Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Your Readers Will Help You Market and Sell Your Book

Our readers know better than we do why something is of value.

A reader of one of my how-to books wrote a review that I will not soon forget. As it turns out, I have a connection with this particular individual—someone I met on social media who had posted a message in a forum. She was seeking help with a technical issue. After contacting her with a solution to her problem, I also mentioned that I had written a book that covers other common issues associated with her type of project. She graciously thanked me for assisting her and told me that she would order the ebook I had recommended.
In the review she wrote for Amazon, she was very specific about why she gave the book five stars: after many attempts of trying to fix the problem through other means, this particular book was able to answer her questions and solve her problems, without “advanced degrees from M.I.T.,” as she wrote. By telling that story, she opened up a new avenue for marketing that I wasn’t able to come up with on my own. This book helps people who need really simple instructions and, perhaps, a little hand-holding while going through the process of formatting ebooks for Kindle.
This is just some of the power our readers have when it comes to spreading the word about self-published—or even traditionally published—works; if we take notice of the seeds they are planting, it can go a long way toward understanding how best to market a title.
Marketing can be one of the biggest hurdles for new authors. There are so many avenues for marketing a book these days it’s hard to keep track of them all—let alone know which one is going to be the best value for the money. However, when we invite others to share authentically what they like or dislike about a particular work, it gives self-publishing authors a new way of understanding how others view their work.
Making the best use of information can mean the difference between a marketing campaign that gets no traction and one that brings in more readers.
For nonfiction titles, where the emphasis is overwhelmingly on education, teaching, and the more technical sides of life (learning new things, etc.), producing content that others will find helpful is extremely important. Even if you are publishing fiction, you still need to create content that will keep readers engaged and/or entertained. If you are writing a novel about a dark underworld with sinister characters, those characters have to be believable. The setting has to be believable. Otherwise, readers will not enjoy the experience.
The point I am trying to make here is a simple but often overlooked territory in the world of marketing self-published books: our readers know better than we do why something is of value. A memorable story that reminds the reader of a more innocent time might encourage him or her to write a positive review. At the very least, it should convince him or her to tell someone else about the book. In the case of the person I mentioned earlier, it was being able to fix a problem she wasn’t able to successfully do elsewhere. That equals value in the eyes of the consumer.
As you are considering your marketing strategies, remember that it’s the end consumer that counts the most. Your readers will tell you how to market and sell your book. Making the best use of that information can mean the difference between a marketing campaign that gets no traction and one that brings in more readers. If you’re lucky, you will have readers, such as the one I have described above, who will write memorable reviews for your titles, too.
Thomas M. Hill is an author, book shepherd, and publishing consultant. His latest release, The Author Toolkit: Publishing Strategies for the Passionate Author, is a motivational and practical resource guide to successful self-publishing and book promotion. He is humbled to have played a small part in the success of his bestselling author clients’ titles. He enjoys meeting new authors and offers free consultations on all services. Follow (or engage with) Thomas @launchpadpress.

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