Saturday, May 2, 2015

Do You Really Know Why People Buy Your Book?

It sounds like a dumb question, but do you know why people buy your book? It’s not the same question as: Why do you think your book is good?

You may logically think that people buy your book because it’s good, but they don’t.  They buy it because they hope or think it’ll be good.  They don’t know how good it is until they actually read the whole book.

So what can be done to convince another to believe your book will be good?  How do you play into their perceptions?

First, you should identify who you feel is your targeted reader demographic.  Look at things such as age, education, sex, location, and other census-type indicators.  Then think of specific characteristics.  Is your reader one who likes something that you feel translates to who would read your book?  For instance, if your novel is about an auto theft ring would it appeal to people who love cars?  Or who work in law enforcement?

Second, think about what’s new, unique, or different in your book.  Do you have a strange character in your novel, or if it’s non-fiction, is there a special resource or bit of information revealed that isn’t found elsewhere?

Third, how does your book compare to the competition within your genre?  What can you boast that no similar book can?

Fourth, does the book feel and look cool?  Is it designed and laid out in such an appealing way?

Fifth, all things being equal in content, author status, and layout, is your book less expensive?

Sixth, would people buy a book because of who wrote it?  Of course.  People follow celebrities, best-selling authors, and people who are credentialed experts.  If you don’t have any of that going for you, what can you highlight about your experiences, positions held, people that you’ve met, or ideas that you share that will convince people you are a worthy personality with an interesting take on the world?

Let’s go back to my original question: Why do people buy your book?  Do you know now?

Sometimes we guess or make assumptions as to why people buy anything from us.  You should just ask: What motivated your purchase today?  Maybe they read a positive review.  Maybe your book cover and jacket copy drew them in.  Perhaps it was bought as a gift for someone who likes the subject matter that you wrote on.  It could be a friend, relative or colleague who bought it as a favor to you.  Find out why people buy – and you’ll learn how to sell better.

To sell your book it takes many things to go right.  You need copies of your books to be where your targeted reader exists. You need to have an opportunity to hand-sell them.  You need to find people who want what you have. you need to say just enough to lure them in.

The selling of most books is not done face-to-face and in-person.  It’s done by e-mail, website, catalog, mass mailings, and social media.  It’s done via ads and word-of-mouth recommendations.  So how do you influence each of these sales points if you can’t be there to seduce and charm your buyer?

Your words will need to do the work.  The descriptive copy that you write on a blog or in an email is what your book becomes.  Sixty-five thousand words get reduced to a few hundred.  You’ll need to induce a sale based on what you say about yourself and the book.  What will you say?

For guidance, look at what others do and borrow what you like.  Experiment and see what works best.  Where possible, seek out in-person sales opportunities – bookstore signings, library appearances, speaking engagements, taking a booth at a community book fair, and meeting with retailers to convince them to at least carry a few copies of your book.

People buy on perceptions, even misperceptions.  Appeal to their usual pressure and desire points:

·         Sex, love, lust, nudity, beauty
·         Money, greed, financial security, wealth
·         Power, politics, and domination
·         Family, children, parents
·         Self-help, advice, motivation
·         Entertainment, celebrity, fun, sports, fame
·         Faith, religion, God
·         Morality, ethics, and justice
·         Culture and community
Safety, victimization, bullying, crime
·         Overcoming a loss or solving a problem
·         Battling addiction: booze, weight, drugs, smoking, gambling, sex

Start to track or note who bought your book and why.  Look for patterns.  Use this feedback to help you to sell to others.  You may think people buy your book for one reason but it may turn out they buy for other reasons.  Once you know why people buy from you, the selling process becomes simplified and easier.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. 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 © 2015

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