Mike Rohde’s latest blog post Update offers a case study in best practices for marketing a book with blog post updates.
Mike Rohde used his blog, supported by social media, to promote The Sketchnote Handbook: The Illustrated Guide to Visual Note Taking while writing it.
After his book’s publication, he’s continues to post Updates to maintain interest in his book. Recently, for example, Mike published his 15th Update.
Updates permit you to promote your book from an editorial, or newsworthy, perspective. The format also permits you to be very personal as you share your experience writing your book.
As you can see from reading the Updates, instead of “advertising” his book, Mike talks about his book in a way that creates a community of interest and shared progress with his blog post readers and social media followers.
Blogging tips for book marketing success
Here are 7 blogging tips for book marketing that you can study in detail by reviewing Mike Rohde’s blog post Updates:
- Early start. Most authors don’t begin to think about marketing and promoting their book until they’ve finished writing it. Mike, however, published Update #1 on March 24, 2012–immediately after signing the contract with his publisher. In his Update, he described the origins of The Sketchnote Handbook and the role that various individuals had played in obtaining a trade book publishing contract.
- Context. Right from the start, Mike’s Updates focused on “news,” not promotion. For example, Update #1 begins not with his book, but with a description of his his experiences attending events at SXSW12 and meeting other authors.
- Consistent. Mike’s 15 Updates have appeared at frequent, but relevant, intervals in the 10 months that followed signing his publishing contract. A lot of the success of his Updates is due to the fact they appear when there’s a reason for them to appear, rather than appearing at scheduled intervals–whether or not they’re needed.
- Concise. One of the reasons his Updates are so interesting is that most contain several short, tightly-edited topics. This permits a “something for everyone” approach. Each topic usually contains 2 or 3 paragraphs. Mike’s paragraph typically contain 2 sentences, or fewer than 50 words.
- Skimmable. One of the strongest aspects of his Updates is that the posts consist of short text segments, introduced by relevant, strongly formatted subheads. As you’ll see when you visit one of his posts, you eyes can quickly skim the page, looking for topics of interest, and you can easily read his typically short sentences and paragraphs.
- Visual. Mike’s Updates makes good use of visuals–illustrations, sketches for pages, screen captures of the text as it appeared on his iPad as he wrote it, etc. Mike is a designer, The Sketchnote Handbook is about visual communication, and his pre-publication Updates reflect his visual approach to communication. Each Update builds anticipation for the upcoming book.
- Personal. Mike’s Updates are not idealized, sugar-coated rhapsodies about the fun and glory of writing his book. He frequently mentions his concern about the short lead-time he had to write, design, and produce The Sketchnote Handbook. He also describes how he created a special font for the book, and shares the frustrations that sometimes accompanied submitting graphic files for publication–all under very tight deadline conditions.
- Social Media. Social Media networking, i.e., promoting his Updates on Twitter, etc., reinforced Mike’s Updates and drove traffic to his website. Likewise, his frequent presentations and attendance at social media events contributed to the pre-publication interest in his book described in his Updates.
The payoff, of course, is The Sketchnote Handbook’s immediate success: it almost immediately became an Top 100 book at Amazon and currently dominates, or is in the Number 2 position, in several Amazon.com book categories.
I’ve rarely followed such a “textbook case” of excellent author marketing and blogging best practices. If you want to observe author blogging at its best, I encourage you to study the the blog post updates you can access here, here and here. After you’ve visited his Updates, share your impressions and takeaways as comments, below.