Publishing ecosystem

It’s no longer enough for your book to be “out there.” It needs to live in an ecosystem.

Ecosystems are living, interdependent entitities—once your book exists in the world, it starts to live in a world of its own. Readers are part of the ecosystem.

You can’t rely on your publisher to do all the marketing support for you. Chances are readers will google you before they buy your book. Readers want to hear from you in multiple formats, both as a way to warm up to buying your book (can I trust you?) and as a way to prolong the relationship (I finished your book but I don’t want to leave your world yet, and I want to help spread your message).

Here are a few ways to build a world around your book, coming up to and after publication:

  • social media posts on your book topic: These posts can reinforce your status as an expert on the topic, or they can be “behind the scenes” (BTS) content about the writing of your book. Snap a photo of your draft in progress, or even your wall of stickies. Readers love knowing about a writer’s process.
  • resources: If your book is intended to help the reader—self-help and business are obvious examples—include some free resources on your site. Worksheets, curriculum suggestions, reader’s guides…be creative!
  • mini profiles: If you feature individuals in your book, include a mini bio and photo of them on your site (with permission) including an update on where they are now. Link to their sites or social profiles.
  • videos or book trailer: You are carrying a mini production studio in your pocket. Shoot on-the-fly videos talking about your topic, and imagine your reader watching these on the subway or on their lunch break. What do you need to tell them in a minute or less? Include captions for increased accessibility. And try shooting a mini book trailer with your friends! It doesn’t need to be polished. Remember the “Sabotage” video? Have fun.
  • manifesto: Tan France loves a stripe, and I love a manifesto. If your book is suggesting a new way of being in the world, write a summary as a manifesto. One page long, maybe designed so the reader can print it and hang it on their wall (home, classroom, office). Go one step further and include a video or audio clip of yourself reading the manifesto. Can the reader “sign on” to the manifesto? Include them as part of your ecosystem!

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