By: Sara Matz | A three-minute read.
I hear it a lot, why can’t I just SELL my book? Well, who are you selling TO? Let’s take a step back. What exactly is the difference between sales and marketing if both end up with someone buying and reading your book? Marketing is finding the perfect customer, whereas sales are showing your customer you have the best product for them.
A salesperson mentality is not a successful starting point for new authors. As an avid science fiction reader myself, I really don’t want to feel pressured into reading someone’s poetry – but if you talk to me correctly, I could know someone who is more than excited to buy your book.
Seems simple right?
Marketing is a long-term investment that takes up significantly more of your time and can come off intimidating – but don’t fret; the payouts are more satisfying for you and your reader. The most successful marketing technique is word of mouth. This does not just mean face to face conversations, but your online presence as well. Think of how you want to be perceived by the public, get out there, and talk to people! Finding people with similar interests to you and the content of your book are the easiest sales you will find. It is in your best interest to familiarize yourself with social media; it is leading the industry in connectivity and the marketing options are endless. If you know how to captivate an audience, the growth opportunities are endless. 214 million Americans use Facebook, and Facebook’s user base has grown to over a billion users across the globe. That’s only ONE platform!
Next let’s think of the importance of availability and location, location, location. As great as it sounds to have your book in your local bookstore, it’s not the best place for organic sales. When a person walks into a bookstore, how do they find it over the thousands of other books merchandised?
Now to be clear, this does not mean a bookstore cannot get your book if a reader asks for it. If your book is distributed correctly they can fulfill orders. I am saying focus beyond the bookshelf. Having your book available online on major retailers has a higher impact than a physical bookstore in the early stages of your author career, and finding ways to manipulate Google AdWords and Amazon’s search function to increase the visibility of your book will increase organic sales significantly.
Just because books store should not be your first priority does not mean they can’t be a valuable marketing tool, there are a lot of ways to use a bookstore to boost your visibility. Having a book signing is a great way to gain attention for you and your book. After all, what’s more interesting to a prospective reader than you physically standing behind your books with professional marketing materials draped around your stand? Even if they don’t walk out with your book, have a business card or bookmark ready to give away so they remember you when they’re ready. Next, try asking a smaller, local bookstore to put your book on consignment. It’s an easier method to get your books on local shelves, and this was one thing that inspired us to keep our print costs down.
Unfortunately, not all successful marketing strategies are free, but they are synergistic. Your dollar will go further after doing some market research for your target customer. A great example is Facebook’s targeted ads. Sure, you can show your book to people who have “reading” in their interests, but why not narrow it down to people who like “fiction books” or even smaller to “Fantasy novels” and even more narrow to people who like books on “Werewolves”. Some authors, especially ones who write non-fiction, have a lot of success with a press release, which sends information about your book to the media, like local news, radio, or even bloggers specializing in your topic.
This may feel like a lot to process, but there are people ready and willing to help! Marketing forums offer a lot of free tips from people who are trying to be successful and there is so much to learn from people with slightly varied experiences to yours. A marketing consultation is a fantastic learning opportunity and leaves most authors feeling more confident and ready to take on the world!
As one of the Author Success Consultants for AnewPress, it’s my goal to assist you in getting your book from concept to sales. If you have any questions about publishing, let me know.
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