I recently had dinner with my friend Lauren Lyons Cole, a certified financial planner based here in New York City. She's gaining quite a following, as evidenced by this feature in the New York Times.
Lauren mentioned that she was planning to write a book, which didn't surprise me given how much knowledge she has to share. However, what did surprise me - in a good way - was how much she's already done for a book that hasn't yet been written. "I've wanted to write a book for two years now, but instead of diving headfirst into the manuscript, I first focused on building my brand and my network," she told me.
Lauren hasn't yet decided if she's going to pursue traditional or self-publishing, but no matter who ends up publishing her book, here are five things she's already done to help with marketing (in her words):
- Get quoted as an expert in the media. Make connections with journalists who cover your field. No need to pay for expensive PR; just be genuine and trustworthy and the journalists will be happy to use you as a source. It's mutually beneficial. Respond quickly to any requests they send you!
- Target respected publications. It's almost always more beneficial to be quoted in the NY Times than your local news. Send story ideas to journalists who write for a publication you'd like to be quoted in. Journalists are often looking for fresh ideas. Again, it's mutually beneficial. Just don't be annoying or waste their time.
- Carve out a niche for yourself and differentiate yourself from your peers. Don't necessarily write about what people would expect. That makes it easier to market your book. Gain real life experience in the angle you want to take. (For example: I focus on helping people make more money rather than frugal living tips.)
- Find a platform. Build relationships with groups that will help you promote your book. This could be speaking at conferences or writing guest posts for your favorite blogs. The more readers (or attendees) the better. The more people who see your book (and you), the more people will buy it.
- Audition for reality TV shows (I mainly think this is funny). Personally, I'm hoping to be on Amazing Race. I figure that's a great way to promote my book. And if not, at least I'll get to travel and compete for a million dollars.
Lauren wisely recognizes that when it comes to marketing non-fiction, having a solid author platform is critical. So take her advice: If you know you can write a great book, first spend time developing an audience that you think will buy it.
Maria Murnane is the best-selling author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.
This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. Reprinted with permission. © 2012 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.