Why having "Best Seller" on your book is not enough by Yvonne DiVita
No doubt your book is best seller material. You've done the work; you've slaved over the story and hired a good editor and you have a great cover, so now you want to reap the rewards.
Everyone believes their book is best seller material. In this digital world, yours can be - if you have chosen the correct categories for your book and your book launch is successful.
On that day, the day of your book launch, with all your friends and family around you, and all the beta readers on Zoom, you proudly become an Amazon best seller and you are now able to tell the world you did it! You've arrived.
What happens next is what really matters. Because if you don't continue to market your book, you'll have a best seller than no one reads.
Don't let it happen to you!
Don't be that writer who relies on her "best seller" status to sell her book.
Here's a sad story to consider:
Emily - not her real name - did everything right! She hired a developmental editor and a cover designer. She had 50 beta readers. She had her book professionally done by an interior page designer. She knew what she needed to do to make the story she was telling, shine like a bright star in the midnight sky.
She even made sure her book launch went perfectly! She and her friends and family, and all the beta readers, and a dozen or so people she'd connected with via social media, all celebrated with glasses raised when sales went to #1 on Amazon.
Whew! She wiped her brow and thought, "Now, I can relax." And she did. She went home and about her business and a week later when she checked in on her book, it was not #1. Not even #2 or #3.
It was lost in the vast book database called Amazon and no one was buying or reading it. Even though it was a best seller!
Emily, like so many others, believed that the award, the accolade, would so impress people, they would flock to Amazon to buy her book.
Unfortunately, Emily never identified who those people were and how they would know her book was on Amazon - her amazing, best selling book.
While Amazon is in the book business, they are not in the book marketing business. This does not mean they do not feature select books. You'll notice the next time you buy a book at Amazon, in the space under the description of the book you're buying, Amazon offers, "People who bought this also bought this". They do if for all items for sale on the site. It's to keep you there spending money.
But this is not Amazon saying, "Buy this book." It's Amazon saying, "We have lots more books like this, why not buy another one today?"
Too many writers I've met want the praise and cheers and accolades on the day of launch, and maybe they pursue it for a few days following by sharing on social, but then, they sit back and rely on fate.
It's as if they think, if it's fated for me to be successful, I will be. Or maybe they think, If I write it, they will come. Both are foolish and untrue.
Can you see me shaking my head in sadness right now? Can you see the tears in my eyes?
No one can make your book successful other than YOU! Yes, YOU, dear author. It's your job to market your book every single day beyond launch day.
You are in charge of your social proof and your social shares. You are in charge of how many people see your work and how many people who might buy are told about it. These are your fans. Your audience. The market you're selling into. People who read the kinds of books you write.
They aren't searching for you. They're searching for it - the story.
If you don't share that story, you risk being relegated to a dark part of the Amazon database - lost to the world.
How do you continue marketing your book? Here's how.
First, you accept that it's your job to market your book. If you can accept this well before launch day, you'll be better off.
Here are some ideas for you: (shared in no particular order - just do these things)
- Have a dyn-o-mite book page on your website. Include your awards and testimonials from beta readers. Share a snippet of a compelling chapter in your book. Have links to all the places people can buy the book. Update this page regularly with podcasts you've been on or other noteworthy mentions of you and the book.
- Create book trailers. More than one. We do them at Nurturing Big Ideas so tap into us for yours. I recommend one while you're writing, all about the story and the process. Another one close to launch, demonstrating the power of the story - do share people reading, if you can. And another after the launch, to highlight pages or passages people have told you were wonderful. DO put yourself in these videos, please. Not just your voice. We want to see your pretty face.
- Contact your local independent bookstores. It's highly likely they will carry your book. Make friends with as many as you can.
- Prepare a list of podcasts you'd like to be on and research how to approach the hosts. Andrew Alleman can help you with this.
4.1 Find speaking gigs. Yes, places you can talk about writing, publishing, being an Indie author, and sell your book in the back of the room.
- Send a press release to your local news and radio stations. Andrea Pass PR can help you with this.
- Start your audiobook. Consider voiceover actors. Yes, I know you know your book best. You wrote it. But reading it in a cadence and flow that readers will appreciate might not be your forte. Check with Liz Solar. She's been doing voiceover and audiobooks for quite some time and she knows the importance of the "sound of story." Then, come back to us and we'll process the book and get it up on the net where it needs to be. (pssst - we know voiceover talent for men, too, so don't be shy, just ask)
- Continue creating social proof. This means actively selling your story, you and your writing process, and the book (including snippets from the book) across all social channels. Tap into your beta readers to help share your posts. Tag people you want attention from. Don't go overboard, but keep the chatter going. Oh, and use hashtags. They work.
- Check your Amazon book description weekly. Does it stand up to your competitor's descriptions? That book description is key to getting readers who land on your book page to buy. The first sentence must be compelling and engaging.
- Go to your local library and ask them to carry your book. Offer your eBook to them, as well. Yes, libraries operate in eBooks now, too.
- Keep author copies of your book on hand for networking events. Don't be overbearing and say, "Hey, I wrote a book. Want to see it?" Be yourself. Talk about what you do, your writing, the things other people are talking about, and if you meet someone you think could be a good reader - who would write an Amazon review for you and share on her social channels - offer her a signed copy of the book.
- Look for book clubs in your area. Some of these are online. I know Facebook has a few.
- Start talking up book #2 or #3. People and Amazon love book series. Your second or third book will help sell the previous books. No one wants to have just one in a series, after all.
Book marketing is an on-going process. The author is always in charge of marketing their work. Even with that traditional publisher you're so eager to find. They expect you to have a large social following and a marketing plan to sell enough books to cover your advance.
As a bonus, here's a winning way to create a true accolade for your book - submit it to book award sites. If you ask nice, I can share the list of awards sites I've compiled. Just email me with the ask.