Publishing Stories: Author Peter C. Diamond on Hybrid Publishing, Part 2
What happens when you publish with a hybrid publisher? Peter C. Diamond, author of Amplify Your Career and Life: 4 Steps to Evaluate, Assess, and Move Forward, returns to tell us about his experience with marketing and sales.
In this essay Peter raises some important questions that are especially relevant for indie publishers but true for all who enter into book publishing. What is your goal in producing a book? What is your commitment to marketing? What is your definition of success?
To have a rewarding publishing experience, it is helpful to have answers to these and many more questions before you begin.
Rewards and Challenges of a First-Time Author
Part 2: Marketing and Sales
by Peter Diamond
Marketing and selling my book was much harder and more time consuming than I imagined. While the manuscript was being turned into a fully formed book for public consumption by my publishing company, I focused my attention on marketing. As an ex-advertising professional, I thought this would be easy. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.
In the early stages of writing the manuscript, I was advised to create a platform of followers, at least a couple thousand, months before the book is published. I was told, “You will have to put as much effort into marketing your book as you do writing it.”
I heard this advice, but I didn’t listen. I mistakenly thought the message of my book, Amplify Your Career and Life: 4 Steps to Evaluate, Assess, and Move Forward, would automatically appeal to my target audience: midlife business professionals facing career crisis. Little of my time was spent cultivating a fan base in advance of the book release. I was too focused on writing the book and running my executive coaching business. Little did I know more than 2 million books were published in 2015. That’s insane competition.
Here’s what I did do:
• I found a PR agency that specializes in working with authors of nonfiction titles.
• I paid for a number of promotional programs offered by Amazon that my publisher recommended.
• As part of the PR effort, I wrote a number of byline articles (with no mentions of my book except in my bio) to be pushed out to various sites.
• I gave 28 small-market radio and podcast interviews, secured by the PR agency.
What happened? The PR effort generated very few sales. The articles I wrote did get a lot of exposure and helped my Google ranking. The promotional programs, in partnership with Amazon, resulted in no sales.
Using my own contacts I was able to secure a local TV morning show interview and radio interview on a popular public radio program. I did see modest sales spikes from these interviews.
After six months of actively promoting my book, I hadn’t hit my sales goal or, said another way, recouped the cost of my investment. At that time I had to make a decision whether to continue to spend more time and resources on promoting the book or focus on generating revenue for my executive coaching business. My business won out and is doing quite well.
Writing and publishing a book was a great experience with certain intangible benefits.
• It boosted credibility for my brand and executive coaching business.
• I learned about the process of writing, publishing, and marketing a book.
• I’m more comfortable being interviewed and telling stories in different mediums.
• I’m a regular contributor for Entrepreneur.com (this connection came from the PR agency).
• On occasion, I’m contacted to be interviewed for an article or write a blog post such as this one.
• Lastly, my book was a finalist for two book awards. It’s an honor to be recognized by the publishing community and fellow authors.
Although my book doesn’t enjoy bestseller status, I recently had a client tell me that reading my book was like reading her own thoughts and how helpful it was to know that others experience the same midlife trials and tribulations. That, for me, made all the effort worthwhile.
Would I do it again? Maybe, just maybe.
Peter C. Diamond, “The Amplify Guy,” is a professionally trained certified coach who helps people improve their work performance and achieve a higher degree of career and life fulfillment. He has appeared on ABC’s “Windy City Live” and WGN’s “News at 5” as a career coach expert, and he writes a blog, “The Amplify Guy.” For more information about Peter and the Amplify Your Career and Life workbook, visit his website at www.petercdiamond.com.
Like this blog? Sign up for the Hop On Newsletter and have publishing insights and advice from Katherine delivered right to your inbox. Katherine Pickett is an award-winning author and editor with more than 15 years of experience in book publishing.