Marketing Tips for a Nonfiction Book

Oddly enough, marketing The Ultimate Guide to College Transfer: From Surviving to Thriving has turned out to be almost as, if not more, challenging than writing and publishing the book. Given this, I recently reached out to a more seasoned colleague from Education Writers Association, Daniel Connolly (author of The Book of Isaias: A Child of Hispanic Immigrants Seeks His Own America), to see what his experience has been like since publishing his nonfiction book in 2016.

Following is a brief summary of what has and hasn’t worked for Daniel. The next post will focus on what marketing techniques I’ve been exploring. Hopefully, between the two, there will be some tips that other new authors can benefit from.

What’s worked

Library sales

Most libraries seem to be finding out about the book through trade reviews (i.e. Library Journal)

Academic sales

Sales to colleges and universities, where people assign the book in class, have given me some really nice sales numbers. Recently, I got on a list of social justice books, and that seems to have helped a lot.

Group sales

Catholic Charities bought 30 books at once.  I can also typically sell five to ten books at a time when talking to small groups.

Networking/word of mouth

 What hasn't worked

Book festivals

There are simply too many authors and too much competition there. At the Southern Festival of Books I sold something like two books. At the Tucson Book Festival, I sold about five.

A radio tour

I spent a significant amount of money to hire a company that set up a bunch of radio interviews with me with local radio stations across the country but saw almost no sales impact.

Out of town, unpaid appearances

Early in this experience, I traveled hundreds of miles to do a book reading at a large bookstore. Almost no one came so it was a big waste of money and a good learning experience. To make this sustainable, I now only do out-of-town appearances if the group pays all my expenses and also pays a speaking fee.

What’s next on the agenda!

Planning a teacher's guide this year to encourage more academics to use my book in class.

Signed with Macmillan Speakers Bureau. Am hoping to book some speeches through them.

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