A white paper can be a powerful book marketing tool for authors, helping sell more books than the sample chapter excerpts typically offered.
Today, many authors and publishers offer readers interested in their latest books an opportunity to download a PDF containing a table of contents and sample chapter.
In some cases, visitors can immediately download the sample chapter.
More often, however, to obtain the sample chapter, visitors must submit their name and email address, and allow the author to recontact them via email in the future.
Because they can be printed and read offline, these downloads are far more convenient than Amazon’s Look Inside! feature.
Problems associated with sample chapters
There are, however, several problems associated with PDF sample chapters:
- Distracting pages. Often, before the recipient gets to the table of contents or sample chapter, they have to scroll through several blank pages. These blank pages may have been necessary in the printed version of the book, but they act as unnecessary barriers when encountered online.
- Lack of context. Sometimes, the PDF download begins with the table of contents and sample chapter, omitting the author’s Foreword or Introduction. The Foreword or Introduction are as important as the sample chapter, as they provide an opportunity for the author to explain their goals in writing the book and the relevance of their book to their readers.
- Impersonal. The “contents only” approach is, basically, impersonal. Good authors build personal connections with their readers in their books. But, all too often, this personal touch is missing from the traditional sample chapter.
- Long-range marketing goals. The “excerpt” approach is focused entirely on “teasing” visitors to buy the author’s book, which is good–but it doesn’t go far enough. The excerpt fails to advance the entrepreneurial author’s long-range goal of filling their marketing funnel with prospects for future information products, consulting services, and a filled speaking schedule.
White papers offer a better solution
White papers, like those described in the new White Papers for Dummies, offer a better book marketing and career-building solution for authors.
By distributing a white paper describing their book along with the sample chapter, authors can build a bridge between their book and their reader’s needs…as well as pave the way to future income opportunities.
The key to success, of course, is for authors to view a white paper about their book as something that complements, but doesn’t replace, their book’s table of contents and sample chapter.
Both the white paper and the sample chapter should be sent together, ideally as two files included in a single compressed Zip file.
3 ways authors can benefit from White Papers for Dummies
There are three primary reasons White Papers for Dummies is an important resource for authors:
- Valuable how-to advice. If you’re new to white papers, White Papers for Dummies provides an in-depth introduction to the white paper options available, as well as the best practices for creating white papers. Gordon Graham, the author, has written over 200 white papers for the world’s leading brands. He’s also written about white papers, judged, and taught courses about creating white paper. White Papers for Dummies describes a 12-step process for creating white papers that you can adapt to your book marketing needs. Later, you can use the same process for creating white papers about your coaching and consulting services.
- Marketing your book’s white paper. White Papers for Dummies does more than just describe how to plan and write a white paper about your book, it also describes how to market your white paper for best results. You’ll learn how to create a synergy between your book and your blog, website, and social media activities. A lot of the white paper marketing information can also be applied to promoting your one sheets and event marketing materials.
- Additional income opportunities. Once you’ve gotten your feet wet writing a white paper about your book and how it reflects your expertise and commitment to your clients, you might develop a profitable secondary source of income writing white papers for others. You might find white papers a welcome, and profitable, change from concentrating on book-length projects. You’ll also benefit from Gordon Graham’s tips about dealing with clients and the personalities you’ll meet creating white papers for corporate clients.
Clearly, white papers belong in an author’s arsenal of writing and marketing tools. White papers can multiply the effectiveness of the sample chapter you’re offering from your latest book. White papers can help you introduce and promote new coaching and service offerings. And, once you decode the DNA of white papers, you can offer white paper writing services to your clients.
Are there white papers in your future? Do you agree that authors need to share more than just sample chapters from their new books? Do you think that knowing how to prepare a white paper could help you do a better job promoting your other client services? Share your white paper impressions as comments, below, along with your questions about white papers.