Advice from a cozy mystery writer - er, make that a writer of cozy mysteries - is probably not what an author of a business book needs, but since you asked...
I don’t think the cover and title are a problem. In fact, I think both are great. Here are the titles of the 10 business advice books Entrepreneur recommended for summer reading a year or so ago:
- Bill & Dave
- Blog Schmog
- Crazy Bosses
- New Ideas from Dead CEOs
- No Yelling
- Rules for Renegades
- Your Management Sucks
- Buddha: 9 to 5
Only 4, 5, 9, and 10 have titles that hint at their being business books. Here are the subtitles:
- How Hewlett and Packard Built the World's Greatest Company
- The Truth About What Blogs Can (and Can't) Do For Your Business
- Chasing Down the Next Big Thing
- No subtitle
- Lasting Lessons from the Corner Office
- The Nine Secrets of Marine Corps Leadership You Must Know to Win in Business
- How to Make More Money, Rock Your Career, and Revel in Your Individuality
- The Last American Typesetter or How I Lost $4 Million (An Entrepreneur's Education)
- Why You Have to Declare War on Yourself…and Your Business
- The Eightfold Path to Enlightening Your Workplace and Improving Your Bottom Line
Except for Crazy Bosses that has no subtitle, it is clear that the business connection is in the subtitle, so The Jellybean Principle follows the title/subtitle model of these successful books. I can’t show all the covers, but most of them aren’t as eye-catching at JBP.
I’ve never tried to market a non-fiction book, but my guess would be that, as in most marketing, you need to reach a target audience. Entrepreneur, Inc., and other business magazines have columns devoted to business books. They seem to favor hands-on specific advice over generalized theory, so JBP is right on target therel. I would try to get JBP reviewed or mentioned in as many business publications as possible. Think Entrepreneur, Inc., etc. are lofty targets? Maybe, but how about a letter to the editor from a third party extolling the book? And for a less competitive arena, there are literally thousands of newsletters published by chambers of commerce and regional business associations that are often desperate for material to fill space. Tracking them down and contacting them would be labor intensive, but it could pay off. Write a snappy 500 - 1000 word article on applying some of the principles from JBP that is not specific to any region or particular sort of business. Something like, “A Burst of Energy from Jellybeans; How to Juice up Your Business During the Current Economic Craziness.” Mail it to the list of organizations with newsletters culled from hours of dull Internet research. You’re giving away the article; they’re looking for filler. I suspect it get a lot of ink.