It’s a tough question. If you put ‘convert marketing to sales’ into Google, you’ll find a wealth of advice, but very general. Book specific advice ranges anywhere from ‘change your cover’ to ‘build a mail list.’ None of this is bad advice except it’s again marketing.
So how do you know what promotion to get behind? Thankfully, Digital Book World regularly asks and attempts to answer just that.
Q: “What motivations do readers have for buying specific books?”
A: Entertain, Inform, Obligation, Gift or Impulse (some of the original 8 combined here)
Q: Are these activities still effective, and what actually works in today’s market?
A: What activities will maximize product 1) directly in front of the customer, 2) in their core attention at that moment and 3) available for immediate purchase
Thinking about these 2 articles got me to thinking about how I purchase books. We writers like to think we’re special, but really our buying habits should tell us a thing or two about our readers.
Entertain – I like to think I’m very creative, but I have very specific tastes. And while I may go outside my comfort zone once in a while, I buy books to read for entertainment. So I buy what I know will match my tastes. Writers might sneer at formulas, but that’s what the reader wants, only fresh. So include the HEA or whatever in your world building and promote that!
Directly in Front of Customer – I personally get tired of email, newsletters, tweets, posts, etc. There’s a lot out there! But I do want to know who’s got a new book available and when. So I have regular places I check periodically to see what my favorite authors are up to. Do you make PR announcements in different places and different times to connect with your followers and non-followers? What channels do you use besides Facebook or Twitter?
It’s easy to get distracted with all the options available for promotion and it’s easy to forget that our personal preferences are not the key question here. I had to write this twice to get away from the usual discussion of price and editing and start to think about what makes me take the book off the shelf and up to the cash register. But now that I’ve identified those triggers, I’m re-thinking my positioning and PR both!
What would make you want to buy your book?