Monday, October 15, 2012

Musings On A Munday What Could An Author Do


MC900384040 Let’s say a genealogist authors a book on a subject related to genealogy research. The book is a how-to book, not a case study. What does the author want the reader to do with the book?

  1. Buy it
  2. Read it
  3. Recommend it
  4. Talk about it
  5. Hire author to speak about it

More could be added to the list, but this seems like a good top five list of what an author would want. Now I wonder what the author could do to increase the number of times these five things happen? Obviously advertising in various ways online and offline are options. Also, depending on whether you self-published or hired a publisher your options would vary.

For the sake of this musing, let’s assume that you are an author that has self-published a book and you have limited advertising dollars. What could you do to increase the opportunities of 1-5 happening? What if 6 & 7 were added to the list?

  1. Buy It
  2. Read it
  3. Recommend it
  4. Talk about it
  5. Hire author to speak about it
  6. Market book to small genealogy libraries to use as a book club topic
  7. Market book to small genealogy societies to use as a monthly meeting topic

The first objection I can see to this is “but that will limit the authors opportunity to present the book themselves, either in person or in a webinar format.” Potentially that could interfere with speaking engagements, however, there are a number of small libraries and societies that will simply never hire the author due to lack of funds. Does the author simply write that audience off? That, to me, looks like a missed opportunity.

What if the author actively encouraged the use of their book in this fashion? What if on the back flap of the book they added to the standard about me information?

  • Contact Me
  • Visit my website
  • Read my blog
  • Buy these other books
  • Book me to speak
  • Purchase learning guide for libraries and societies

What would be in the learning guide? Copyright details should be front and center, with something like: “You can talk about my book all you want while giving me all the credit for the ideas but don’t you dare copy pages and distribute them. “If your audience would like to purchase a book of their own, here is a coupon for 10% off.” The author could then list key points they feel are highlights in each chapter and maybe explain in detail any concepts that are particularly difficult. It wouldn’t have to be a long, lengthy study guide. The point is to get the library or society to contact you and pay you for permission to present your book.

I could go on and on with this entire topic, getting into co-branding, ambassadors etc. but I won’t do that here. My point is the fact that this isn’t a “potential” missed opportunity, it “is” a missed opportunity. Why? Because I will bet that somebody, somewhere is doing exactly what I’m suggesting, using somebody else’s book to teach a class. Can you as an author police all the uses of your works? No, you can’t, so look at this as another option in controlling your brand, mitigating missed opportunities and expanding your audience.

I’m interested to hear if some authors are doing this or have tried and it simply didn’t work.