Yesterday we talked about establishing and building on your author’s platform. For some of you, this was a reminder to get out there and make yourself known to a larger audience. Others still don’t understand the concept. You have told family, friends and a few acquaintances, coworkers and other random people about your planned book and they all seem interested. Their feedback has encouraged you to continue writing. From all indications, this book will be easy to sell.
But I have to tell you, only a percentage of those people you talked to will actually buy the book. You will need to reach a whole lot of people in order to sell even 100 copies of your book. If you want to sell more than 100 copies, you and your book must become known to an even larger number of potential customers.
Do you have an agent who typically works with big name publishers? Do you expect to land a publisher who will heavily advertise your book on radio and major magazines, get your book in Publisher’s Weekly, place it in all bookstores nationwide, get you gigs on TV, arrange for your book to be in the gift bags for the Oscars and so forth? Then, you can probably count on sales in the millions—or at least high thousands.
But if you plan to go with a pay-to-publish company, self-publish or even sign with a small or medium royalty publisher, it will be up to you to locate and pitch to your audience. Unless you have money to burn, there will be no advertising with the majors. Your book probably won’t be featured in Publisher’s Weekly. Nor will it be placed in bookstores or tucked into celebrity gift bags. In fact, any publicity your book gets is up to you. And with so many books being promoted, it’s really difficult to have yours noticed.
That’s why you need to make yourself and your book known to a wide audience. I mean thousands! You need to identify your specific audience and put your book in front of them as often as possible. And, because personality sells books, it is important that you become known to your audience. You might also come up with some interesting sales gimmicks
Margaret Brownley is a colleague of mine. She is the author of several novels, some of them hit bestseller status. I’ve known Margaret for a couple of years. And I’ve been curious about her books. I thought, “Someday I’d like to read one.”
Recently, I received a notice from her (because I’m on her emailing list). She was offering one of her novels FREE for Kindle. I didn’t have a Kindle, but I know someone who does and I asked him to order the book for me so I could read it. Not only did I enjoy reading her free book, I really liked using the Kindle. Now I have my own Kindle AND I’ve ordered more of Margaret’s ebooks.
Some authors run contests to attract new readers for their books. Some bundle their books. Amazon does a lot of bundling of late. In fact, we can learn from Amazon. They are amazing marketers. Do you notice how, when you go to their site to learn more about a particular book or to find a book on a certain topic or in a specific genre, you get suggestions for other books, as well. Amazon says to customers, “If you liked that book, you’re probably going to love this one.” They are always selling.
And one of their sales ploys is the book review. They know that the opinion of other readers counts.
We could all take lessons from Amazon. They are high profile, indeed. They try to make their authors high profile. And this is also something you need to do for yourself.
If you don’t want to put yourself in the limelight—if you would rather stay in the shadows—don’t expect to sell the number of books you would sell if you were out meeting and greeting your public in numbers of ways—even through your writing.
It’s your choice, of course. I just want you to be aware that, in this horrifically competitive publishing climate, if you don’t establish and continue building on your platform—if you don’t use your sense of creativity when it comes to promotion—you will be disappointed in the number of book sales.
Learn more about how the publishing industry works and your responsibilities as a published author by reading my latest book, Publish Your Book, Proven Strategies and Resources for the Enterprising Author. If you’re ready to start thinking about or pursuing book promotion, you really need my book, Promote Your Book, Over 250 Proven, Low-Cost Tips and Techniques for the Enterprising Author. Amazon is bundling these two books as we speak.