Saturday, December 1, 2012

Help! How Do I Sell My Book?! - Helpful Tips

Exciting News!

My new book just launched! Prophecies Fulfilled in the Birth of Jesus is now available just in time for the Christmas season. You can order it from your favorite bookstore. Just request it by title and my name. Or you can order it from Amazon. It's making its way to Barnes and, but it wasn't there yet last I check so I don't have a link. But it is available right now for Kindle and Nook.

Cover Story:

One thing I love about being a writer/author is that people come up to me all the time saying either that they, too, are a writer and/or author or they want to be. That happened again this past month. At a church potluck my Pastor couldn't wait to introduce me to his friend who has a children's book out. It was fun to meet her. She asked a question that is another thing I hear a lot: Now that I have my book out, how do I sell it?

This is a huge deal for authors. No matter how big of a company you've published with, you're going to have to do most of the selling. If you self-published, you're going to have to do all the selling. Even if you don't have a book out yet, you need to figure out how you're going to sell it when you do and actually figuring that out before you publish it is good and before you write it is even better. That's because if you'll start thinking about it before you write it, you may find you need to tweak it to make it easier to sell. That tweaking may also make it more attractive to a publisher.

Many writers think that all they need to do is put their book on Amazon and it will sell. That is so not true. There are over 8 million books on Amazon. When someone goes there, how will they know to look for your book? If they walk into a bookstore, how will they know to look for your book? Or more likely, your book won't be on the shelves so they'll have to order it. How will they even know to ask for it? The answer is they won't if you don't get the word out and let people know your book exists. So how do you do that?

Here's a short list for you to begin thinking about and working through to help you sell your book:

1. Who is your audience? Who is your reader and/or book buyer? This is the first question you need to answer, and you'd do well to answer it before you write your next book.

2. Where is your audience, reader, or book buyer? Where do they hang out? Where can you go and find them? Especially, where are they online? Do they frequent blogs or forums? For example, if you've written a nonfiction book for Moms, they are probably hanging out at blogs for Moms and organizations for Moms, don't you think? If you've written fiction for suspense readers, where are they hanging out? My Deliver Me book has stories of unplanned pregnancy, giving a child for adoption, and more. People interested might be reading blogs about pregnancy or adoption. My new book about Christmas prophecies would interest Christians, people who like to study the Bible, people looking for a Christian devotional book to read with their family this holiday season, people curious about Christianity who wonder what we believe and why we believe it, and possibly book clubs.

3. Go there and join in the conversation. Read the blog. Leave a comment. Join the conversation in  a forum. But do not try to sell those folks your book! Instead, here's what you do:
  • Offer them something of value. Maybe it's an encouraging word. Maybe it's a piece of advice.
  • Offer a free give-away of tips from your book that they can print from your web site.
  • Listen to what they're saying.
  • Care about them. Don't just care about selling to them.
Once they know you care, and when they know you have something of value to offer them that will help them in their lives, then they'll be interested in what you have to sell.

I offer this ezine/blog because I truly want to help you meet your publishing goals and dreams. I also hope that you will like me and will buy my book, but I don't come here and write nothing other than BUY MY BOOK, BUY MY BOOK! If I did that, you wouldn't come back. Here I hope to offer you something of value, something that helps you in your life. If I can do that, I'm happy. Then if you buy a book from me, well, that's all gravy.

We've talked about it before in this e-zine (before it became a blog): Be a servant. Remember to always serve your reader. Give them what they need, what will help them. Don't always be asking for something from them. The people who are your readers/book buyers are more important than selling books. Keep the right perspective and the selling will take care of itself.

While you're doing the above, here are some more ideas that can keep you busy marketing your book:
  1. Write up five guest blog posts based on your book. Make them from 150 to 500 words. Add a brief bio at the end telling you are the author of your book and give the title, add links to your web sites and buy links to purchase your book. I've done this already with my new book and have had two appear this week so far with two more coming! Want to see some examples? Here is my guest post on Kathi Macias' Easy Writer blog. Here is my guest post on Christian EBooks Today.
  2. Go looking for blogs that use the kind of information in your guest posts. Contact the blog owner and ask if they'd like a guest post from you. You won't get paid for your writings; your payment is letting their entire audience know about your book. Do this enough times and your book will start selling.
  3. Write down what are the "features and benefits" of your book. Features are special things that you put in your book. For example some features in my new book Prophecies Fulfilled in the Birth of Jesus are: a Christmas story reading in the Bible, where the prophecy was originally given and how it was fulfilled, where to go to read more on the topic, a prayer, and application questions. These are included in every chapter. Features give your reader a reason to buy your book. What features are in your book? If fiction, did you include recipes? In your nonfiction, is there an index? Statistics? Resources? Book club discussion questions work for both nonfiction and fiction. If you haven't written your book yet and you don't have any features, what features can you add?
  4. What are the "benefits" of your reading your book? What will it do for the reader? How will it help them? How will it improve their lives? Will it save them money? Make them healthier? Make life more enjoyable? Help them with a problem? Inform them of something important? Will your fiction make them think or teach them about a time in history? The benefits of reading your book will give your readers another reason to buy it.
Here's a homework assignment for you. Keep some paper and a pen next to the chair you watch TV from. Don't watch TV? Then get some magazines or a newspaper. Or save some pieces of sales literature that come in the mail. Now study the ads. What are they doing? They are first telling you what their product is, then what it's features are, then what the benefits are and what those benefits can do for you, then finally a "call to action" or what to do to get it: "Click here." "Call now." "Find it in the dairy section."

Now you take your book, which is your product, and go and do likewise.