I see author after author spend money and time on book trailers and digital shorts and book-specific websites and splash pages and artwork and bookmarks and THINGS.
I see them show off their items proudly, because LOOK HOW PRETTY! THIS CLICKY PEN WILL CERTAINLY GET PEOPLE TO BUY MY BOOK!
But then there the box of pens sits. And sure, they hand out a few pens at conferences and at church or school or work, but they’ve still got a lot of pens. Not to mention that book trailer no one has viewed. That website that no one has gone to. That $0.99 ebook that was sure to entice people to buy the real book.
Why does this happen?
No one knows about the clicky pens. Or the book trailer. Or the website. Or the super cheap ebook.
And the reason no one knows about these things is also the very reason that this person’s book isn’t selling. It’s not because the book is bad or boring or poorly written. It’s because no one knows it exists.
Let’s look at a really specific example …
You have a book. Yay! You hope people buy the book. I mean you’ve told your friends and family, right? That should count for SOMETHING.
But the numbers come back. Sales are bad. You haven’t even cracked 2,000 copies sold. You need to make a change. You start thinking about what it is that could make the book more enticing.
Eureka! You’re a great baker! Why don’t you put some free recipes together that coincide?
You slap the recipes online and sit back and wait just like you did before. Your numbers come from your publisher again. You STILL haven’t broken the 2,000 mark, and in fact, you’re going in the opposite direction because of all those returns!!
Why is this happening?!
You check your recipe downloads. It’s pitiful. Clearly not helping. But how do you get people to download your recipes?! And then how do you get them to buy your book! ARG! Now you have TWO things to promote!!!!
So now what? Maybe create a book trailer? Maybe a short story ebook? Maybe….
Maybe the problem isn’t with the things you’re creating, but with how you’re marketing those things.
Now I know I’m going to have people say that such-and-such an idea worked great for them. And yeah, these ideas can work! A list of recipes that coincide with your book could do amazingly well if you’ve already established your blog as a hub for foodies and home chefs. OR the recipe idea could work if it’s backed by a solid marketing plan … a strategy as to how you’ll push the content out into the world and in front of the people who would care about it.
I have cards on hand that I used to give away for my marketing ebook. I’d distribute them at conferences. It worked like a gem—a great reminder that my book existed. But the cards in and of themselves weren’t a big deal. The big deal was that I was at the conference, surrounded by the very people who comprised my target audience.
Bottom line: YOU HAVE ALREADY CREATED SOMETHING. You created your book. Now is the time to step out of the world of creation and into the world of relationships and networking. Get in front of the people who would typically read your book (and no, your author friends don’t count). Engage them. Befriend them. Let them know your book exists.
THAT is marketing. And THAT will sell your book.