Sunday, February 10, 2013

What Triggers A Book Sale?

Publishers, authors, literary agents, editors, publicists, marketers, cover designers, and retailers leave at least one thing in common: They are clueless as to why some books become bestsellers and why so many fail to sell beyond a few thousand copies. They search for the secret sauce, but it eludes them.

Why? Because they focus too much on a book’s content and not as much on how it is marketed. The secret to getting someone to buy a book is getting someone to sell it.

Do you follow?

Books don’t sell themselves. But even when a marketer seeks to get the book in front of consciousness, he or she often fails to recognize that each book has a few triggers, that if called upon in a timely and creative manner, can unleash a river of sales.

So what is a sales trigger? It can be a singular reason such as:

·         I will buy any book about this person, event or topic
·         I will buy every book this author, regardless of content
·         I trust the tastes of reviewer x and will buy what he/she recommends
·         My friend, family, colleague, etc. gave it strong word-of-mouth

It can be a collective reason:

·         The book sounds interesting AND so and so recommended it
·         I like the author AND the book got great reviews
·         The title is catchy, the cover is alluring, and the excerpts I read were hilarious

But sales triggers can go beyond that stuff. You could be in An emotional mood for a certain type of book. Or maybe you are looking to experiment with something new. Or perhaps you are buying the book as a gift for someone and think it sounds like something they’d like.

Triggers should be seen as something:

·         You can state easily and simply – if you have to explain things too much then it is not a trigger
·         That helps the potential reader identify with the book – a book about a baseball championship team released during the spring training is perfect for fans
·         That sounds exciting, new, interesting, and timely or relevant to the reader’s life or status
·         That appeals to a genre’s fan base
·         That speaks to a specific demographic, such as 20-something women; middle-aged white guys; African American youth; Latin immigrants
·         That ties real-world events to the book’s subject or theme

Readers like all kinds of books but if you want to appeal to the masses or large niches you will need to find and highlight the sales triggers. It is not enough for a book to be well-written, interesting, even page-turning. It needs to be promoted in a way that invites potential readers in.

Do you like psychological thrillers in which escorts bare their souls and bodies? Do you prefer a look at turn-of-the-century romance in 1904 France? Do you like a book of political intrigue that raises questions about the most controversial president in the past 50 years?

Let your sales triggers be summed up as the benefits offered by your book. What will be the take-aways? Will it be a promise to attain wealth, youth, or health? Will it be to find love and a lasting relationship? Will it be to learn how to navigate through some type of challenge?

Whatever triggers you have, start pulling them, and hope to hit your target.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2013 ©

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