Getting the Word Out: Creative Ways to Promote Your Textbook
You’ve done it! Your textbook has gone to press and is enjoying a national release. Now, it’s time to get the word out.
Effective marketing for academic publishing is unique in that your target audience isn’t necessarily your end consumer. Though a student will hopefully hold your book in their hands and use it in a course one day, you must first prove the merit of the book to instructors who can then choose to adopt your book for their courses. To do this successfully, it takes a little creativity and a lot of networking.
While your publisher will leverage their marketing team to promote your book, your involvement and efforts as the author can be equally important. Engaged and proactive authors tilt the odds in their favor and can significantly increase the exposure, adoption, and ultimately, the sales of their textbook.
Here are some creative strategies for marketing your text to your personal and professional networks:
Join online listservs, news groups, and other forums in your academic discipline to build community and contribute to the conversation. If you’re a member of the professional organization, get in contact with the individuals responsible for announcements, newsletters, or marketing and inquire as to whether you can promote your book as a new release to members. Share your thought leadership or key takeaways from your book in professional forums and make new connections with others in your field. As this type of networking takes time, you can begin these efforts while you’re writing your book and well before it’s published. That way, you have a captive audience when your book goes to press!
Contact your university, department, and alumni associations to request they include information about your book in their newsletter, web content, or other communication pieces. You can also offer to write articles related to the subject of your text or participate in an interview to speak to your scholarship and authorship. Many universities and institutions will seek out professors who are publishing books, but you can also be proactive to seek out these types of opportunities.
Write opinion pieces for blogs, online newsletters, and academic journals. Seek out guest spots on podcasts. Publish articles on your LinkedIn profile. Anything you can do to get your name out there and showcase your thought leadership can translate into interest in your work and your book. This will likely connect you with other thought leaders in your discipline who may wish to adopt your book or may be willing to assist with promotion. You can begin these efforts well before the launch of your book and then continue using ideas from your book to keep the conversation going.
Create a promotional video to promote your textbook in an engaging and highly personal way. It’s one thing to read about a textbook or receive a marketing campaign from a publisher; it’s another thing entirely to watch a video of an author speaking about their book. And the best part is you don’t need fancy equipment to create a video. All you need is a clean, well-lit backdrop, a quiet space, and a short script. Tell instructors why you were inspired to create your textbook, what its key features are, and how the book will help their students succeed. Keep your video concise, engaging, and relevant, and make sure you let viewers know where they can learn more about your book and request a review copy.
Post about your textbook on your social media platforms—and do it consistently. Social media can be an extremely powerful promotional tool, but it takes dedication and regularity to wield it well. Post about your book’s launch on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. Post again about a specific chapter or topic and how your book supports student learning. Post again when a news article or current event coincides with the content of your book. Take a picture of your textbook outdoors, in your office, or ask a friend, family member, or student to snap a photo with a copy of your book. The more you talk about your book, the greater the chances it will pique someone’s interest.
Do you have other ideas for creative marketing strategies? Sound off in the comments.