Will 2017 see you and me break into a larger reading market? I hope so.
Let’s talk a bit more about writing. Most of this will deal with marketing your books.
Few authors are “beauty press” authors. Most of us want someone to read what we write. Not only do we want someone to read, we’d like to actually sell a book or two. Before getting to thoughts on marketing your book. let me reiterate things already written.
Don’t Give Potential Purchasers a Reason NOT to Buy Your Book
In a general sense, if an author wants to sell books these things matter:
Readers won’t buy a book if the grammar is a mess. I’m not talking about an occasional error. Even the best publishers in the world have such mistakes. I’m referring to a writer not working with an editor.
If the first few paragraphs have no logic or flow they will put the book back on the shelf.
If you want someone other than your “Mom” to own your books use and empower an aggressive editor. That statement needs to be bold, highlighted and underlined. The statement applies to all, even those who have an element of higher education.
Some years ago, a friend sent me a book. The author of the book has a Master’s Degree in a field connected with education. The book was bad. The grammar was bad; if the book had a point, it was indiscernible. Even to my eye, almost every paragraph had glaring mistakes. My assignment was not to “red ink” the book, though I wanted to. No recommendation for the book could be given.
Even if you have an advanced education, use and empower an editor such as Pam Eddings. Contact Pam at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ok – let’s assume you have done the hard work to develop a good book. How will you get the word out to people who might buy your book?
Answer the Buy/Sell Questions
Think about the answer to two questions:
Where and how do you buy books?
What causes you to buy a particular book?
Those same places to buy and reasons for buying a book work for other people as well.
How are books sold?
For my readers, your books sold will sell at the following places:
Conferences and conventions
Through a church organization on-line bookstore
Via Amazon.com or similar outlets
At the author’s website or at a website in which the author has some sort of partnership.
An event at which an author speaks or is present to promote the book.
Direct mail or through a catalog.
To acquaintances who become aware of your book.
What motivates people to buy a book?
The purchaser has an interest in the topic presented. My book Masterful Preaching sells to preachers who want to learn how to preach to sinners. My “Not an Ostrich” Packet attracts people developing a disciple-making strategy.
Being familiar with an author and expecting the content will be of benefit. Hundreds of people buy a new Joy Haney book sight unseen. Why? Those people have read her previous books and feel her latest book will be a benefit. A writer who has this situation has found the sweet spot of writing and self-publishing. Sis. Haney has accomplished this by writing over fifty books.
The recommendation of a friend. I buy on the basis of what friends and acquaintances recommend. Currently, little else motivates me to buy a new book.
Some people known to be readers may offer general recommendations. Ken Gurley, T. F. Tenney, Roy Barnhill, Lane Coon and others like them influence my reading.
A book’s title, the look of its cover, the information on the back-page and the book’s table of contents. This is the reason to invest in a nice looking professional cover.
Good marketing that is fresh and creative causes some to buy. If you offer a “money back” guarantee for any who buy but do not benefit, the sale goes easier. I do this guarantee for all my material.
To determine your potential audience, and how to market ask the following questions.
Who is my target reader with this book? Who will enjoy and gain benefit from having read my book? In what specific ways will the reader benefit? You will waste time and money if you do not know your target. A burial plot salesman won’t do much business on a hospital’s maternity floor. Have realistic expectations. There are well-written books I don’t buy because the subject is of little interest to me. The lesson: know what you have to offer and who will likely want it.
Do you have more than one book in print? If so, those who bought your earlier books are more likely to buy the next book.
The objective is to not waste time or money going to events where your book won’t sell. Know your audience.
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