Book Publishing Specialists
Presenting Your Book to Your Target AudienceDecember 15, 2010 by Sam Henrie, President
You've heard it from me many times before--building your audience (author platform, following, tribe) is the single most important factor in the success of your book. But how do you get your audience to buy your book once it is published?
Let's take a lesson from Wheatmark author Colonel Ralph Puckett whose Words for Warriors: A Professional Soldier's Notebook has sold over 5,000 copies since its publication in November of 2007.
Colonel Puckett has built his audience over the sixty years that he has led, taught, and mentored soldiers. During these years Colonel Puckett has became well known and respected in the military community in general, but especially among the infantry and special operations.
And he's a veritable legend among the Army Rangers. (See Chapter 11, “Valor,” in Rangers in Combat: A Legacy of Valor by J.D. Lock to read about the famous Korean War battle in which Puckett and his company of 51 Rangers captured and held Hill 205 in the face of multiple attacks by several hundred Chinese forces.) Colonel Puckett is also one of the most highly decorated soldiers in U.S. history with two Distinguished Service Crosses, two Silver Stars, three Legions of Merit, two Bronze Stars, five Purple Hearts, and ten Air Medals. So, when Colonel Puckett has something to say there are many willing and waiting to listen. In short, he's built his audience.
Here are some of the ways that Colonel Puckett gets the word out about his book to his audience:
- He gives free copies to large numbers of people in the military community.
- He arranges to have the book presented as an award for outstanding performance in various military training programs at Ft. Benning.
- He makes presentations as a Rotary military guest.
- He has condensed excerpts published two to three times each month in the Ranger Memorial Foundation Newsletter.
- He holds book signings at military merchandise stores and bookstores. (These signings are scheduled on Ranger Course, Ranger Indoctrination Program, Ranger Assignment and Selection Program, and Basic Training graduation days.)
- He has arranged to have the book placed on the Chief of Infantry's reading list.
- He gives presentations based on the principles in the book to bank managers, orthopedic surgeons, and civilian business leaders.
What do nearly all of these marketing activities have in common? They present the book to Colonel Puckett's audience where they live ... not to the general public at generic bookstores. It's the formula for book sales success: build your audience, then market directly to them.
Oh, and none of this would work all that well if Words for Warriors wasn't the wonderful book that it is. In the words of H. G. Moore, Lieutenant General, U.S. Army Retired: "[It is t]he absolute best book on military leadership that I have ever read. A superb, very readable series of short, incisively written leadership lessons by one of the very few great battlefield leaders in the history of the U.S. Army. This book should be read by every officer and NCO in the Army and Marine Corps. A superb compendium of 'how to' and 'how not to.'"
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