Many authors hear of publishing success stories and they wonder why they can’t break through and catch a lucky break. They look at those who have best-sellers and make such envious assumptions as these:
“Oh, if I had a publisher and received marketing support, my book would top the charts.”
“He is a celebrity, so of course his book sells.”
“She has corporate money to advertise the book.”
The above statements, and ones similar to them, can ring true sometimes, but often they are just the jealous rants of misinformed people who make wild assumptions regarding the success of fellow authors.
So, what is the truth regarding why some books take off while most languish with mediocre to awful sales?
Many books can experience sales success, due to myriad reasons. Let’s examine them:
Big Ad & Marketing Budget.
A number of books have large campaign budgets but this guarantees little if it is executed or planned poorly, which happens often. So, throwing money at a book can give it an edge, but plenty of big spends have led to few book sales. A lot of advertising does not pay off — unless it sells more than a regularly-priced book.
Authors can sell more books by giving content away. Let’s say you published four books in a series. Contemplate giving one away in order to draw in readers — if they get hooked, they will but the other books. Further, when people visit your site, give then a download of interesting/useful content for free in exchange for their email address. Build your list.
Pre-Order Bulk Purchases.
Sell to organizations and companies in exchange for services and or speaker fees.
Strong Book Reviews & Word-of-Mouth.
Those happen because you asked enough people at the right time. And because the book is good. Or you begged family and friends and paid for reviews.
Someone or Something In The News Is Connected To Your Book.
Take advantage of making headlines by piggybacking on others or hijacking the news cycle. Make the news your story.
Famous or Credentialed Author.
It certainly helps to be a somebody — or perceived as such — but don’t use your virtual anonymity as an excuse if sales lag. Every celebrity and best-selling author were unknowns at one time. It didn’t stop them.
Trade lists, reviews, social media posts, support, and advice with other writers.
Get off your butt and open your mouth. Bookstores, libraries, churches, schools, non-profits, trade organizations, companies, and government agencies all welcome speakers. Why not you?
Seek out praise from a known entity. Pay for it, if necessary.
Big Event That Feeds Sales.
Holding an event could lead to many book sales.
Apply for book awards. Winners and finalists earn bragging
There are many best-sellers on Amazon that really did not sell many copies. Learn how to manipulate these lists – and discover that it is only 50 book sales that are needed to land you on a best-seller list sometimes.
Use Of A Book Promoter.
Hire good talent to do a solid job on the needed things that you suck at, avoid like the plague, or are unable to do because of skill, time, knowledge, or access. Don’t cheap out but spend wisely.
Luck and Randomness.
You help make luck by putting yourself out there, but yes, sometimes just dumb luck is what happens.
What Dooms A Book Is A Long List:
* Not marketing a book. Expecting something for nothing. You can’t get discovered when you are invisible.
* Investing time and money into useless marketing campaigns and spending on the wrong things!
* Doing the right marketing campaigns but executing them poorly or hitting bad timing.
* Putting out a subpar book, or one with a crappy cover or an equally shitty title.
* Failing to be assertive, even aggressive.
* Not being creative.
* Failing to network or call upon it to help you.
* Doing only a few things decently but not accelerating at several or doing enough of other areas. You might master social media, for instance, but you may have a weak site, lack a blog, and ignore all other book marketing tools: speaking, traditional media, advertising, book reviews, online campaigns, book awards, etc. You need to do well in many areas.
What Works For Authors, In The End, Is:
* Having a good attitude and aptitude.
* Exuding optimism, confidence, and opportunism.
* Being energized, passionate, and focused.
* Using resources wisely: money, time, and connections.
* Investing time, money, and resources to succeed.
* Staying focused and discipline on getting what really needs to be done, on a consistent basis.
* Having a detailed marketing plan before your book is published and continues for a year post-publication.
* Networking your way to what you want.
Authors must generate, develop, and act on good ideas. Sometimes, an old idea that didn’t work now works. Or old ideas that worked can now be enhanced. Borrow ideas from other authors and industries. Be first, different, better, other. But above all else, ACT!!
Lastly, get help from others. Trade or barter. Beg others. Pay for what you need. Ask for favors or cash in on the ones due to you. Or, based on meritorious actions, you will get others to volunteer to help you.
- Will Rogers
"When you're committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results."
"THE ART OF BEING WISE IS THE ART OF KNOWING WHAT TO OVERLOOK."
Need Book Marketing Help?
Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, can be reached at email@example.com He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand. He has over 30 years of experience in successfully helping thousands of authors in all genres. Let him be your advocate, teacher, and motivator!
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About Brian Feinblum
Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2023. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent. This award-winning blog has generated over 3.3 million pageviews. With 4,400+ posts over the past dozen years, it was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by www.WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 years as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Todd Duncan, Susan RoAne, John C. Maxwell, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, Independent Book Publishers Association Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, APEX, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult: www.linkedin.com/in/brianfeinblum.