How to Launch a Book Guerilla-Style

January 24, 2018

Chris Ducker Rise of the Youpreneur

According to the International Publishers Association (IPA) 2015-16 annual report, 338,986 book titles were produced in the US and 173,000 in the UK in 2015 alone. With this much competition, how can an author launch their book in a way that really stands out? One of our authors, Chris Ducker, gained online coverage for his second book, Rise of the Youpreneur: The Definitive Guide to Becoming the Go-To Leader in Your Industry and Building a Future-Proof Business (his first self-published title), before it even appeared on Amazon. By gifting The Rise of the Youpreneur to attendees of an entrepreneurial conference he produced in the UK, Chris garnered online testimonials, Goodreads ratings, and #bookstagram posts about his book more than a month before its official release.

In one of the most saturated book markets in the world, how did the serial entrepreneur, keynote speaker, business mentor, and personal branding expert pre-launch his book to such success?

When Chris decided to give out hundreds of copies of his latest publication a few months before its release—not to reviewers and the media but to the attendees of the Youpreneur Summit, the entrepreneurship conference he launched in the UK last year—he felt it was a low-risk, high-reward proposition. “It was almost like I needed to do this based on the fact that I had this very captive audience,” says Chris. He built buzz around the book over the course of the conference, and ultimately put the book into the hands of people who were interested in the subject and who would likely feel connected to its author. Gifting the book to the attendees, doing a book signing, and posing for selfies created a viral, social effect that was invaluable to the early promotion of The Rise.

Chris discovered the importance of real-life interaction as part of establishing a relationship with his readers after working on his first book, Virtual Freedom: How to Work with Virtual Staff to Buy More Time, Become More Productive, and Build Your Dream, which was, ironically, about building a virtual team. “When I met people in person, not only could I get that whole people-to-people philosophy that I talked about in Virtual and building that relationship with them, but it also gave me the opportunity to get feedback from my readers, in terms of why they were picking up the book and what they were looking forward to the most out of reading it.” Chris attributes a large part of his success with his first book to this in-person focus, which he deliberately used in the marketing of his second.

Although a lot of entrepreneurs have gifted their books at events, Chris believes few have done it months before an official launch. “Would I suggest that every self-published author go the unconventional route? Not necessarily. I think they should do what they think is going to be best in regard to serving their audience.” For him, this was the most effective way to create interest in his book before it officially goes on sale, and it certainly worked out that way. Within days of the book’s soft launch, he was getting tagged on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with photos attendees of Youpreneur Summit took of his book, in Australia, Canada, the US and Israel, and receiving testimonials from people who read the book way before the launch. When the book is released on February 20th, Chris can get in touch with the 400+ attendees and invite them to review the book online, which should help to boost online visibility of the new release. “To enable yourself to launch a book competitively and successfully, you’ve got to think outside of the box—you’ve got to do things that maybe people in your industry have not done before.”

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