Does the phrase “give and you shall receive” resemble your book marketing strategy?
Well, I’m here to tell you it should. Because giving to your community will open up doorways to success that you can’t imagine.
This mindset to give will be the single difference maker in a successful book launch and author career, or one that didn’t live up to its potential.
Without me saying anymore, are you intrigued? I’ll get into more specific benefits of the receiving later in this post.
For right now, keep reading to pick up some ideas for ways you can give to your audience.
And keep in mind that you can’t skip the giving to get to the receiving, so that’s why we’re starting with the former and ending with the latter.
How To Give To Your Community As An Author
As an author, here are some big actions you can take to give to your community:
1. Solve their problem
Non-fiction authors are in the business of solving their readers’ problems. Whether it’s weight loss, social media strategies, dating tips, or some other how-to book, writing a truly excellent book that changes lives is one big way to give back.
And fiction authors also solve problems, it just may be less obvious than a how-to book. Many fiction readers want to be entertained by a book to solve their problem of being bored. Or they want to feel inspired by your character’s hero journey. Solve enough people’s problems and you’ll be a successful author.
2. Involve readers in your publishing process
People will immediately care more about an author when they feel that he or she involves them in the publishing process. Put out a survey for your book title and book cover, and people will appreciate it.
Then when your book comes out, you will give them the feeling that they contributed to the finished product. This feeling means more to some people than I bet you realize.
3. Send out pre-release copies to special readers
In the mindset of a reader, they feel special when you think of them and trust them with an advanced copy of your yet-to-be-released book. And this is a great way to reward your loyal fans.
For example, for past book launches I’ve given pre-release book copies to my top blog commenters, email responders, and loyal fans of mine. As far as I’m concerned, they appreciated the advanced copy and thoughtfulness.
4. Donate your books
There are many places with a low budget that would be excited to receive some of your books. Think about donating your labors of love to local libraries, schools, hospitals, churches, prisons, community centers, and retirement homes.
Don’t stop there. You can also give books away to some lucky people on your email list just to show your appreciation for them.
5. Create valuable content on topics they want
The surest way to give back to an unlimited amount of people is through producing free, valuable, and consistent content. Authors can do this through blog posts, podcast episodes, or YouTube videos and give this content away multiple times each week.
If you don’t know where to start, just ask your readers, listeners, or viewers, “What’s one topic you want me to cover?” Then collect the answers and create content on that.
6. Speak in front of students
Students have some of the most impressionable and eager minds for learning. So consider giving back to your community by talking at a middle school, high school, or college university.
You can tell your personal story to speak about your failures and successes—that’s always a hit. Or talk about what goes into writing a book. If you put some time into your talk and get vulnerable, you’re bound to make a positive impression.
7. Offer free (or paid) coaching
I’m sure you know people who are stuck in a rough patch and could use your coaching to get out of it. You can offer free (or paid) coaching on your subject expertise, how to write a book, or writing tips you’ve learned in your career.
Even if you do charge for this coaching, you’re still giving away your time and expert knowledge, so don’t feel any shame about it. This is as true a form of giving as anything else when you consider that people are more likely to take action for stuff they pay for.
8. Do giveaways and contests
There’s no doubt that it’s a thrill to win free stuff or experiences. So consider your budget and then find a cool giveaway or contest to put on for your followers.
Earlier this year I gave one reader a $350 Apple Watch for free, and she told me how excited she felt to win. Big time authors are known to offer flights around the world or exclusive dinners with them and other famous authors. If money is tight, start out by doing a giveaway on the book or books you wrote—this works well, too.
That’s nowhere near an exhaustive list. So you can start there, or you block off 10 minutes to jot down different ways to give. I’m sure you could come up with other ideas to do some damage in the giving column.
What You Receive When You Give
When you put serious time, money, or resources into giving to others—although it’s not the sole reason to do it—ironically you often receive more than you gave.
Authors who are cheerful givers end up receiving huge benefits below.
Raving fans: Although Taylor Swift, Kanye, and Kim Kardashian aren’t authors (excluding Kim’s selfie book), they have raving fans because of the entertainment they give to their audience. When you give in your capacity, you will also build raving fans about you and your brand. These fans will read your blog posts, listen to your podcast, watch your videos, join your email list, validate your book ideas, and more benefits below.
Crazy word of mouth: So you gained all those raving fans by being generous, and guess what happens next? Not all of them, but many of these people will spread your name and books through word of mouth. If you think about it this way, you’ll have an army of people marketing for you based on how you treated them. That brings more raving fans and word of mouth into the mix, which will benefit your brand.
Positive book reviews: When you give people a solid book to read and consistently give to them leading up to it, they’ll naturally give you positive book reviews that you deserve. These positive reviews will give your brand more credibility. And you’ll receive less bad book reviews as a result.
Media publicity: Say you build a relationship and give value to a journalist, or someone who knows a journalist. Don’t be surprised if this returns a feature story about you for their audience. That feature will put your name and book into the minds of thousands of people who never heard of you, which is super profitable. And it’s always cool to be featured in someone else’s article, podcast, or video.
Book sales: Most obvious of all, your giving will generate hundreds to thousands (maybe hundreds of thousands) of more book sales. This will put thousands of dollars in your bank account and spread your message to tons of people. And when you come out with future books, your loyal readers will come back to be future customers.
Those are my reasons for having the book marketing strategy of “give and you shall receive.” I hope you see the value and power in acting this way, because there’s no marketing strategy as powerful.
And if you want more author marketing tactics, read Authors Need Marketing To Thrive.