Using Google+ Hangouts to Sell Books

09/01/2011 10:24 pm ET | Updated Nov 01, 2011

As an author of four books in two years and a New York Times best-seller, I know how difficult it is to get a book to market. In the wake of the failure of brick and mortar stores to successfully sell books, I have sought out the use of technology like Google+ Hangouts, LiveStream, YouTube and UstreamTV. I am doing this to ensure that people are aware of my books, reading my books and most importantly using the material in the book to make a difference in their lives. When someone is successful with a book they recommend that book to their friends and co-workers.

Traditional book stores are failing because they don't:

1) create awareness of the book
2) sell the book profitably
3) get people to read the book.

As an author you must create awareness or no one will know about your book. In an effort to to create awareness, I offered to deliver economic seminars at a major chain's book stores nationally, at my own cost. They denied the offer saying it was too much for them to coordinate. Add to that reports suggesting that the average person in the U.S. only reads one book a year and you can see the uphill battle for authors to sell books.

Reducing the price of a book will not resolve that issue of no awareness, nor will it handle the person that refuses to read. Failing book sales are not due to the economy or even technological developments. The same guy that won't buy a book goes to ballgame or movie and spends the same amount of money or more. What's the difference? With the ballgame or movie he knows he will have an experience and with the book he is most likely reminded of the last book he bought and never read.

For an author to successfully sell books today he/she must be involved in public awareness, marketing, even selling the book, and in the case of business books, making sure the book is read and information put to use.

We piloted a program for this exact purpose that we call Mastermind Groups. By utilizing technology we create virtual groups online using Google+ Hangouts. Each Thursday night, I read and discuss my most recent book and then broadcast the group experience using Ustream, YouTube and LiveStream. We also take questions fed to us through feeds on Facebook and Twitter.

The response to this has been unbelievable with almost 100 people trying to get into the main group and thousands more watching via live streaming video. I have even spent time with my friends from The Huffington Post there.

Google+ is the newest social media platform that provides a very interested technology called Hangouts -- similar to a Skype video calls, but not limited to two people. A total of 10 people from anywhere in the world can meet via video, for a 'hangout' and interact with one another. In this case we aren't just 'hanging out' but going over the exact principals from my most recent book, The 10X Rule, The Only Difference Between Success and Failure as the point of conversation. UStream was so excited about my utilization of this technology that they provided us coverage and advertising.

By the second week we had so many people wanting to be part of the main Master Mind group that we had people watching from LiveStream and Ustream waiting for someone to get knocked off so they could get access to the main room where I was holding the discussion.

Some of the rules of our Mastermind group are:

1) no excuses,
2) no blaming and
3) be interested in creating success regardless of the challenges.

Some of the topics are: how to succeed in this economy, why success is important, how to keep the drive and how to push through this economy. Those involved in the discussion are from varying business backgrounds: managers, entrepreneurs, business owners, fund raisers, social media gurus, and sales people from industries covering charities, social media, automobile dealerships, technology, manufacturing and retail. While I coordinated the hangout from Los Angeles we had people join us from Charlotte, Tampa, Manhattan, Chicago, Dallas, and as far away as London, England, Paris, France, and India.

Just writing a great book is not enough today! Authors need to use every available resource and technology to increase awareness of their book, market and sell their books.

Check out what I am doing one Thursday night by searching Mastermind Groups on Ustream or try to get into the main hangout by looking for me on Google+. Don't worry about writer's block, put all your attention on creating awareness, getting your book in the readers' hands and then actually ensuring that they read your work.

Grant Cardone is the New York Times best-selling author of "The 10X Rule"