When Your Book Marketing Feels Like Bragging

What do you do when promoting your book feels like you’re bragging?

That topic came up in conversation with a dear friend and client, Brad Goad. The pastor and his wife joined us for dinner this week to celebrate his book release, The Night He Was Betrayed. It’s the first in an Easter devotional trilogy that follows Jesus’s journey from the Garden of Gethsemane to the grave. Brad’s purpose is to prepare the hearts of Christians for the grand celebration of Easter.

“The most surprising part of publishing is the discomfort I feel talking about my book,” he said. “I feel like I’m bragging.”

It’s a common concern for authors. Your genuine desire to impact the world may come with the awkwardness about how to spread the word tactfully.

Here are eight ways to get past your fear and begin marketing your book.

1. Shift your mindset.

Promoting your book is not about greed. It’s your opportunity to fulfill a purpose in service of others.

“We’re not being selfless when we avoid promoting. We’re just undercutting our own mission,” best-selling author Michael Hyatt said in an article. “I assumed the role of Chief Marketing Officer for [my book]. Why? Three reasons: No one knows the product better than I do. No one can be a better spokesperson than I am. No one has more at stake than I do.”

2. Start with gratitude.

Focus on the people who contributed to your success and gift them with complimentary copies. Consider the influencers who endorsed your book and the people mentioned in your Acknowledgments. Think about family members, friends, teachers, mentors, and colleagues who made an impact. Write warm notes, or give shout-outs on social media. It shines the spotlight on them while spreading the word about your book along the way.

3. Throw a party.

Break the ice by inviting your friends and family to a release party. As you serve your guests, you’ll be able to share your excitement in a way that’s both fun and productive. You can deflect attention by recruiting your publisher to give a brief speech and by enlisting someone to take photos and tag guests on social media.

That’s how Dr. Michael Attas celebrated the 2018 release of his book, Medicine at the Crossroads. Ambassador Lyndon Olson (who endorsed his book) opened his home for the event, Judge Ken Starr (who penned the Foreword) gave a speech, and every guest (who bought copies) added to the joy.

4. Use your email signature.

Leverage your daily communications by adding your book title to your email signature and including a link.

5. Suggest different levels of support.

Make it easy for friends to support you by suggesting different levels of engagement. You can send an email or write a social media post that introduces your book and invites your friends to engage at a level that feels comfortable to them, such as:

(1) Buy the book;

(2) Buy the book and leave an online review; or

(3) Buy the book, leave an online review, and post about it on social media.

6. Capture compliments.

When someone emails a compliment, thank them and make a simple request: to kindly cut and paste their note into Amazon for other readers. Make this step easy by providing a special link that takes them directly to your review page.

7. Make the most of direct sales.

Print a stack of notes to insert into every book you sell in person. Thank your readers for buying the book and invite them to leave a review. Mention why their review matters.

8. Hire an assistant.

If you still find yourself sabotaging your marketing, consider hiring an assistant. Having another person on your team can ensure consistent action for your book despite your discomfort. Brad is putting this strategy to use: The Easter devotional author is meeting with a marketing-savvy friend this week to talk about a collaboration. He wants to get himself out of the way – and get the good news about Christ to more people!

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