Do’s And Don’ts For Contributor Book Promotion

Wondering “now what?” after submitting your book chapter? Read on for our promotion tips.

If you contributed a chapter or section to a nonfiction, scholarly, or academic book, you might have breathed a sigh of relief when your section was completed. But while your writing and editing process is now complete, you might be wondering what comes next—and if there’s anything else you can do to help promote your contribution and the book in general.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to book promotion; many factors come into play in determining the amount of promotion a book may receive. Publication and marketing plans can vary greatly depending on whether the book’s intended for a general or academic audience, and whether the book is published by a large for-profit publisher, a university press, or a small publishing house.

While marketing and publicity is largely determined by the book’s publisher with feedback from the authors or editors, book contributors can be a valuable asset to the publication, especially when they are active members in a community that is also a potential audience for the book.

Below are three tips for promoting your chapter or contribution to a recently published nonfiction book:

1. Do: reach out to your editor.

Chances are your book’s editors are in touch with their publisher about publication and promotional plans and can answer any questions you might have and can provide some direction on ways you can help.

For instance, if the book has an academic audience, you could ask for a link where professors can request a review copy for course adoption. Or if the book’s intended for a more general readership, ask if there’s a preferred link you should share with contacts who are interested in ordering the book. (This could be the publisher’s website or an online retailer.) Or if many contributors are active on social media, the publisher may be able to provide social media assets or the book cover for online promotion.

Don’t expect to receive a detailed marketing plan back, though. Marketing plans and budgets can vary, and the book’s editor is the primary contact with the publisher.

Instead, send your editor an email letting them know you are interested in promoting the book and ask what you can do. Let their answer guide your way forward.

2. Do: look at your calendar.

Speaking at a virtual or in-person conference? If your topic is related to the book, investigate whether you’re allowed to include a slide about the book in your presentation, distribute a printed flyer, or include a link in any pre- or post-conference communication (or even in the chat during a virtual presentation). Are you teaching a course related to the subject matter of the book? Perhaps the book could be a good fit for required or recommended reading for your students. Let your book’s editor know about your activities so they can alert their publisher.

But don’t ignore professional rules and regulations. Many organizations restrict or limit self-promotion, so make sure to adhere to those.

3. Do: think digitally.

Consider your own online footprint and think about where you can organically incorporate the book. For instance, you can include a link to the book in your email signature, post a photo of your contributor copy on your personal Instagram, or write a short reflection about your writing process for your LinkedIn followers.

You might also want to connect with your book’s editor or fellow contributors on the social media platforms where you’re active. Also, follow your publisher on social media and subscribe to their newsletter. That way, if you’re active on social media, you can share their book updates to your personal and professional networks.

But don’t assume that your editor, publisher, or fellow contributors will be promoting the book 24/7. Just as writers or contributors are working on many projects at a time, publishers are often promoting many books and initiatives simultaneously.

Conclusion

There is certainly no requirement or expectation for book contributors to promote the book in the same way that publishers, authors, and editors do. But if you’re able and willing to help in promotion, be sure to do so in a way that supports your book’s editor and publisher in their overall publication goals.

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