Look, I’ve been in competition for years, selling all sorts of things from toe nail clippers to complicate computer systems to expensive automobiles. I know the best and worst practices of the sales process. having studied marketing and promotion, I also know the difference between strategy and tactics.
Some of things authors post online in an effort to gain attention of their recently published books cause me to shake my head. You see, as a rule, writers are not great strategic marketers or tactical salespeople. Some are and those tend to be best selling authors. We all aspire to being successful but to do that we must promote and sell effectively even if we have little or no direct experience. The good news is that you don’t have to be a professional marketer or salesperson to be a nest selling authors. You only need to be yourself and attract fans.
What most writers do wrong is focus on the book not the author’s brand. That is the major disconnect. It is like trying of sell someone a generic brand cf something with which they have no experience. Would you buy a car without knowing the manufacturer’s reputation?
Most writers who fail in becoming successful authors approach the marketplace as if it is a dog-eat-dog competitive environment with authors competing against one another for the exact same valued readers. Here’s what you need to realize that makes all the difference. You are not in competition with anyone except you.
The key is not your book. That is not as important as your author’s brand. Why? Readers could not care less about your book. As its writer, you are the only one who cares about your story until you persuade someone else to try it on as an alternate reality for the span it takes them to read it. Until a eager belies you can entertain them, he or she will not buy your book.
From a reader’s perspective they have already heard every possible pitch you are gong to use to promote your book. They are skeptical because they have bought books before and not been satisfied wight he content. This is especially true of indie books where it is more common to find errors and the perceives quality of the work is lower. Let’s set aside the fact that many books from major publishers that have spent upwards of two years editing and designing a book have errors in the finished product. It happens. But when it happens to an indie author, it is almost always blamed on self publishing.
How you gain a readers attention depends on how well you communicate one essential thing to the reader. What makes your book different. The answer is as obvious as your nose or anything else about your face. YOU are the only reason someone will want to buy your book.
Unlike other products, books don’t really have a set life cycle. Yes, I know the conventional wisdom that has come from traditional publishing, but in this modern age of eBooks those rules no longer apply. A book doesn’t need to generate all its sales in thirty or sixty days. Amazon and other eBook sellers do not have a limited number of shelves. Each virtual bookstore continues to add new publications everyday and each new offering has its own shelf. However, you want your book to be noticed, so you need to ensure it is displayed closer to the front of the virtual store. How? You need to establish your authors brand giving readers a reason to come looking for your book. That in turn will increase its likelihood.of your book being displayed near the to front of search engines.
So, how are you not in competition with every other author out there? It’s fundamental marketing. You are only in competition with other authors of any specific genre that you may target. If a product is unique enough, it will have no competition. That needs to be your goal in establishing your brand distinction as an author. It will also increase the universal appeal beyond any specific genre categorization The singularity of your book will attract the attention of readers who are always looking for the newest thing. It almost seems silly having to say it again, but the difference between your book and everyone else’s book is that you wrote it. Sell the reader on you as a writer and they will buy your book.
Since there cannot be anyone else in the universe exactly like you, you have no specific competition. That’s great news. Feel free to promote other authors and their brands because the overall goal is to grow the aggregate market of readers. Give everyone a reason to cuddle up with a new novel, whether eBook or printed page instead of allowing their minds to rot watching the inane drivel of a reality TV show on cable or satellite TV.
You’re the only one who can attract your fans. And yes, you may share fans with other authors because readers don’t read just one book. They do not follow only one author. The world of opportunity is large enough for every one to prosper and succeed if you first establish your particular brand.