Confession time. Yes, you love writing. You love it when your words touch just one reader. And having a bunch of positive reviews is better than having a ton of sales. But admit it, earning at least enough money from your books to live comfortably so you can do nothing else other than write more books IS your ultimate dream. Isn’t it?
If it is (it’s mine), you have to accept the fact, at some point, that you are a salesperson. And you have to sell many things, but ultimately, you have to sell your books. Duct Tape Selling: Think Like a Marketer – Sell Like a Superstar by John Jantsch (also the author of Duct Tape Marketing and The Referral Engine) isn’t about book marketing, but there’s plenty of helpful advice for marketing books.
Build a Community
For an author, you can think of building a community like building a platform, a group of people who like you, your ideas, and/or your writing who are most likely to buy your books. Think about the seven touchpoints Jantsch talks about in the context of your book: know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat (other books), and refer.
Jantsch says that lead defining “is done most profitably when you can define an ideal prospect’s particular behaviors” (p. 34). Define your ideal readers as narrowly as possible so you know where to find them and what to say to get them to pick up your book.
Duct Tape Selling‘s advice about building a general platform is also pertinent to building an author platform. You can do this by blogging consistently without worrying about the number of readers because you’re looking to build a presence; podcasting; and collecting emails by trading something free. Jantsch says, “Sharing content is a great way to engage your buyers. Read what your buyers read and share that content across your social networks” (p. 139).
Write Every Day
I love the part of the book (p. 119) where Jantsch sings the praises of writing every day. There are seven great reasons to write every day, but here are my two thoughts on a couple that are especially good for authors:
#1 – To be a better salesperson. It helps you as an author to talk about your books, but it also helps you to improve your product (book).
#7 – To establish a name. Maybe someone will see your book, think “Hey, they write on that blog,” and buy it.
If you are at all interested in the broader picture of marketing books, I recommend Duct Tape Selling. If you are an author into the book selling game for the long haul (i.e. you want it to be your career), I strongly recommend it.