This is a marketing post, but it’s actually about false advertising. As such, I felt that this title may indeed be appropriate. 🙂
Just in case you really had your hopes up, you might not have understood correctly. This post probably isn’t going to show you how to sell hundreds of books a day. This post is about false advertising.
And just in case you’re trying to read what you want to hear: This post is NOT going to show you how to sell hundreds of books a day through false advertising. At best, it may convince you that if you try this, your book’s days will be numbered.
Now it’s probably clear to everybody. 🙂 Unfortunately, I suppose that 90% of the traffic won’t make it past this line. Well, there isn’t anyone to blame but myself.
That’s a shame, too, because the 90% who just left probably need to read the following sentence. If it sounds too good to true, like a get-rich-quick scheme, it probably is.
Well, maybe it doesn’t really matter. If they were searching a for get-rich-quick scheme, they probably weren’t going to take my advice.
The real point of this post is that false advertising isn’t always so obvious. Sometimes it’s subtle. Some people even do it to some extent without realizing it.
A common form of false advertising is over-hyping a product, event, or service so that it seems better than it really is.
Creating buzz is a useful marketing tactic. But it has the danger of promising too much. When it doesn’t live up to the hype, word spreads through reviews and conversations. Although hype can generate many initial sales, the total sales may be greatly reduced if excited customers don’t feel satisfied.
I’m not saying not to try to create buzz; just to be careful what you promise. You want people to look forward to it, but not to expect more than will be delivered.
Another form of false advertising is writing a blurb that makes a great sales pitch, where you get a little carried away with the sales part. For many online sales, the blurb is the only salesperson at the point of sale. So it’s important for the blurb to be effective at drawing interest from the target audience and inspiring sales. At the same time, an over-hyped blurb can lead to negative product reviews.
One more example of false advertising is packaging that targets a wider audience, but the wrong audience. This tactic is generally quite ineffective. Most people will just be frustrated when they realize the product isn’t for them, and the few who unknowingly make the purchase are likely to show their frustration through product reviews. Packaging is most effective when it targets the appropriate audience.
Okay, I lied. This post is all about how to sell hundreds of books per day. I just didn’t want the greedy people to take advantage of the secret, so I motivated them to not read all the way to the end of this post. Whereas if you’ve followed my blog for a while, you knew I wouldn’t mislead you. 🙂
It’s very simple, really:
- Research the kinds of book ideas that become bestsellers, along with the type of storyline, characterization, and writing that they use to achieve this.
- Have the talent, creativity, background, and do the necessary research to write such book.
- Write a killer book where the storyline and writing appeal to a wide audience.
- Perfect the book from cover to cover; get your book professionally edited and formatted.
- Design a killer cover and write a killer blurb that attract your target audience.
- Choose a short, catchy title that your target audience will love.
- Write more books like this to create a hot series.
- Research successful marketing and publicity strategies and study the marketing and publicity habits of top-selling authors who went from nobody to famous.
- Apply what you learned about marketing and publicity brilliantly to become as famous as a celebrity.
- Build a large following prior to publishing and spend months on effective pre-marketing.
- Permanently discount the first book. At the right time, put the entire series on sale for one day only and promote the daylights out of this sale, with and without paid advertisements; but only do this very rarely so nobody waits for it.
- Find an experienced publicist whom you can verify turned nobodies into bestselling authors, get this person’s attention and interest in your book, hire this person at any cost (and an experienced attorney to iron out the contract), and get this person to advise you before you even start writing your first book (you’ll be directed to get help every step along the way, from the writing to contacting a recommended agent).
- Exhibit extraordinary self-motivated diligence, develop key connections and relationships, and be very patient.
- Streak naked through a major, widely televised sporting event with your book cover quite visibly tattooed on your chest (shave first, if needed), but first be very sure that the networks will actually show you while you do this (which may require hefty bribes and threats), but do so slowly and calmly, facing the cameras, so everyone gets a good, long look. When you’re sitting in jail, please remember that I advised you NOT to do this. (I said I’d show you how to sell a hundred books a day, but I didn’t say I’d advise you to actually try it.)
- And, of course, just get lucky.
See, there’s nothing to it! 🙂
(And the 90% who left early weren’t going to do all this work anyway, so it doesn’t matter that the only false advertising was convincing them to leave.)
Now for some legal verbiage: Results are not guaranteed. Results described may not be typical. Sales of a hundred books a day may only last for one day, give or take (most likely take) a day. Offer void in the Milky Way galaxy and anywhere else prohibited by law.
Chris McMullen, author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers, Vol. 1 (formatting/publishing) and Vol. 2 (packaging/marketing)
I haven’t read your article before but I still decided to read it till the end, thinking if he has brought me here, he might have something worth sharing…I got lucky. 🙂
Welcome. I’m glad you kept going. 🙂
You’re so great Chris – thank you for making me smile! 🙂
We should abandon Likes and Follows to just have Smiles instead. That’s what really counts. 🙂 🙂 🙂
Good sense of humor, Chris! You had me going in circles. Bottom line: false advertising creates enemies.
I’m glad you thought so. 🙂
That’s a great point about creating enemies. We need all the support we can get, but definitely can’t afford to create enemies if we can help it.
That streaking idea would be great if my favorite team wasn’t doing bad. Probably wouldn’t get the amount of publicity I wanted. Better luck next season. Great advice and article.
I know how you feel. Teams should pay me big $ to root for a different team. 🙂 If I tried the streaking idea, there would be a blackout or major traffic jam somewhere so the event was hardly populated, and even then it would be a bad idea because everyone would just avert their eyes. Maybe I should have mentioned paying someone else to do the streaking. 🙂
Or it would be bring your kid to the game for free day. Then you get on a list. 😉
Getting on that list may even be worse than being mentioned in an obituary; especially, the combination of being listed and going to jail promptly afterward. 🙂
It’s definitely the worst group to be a member of.
Hahaha, some sound advice and humor too! I would have to agree with Charles. there are some lists you don’t want to be on, no matter how popular.
Thank you. 🙂 Such lists should be extremely UNpopular.
I am in a big fight with Amazon over false advertising right now. When “Happiness as a Second Language” was in the Top 100 of Kindle sales last week, they had it as the #1 Happiness book (YAY!) and the #1 book in two different Parenting categories. Parenting! There is nothing about parenting in the book, so seeing those categories either encouraged people to buy it, who will now be disappointed, or kept people from buying it who don’t want books about parenting. It took five days and dozens of emails and support submissions to get it changed, but I still think Amazon owes me. My big ad buy was in the first half of the week, and I think they hurt me with those categories. False advertising is disastrous for an indie author. Make sure you get those categories right!
Definitely, the wrong category can confuse buyers and deter sales. It’s important for authors to check their categories periodically, and to realize that Amazon may add categories at any time (and so not to blindly think they will only be what we selected when the book was published).
That’s terrible timing for the category issue to come right when you place a big ad. If it were just ordinary times, five days wouldn’t seem so bad, but when you’ve got that ad running and the category can have a big impact, that’s got to be very frustrating.
I hope things work out well. Your book will certainly make many people happy, and when customers have to pay for a book, they show more wisdom about checking the product description (when it’s free, however, many don’t seem to look at all). I hope your story has a happy ending.
I’d like to hear more about your ad. Feel free to tell me by email, if you don’t want to get into that in the comments. I’m very curious. 🙂
Chris, I’m happy to reply publicly, so that all of your readers can benefit. My audiobook became available on 10/1. I spent two weeks getting advanced reviews, then wanted to drive a lot of people to the Amazon sales page.
“Happiness as a Second Language” had sold for $6.99 up to that point, so I marked it down to $0.99 from October 15-31. (After the sale, it will go to its permanent price of $4.99.) To get attention for the sale, I bought ads on BookBub ($160, run on 10/20), Book Gorilla ($40, run on 10/22), Kindle Books & Tips ($25, run on 10/24) and Book Blast ($20 to run on 10/28). It also got picked up by a lot of book bloggers and newsletters, probably because it was such a big discount ($6.99 to 99 cents), and also it helps that it has 47 reviews, averaging 4.9 stars.
That was likely a factor in getting accepted into BookBub, but what was probably a bigger factor was that I assured them that this was a 1-time only sale and it would never be this price again. I also gave them total flexibility to pick the date between 10/15 and 10/31. I will confess a little disappointment at being in a Sunday blast (as opposed to Tuesday-Friday, bigger book selling days), but that’s just the luck of the draw, I guess.
The book hit #1 in Happiness by midday Monday and has been there ever since, with one more paid ad to go, plus I am doing a lot of mailing-list work this weekend to drive even more traffic. By the end of the day Monday, I had more than broken even on all of the ad buys. I have a huge meeting this coming Monday and it will be very helpful to have the #1 Happiness book in America (on Amazon at least), so hopefully it will stay there, or close.
The big surprise in all of this was just how many audiobooks sold. By tonight, I will probably break 100, which amazes me, but I guess the plan worked — drive awareness of the book and traffic to the sale page, and people who prefer audiobooks will buy that instead. A few print books have sold as well, but not in spectacular numbers.
And just to reward anyone who’s read this far, I have five codes left for free audiobooks, so I will send those to the first five people who email me at Valerie@SpeakHappiness.com. The only think I ask in return is a review on Audible.com.
Hope that’s helpful. Feel free to ask any questions.
That is very helpful. One thing I really like to see here is effective use of these popular ads to promote paid books rather than free sales. Pricing in the $3.99 to $6.99 range instead of the 99 cents to $2.99 range makes this much more viable. Doing the promotion as a very rare event also provides a sense of urgency and removes the possibility of people waiting for your next sale.
I’m glad to hear about the audio book sales. I know there is a big market for them in the truck driving industry, for example. I’m surprised you’re not selling more paperbacks presently, as nonfiction is often convenient to have in this format. Your paperback in particular is quite beautifully formatted and worth holding that way.
Thank you for sharing your experience. I hope your happiness book continues to do well, since I know it will make a lot of people happy. 🙂
Sorry my post is so confusing. The ebook of “Happiness as a Second Language” has been available since May, and that’s what went on sale for 99 cents. That sale was to help launch the audiobook, which is priced by Audible.com, so I have no control over that price. Hope that clarifies.