Many first-time authors are so focused on selling books that they neglect a very important aspect of marketing and promotion: Exposure.
I’ve seen authors complain at the end of a day at a book festival because they sold only 12 books. Never mind the fact that hundreds of people saw the book, dozens picked it up and discussed it with the author, 130 people walked off with his brochures, he was invited to appear on a radio show and he met two people who use speakers at their monthly meetings. Yes, he may have lost money if the booth cost him $100, lunch was $8 and he paid $5 for parking. But, in my estimation, he still gained more than he lost.
He has 12 new customers who, if they like the book, will talk about it with their friends. He can add those new customers to his mailing list and let them know when his next book is out. And he collected several leads that, if he follows up on them, could result in numerous sales. This is what’s known as exposure.
There’s an old marketing concept that says someone must see or hear about your product (be exposed to it) 8 times before he or she will buy it. So, as authors with books to sell, we must consider each opportunity to talk about our book or show it to someone as a step toward selling it to that person (or a whole audience of persons).
That’s why I always suggest to those who are out giving presentations related to their books, attending book festivals and so forth, to have a signup sheet. You want to establish a connection with people who express an interest in your book. You want to make contact with them again and again. One way to accomplish this is to offer something for free. Have a signup sheet for those who want to receive your free ebook in the genre or on the topic of your book. Offer a “report” they might be interested in—8 tips for using garlic in cooking, tips and techniques for photographing your pets, how to handle your money in this economy or some of your favorite short stories.
Offer services for free. I offer free manuscript evaluations, for example. If you are an accountant with a book on family budgeting, offer a free email consultation for all or a few of those who sign up. Maybe your expertise is health and fitness. Offer your latest reports on fitness tips for the elderly, for example. Come up with something that members of this particular group of people could use and they will sign up for it—providing you with names and contact information to use in promoting this and any future books and/or services.
Do you see how valuable exposure can be? You may decide, “I don’t want to purchase a booth at that small book festival, even if it only costs me $75, because there won’t be enough sales.” But, I suggest thinking like a savvy promoter and signing up for that booth with a whole new attitude. Think exposure! Don’t be irritated with the folks who just walk on by your booth or who pick up your book, listen to your spiel and then put it down and move on. Be honored. Be grateful for the opportunity to connect with this person. Make sure he or she takes something with them—your brochure or business card, for example. Invite them to sign up for your freeby. And thank them profusely for stopping by.
Always consider each and every visitor at a book festival and member of any audience a potential customer or client who could purchase your book or contact you for your service at any moment. It may take exposure to your book or you a dozen times or more before they buy. But, if you neglect to connect in some way with that person the first time around, or if you let your disappointment show, you will likely never hear from them again.
For more about book promotion and getting exposure for your book, as well as how to work a book festival so it works for you, purchase my book, “Promote Your Book.” It’s available at amazon.com in print, Kindle and audio as well as most other online and downtown bookstores.
You might also want to sign up for my online Book Promotion Workshop. It’s a great way to get hundreds of dollars worth of personal attention from me for only $200. http://www.matilijapress.com/course_bookpromotion.htm