I was asked after a workshop a weeks ago: “Why won’t my book sell?” There are many directions I could go to answer this question such as: Did you build a good marketing foundation and goals from the start? Did you spend the time and money to hire a quality editor and cover artists? But the direction this person went was: “I put my book on Amazon.com, but it isn’t selling.”
Let me go back to the basics with this:
A book is an inanimate object and therefore, it will not sell itself. The author is required to let the world know their book is out there and how and where to purchase it.
Okay, dear reader, say it with me now, out loud, “Thank you, Captain Obvious!”
A writer should begin to build a platform, an audience, a fan club before the book is published. Start by getting out into your world and getting to know people. Network. Be likable. Get involved in your community and in your profession, for example. Do this to get known and build connections, not to sell a book you haven’t written yet.
Go to writing conferences and/or workshops, to hone the craft of writing, and to learn from others who have walked this walk ahead of you and have ideas they are willing to share about the how, where, and when they market their books to make sales. Team up with some of them once you get published to hold book signings together. Support other authors in your genre because they may buy your book without you asking, and you can buy theirs.
Create a website based on who you are and what you do. If you are writing a nonfiction book, showcase your expertise. Develop a mailing list from the website and get people to know you as an expert. This is the key. Have a great “About” page that features your unique expertise and goals as this will eventually lay out part of the marketing foundation for your book. Once the book is published, don’t forget to update this page to include “published author.”
Then there’s social media
If you see social media as evil or un-necessary, your book will not sell itself and no one will know or care it was published. Knowing which social media to use and setting priorities as to platform will help ease the pain of getting involved in social media. Part of the level of success with social media is to know where your target market hangs out. If you write a professionally themed book, then LinkedIn may be where you want to start. If you have a theme that lends itself to a more artistic reader, then Pinterest may be your primary platform. Do your research and find your readers on social media outlets and groups within those.
Make sure to link your website to your social media accounts so people can click on the website to find you on social media.
The days of the reclusive writer are long gone. Unlike the days of Ralph Waldo Emerson, William Faulkner, and Edgar Allen Poe, books compete for the audience’s attention with television, movie theaters, video games, social media, and other electronics.
The bottom line to be successful as a published author is to make connections and network while you’re still a writer. Start building your fan base now. You are the catalyst for book sales. You are the animate object who will sell your book.