Everyone wants to be a successful author – even people who’ve never written a book. Mention television and movie deals and people even start salivating. But those of us who have actually published know there is a vast distance between getting an ISBN number and actually selling books. For most of us the numbers, at least in the early days, are so few and far between that we start cursing our cousins that they haven’t bought enough copies to give to their friends.
The lack of sales leads to depression. Perhaps feeling desperation, we mention our books on Facebook. One friend, most likely somebody living in Bahrain, asks how to get a copy. Fighting back the impulse of gratitude that would take us to the nearest UPS store, we go to our Amazon pages, copy the links, send them. Of course living in Bahrain, our friend doesn’t have an Amazon account anyway, but we have started our careers marketing. Social media becomes our new home. We trudge electronic highways and byways like the old time Bible salesmen, going door to door and offering to personally sign each copy.
I’ve been trudging for a while now and I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned along the way.
1) You can’t sell if you don’t get in the door. Those two thousand friends on Facebook, those fourteen hundred and thirty-two followers on Tweeter: they all have to think of you as a friend. Let’s face it, you aren’t the Fuller Brush man, you don’t have a product they want. They have to want to buy something from you. That means you have to be friendly before you pitch.
2) People start to sing to themselves when you repeat too often. You know – like the little kid going la-la-la when you’re lecturing him. They heard you the first time. You wrote a book. (They immediately thought they could write one too, assuming they haven’t done just that.) Now tell them something they don’t know. I follow an 80-10-10 rule. Eighty percent of my posting is about non-writing stuff. Ten percent is about writing, but not necessarily mine. I mention my friends, I mention something I’ve read. Heck, I’ll mention the Gutenberg Bible if I find something interesting to say, and I know none of my friends are buying that one. The last ten percent is for my writing. Some of that is about my novels, but some is about everything else I manage to get out there. For example, I’ll post about this blog.
Which brings us to a real problem, while people may know your name and that you wrote a book, they need to see your name and that title a lot of times before they actually act, before they go to Amazon and click that link.
3) Marketing is not a one time effort. I loved your website, but you’re still going to have to convince me that I want your book. Your book, who are you? Do I know your name? Round and round the prospective reader goes. This is a game of blind man’s bluff, and you are it. Come up with more ways to get those social network friends and followers to think about you until the sheer weight of your presence snowballs them right back to that Amazon page.
I hope this has helped you. Now, go buy one of my books. Think about it. You enjoy my style and my ideas. What more can you ask?
Life itches and torments Kenneth Weene like pesky flies. Annoyed, he picks up a pile of paper to slap at the buzzing and often whacks himself on the head. Each whack is another story. At least having half-blinded himself, he has learned to not wave the pencil about. Ken will, however, write on until the last gray cell has retreated and there are no longer these strange ideas demanding his feeble efforts. So many poems, stories, novels; and more to come.
Check out Ken’s website at: http://www.authorkenweene.com
For Widow’s Walk visit: http://vidego.multicastmedia.com/player.php?p=wbgzb2yk
For Memoirs From the Asylum visit: http://vidego.multicastmedia.com/player.php?p=nqm74a8k
To hear Ken read a chapter from his upcoming book, Tales From the Dew Drop Inne: Because there’s one in every town visit: http://soundcloud.com/kenneth-weene/in-the-army