It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous. Robert Benchley
If you are a writer and you want to make money with your books, then you are a business. This is the message that comes through loud and clear as I criss cross the internet researching how other people have become successful selling their books. It is a discipline.
Once you’ve adjusted to this mind shift, then you can get on with the business of marketing yourself and your book. The first move is to create a road map of how you will go about selling your book. Building a successful business requires capital. I know this is a delicate topic, but one that needs to be met head-on. If you think you can do this without spending something, then you are selling yourself a load of rubbish. How much are you willing to spend on marketing? How about products or services of other people? What is necessary to meet your goal? This does not mean a lot of money needs to be set aside, it only means that this should be a well thought out process.
Once a realistic budget has been set, tap into your social networking circles. This is easier said than done. Research shows that the more people see your ad, the more they trust the product. Don’t post your ad one time and wait for the money to roll in. It takes a minimum of seven times for your ad to be viewed before it becomes effective. It is suggested that you run the ad once a week for 2 months. This is, of course, after you have built this social platform into a marketing machine that welcomes your ads.
Marketing your book into a best seller is far easier if you have a large platform from which to spring off. Trissa Tismal calls this platform, a fan base or a tribe. Simply put, it is a group of people interested in what you have to say and love your work. How do you build an online tribe that acts as a sturdy platform? Building this group must be a priority that can start well before you’ve finished your first piece of work. A writer must use the 90/10 rule. When you are connecting with people on or off line, then expect to give them value rich content 90% of the time while trying to sell your book only 10% of the time. I thought this was an extremely useful guideline that Ms. Tismal shared and it makes a lot of sense.
Be generous. Share your knowledge. Be there to offer information to others. This creates a sense of trust and appreciation between you and your tribe. Another way to do this is to connect people within your network. Introduce them to each other if you think they will benefit from it. People will be impressed that you thought about them enough to make this gesture. Above sharing your knowledge and connecting people together, be very generous sharing your heartfelt wishes with them. Cheer them on if they’ve been successful and support them if they need a kind word. Sharing emotions establishes a greater sense of community and trust.
Once that platform is established, try giving people a free sampling of your book. Set up your website or the messaging system of your social network where visitors can give their name and email address so they can download a few chapters of your story. Ms. Tismal even suggests that you can be creative and give out something other than your book that will bring in people and give them a sense of what you do. I believe this is a strategic bit of advice because for every person who gives you their email and reads your material, they then become new members of your tribe. You will be able to communicate with them regularly through email, articles, teleseminars etc.
Don’t forget to let your friends and family that aren’t on social networking sites be included in your efforts. Use a phone call, an email or the old fashioned letter in the mail to let them know about your book. You can ask them to put in a good word for you with their friends and to make a referral sale. You CAN go viral on and off the computer, it just takes effort. My friend, Melissa Ohnoutka, joined her mother’s book club after they read her book (on her mother’s urging). They, in turn, told their friends how much they liked it and how enjoyable it was to have Melissa come to their club. It’s much like a pebble dropping in a pond and the concentric circles spreading out across the still water. The pebble is our effort and it will bring results that reach far beyond our little corner of the world.