How to sell your business book would have to be one of the most challenging aspects of the whole book writing and publishing process because most people have never done this before. And, there’s so much conflicting information and advice out there it’s hard to know what to listen to or where to spend your time and money.

So, I’ve pulled together a checklist of things you need to think about and some of the options you can consider.

1. Know your audience.

Before you race off and put your book on Amazon or write media releases get really clear about who your target audience is. Then do some research to find out what magazines, websites, influencers they are engaged with. This is where you should be focusing your attention.

There’s no shortage of ways and places to market your book. However, you simply don’t have the time or the money to cover all of them. So you have to work out and focus on the groups and avenues that are your priority

2. Be clear about your purpose

As I’ve discussed many times before in terms of why you are writing and publishing your book, it’s absolutely critical that you have clarity about what you are trying to achieve through your book. Do you want to build your personal brand or business brand? Do you want to develop another revenue stream by leveraging your knowledge? Are you seeking to increase your profile in your industry/company? Do you want to empower people? Do you want to be known as a ‘best-selling author?

Depending on what your main purpose is how and where you sell your book will be completely different.

3. Leverage your existing networks

Oddly, many business people are reluctant to engage their existing business networks when it comes to talking about their book. They don’t want to seem too pushy OR are afraid that people won’t think their book is any good.

It’s probably a good guess that you’ve written a book that relates to the industry/area you’re working in, and that this is one of your main target audiences. So, it’s just smart to engage the industry associations, organisations, formal and informal networks around your industry when it comes to informing the world about your book and selling it.

Some good tips for this are:

  • Find out who the Editor/main journalist is on the key industry magazines and websites and connect with them on LinkedIn/ Start a conversation early. When you’re ready with your book you won’t be making a cold approach;
  • Engage with some of your peer group and ask them to review your book
  • Build a ‘launch team’ through your network. A launch team is a group of supportive colleagues/friends who will undertake to comment on, share, Tweet and discuss your book through their networks. Don’t underestimate the power of this, particularly if your colleagues/friends are active on LinkedIn directly or through LinkedIn Groups.

You will need to build a Launch Team plan. This will ensure you provide clear guidance and support information to your team so they know what to do and when, and have the tools to do this.

4. Start building new networks

  • Find out who the key influencers/speakers are in your area. Connect with them either through LinkedIn, their Blogs, Vlogs . . . whatever. Again, start early;
  • Checked LinkedIn groups that relate to your area and join 4-5 of the most relevant and start engaging with it early. Again, by the time your book is ready for launch you’ll be part of this group and you can share your book launch/promo offers with them;
  • Research the key magazines and journalists that regularly comment on the area you specialise in and connect with the journalist who writes the most articles on the topic.

5. Upgrade your website

This may seem obvious, however, I’m going to cover this anyway. If you/your business has a website make sure you review it so that your book takes centre stage when you’re getting close to the launch of your book. You might create a landing page specifically about the book, change your homepage to feature your book (and have a one-step click through to your shop where people can buy the book . . . perhaps even order an advance coy).

If you have a Blog on your site, start sharing your book journey and encourage people to pre-order it. Share some excerpts of your book (as smaller downloadable eBook teasers). Get some of your reviewers to share their thoughts on your site and their Blogs.

The key thing here is to use your website to engage with your networks and make it easy for them to share and participate.

6. Create a plan and budget

To market and sell your book effectively you need a marketing plan and budget. This should include a content marketing plan as well. Most people underestimate the money and time needed to market and sell a book. Given than money and time are two very precious resources for all of this, it’s important that you’re clear about how much of both you have. Then you can allocate it to the areas that will give you the best outcome.

As part of this you’ll need to decide how much time you can commit and to what components of the plan and then how much and who and what you need to delegate to others. Some people hire a publicist to undertake their sales and marketing planning and execution, others bring in specialists in key areas.

Again, it’s important for you to work out your resources first as this will inform decisions you make.

7. Execute consistently

Having a plan is one thing, executing it consistently is a completely different thing. I advise The Book Adviser clients that they need to be prepared to market and sell their book for a minimum 15 month period: 3 months before their book is published and 12 months after it’s launched.

This means executing to the plan on a consistent basis. And, if needs be, reviewing and assessing where you’re spending your time and money and the return, and making adjustments if needed.

Executing over this period of time is challenging as the ‘fun’ part of the launch and initial excitement and energy of the book launch soon fades. In fact, you should be planning on several launches/events over 12 months to keep the momentum up. And, after all, one objective for your book was probably to increase your profile and recognition in your industry so you need to keep getting out there and sharing your book and insights.

While it may seem a bit daunting to think about, plan and start executing the marketing and sale of your book while you are still writing it. If you start early enough you’ll have the time  to really think through what it is you can and want to do and the level of money you want to allocate. This part of writing and publishing your own business book is covered over three stages of The Book Adviser program and is the difference between publishing a book and selling your book.