My friend Susan at my first book signing.
When Dad was alive, he was diagnosed with high blood pressure. For years he took medications and then one day he had dizzy spells. He went to his doctor with his complaints and the doctor put him on another medication. On and on this this happened until he was on a number of medications. Then his doctor retired and he went to a different doctor. This doctor looked at the list of medications that he was on and decided to take him off all of the medications and to have him check his blood pressure every morning for the next several months. What he discovered was that any high blood pressure that he had was caused from latrophobia resulting in increased blood pressure. Dad stopped having the dizzy spells and stopped needing the medications. I am not a doctor, nor can I pretend to be one, but it is my opinion that if he had not been on all of those blood pressure medicaitons for all those years, he might not have suffered from dementia during the last few years of his life.
Marketing Books can be like that. We can start doing things that we think will help us get word out about our books only to discover that what we have been doing is not only not helpful, but it is actually harming our book marketing efforts. All those efforts of saying “buy my book, buy my book” cause potential readers to slam the door in your face as fast as they would to a Jehovah’s Witness. It’s time to strip down our marketing activities to those that actually work.
What I Learned in 2015 about Book Marketing
At the end of August I published my fourth book A Coward’s Solace, book III of the Locket Saga. I sold more books in person than I did online. More people were willing to pay more for a print book than they were for an e-book. So why were people willing to buy more expensive print books from me rather than buy them cheaper as an e-book? The reason they were willing was because I went in person to the various local festivals and met with people and talked with them. They liked me and bought my books. They were especially grateful that the author was there to sign their book for them. Even though there are millions of us, an author is still a celebrity to the average person.
I discovered that what I had heard about bookstores was true. Ironically they are not the best place to sell books. I sold more of my gardening books Simply Vegetable Gardening in the local feed stores than I did any of my books at the local bookstores.
Another thing that I have learned is that people who bought earlier books bought this book. In addition, since A Coward’s Solace is the third book in the series, people who are new to my books are more apt to buy my fiction books as a series than they did when I only had two books in that series.
People buy books because they like and trust the writer. There are so many ways that I help readers discover me and learn to like what I write. I find that it is so much easier with nonfiction books than it was when I just wrote fiction which is why I just wrote two short booklets Help from Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth around the House and Garden.. I am going back to the same stores where I sold the gardening book and intend to add those booklets to their sales stocks. In addition, I may also be able to do book signings, especially in the spring when people are buying garden supplies.
Laura McHugh and I at her first book signing.
What Local Sales is Teaching Me About Online Sales
I have started using what I learned about local sales to connect with potential readers online. Rather than spreading my PR around like buckshot, like a laser, I am focusing on specific groups of people and I am finding it easier with my nonfiction books than I was with the fiction. I have created a Facebook page called Naturally Improving our Lives,
In less than 24 hours I had over 30 likes on the page, and I have already seen some positive feedback in that several people shared the page where Simply Vegetable Gardening was posted on Smashwords. By adding articles and videos related to the subject of naturally improving our lives, I will be able to discover what people want to read about naturally improving our lives and what they don’t want to read. Over time, I will include other links related to my books, but I will have gotten to know the sites readers. The readers of the Facebook page will know that I am not just looking out for my own interests, but for their interests as well. In addition, these people also have friends who are likely to have similar interests. The more I engage with them, the less I become like the JW at the door and more like a friend.
The Bottom Line
My friends and I at last year’s book signing.
Every book marketer that I have read starts out with the idea that as an author, my responsibility in marketing my books is to first engage with the reader and get to know him or her. Once that person sees me as a friend and not someone who is simply trying to come between them and their money (AKA a salesman) that reader is more likely to purchase my book because he or she feels that I am a person that they know and can trust. As long as I make this the basis of my book marketing endeavors, I will be more successful in my book marketing efforts.
How about YOU? Do you believe that befriending your readers is the primary objective of your book marketing efforts? If not, (other than writing a quality book, of course) what do you think is more important in book marketing than connecting with your readers?
Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church 1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm. As Author Cygnet Brown, she has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener
She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .