Book Signings Be Damned


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Clint Greenleaf, CEO of Greenleaf Book Group, provides insider tips on five book marketing strategies that prove effective in today\’s changing publishing landscape.

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Book Signings Be Damned

  1. 1. book signings be damned Five Strategies for Effective Book Marketing in the New Publishing Climate NCPA (Northern California Publishers & Authors) Conference 2010 Clint Greenleaf - Chairman & CEO - Greenleaf Book Group
  2. 2. Humble Beginnings And Dominique thought her first book was horrible…
  3. 3. Greenleaf Book Group <ul><li>Founded in 1997 </li></ul><ul><li>Over 1,000 Titles </li></ul><ul><li>4 NYT and 6 WSJ Bestsellers </li></ul><ul><li>John Gray and Kanye West </li></ul><ul><li>Inc 500 company </li></ul><ul><li>38 Employees in Austin, TX </li></ul>
  4. 4. Tree Neutral Learn More at
  5. 5. Reality Our Industry is tough, and so is every other industry out there There is an over supply of books and not enough demand for them Content and Platform rule This is a Pity Party Free Zone Let’s Sell some Books!
  6. 6. OVERVIEW Marketing in the “New Publishing Climate” means many things. Greater access to specific communities of readers results in more strategic and effective marketing. A few words of caution : Don’t abandon other means of marketing for an all-online strategy.
  7. 7. <ul><li>STRATEGIES </li></ul><ul><li>We will cover the following strategies: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on Your Community (or Communities) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Appearances with Value </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reviews </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Build Expert Platform </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maximize Digital Opportunities </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. FOCUS ON YOUR COMMUNITY Physical and Online Communities Identify relevant communities and get active Where are your competitors? Know your target audiences. Start by be strategic so you can adjust your approach as needed based on feedback.
  9. 9. <ul><li>FOCUS ON YOUR COMMUNITY </li></ul><ul><li>Associations & Corporations </li></ul><ul><li>Identify associations and corporations that find your content valuable. </li></ul><ul><li>Offer something to gain their interest: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A free white paper for all of their people to download. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>An article for their newsletter. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Network with the group and/or its leadership. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. FOCUS ON YOUR COMMUNITY Book Clubs Book clubs target groups of avid readers. (strong word-of-mouth potential) Create a reader’s guide with discussion questions. Package the guide within the book itself. Or promote it separately to reading groups. A good resource:
  11. 11. FOCUS ON YOUR COMMUNITY Targeted Blog Outreach Sites like provide metrics on blog readership (approach your outreach strategically!) Bloggers want a conversation, not a pitch, (so do your homework on their content and personalize your approach!)
  12. 12. FOCUS ON YOUR COMMUNITY Awards Awards build credibility within your community. In addition to awards for the book, also consider awards for you THE EXPERT to build your author platform and credibility. Good resource for finding award opportunities:
  13. 13. APPEARANCES WITH VALUE When Book Signings ARE Okay Sitting at a table, autographing books, does not work. Think of ways to share value with your audience. Sign & sell your books after. (THIS DOESN’T HAVE TO BE IN A BOOKSTORE!)
  14. 14. APPEARANCES WITH VALUE Don’t Forget Libraries! Libraries are often very receptive to author signings. Libraries are also more likely to promote the event at no cost to you and leave your display materials up for a longer time before and after the event.
  15. 15. <ul><li>APPEARANCES WITH VALUE </li></ul><ul><li>Stock Signings </li></ul><ul><li>Stock signings are an effective way to: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Secure premium store placements. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Increase buys on a store level. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Minimize returns. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Bring your “Autographed by Author” stickers to the store. </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>APPEARANCES WITH VALUE </li></ul><ul><li>Skype & Webinars </li></ul><ul><li>Virtual events are growing in popularity. </li></ul><ul><li>Here are a few ideas: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Live book club Q&A via Skype. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Instructional webinars. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Children’s book readings. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  17. 17. APPEARANCES WITH VALUE Speaking Research speaking opportunities through your community, association, and organization relationships. Also consider tools like Event Search on LinkedIn. Start with Toastmasters or the National Speakers Association (NSA).
  18. 18. REVIEWS Critical for Some Sales For certain sales channels (libraries in particular), reviews are critical for sales. Book buyers face an increasing oversupply of published books, and they are looking for ways to differentiate and choose the best titles for their audience.
  19. 19. <ul><li>REVIEWS </li></ul><ul><li>Word of Mouth & Syndication </li></ul><ul><li>Reviews spread the word about your book in 2 ways: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>1. Traditional Word-of-Mouth </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ I read a review of a book I think you’d like.” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>2. Syndication </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Many major review publications license review content to </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>,, etc., and the content is featured </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>prominently on your title listing page. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  20. 20. REVIEWS Mind Your Timelines Most review publications require long lead-times, often 4-6 months . Do your homework on major reviewer requirements, regarding both timeline and required materials .
  21. 21. REVIEWS Testimonials or “Blurbs” Third-party endorsements, also called “testimonials” or “blurbs,” can also be effective to influence retailers and consumers. Consider your target audience(s) and aim for a group of endorsements that speak to each. These are often written by the author and sent for “ approval” by the expert
  22. 22. REVIEWS Convert Fan E-Mails to Amazon Reviews When readers e-mail you with words of praise: Respond with thanks. Ask them to help support you by sharing their feedback as a reader review on Reader reviews and ratings factor into the Amazon visibility algorithm. Template your responses and provide a direct link to your Amazon page .
  23. 23. <ul><li>BUILD EXPERT PLATFORM </li></ul><ul><li>Find Your Niche </li></ul><ul><li>What specific areas of your expertise to people want? </li></ul><ul><li>How is your philosophy/benefit different from that of your competitors? Can you position that in your messaging? </li></ul><ul><li>What value proposition or knowledge can you alone offer? </li></ul><ul><li>What awards can you boast? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you have longevity? </li></ul><ul><li>Volume and level of clients? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you “own” a word or phrase? </li></ul>
  24. 24. BUILD EXPERT PLATFORM First, Refine Your Elevator Pitch Be able to confidently deliver your elevator pitch in 10 seconds. It should include: Who you are. What you do. Why you’re different. How you can provide value, and to whom.
  25. 25. <ul><li>BUILD EXPERT PLATFORM </li></ul><ul><li>Next, Create Content to Support It </li></ul><ul><li>Create and record as much as you can, including: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Magazine or newspaper articles. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Scholarly papers or journal features. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Letters to the editor or opinion columns. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Blog posts. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Radio & TV interviews. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lecture recordings. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Webcasts, podcasts, etc. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  26. 26. <ul><li>BUILD EXPERT PLATFORM </li></ul><ul><li>Syndicate Your Content </li></ul><ul><li>Spread your content via the following: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Submit articles to newspapers, magazines, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>newsletters, blogs, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Package your content as a free eBook. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Post audio/visual media (on your blog, Slideshare, etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ongoing social media upkeep (share your PR hits!) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>. </li></ul>
  27. 27. BUILD EXPERT PLATFORM Repurpose Your Content Post your work in article databases ( , etc.). Turn articles into press releases (tie to calendar events via ). Use segments of writing to answer questions on professional networks. (like LinkedIn) Use it to answer PR queries ( , ).
  28. 28. MAXIMIZE DIGITAL OPPORTUNITIES Digital Portfolio You want your content to be easy to find online. Create a destination of information on your website for all of your content to live. At a minimum, build and maintain a press room.
  29. 29. <ul><li>MAXIMIZE DIGITAL OPPORTUNITIES </li></ul><ul><li>Social Media </li></ul><ul><li>Along with your digital portfolio, participation in social media gives you an active online presence, making you easier to find and communicate with. </li></ul><ul><li>Be strategic. Consider: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>LinkedIn </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Facebook </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Twitter </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Blogs </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Wikis </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  30. 30. MAXIMIZE DIGITAL OPPORTUNITIES Newsletters & RSS Feeds Capture and stay in front of your direct audience by offering newsletter and RSS feed opt-in signups on your site.
  31. 31. MAXIMIZE DIGITAL OPPORTUNITIES Blog Update your blog at least twice a week. In a perfect world, “chunk” content on the front end to make digital media more manageable. For example, we perform content chunking during the editorial process to identify and pull out 50 standalone tweets and 15-20 blog posts/articles directly from the manuscript.
  32. 32. MAXIMIZE DIGITAL OPPORTUNITIES Post Outside Your Own Blog Commenting on the blogs of other prominent experts in your space is a great way to get in front of your target audience. Don’t sell. Give value. Don’t be afraid to debate and defend .
  33. 33. book signings be damned Five Strategies for Effective Book Marketing in the New Publishing Climate NCPA (Northern California Publishers & Authors) Conference 2010 Clint Greenleaf - Chairman & CEO - Greenleaf Book Group