Marketing my self-published book: Here’s how I’m doing it

Last week I sent my book off to my editor to begin the final round of editing.

A photo posted by Seth Hanes (@sethhanes) on

I have been working on this project since April of this year and on October 10th it will become a real book.

The whole goal of this book is to show musicians how to launch their careers and I’ve already gotten some amazing feedback from beta readers.

One reader told me that in one afternoon they booked $1,200 of work in the coming months from using just one of the many strategies in the book.

Amazing, right?

Now that the book is in the home stretch, it’s time to focus on the marketing.

In the spirit of total transparency, I’m going to share the entire plan of how I plan on marketing this book.

For anyone that has enrolled in my free email course about marketing, you can take this opportunity to see how I’m putting this all together for a real product launch.

This post was inspired by my friend Charlie’s book launch post.

But before I explain my plan, I have a question for you.

Do you have any connection to blogs, podcasts, email newsletters, YouTube shows, or anything else that you think would be interested in featuring the book?

If you have any ideas of places that might be interested in the book, please contact me directly.  🙂

OK, without any further ado, let’s dive in.

Laying the foundation

Marketing is hard work.

No matter how many marketing books you read or podcasts you listen to, it’s difficult to understand the work that is really involved until you do it yourself.

Even before I was planning on writing this book, I knew I wanted to create something that fused my passion for marketing and entrepreneurship with music.

With that in mind, this portion the plan is about all of the legwork that I started years ago.

Read a lot

I have been fascinated with marketing, books, music, psychology, and entrepreneurship for many years.

This all started with reading books and articles on these topics.

Since this fascination began, I have consumed thousands (seriously) of articles, books, podcast interviews, courses, audio books, and videos in an effort to learn about marketing.

Test ideas

My first attempt at sharing ideas came in the form of a blog called Thoughts From The Back Row in the year after I graduated from college.

One of the most important things you can do when starting a new venture is to validate your idea.

You should test it out and see if there’s a response.

Even though I have a long way to go, you can see how bad of a writer I was when I started, but that didn’t matter.

What mattered was getting started and just testing things.

In the months leading up to this book, I have constantly been testing out material on my blog and getting real-world feedback from musicians all over the world.

After testing the material, I knew that I was on the right track because of the response the content was getting.

Build an audience

The first step to testing my ideas was to build a new site to host the content.

Focusing on creating great content was the key to building an audience.

When I launched the site, it was literally a blank template with nothing on it.

I created an email list through Mailchimp and slowly but surely the list started to grow.

Getting traffic on a site means very little if you can’t capture the attention of the readers who want to hear from you.

Building an email list has been instrumental to the growth of my site and my audience.

To this day, I have never made any design changes on my site, but even with its lack of bells-and-whistles, I have been able to create a sense of community and relationships with my content.

“Identify your fellow knuckleballers”

In Austin Kleon’s book, Show Your Work, he talks about the value of meeting the other people in your space.

One of the most beneficial things that I did in the laying the foundation for launching this book was reaching out to others for help.

There are a ton of brilliant people out there who have blazed this trail before me and I wanted to learn from them.

Whether it was meeting up in-person, chatting via email, or even interviewing them on my site, I took every possible opportunity to learn from my peers when preparing for this launch.


When you sit down to work on a project that you plan to market, it’s really easy to think that you know everything.

Throughout the entire process of this book, I was asking my audience and community of friends to help me make decisions about the book.

Everything from the title, cover artwork, and even the editing was crowdsourced.

I started a Facebook group where I could meet my readers and interact with them so they know I’m a real person.

Using Google Forms, I collected data along the way that helped make informed decisions about every aspect of the book based on feedback from my audience.

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Listening to my audience and incorporating their feedback throughout the entire process helped me ensure that the book would resonate with prospective readers.

One of the biggest benefits of this process was gathering testimonials from not only readers, but I was also able to build awareness in the community of highly-successful music professionals that have given me great testimonials along the way.

Launch plan tactics

This is where the rubber really meets the road.

The following items are the exact strategies that I’ll be using to promote the book.

In the spirit of asking others for help, I turned to some friends and mentors of mine who are both  successful authors and entrepreneurs to help build my strategy.

Charlie and David, you guys are the best.  Thanks so much for you guidance on this.

Throughout the entire process, I have focused on sharing parts of the process with my audience, but during the launch week the marketing efforts really kick in.

Podcast interviews and guest posting

These two activities will be the centerpiece of my marketing efforts.

This is a fairly standard launch tactic in the world of book marketing and for good reason.

It gets an author in front of a huge number of potential readers that follow similar sites.

One of the most difficult parts of this will be just creating the sheer volume of quality work necessary to make the most of the opportunities that my friends, colleagues, and fellow “knuckleballers” have extended to me.

The secret to success is to create content that is so valuable to their audiences that they want to learn more.

My plan is to create a unique bonus and landing page for each audience to continue building my list.

Perhaps they’ll subscribe to my site, maybe they’ll share it with their friends, and maybe, just maybe, they’ll purchase a book.

Pre-sale bonuses campaign

In order to make sure that the launch day is as successful as possible, I plan to create a list of awesome bonuses for my readers that choose to pre-order one or multiple copies of the book

These will be announced in the weeks leading up to the launch, but I’ve got some great ideas that I think will be incredibly valuable for my early readers.

I got a hugely positive response from almost 90 applications from readers that wanted to be beta readers.

My hope is that all of the readers that participated and offered such great feedback will help me spread the word to their friends on launch day as well.

Share with organizations

One of my goals with this book is to simply reach as many people as possible.

I know that the material can help many people launch their careers so I want to get the book into as many hands as possible.

While the logistics haven’t been completely worked out yet, my plan is to offer a free Kindle version of the book to certain organizations that serve young musicians.

This will obviously help my Amazon rankings, but more importantly, it will get the book in the hands of younger musicians who can get an enormous leg up on their careers if they implement the book’s material.

Press outreach

Traditional press coverage is basically useless when it comes to selling this kind of book, but there are still benefits to trying.

Getting picked up in some of the local media outlets will lend a lot of credibility to the book in certain circles.

This important for establishing social proof and it will also help build awareness of the book.

Other stuff

There are tons of random tactics out there that authors have used to promote their books.

I will be tinkering with a few of these ideas, but don’t have any real expectations of any them making a large impact on the book sales:

  • Thunderclap social media campaign
  • Slideshare presentations to promote and repurpose content from the book
  • Facebook advertising
  • Short book trailer for the website and Amazon page

This list could go on forever, but these are just a few items that I will probably do once the larger pieces of the marketing puzzle are in place.

It would be very easy to get caught up in the weeds and trying to do a million things during the launch, but I am doing my best to avoid that.

I’m sure everyone who reads this will have an opinion about something else I should be doing, but I am taking this on without any help so I have to be very focused on doing a few things really well instead of trying to do everything.

Post-launch ideas

I’m timid to even share these here, but since I’ve already been thinking about how to create long-term awareness of the book, I figured I would share my thoughts.

These will definitely change and some may never even happen, so don’t hold me to this in a year if they didn’t all come to fruition.


I’ve been assembling a huge amount of content from interviews I’ve conducted on the site and had a lot of fun in the process.

Mixing in book content with interviews in a podcast format could be a great way to extend the life of the book.

The most appealing thing about this idea is that it is a great way to meet people that I might not otherwise have the opportunity to meet.

Also, it’s a lot easier for me to talk than it is to constantly write content.  🙂

I’m a huge podcast fan and think I could do a good job at it if I invested some time and energy into doing it right.


There’s a very high likelihood that I will get the audiobook produced at some point in the months following the book launch.

It’s a great way to get the book in front of more people and also opens the door for more opportunities

This is something I know nothing about so I will need to do some more research to make this a reality.


I already do some speaking from time to time, but I really want to do more.

Writing online is great, but I absolutely love getting in front of an audience and sharing ideas.

Interacting in real-time is my favorite part about speaking and I’ve already got a talks on freelancing and marketing prepared, so I just need to focus some energy on creating  this opportunities for myself.

I’ve sketched out the idea of putting together a miniature speaking tour to various schools that I could get my foot in the door at.

If you would be interested in talking about this, please reach out to me.

I’d love to talk with you.

Facebook advertising funnels

There are a ton of entrepreneurs out there using Facebook in a really interesting way to raise awareness of their books.

My friend, Chris, is a real whiz at this stuff so I’ve been picking his brain and getting some ideas but there’s nothing certain yet.

This will be something worth experimenting with once the launch dies down.

How you can help…

This is a lot to take on and to be quite honest, I could use some help with some very specific things.

The two primary areas that I could use some help are:

  1. Connecting with podcasts and blogs for either interviews, guest posting opportunities, or reviews.

My audience is primarily younger musicians from early 20’s to early 30’s that are looking to build up their freelancing income.

If you know of a site that has this type of audience, I would love to hear from you.

Click here to contact me.

  1.  People to share and review the book when it launches

While it may seem insignificant, every single share, review, or comment about the book goes a long way in raising awareness.

I’m not kidding about how important something as simple as a tweet can be.

This is incredibly simple but makes a huge difference in how far the book’s reach goes when it comes out.

If you want to be a part of the launch in some small way, please sign up for my email list below.

I can’t tell you how much I would appreciate your help.

Want to take my free email course about authentically marketing yourself? Just sign up below:

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