Marketing: A Marathon, Not a Sprint

The book Heroic Technical Writing has been on the market for five weeks or so now, and I can see where marketing it will require a different mindset than whatever I had in mind. I’m just considering this another learning curve…there are a lot of them whenever you try something new.

What’s Been Done So Far

I did what I could for free the week the book came out, plastering my Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook accounts with links and announcements. In the weeks that followed, I did a classroom appearance via Zoom at a university class whose professor made the book required reading. I also did a cross-branding book review where I reviewed a friend’s book and he, in turn, will review mine (my book is quite a bit longer, so that’s still a work in progress). I’ve been sharing positive reviews when I get them. In the paying category, I’ve submitted ads through BookBub and Facebook and need to do the same for LinkedIn.

Sales were decent (I had no expectations of a New York Times bestseller). I’ve found it amusing that friends and family have been the ones willing to pay for an autographed copy…and I still have a few, if you’re interested and haven’t bought a copy yet. 🙂

I had hoped that I’d make enough sales up front to have “word of mouth” take it from there. That estimate turned out to be a little too optimistic. I still have work to do.

What’s Next?

I’ve got an interview coming up on ScienceCheerleaders.org, which I’ll post as soon as I see it. I also plan to do some interviews on tech writing-focused podcasts when I manage to schedule them. I do have a day job, after all.

My “marathon” will be my efforts to reach my primary reading audience, which are university students or young professionals interested in tech writing careers. To this end I’m drafting a “cold call” sales letter, which will be directed at technical writing program heads at U.S. colleges and universities. I might also consider tech writing programs at English-speaking university overseas (recommendations welcome, though I do have quite a few Twitter followers at the University of Limerick in Ireland–greetings, all!).

There are 247 college and university tech writing programs in the U.S.–at least if I’m to believe the internet. I doubt I’ll get my email read by program directors at all 247, but if I can get enough replies and interested parties, I might get into the curriculum often enough to generate book-buying money on a regular basis. My theory is that if I can get enough classrooms to read the book on a recurring basis, the readership will grow, as it has for this blog.

I have a lot of work to do. All part of the adventure, right?

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About Bart Leahy

Freelance Technical Writer, Science Cheerleader Event & Membership Director, and an all-around nice guy. Here to help.
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