There are lots of ways to promote your book. Some of them happen long before you book is published as a print or ebook. Since my book is two or three months away from release, I’m currently gearing up for full-force promotion, which will begin in May.
Typically, promotion begins about three months before release, gets a big push for three months after release and continues for another three-to-six months after that. Of course, promotion never stops. It continues for the life of the book.
For the next two posts I’m going to discuss two important tasks you might consider undertaking prior to finishing your book: asking someone to write a foreword and getting testimonials, or cover blurbs, about your book. Today, I will discuss forewords. (Check back on Thursday to read about blurbs.)
Not every book has a foreword, but obtaining one offers your book a little extra prestige or clout, especially if it’s written by someone with a recognizable name or title in a field connected with the subject of your book. It’s a vote of confidence from a person respected by potential readers. Your foreword writer basically will tell people via his or her contribution to your book why it is an important contribution to the field and why someone should read it. You can then tell everyone this person wrote a foreword for your book! By telling the world you book has this type of endorsement, you create a buzz and build credibility for the book. Hopefully, this person also will help promote the book as well.
So, how do you get someone to agree to write you foreword? You can contact anyone you feel holds the kind of position I describe above. Call them or email them and tell them about your book. If you are still writing your book, provide them with the overview of your book and include your pitch and any additional information you feel necessary in your email. (See the category on the left called “Proposal” for more information.)
You may also offer to help the person by writing a draft of the foreword yourself; this demonstrates the type of content you desire. They might totally rewrite it or scrap it, or they may just say, “Fine! Print it.” I know that sounds weird, but experts are busy. Sometimes it’s easier for them to simply edit a piece of writing than to create one from scratch. You can also offer bullet points with points you’d like them to make or benefits of the book you’d like them to feature. Not ever authority will read your whole book (or any of it) prior to writing the foreword. In fact, sometimes they will write the foreword without the book actually being complete. Having a foreword in hand when you approach a publisher can be quite helpful actually.
So, how did I get my forewords and why does How to Blog a Book: Write, Publish, and Promote Your Work One Post at a Time, have two, which is a nontraditional approach? I actually received an offer from a particular author for the foreword who had good sales numbers for his book, which was going into its third printing. He was well-known in the publishing industry. He had a book with Writer’s Digest Books as well. My agent and I thought this would help get the book sold, so we said, “Okay,” and preceded.
The publisher, however, later suggested I pursue a second foreword, this time from someone much more notable: Julie Powell of Julie & Julia fame. (That book began as a blog.) Why? Her name on the cover would help sell books. Well…after several months of pursuing that option, she said “no.”
I, however, decided that the idea of a second foreword from someone in the blogging world appealed to me. After all, my book straddled the world of blogging and writing/publishing. Thus, I began to look for a really great authority on blogging for a second foreword. I did a lot of waiting…and wondering if this foreword would come through. But in the end, in December Chris Garrett agreed. He is the co-author of ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income, the book, and founder of AuthorityBlogger.com, and he works with many authors and bloggers. I was thrilled to team up with him, because he understands the concep of my book, why the book will benefit bloggers, and the work he is doing aligns well with what I teach. Plus, he has way, way more expertise in blogging than I do. In fact, I have purchased his blogging products and am one of his newsletter subscribers and blog subscribers.
Along the way, as sometimes happens, things did not work out with my first foreword writer. So, I began looking for another. My agent, my editor, my publisher, and I put our heads together and came up with a list of possibilities. This time I had the opportunity to carefully choose who I thought would be the best person for the book—someone aligned with its concept and with me and my work as well as someone whom I thought would be a good promotional partner. I choose Christina Katz, author of Get Known Before The Book Deal: Use Your Personal Strengths To Grow An Author Platform and The Writer’s Workout: 366 Tips, Tasks, & Techniques From Your Writing Career Coach. And she agreed quickly on Christmas Day. I was thrilled! Christina and I do very similar work in the world, and I love her books.
You know what else? I really like both Chris and Christina. I had the opportunity to meet both of them in person, and I really like them as people. Overall, it makes me truly happy to have them affiliated with my book.
By the time these experts agreed to write the forewords, my book was in its final editing stages. I was able to give both experts a copy of the manuscript in PDF form to read. I also provided them with an overview. Chris asked me for a little bit of direction as to the points I might want him to make. Christina just went ahead and wrote her foreword with no input from me at all.
Why would these people agree to help me? When made my request, I had met Chris just once and I had never met Christina. Why would an expert take time out of his or her busy day to write a foreword for your book? Simple: First, it’s an honor to be asked. Second, it’s good promotion for them, too. They hope that by having their name on your book their their expert status will increase even more, their business will grow and they will sell more of their own books. Therefore, you have to promote them in the process as well. That’s why I always link to their books when I mention them. You can even do something like this (below) in your posts. (But put it at the end of your post.)
There you have it! That’s how How to Blog a Book ended up with two great forewords! Now, go out and get yourself at least one superb expert foreword for your blogged book.