Jay Baer Demonstrates How to Write, Publish and Promote Your Book for New Business

Youtility for Ad Agency New Business

There are many valuable tips and helpful ideas that you can use from Jay Baer’s promotion of his new book, Youtility.

I just finished reading Jay Baer’s book, Youtility: why SMART MARKETING is about HELP not HYPE. I highly recommend it.

This is an excellent book for agency owners to better understand how to create helpful marketing that will create new business opportunities for your agency.

Jay and I started our consulting practices about the same time, at the beginning of the Great Recession. He has become a global leader in social media marketing. His blog, Convince&Convert, is ranked as the #1 content marketing blog in the world.

This is Jay’s second book. His first book on social business, and social media’s impact on corporate culture (co-authored with Amber Naslund) was The NOW Revolution: 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter and More Social (Wiley, 2011).

My Book Review Turned Into “How to Promote Your Book”

I was on a team that helped promote and launch Michael Hyatt’s book, Platform, onto the New York Times’ Best Seller List. Michael did a superb job of promoting his book. As a part of his team, I learned a lot.

As I finished Jay’s book and started to write a review, I became more aware of how, in a short period of time, he was able to write, publish and market Utility, propelling it to the third position on the New York Times Best Seller List, the number one marketing book on Amazon and the number one overall book on Barnes and Nobles. I wanted to highlight these for you. It makes for an excellent case study on new tactics and tools to get your first book written, published by a mainstream publisher and promoted.

Make the Presentation First

Develop your book first as a presentation, prior to beginning to write it. This enables you to use the presentation as a narrative and to serve as a backbone for your book. This will also help the book to flow well.

Unlike most books, where the presentation is created after publication, the Youtility presentation was developed BEFORE the book was written.

Jay came up with the Youtility concept, “Marketing which is so useful, that people would pay for it.” The concept was first delivered publically at Content Marketing World in September, 2011. The first keynote presentation was made in August, 2012, some nine months prior to the launch of the book.

Use transcriptions: Jay recorded the live keynote at a conference and transcribed it, giving him a 15,000 word-pool to use in the book manuscript.

He also recorded more than 40 telephone interviews and had them transcribed. He could then copy and paste quotes from the transcripts to his manuscript.

Jay used an online service called, Speechpad.com. I used this service recently to transcribe a 30 minute interview to help create an article for a print publication. The cost was only $30. A great service.

To create the manuscript, Jay used a writing software called Scrivener.  Michael Hyatt also highly recommends this software. I have become a fan of it as well. It is an excellent writing program for large and small writing projects.

A writing schedule was created based on when the manuscript was due, the number of words required (50,000) and which nights, weekends and days he had free to write. He wrote 1,500 words on week nights from 8pm until 10pm. He wrote approximately 5,000 words on weekends usually from 10am until 4pm (one day per weekend).

Jay was able to complete Youtility in only six weeks with this rigid schedule.

Develop a Marketing Plan in Advance

Instead of creating a marketing plan after the book was written, Jay created a promotional plan in advance. This helped him to land his book deal with Portfolio/Penguin, the publisher for noted authors such as Chris Brogan, Seth Godin and Guy Kawasaki. He wanted a mainstream publisher for credibility. 

Publishers are interested in making money, not making you famous. To make money, publishers must sell books. The person who must sell those books is YOU, not them.

Jay put a great deal of time into the details of his marketing plan before his book was written.

Marketing Ideas and Insights

Jay and his team created an online store and asked his audience to buy books in advance directly from him.

The online store developed into an important central marketing platform for Youtility. Here are some of its features:

  •  An official video trailer was created by simplifilm to explained Youtility and to help create demand
  • Downloadable Executive Summary
  • Best Quotes from the Book became Facebook ads and shareable via Pintegram, Instagram and Twitter
  • Music Video an original song about the principle and helpfulness of Youtlity.
  • Free Chapter
  • Excerpts from Reviews
  • Press: Huffington Post, Forbes, Marketing Week
  • Contest: Take a photo of your copy of Youtility “in the wild and upload to Instagram or Twitter with hashtag #Youtility

Jay reduced his speaking fee in exchange for bulk purchases of his book. This tactic helped Jay’s book to be placed on the New York Times’ bestseller list by concentrating book sales into one or more specific weeks. He pre-sold 9,500 books in one day.

30 guest posts were created by excerpts from the book to appear in friends and colleagues blogs. 25 of these got placed prior to publication to help build awareness and pre-orders. We placed one of these on Fuel Lines entitled, Jay Baer: Why Useful Ad Agency Marketing is a Skill not a Job.

Jay and his team used an online advertising campaign to help generate pre-orders six weeks prior to publication. His budget was $20,000 and included banner ads and email newsletter adds. These build awareness, but did very little to generate direct sales. His best source for pre-orders was from personal emails Jay sent to colleagues and supporters helping to pre-sell 2,500 copies of Youtility. The lack of results for direct sales from the pre-order advertising campaign caused Jay to scale back the launch advertising campaign to $5,000.

Jay retained Fortier PR to handle the press for Youtility. The firm secured more than 50 interviews and podcasts since publication of the book and helped to generate writeups and reviews by leading publications such as Forbes, Huffington Post and Fast Company.

To keep the marketing for this project organized, Jay and his team utilized an online project management tool called Basecamp. I use this service extensively with my clients.

Here’s a 5 minute summary of the book.

Some additional articles that might be of interest:

About Michael Gass

Consultant | Trainer | Author | Speaker

Since 2007, he has been pioneering the use of social media, inbound and content marketing strategies specifically for agency new business.

He is the founder of Fuel Lines Business Development, LLC, a firm which provides business development training and consulting services to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies.


  1. jimsignorelli says:

    Great article Michael! I have another book coming out in February and will definitely keep this article in my save file.

  2. Glad you liked it Jim! It was helpful to me in researching and writing it.

  3. Michael, this post was really helpful. Thanks! I have a book coming out and over the last week I’ve been thinking that my promotional plan was lacking. Then, this morning while going through my RSS feeds, I saw this wonderful post and now I KNOW my promotional plan is lacking. Damn you 🙂

  4. Trent, Also check out http://www.michaelhyatt.com to learn how Michael got his book, Platform, on the NYT Best Seller List. I was part of the team that he organzied to help promote it, “How to Launch a Bestselling Book” http://mhyatt.us/PLsgBK via @michaelhyatt

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