Sell More Books

Fourth Quarter Pic

How to Sell Books

Perception marketing: A great book doesn’t just appeal to the target audience, but attracts the target audience.

  • A fantastic cover that the target audience loves. “Wow, look at that!” “That looks like a great read.”
  • A title that creates interest, is easy to remember, and indicates what to expect. Three words or less for fiction, but informative and including keywords for nonfiction.
  • A killer blurb that creates interest, flows well, has the right vocabulary and writing style for the target audience, and clearly shows what to expect, but doesn’t give away too much. Concise for fiction, separated into bullet points for nonfiction.
  • A look inside that looks professional, catches interest immediately and engages it throughout, and delivers on the expectations created in the blurb.

Delivering on the promise:

  • A great book that engages the reader’s interest throughout and exceeds the expectations created in the blurb and look inside.
  • A story that generates strong emotions, balances opposite emotions, and pleases the reader so much that the reader craves more. Nonfiction that provides excellent content and presents it at the right level for the target audience.
  • A book that goes beyond expectations so that it generates many word-of-mouth sales.

Word-of-mouth sales are critical toward building strong and lasting book sales.

Change Your Perception

You want to create a fantastic perception for your book. Start with the perception that you have when you are developing the concept, choosing the title, writing the book, editing, formatting, designing the cover, writing the blurb, perfecting the look inside, and marketing:

  • Don’t think: “I’ve seen books with worse covers sell,” or, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Think: “I want the target audience to drool when they see this cover.” Do: Spend time on your cover, tap into available resources, get feedback, get help if necessary.
  • Don’t think: “I’ll just get this book out there and see what people think.” Think: “I want to know that the target audience will love this book.” Do: Get feedback before you publish. Do you really want to risk selling just a few books after all your hard work? Isn’t worth the extra effort—whatever it takes—to ensure a positive, lasting success?
  • Don’t think: “I want everyone to see my book.” Think: “How do I find and interact with my target audience?” Do: Learn effective marketing techniques.
  • Don’t think: “I need to scream loudest to get my book discovered.” Think: “How can I get my target audience to discover my book?” Do: Build a content-rich website with content that will interest your target audience, and write more quality books.
  • Don’t think: “I don’t know if it’s worth investing in editing, formatting, or cover design because I might not even sell 100 books.” Think: “I want to write a book that people will love, which has a significant audience (it’s okay if it’s a niche audience; in fact, that may be a plus), which will sell enough to make an initial investment worthwhile.” Do: Your research on top-selling, self-published books similar to yours. Study covers, blurbs, titles, look insides, copyright pages, title pages, first pages, author pages, blogs, and marketing tactics.
  • Don’t think: “That reviewer is personally attacking me.” Think: “My book evoked a strong opinion,” and, “Is there anything useful I can take from this review?” Do: Focus on writing more books and marketing effectively. New sales will help to generate more reviews. Quality content will help achieve valuable word-of-mouth sales, which will help to offset any negative reviews.
  • Don’t think: “Let me try to summarize my book.” Think: “My blurb needs to generate interest, engage the reader, and make the reader curious.” Do: Study effective blurbs of similar books, especially top-selling self-published books.
  • Don’t think: “___ doesn’t matter as much as ___.” (Fill in the blanks as you please.) Think: “Let me excel at my strengths, shore up my weaknesses, and achieve good balance,” and, “Let me get it all right, not just part of the book.” Do: Assess your strengths and weaknesses, and strive to improve.
  • Don’t think: “This will do.” Think: “I want my book to be fantastic.” Do: Your best to make that happen.

Visualize an amazing book from cover to cover, and the packaging and marketing, too. Work hard to make your vision a reality.

Don’t settle. Put in the time, effort, and research to achieve a wow-factor.

Chris McMullen

Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.


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Nonstandard Tipping: Tips for Other Professions (Without Paying $$$)

We all know to leave a tip at a restaurant indicative of how much we appreciated the table service.

But if you really enjoy a product or service of other kinds, you can reward the provider with another kind of tip.

No, it’s not another way to spend your hard-earned cash. These other kinds of tips just cost you a moment of your time.

And might have a small impact on your prospects of being able to enjoy similar products or services in the future.

Suppose a new small business opens in your community. You try it out, and you’re highly impressed.

What should you do?

No, you don’t find the owner and leave him a little cash. That’s not appropriate.

Instead, you could spread the word to friends and family, you could return to that business the next time you need a similar product or service, and you could even write a nice review for it (there are places for this online, or you may have a blog with a relevant audience).

Many of us already do this to some extent. Definitely, if we have a good experience with a business, we’ll consider coming back. That’s automatic.

Some of us tell friends and family.

Most of us probably don’t think to rate the business online or leave a review.

Except for certain kinds of products. It’s becoming more and more common to review books and movies, for example.

Spreading the word and leaving reviews helps reward a business for providing useful products and services at reasonable prices.

Such marketing may actually play a role in whether or not the business thrives.

If you discover a new product that you love, but never tell anyone about it, and suddenly the product is no longer available. Well, if you had helped spread the word, maybe the product would still be available.

What if you try out a product or service, and it turns out to be bad?

It’s interesting to draw an analogy with restaurant tipping.

If you receive lousy service at a restaurant, what do you do? Leave a smaller tip. Maybe even no tip at all.

I bet you wouldn’t ask the waiter or waitress to pay you a tip instead!

Normally, poor service results in a lesser tip, great service in a better tip.

So if you receive lousy service, perhaps the right thing to do is simply not to use the same product or service again. Spread the word about other products or services that you like better.

Saying bad things about the product or service is kind of like asking the waiter or waitress to leave you a tip.

But sometimes it’s necessary. When table service is really awful, you might talk to the manager. Similarly, if a product or service is really awful, you don’t want your friends and family to use it either, so you want to warn them.

Although, saying good things about a product or service that you like better has much the same effect as saying bad things about the product or service that you don’t like. You can choose to focus on positive thoughts about a good product or service instead of negative thoughts about a bad one. You’ll probably feel better this way, too.

For example, if I love a book or movie, I will leave a good review for it. If I don’t like it, I just won’t leave any review at all. It would have to seem particularly deceitful for me to consider leaving a bad review – like advertising a novel when it’s really a short story. Even then, someone else will be all too happy to leave the bad review, so I may as well stay positive and not bother with those unhappy thoughts.

Recently, a new restaurant came into town. We love it: Great food, great service, great prices (usually, you only get two out of the three, at best). We go there frequently, spread the word, and I even went on Google to leave a review. That was my tip. 🙂

Chris McMullen, self-published author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers