4 Unconventional Ways To Market Your Book

Today’s post is a guest post from Josh Allan Dykstra, a fellow member of the Lead Change Group. Josh and I had the chance to meet and talk for a bit at SANG in October, and I’ve truly enjoyed getting to know him. Since he recently released his new book Igniting the Invisible Tribe: Designing An Organization That Doesn’t Suck, I asked him to share a few thoughts on what’s worked best for him in promoting his book online.

Josh Allan Dykstra - Principal, Strengths DoctorsSo, I hear you’re an author with a book on your hands. Or, perhaps, you have a book in production which will soon release to be your groundbreaking tome. First, congratulations! Please don’t take these compliments lightly — many, many (maybe even most) people would “like to write a book someday.” Simply by the act of actually completing the task, you have made yourself a scarce resource. You’ve put your thoughts into the world in a careful and meaningful way. This is something to celebrate!

That said, even though you now (or will soon) have a book that you’re incredibly proud of, what you probably don’t have are millions of eyeballs, poised and ready to consume your brilliant and innovative prose. Don’t let this get you down; it’s a problem most new authors face, honestly. Most of us aren’t radio hosts or TV stars. We don’t have 100,000+ followers on Twitter or celebrity status.

So how do us “normal folks” get the work we’ve slaved over for months (maybe even years) in front of the right readers? Here are four ways you may not have considered:

1. Strategically Join A Great Group

Of course, we’ve all heard ad nauseam about the benefits and importance of networking. This is true, of course, but in this example I’m not talking about rubbing shoulders with just anybody. Some groups provide specific benefits to authors and content creators, and these are the kind of groups you want to look for. For me, being part of the Young Entrepreneur Council has been amazing. The YEC has media partnerships in place that members can take advantage of, and it’s helped me get my writing featured in Fast Company, Business Insider, etc.

2. Find Niche Bloggers

The idea here is fairly simple: connect with the people who run the blogs that already talk to the groups of people you want to connect with. The easiest way to identify these sites might be to think about the places you yourself go to find interesting content — if you like it, it’s likely the people who will read your work will, too. Send a note to the blog’s owner (usually easy to find on an About Us or Contact page) and offer to do a guest post, video chat, or email interview; whatever the blog owner thinks will connect most with their audience. If you can show that you’ll create value for their readers, many bloggers will jump at the chance to get great (and free!) external content.

3. Partner With University Professors

Do you know any professors who teach something related to your material? Offer to get them a free copy of your book and see what they think! If they find it helpful and you can get on the syllabus as required reading, classrooms can be a great source of recurring revenue — and, perhaps even more exciting, a perfect way to get your ideas into the heads of impressionable minds. I’ve found the best way in is through the professor directly; many times they have complete “creative control” over what they want their students to be exposed to. If you can get them excited about your work, they’ll be a great advocate.

4. Start and/or Lead A Tribe

This is the hardest, but probably best, way to grow your readership. Because of the ways the world is changing, particularly in regards to technology, it’s easier than ever to connect with the people who care about the same big, hairy problems you do. Stake your claim and purchase the URL. Start talking and writing about it everywhere. Obsess over how to create value for the members of your tribe, and make sure your book is a worthy conversation piece for tribe members. I won’t lie and say this is easy — it takes a tremendous investment of work and time — but once you are seen as a thought leader of a movement, you’ll find that book sales will come much more easily.

It’s an amazing privilege when people give us their most scarce resource of time to read our thoughts, isn’t it? I’m truly honored you gave a bit of your time to read my thoughts here. My sincere best wishes to you on your adventures as an author!

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Josh Allan Dykstra is a recognized thought leader on the future of work and company culture design. His articles and ideas have been featured by Fast Company, Business Insider, MSN.com, Under30CEO, and The Agency Post. He is a co-founder of Strengths Doctors, a consulting firm that helps leaders and entrepreneurs design energizing places to work. Josh’s eclectic background includes projects with organizations like Apple, Sony, Genentech, Starbucks, and Viacom/CBS as well as startups, nonprofits, and universities. He holds an MBA in Executive Leadership from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and his new book, Igniting the Invisible Tribe: Designing An Organization That Doesn’t Suck, is available on Amazon.com. Connect with him online at http://joshallan.com.