Authors are the most courageous, talented, creative, passionate people I know, and trust me, I know A LOT of authors! Somehow these remarkable qualities seem to mutate into a new DNA, like cancer cells, and turn brilliant author minds into backward thinkers when it comes to marketing. I do understand. Marketing is one of those scary places, but the bottom line is the bottom line … sales, or the lack thereof. Authors must market, and this daunting task has split authors into factions and made a lot of them toss up their hands in defeat.
There’s no need for all the drama. Marketing is simple. You locate the unique hooks in your book. You find people who love those unique hooks. And you make them aware of your book. See, simple! But sometimes it’s too simple and authors, being the amazing thinkers they are, tend to complicate it and make everything about the process book-centric or genre-centric. Not necessary and terribly limiting. As I said—marketing is simple. Product + Correct Target Buyer = SALES. If an author wants big sales, it’s all about thinking BIGGER than books or genre. It’s about simple marketing.
Here are the 5 limiting behaviors I’ve consistently seen in smart authors that drastically minimize their ability to make great sales.
Who thinks they should wait until the book is available before they market? Far too many, that’s for sure! Marketing is all about locating the correct audience you want to sell your product to, making them aware of the product BEFORE it is available, and connecting so that the audience is waiting with baited breath.
A good rule of thumb is to begin creating awareness of your coming book at least six months before the book’s release. Six months ahead you should be building BIG following among people who love the unique hooks in your book. Six months before release, you should start blogging about your unique hook subjects, building a website, and keeping your eyes open for unique hook events that might put your book in front of huge audiences who love the things in your book. Don’t procrastinate.
The person who tells you that you can’t sell a product before it’s available is not a person who understands the dynamics of effective marketing. Why are television shows promoted months in advance? Movie trailers blasted long before the film’s release? Simple … they are being marketed to create awareness and build excitement for the coming product.
Yes, authors do buy books too, but hey, why are authors always limiting themselves to an author based sales audience? I’ve seen authors with thousands of FB followers, all authors, wondering why they’re not selling enough books. The reason is simple. Authors are too busy trying to sell their books to you. You don’t buy every book pitched to you by your author friends, so why do you think they will? Authors represent such a small percentage of possible sales it’s almost insane to waste marketing time them.
Besides … other authors are the COMPETITION. Don’t guest blog on another author’s blog. The blog followers there like the blog owner and will seldom make a purchase of a different author’s book. Also, never let another author guest blog on your blog. Keep your hard earned unique hook followers and fans to yourself.
So, the question is, where do you guest blog? Do a Google search for blogs that focus on your unique hooks. If there are motorcycles in your book, check out all the cool bloggers who talk about biker culture. Ask them to guest blog and you’ll be amazed at the difference. You will have blogged to a huge collection of motorcycle lovers, and there’s not another author in sight! Step away from other authors and seek ways to build following and locate pockets of prospective book buyers based on your book’s unique hooks.
All authors forget the numbers until royalty payout time. “I have a thousand followers! They all said they’d buy my book! I don’t understand. Why did I only sell twelve books?”
Marketing is a simple game of numbers. Period. It’s math, and nothing compromises math. We can manipulate numbers in hopes of justifying a marketing strategy, but in the end, the numbers never lie. This is the truth about numbers:
You can expect a 1% return on your numbers. So, if you have 1,000 followers, that should result in 10 books sold. (The extra two mentioned above came from the author’s mom and sister.) Sobering thought, isn’t it? So, where do you get the numbers you need to make the sales you want?
If you want to sell 1,000 books, you would need 100,000 followers. Don’t faint…take a deep breath…it’s easier than you think. This doesn’t mean 100,000 twitter or FB followers at all. It simply means that you will need to connect with 100,000 people and that’s extremely possible.
Look at it this way. If you build a strong unique hook following on twitter of 5,000 followers…If you have a good 2,000 unique hook FB followers…If every time you blog on your own blog, over 1,000 of your unique hook blog followers view it…If you have joined 3 FB unique hook groups, each with over 10,000 members (30,000)…If you regularly guest blog with 3 unique hook bloggers, each with thousands of followers (9,000)…If you join 3 unique hook yahoo groups, each with thousands of followers (10,000)…If you speak regularly at local unique venues about your unique hook subject (500)…If your unique hook connects with professional people and you join 7 groups on LinkedIn, each with thousands of followers (35,000)…well, I’m sure you’re getting my point.
The trick to getting the numbers you need is not only to stay away from loading your following and focus with other authors, but to connect with your unique hook lover prospective buyers as often and in as many different places as possible.
Want more sales? You have several unique hooks written right into your book. Locate those audiences too.
Short cuts don’t work. Let me say that one more time, only louder … SHORT CUTS DO NOT WORK. Tying to be more efficient is one thing. I have no issues with authors pre-scheduling blog posts, or tweets … my problem comes in the fact that authors who consistently do the pre-scheduling, completely forget to follow up or check to see if the tweets or blog actually happened.
If you pre-schedule your tweets, you’re not there to respond. Granted, you’ll be able to see if someone retweeted or responded to your tweets later, when you get back to your tweetdeck or twitter page but hey … the person who retweeted or commented is LONG GONE. Twitter is all about IMMEDIACY. It’s a constant stream of people, jumping onto the train and jumping off of the train. In order to make connections, you have to be there when you tweet! Connection requires immediate response, not delayed responses to comments that the person has already forgotten about. My suggestion is to tweet for ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes in the afternoon. Tweet only about your unique hook subjects, your blog entry links, and your coming book. Tweet at least ten tweets, one per minute and in between, retweet and comment on those flowing along your twitter stream. THEN LOG OFF. This is good time management. Never get too caught up on twitter, or FB, or any social network.
Another issue on twitter is the “I can get you 10,000 followers” short cut. Guess what … SHORT CUTS DON’T WORK! Who are those 10,000 followers? Are they unique hook lovers? Are they book buyers? Are they even human beings? Are a majority of them one person with a hundred different accounts? Random, unfocused numbers are as bad as low numbers. Make sure every moment you spent on twitter is focused on your goal … to connect with your unique hook followers and have that result in sales!
If you pre-schedule a blog post, PLEASE MAKE A NOTE TO CHECK ON IT! I’ve seen pre-scheduled blog posts not go up, go up at times the author didn’t intend, go up without the photos, and go up with the links mysteriously missing. Make note of the date the blog entry is supposed to go up and CHECK the post! If that’s too complicated, do a Google search for your name and Google will remind you that the blog has gone up. Save yourself some embarrassment, especially if you plan to go out to all your 100,000 connections and tell them to come over to read your blog.
Remember, we all learned to use a fork, to walk, to dress ourselves, to choose a subject for our education, to say yes, or no, or look further for the right partner, job, or life choice. Authors are human beings and we try new things every single day. Trust your instincts! Just because no other author has tried a marketing technique, doesn’t men that you shouldn’t. Protect your wallet and steer away from those great advertising packages that feature your book with thousands of other authors’ books. Who needs the competition when you can be visible to thousands of people who already love the unique hooks in your book? Walk your own trail and seek out prospective book buyers who will run, not walk, to buy your book. Be different! IT IS SO WORTH THE RISK!
Are you a smart author doing any of these five dumb things? Which of these bad habits will you tackle first! Got a question, I’ll be happy to answer!