Sell your book by asking people about themselves

All too often authors approach marketing their book by talking about it. That seems to make sense; after all, your objective in marketing is to show potential buyers that your book is of value to them, and that means you have to tell them what’s in it, right?

You may want to take a counterintuitive approach, however: Have potential readers talk about themselves.

When using social media to promote your book, ask your followers/friends a question that will elicit a response. This question should relate to your book, though you won’t tell readers that.

For example, on the Twitter page for my hiking guidebooks, I recently asked these questions:
• What’s your favorite national park trail?
• What is the most annoying thing you’ve seen another hiker do on a trail?
• What item not essential to survival is always in your backpack?

Not to sound cynical, but the reality is that most people like to talk about themselves or share their opinion. So a question draws people to my tweet rather than encourages them to pass on it when they sniff out a sales pitch.

Should they reply to the question, their answer will go to all of their followers – which means so does your tweet. That’s as good as a retweet.

Should you continue to ask questions over the long-term, eventually those who enjoy participating with replies will follow you (if they don’t already), will check out your profile, or will click the link in your tweet.

The question and that link should relate to the book you’re selling. So the link for the first question I tweeted above could take them to a blog entry related to national parks – a blog entry, by the way, that includes information about my hiking guidebook to national parks – or it might take them to a page on my website where that hiking guidebook can be purchased.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.