it worthwhile to hire a booking agent. There are many vendors to choose from. Just keep an eye on the price you’re being asked to pay. The margins in publishing are small, and hiring a firm to get you podcast bookings may or may not have the payback you desire.
If you prefer to get podcast bookings yourself, then use a podcast search engine like ListenNotes to find podcasters interested in your subject matter. It’s very unlikely that the podcaster will read your book, so the way to make life easy for them is to prepare a Media Kit. This should contain the following:
- high resolution (300 dpi) and low resolution (72 dpi) downloadable images of you and your book cover;
- newsworthy topics (best if tied to breaking news) that you can talk about;
- a brief summary of what your book is about; and,
- questions the on-air host should ask.
In most cases you’ll be dealing with the producer of the show, not the host. These are the people you want to approach.
If you don’t want to go the full Monty and send out a media kit, then use one of Buzzsprout’s three free templates for podcast show notes.
Going viral. Once you have successfully completed your podcast interview, send a thank you email and say how much you appreciated the time the host and producer put into making the show happen. At the end of that letter, ask if there are any other podcasters they could recommend. That way you’ll keep the ball rolling and gain exposure to a large number of listeners.
Getting Booked on Radio and TV
To get booked on radio or televisions shows, you may need to hire a PR firm, and again, that can be expensive. Bookings on radio and TV shows must generally have a tie-in to something that’s happening in the news. You will have almost no possibility of getting booked if you’ve self-published a memoir or book of fiction. However, if your book is nonfiction and a book that has a broad audience (dieting, fitness, or whatever’s hot in the headlines), then you do have a shot. That said, it really helps if you also have solid credentials as a subject expert.
To get booked on major media you will need a media kit and a press release. The press release is to hook the producer and get them interested. The media kit is to show them what kinds of questions the host might ask.
For more on press releases and getting major media coverage, check out the resources on John Kremer’s website. John’s whole schtick is about helping you get publicity for free.
Getting a slot on a TEDX talk can also be a game changer. (Here’s how to apply.) The topics are practically endless, and your topic could be next.
But how will this lead to more people knowing about you? TEDX talks are heavily promoted on TikTok, and if your segment goes viral, then that will spread the word about your book. Will that lead to a spike in book sales? The audience may like your video enough to share it, but will they actually buy your book and read it? No telling, but in the indie author community, there are several authors who’ve gained a large TikTok following.
Writing a Book Is Harder Than Most People Imagine
There are many reasons for a person to invest time and money in writing a book. Not all of those reasons have to do with a love of literature. Business writers often find that a book buffs up their professional credentials. Prior to Covid, when people attended work conferences, popular speakers could sell books at the back of the room. Most often, such speakers sell themselves as gurus who can help people solve a specific problem. Here are some examples of topic areas with universal appeal:
- weight loss, fitness, and health;
- flipping real estate properties;
- puppy training;
- money management and business psychology;
- relationship issues; and,
- spirituality and overcoming trauma.
These are the big ponds in which one-book writers drop a fishing line. If you want to sell a lot of books, make sure your pond is big enough. And, please, don’t think that just because your book is up on Amazon the world is going to find it. They won’t unless you spend some time making sure that happens. You don’t need the whole big infrastructure that many authors, particularly indie authors, set up, but you will need to find other ways to let the world know about the book you’ve written.