Thursday, February 23, 2017

Creating "Demand" to Sell Books

Many authors mistakenly believe that it’s enough to just have their books on Amazon. What they don’t understand is that unless they purchase advertising through Amazon, free promotion through the company is virtually nonexistent. Best sellers enjoy some promotion by being named “best in new fiction”, but that kind of helpful promotion means the book is already selling. New books and low sales don’t get anything for free.

I recently had an author contact me with a really great question: how do you get your book to be more easily searchable. Again, books that are ranked lower in sales won’t be at the top of a nonspecific keyword search. For example, to find this author’s book requires the full title be input into Amazon. Its keywords aren’t enough to make it move to the top of the search because it’s not being routinely searched and clicked on. Other books with similar keywords and higher sales will come up first in a search. It’s similar to Google. What people click on the most often is what ranks at the top of the search.

I try to educate authors to help them understand that simply publishing a book and putting it out there won’t give them sales. Some authors think it should be enough. It’s just not going to work. Much like any product people have to know it exists to buy it. They won’t look for your book if they’ve never heard about it. Amazon’s system reacts to this demand and supply model. Most of the book industry works on demand and supply.

Thus, it’s up to the author and his/her publicist to create that demand. Your publicist promotes your book typically using a combination of traditional media relations combined with trending social media tactics. You really can’t have on method without the other. Although a social media focus can work if the author has targeted the right prospects. So whether or not you have hired a publicist to do this high level thinking for you or you’re doing it yourself, your first exercise should be to identify your primary, secondary and tertiary audiences.

Once you’ve identified your respective audiences, it’s time to promote to those audiences by identifying where the read and get their information. Then you must promote to those media outlets or through those social media services. If you’re promoting to traditional and online news sources, you’ll need a media kit and/or press release. You will also want to do customize pitches. You can create 4-5 different standard pitches, but you should personalize each one you pitch to its target editor/writer/journalist.

Do not throw pitches out there like tossing mud on the wall to see what will stick. Editors and writers know when the publicist hasn’t done his/her homework. They can spot generic pitches. They may think you don’t care enough to even look at their media or what they like to publish and read. Each pitch you should spend time trying to figure out the proper angle to take with that particular media source. It’s time well spent. One placement in what we in the business call a Tier 1 media source can quite literally create a best seller. So, it behooves you to do your homework. Once pitched and turned down, it’s unlikely another pitch will turn it around.

Now go sell, sell, sell! Till next week Friend-Os.

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