You could write the best book in the world. But, if nobody knows about it, then would it matter? I hope to inform you on how to be sure that your book gets discovered by thousands of readers.

I love books. On average, I finish one per week. These are mostly non-fiction. There is no better way to learn decades of knowledge from experts in any subject. Books make this simple, with such a condensed and inexpensive format. Want to learn something new? There are probably dozens, if not hundreds of books on that subject. Read a few, to gain several perspectives.

Because of my utmost respect for books, I’ve always admired other people who held the title of “Author”. While I’ve been published for writing magazine articles in the past, those come with the title of “Journalist” or “Writer”, rather than “Author”. It only takes a couple hours of dedication to write an article. It takes months to write a book, therefore earning more esteem with me.

How do you effectively market your book? So many authors make the mistake of going through the entire process of writing a book, getting it published, and then deciding to market it. They missed out on months of potential marketing, via social media. The book tours, book signings, speaking gigs, interviews and such come afterward… and those are still easier to get when your book is already a best-seller.

I began marketing my book before I typed the very first word.

In order to prepare myself to become the person that I needed to be, to effectively market this book on podcasts, radio, live interviews, TV, and speaking events… I started taking lessons in public speaking. I joined Toastmasters.org and attended weekly speaking training meetings for almost a year before my book launch. This gave me more confidence and presentation skill for doing live videos along the way. Joining Toastmasters has changed my life; I wish I had joined years sooner. If public speaking or doing live video is a weak point for you, then you give up a huge amount of marketing potential. You must step out of that comfort zone and become the person that you need to be. This training will also greatly improve my upcoming podcast show.

Prior to the start of writing my book, I posted a simple question on my Facebook timeline. “Hey everyone, I’m considering writing a book. What would you like to learn from me?” It got dozens and dozens of responses. Some responses were funny, some sarcastic, and some purposeful. All responses are excellent, and all responses to those responses are also excellent. This activity from others, the post likes and responses are what boost your viewership on social media. Facebook sees all the activity, so it assumes the post must be interesting, so the Facebook algorithm places your post on the feeds of hundreds of your other friends and followers.

Even though I was almost certain about the book topic I’d be writing, I still asked the open-ended question. This plants the seed of marketing within your social media circle, and they become curious about your new project. During that first post, I even got a few other ideas for potential future books!

Once I had announced that I was going to write a book on how to start a business, I frequently created other new posts asking questions to build more social media engagement. I asked what people would like to know about starting a business. That post got hundreds of responses, from so many people. Basically, I was indirectly asking them what the contents of my book would be, and made sure to capture the recurring responses. This helped me to make sure to include those hot topics within my book. You could almost say that the audience is who created my table of contents. I knew my book would be a winner, if I could just answer all their questions!

I also created a private Facebook group for those interested in the subject of business ownership, and invited my friends to participate in discussions within the group. This group also became a supportive group for the book project, and a place where I could share more information and ask more specific questions from those with experience in the subject.

I had a few ideas for the book title. I created a poll to ask which of the titles their favorite was. We had a lot of fun with that one. Some of the titles were purposely absurd, to toss in some humor. This builds engagement; people love to have fun with stuff like this. Being serious all the time is boring!

After completing each of the 10 chapters, I would share a couple paragraphs on my public feed, and within the group. This was to show them two things. 1) That I was indeed progressing on this project, and 2) To provide some “insider access” value to help others. My group picked up quite a few invited guests from current members, because of the business-related stuff I was sharing. That group is over 2,000 people now. I’m proud to have these amazing people in the group (365 Driven Entrepreneurs).

I wanted to involve my group with the book project, to share their own valuable experiences. So, I decided to do an analysis on gathered data from current and aspiring business owners. I did this by creating an online fill-in form webpage, with 6 simple questions. I asked the group to answer the questions, and provide an email address. There were 120 people that participated in answering the questionnaire. They became my core group of book supporters, since they were now involved with the content inside it. I shared the compiled results with the larger group, and we had excellent discussions around each question. The results of this analysis became Chapter 2 of my book.

I hired a third-party book service company to handle the content editing, Kindle and paperback format editing, and cover design. When we received artwork from the multiple cover designers, we shared them and had another poll with 16 choices presented. This was a HUGE hit! People loved talking about all the various designs. We also created a few bogus and silly covers in there, to build the humor aspect. This was all intended to help build engagement, and to have some fun at the same time.

I frequently shared updates, such as a photo of the completed manuscript printed out. I shared updates on when the editors were completed. I announced the book cover design selection. I announced when the launch week would occur, so that people were prepared for it. I posted a video of me receiving the very first copy of the paperback from Amazon. I basically wrote this book in front of everyone.

As you can see, there was over six months of marketing value poured into this book, before it even became available to the public. It was an exercise in public involvement. Keeping people involved and updated with the project created interest within them. They felt, and they were, part of the process. This book was always bigger than me, it was meant for them. Books should always be intended for the purpose of benefitting the reader, not about talking about the author. Not until you are famous enough to write an autobiography, perhaps. Books are not about you! Books solve a problem for them.

So, how did all of this marketing effort pay off? The book launched on Amazon on May 29, 2018 and sold over 1,000 copies in the first few days. It only took 9 hours to achieve #1 Best-Seller in the Business Marketing category. This is an astounding result, considering that only 1% of all books ever hit #1 in any category. The odds were certainly against me, being a self-published, unknown author. During that book launch week, I was doing live videos on Facebook and Instagram, three times per day! I did a video at 7am, noon, and 7pm each day. I was sharing the progress of the book, talking about the book, and fielding questions about the book. Those live videos were incredible marketing, as live videos have the most engagement and reach due to the algorithms on social media. You simply use what works, and live videos are the best tool available. How bad do you want it?

Now that the book is published, the marketing is the easy part. I’m a guest on a few podcasts per week. I’ve been on live radio. I’m consistently inquiring about speaking events to event organizers. I’m networking with media people. I’m starting a podcast around the subject, to add more value to readers, and to build a brand. I’m doing book-signing events. Perhaps I’ll do a book tour? All off this stuff is expected, any time you publish a book. I can tell you, it is a lot easier to get those invites when your book is already a best-seller. I didn’t have to do all of this post-published marketing in hopes of reaching best-seller. That is a much harder battle to overcome, which is why so few achieve it. Focus your marketing impact on the book launch week, if you want the best long-term results.

The marketing power of social media is incredible, as long as you understand how it works. If you have a story to tell, give yourself the best chance at it being discovered. Obscurity is the enemy of any author.

For more information on my book, please visit SidehustleBook.net

-Tony