How to Make Money With a Book: A Clinician’s Guide to Book Marketing

a young doctor leans on a desk smiling

Picture this: for the last year, you’ve been pouring your heart and soul into a book about your experiences as a clinician and leader. You’ve invested in a great ghostwriter, you’ve tinkered over publishing decisions, and today, you get to see all that work come to fruition. 

“At long last, you can buy my book!” you post on Linkedin, and wait for the orders to roll in. 

Except. . . no one orders. Because aside from the ten people that liked your post, no one knows about your book except your friends and family. 

And now you’re wondering, how am I ever going to make back my publishing investment?

This is what happens if you don’t think about marketing your book until launch. 

First-time authors often have that “if you built it, they will come” mentality about their book. In reality, the average book sells less than 200 copies today, and that’s a generous estimate. 

What’s the point of pouring time and energy into a book that no one reads? Yet every year, hundreds of writers make this mistake. 

It’s a good thing this won’t happen to you because you’ve got this guide (and me in your corner). 

So let’s get into the basics of book marketing, then some helpful tips for getting your book into the right hands. 

1. Understand Your Target Audience

When you define the person you’re writing to, you become the go-to author for that kind of person. Identifying your ideal readers helps you to tailor your marketing to connect with the right people who will benefit from your expertise. That’s why I ask every client who their audience is on our very first call together. 

As a clinician, there are two broad types of audiences your book is targeting:

  1. Patients/Clients. These people need your expertise to make decisions for themselves.  You might be teaching them about your experiences with similar patients, the insights you’ve gained in your practice, and how they can make better health decisions. 
  1. Peers/Leaders. These people need your expertise to make decisions on behalf of a company or another person. Books targeting your peers may focus on your methodologies and how you’ve come to those conclusions. A Book targeting leaders in your industry might give evidence for industry changes. 

The audience you choose will depend on the goals you have for your book. You’ll probably want to do some industry research to understand how you can give value to your target audience. For many of my clients, they’ve been working in their industry for decades and they know the pain points they can solve. 

2. Know Where Your Audience is, And Talk to Them There (And There, And There)

If you’re like most of the authors I speak with, you already have an established following on one or more social media platforms. Maybe you also have an email newsletter list as well. Authors have a ton of options for growing their audience, but not all are equal. To market your book effectively, you’ll want to think about reaching your audience in terms of interlocking systems, not just siloed pockets of content. 

I like to organize our marketing efforts into: 

  1. Contact methods you own, and 
  2. Contact methods someone else owns

For example, you might post content on Instagram and gain followers, but you don’t own those followers. Instagram’s algorithm could change, and those people might not see you again. They’re likely not very loyal to you, and you don’t have much control over whether they see your work or not. 

On the other hand, an email list is a point of contact that you own and can control. You get to decide when and how you speak to your subscribers. And the folks on your email list are much more invested in what you do, and more likely to buy from you. 
To make this more clear, here’s a chart of these two kinds of contact methods:

Traffic Someone Else OwnsTraffic You Own
LinkedinOrganic Search (Google)
InstagramYour Email Newsletter/Substack
TiktokYour blog
ThreadsYour website
Someone else’s podcastYour podcast

If your planning to write a book, I would work on building up an audience in both of these categories. Use your traffic from social media to build up your traffic to a newsletter or website. It takes consistency on both platforms to see audience growth. 

Speaking of which, let’s talk more about consistency in your book marketing. 

3. Consistent Contact 

Consistency is essential to book marketing in two ways:

  1. A consistent and concise book pitch helps people remember what you focus on. I recommend writing out a book pitch so that you know exactly what to say when someone asks what your book is about; whether it’s your aunt at Thanksgiving or a talk show host on Good Morning America. 
  1. Being consistent on social media helps you show up where your audience is. By maintaining an active and consistent presence, you establish yourself as a reliable source of information, build trust, and reinforce your book’s message and value. And those algorithms love consistency, so you’ll gain new followers in the process. 

If you’re like many of my clients, you’ve gained a significant following on Linkedin. I recommend posting at least three times a week to build traction there. You can even use Linkedin as a testing ground for your book chapters, getting feedback from your audience as you go. You’ll also want to be active on other people’s posts there, so post helpful comments and interact with people in your industry.

If you’re looking to expand your email list, Linkedin is a great place to start. Linkedin newsletters are an easy way to build a list of subscribers without investing in a program like Constant Contact. You can even use them to host live events, which brings me to another near-essential book marketing tool. . . 

4. Speak Now

Hate public speaking? I’m going to urge you to expand your comfort zone here. Speaking engagements will help establish you as an authority in your field. They enhance credibility, position you as a trusted thought leader, and can expand your audience tenfold. Speaking gigs are often also networking opportunities where you can connect with other industry leaders. 

As you’re writing your book you can use it as a tool to pitch to podcast hosts, conference organizers, and speaking gigs. Just being in the writing process gives you added credibility, and you can plug your book naturally into your talk. 

When we start working together, I urge my clients to pitch at least two new speaking opportunities per month. If you’re ready to invest in a PR firm, they can help you get in the door. Even hosting your own live event through Linkedin can help you practice presenting, and help you reach your target audience. 

5. Paid Ads

If you’re already showing up consistently on socials, speaking at events, and using your website as a marketing tool, paid ads aren’t essential. But they can help you get your book into more hands, with a little investment and testing. You won’t need to think about paid ads until you’re closer to publishing, but they’re a good thing to keep in mind. 

One benefit of paid ads is the ability to precisely target your desired audience based on demographics, interests, and online behaviors. By defining your ideal reader profile, you can create tailored ad campaigns that specifically target those individuals, increasing the likelihood of capturing their attention and driving engagement. 

Paid ads provide the advantage of immediate visibility and exposure. Instead of relying solely on organic reach, paid advertising ensures that your book is seen by a broader audience in a shorter timeframe. This increased visibility can lead to higher book sales, increased brand recognition, and a broader readership.

While they’re often not cheap, paid ads allow for flexible budgeting and optimization. You have control over your ad spend and can adjust it based on your marketing goals and budget. Additionally, platforms often provide analytics and performance metrics, enabling you to track the effectiveness of your ads and make data-driven decisions to optimize your campaigns.

Prevent a Book Flop: Basic Pillars of Book Marketing

If you want to actually make money from your book, it’s worth thinking about book marketing earlier rather than later. A little planning can go a long way. To recap, here are the marketing steps you should take as you’re writing your book:

  1. Define your audience, and write to them specifically
  2. Speak to your audience on a platform you own, and one you don’t (for example, your substack and your linkedin account)
  3. Build a consistent plan for engagement (for example, post 3x/week on linkedin, with one full-length website blog per week)
  4. Consider building out a schedule of speaking engagements through podcasts, industry conferences, and speaking events
  5. Lastly, you may want to consider investing in paid ads once your book is ready for pre-order

Take it from a ghostwriter; don’t spend months or years on a book that no one ever reads.
If you’d like to learn more about marketing funnels for clinician entrepreneurs, you might want to check out my blog about it. 

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