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Why isn’t my book selling?

From a client: 

My book is getting great reviews in places like Foreword Magazine, so why isn’t it selling better?

My answer:

There are two kinds of marketing - push and pull. Anything that is primarily for "the trade" (publishing) is "pushing" your message into the channels so that they know about it, can put it in their system if desired, and even stock it in the stores if they feel that there is/will be consumer demand. That includes most reviews, ads in trade publications, shows like BEA, etc. 

The other side of the equation - pull marketing - is marketing to the consumer so that they will "pull" the book through the trade channels. You have to have both types of marketing to the target buyers in order for your book to have robust sales.

The other parts of the puzzle are distribution (which you have), the product itself has to be done well (which you have) and it has to be priced right for the buyer - most people buying books today in your genre aren’t expecting a hard cover book and a higher than $20 price point, so that slows sales.

So you need to get the consumer to know about your book more widely - and that takes continuous exposure for as long as the book is selling.

So the question for you is what are you doing each month on an ongoing basis to create the consumer demand? There are lots of avenues to do that - radio, lifestyle stories in print or online, stories about parts of your book in article banks online, interviews in print, broadcast and online, live appearances and more.

Make yourself a calendar of your activities each month that are media related - make sure your distributor knows about all the media you are doing each month so they can tell the stores. If you have 2-4 things every month that are national or strongly regionally focused, you will see sales increase.

 

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2 Responses to “Why isn’t my book selling?”

  1. Paul Krupin says:

    Why do so many authors think that book reviews are the ticket to book sales? I mean when was the last time you read a book review and went out and bought it? Ask a book reviewer and many of them will tell you that few people really believe them anyway.

    A book review is only one type of message that will hopefully get people to take action. It may not be the best type of message and it is certainly not located in the best media to trigger sales. I mean how many people read Foreword magazine and how many of the books written in that magazine are purchased as a result?

    The best type of message is one that has been developed, tested and shown to galvanize interest and action. If you are using articles, then they have to be so galvanizing and entertaining, that a reader falls in love with what you are all about and wants more right away. The articles that tend to do that the most are human interest feature stories. They tend to be dramatic, personal, tell a story of achievement in the face of adversity and also have some element of humor.

    These galvanizing story articles also have to be successfully placed in the right media — the media that “your people” (your target audience) will typically read, watch or listen to when they are particularly receptive to taking action. This means you need to target media very carefully and achieve quality coverage in the right media.

    Book reviews in book review publications won’t generally even reach the right people. You need to create custom media lists that do identify the right media. Then you need to give them the galvanizing feature story material that they need to make money off you as the contributor.

    This is how you not only sell books, but get a professional reputation for being a superb writer and a capable contributor in whatever your particular areas of expertise or literature is all about.

    Paul J. Krupin, Direct Contact PR
    Reach the Right Media in the Right Market with the Right Message
    http://www.DirectContactPR.com Paul@DirectContactPR.com Blog.DirectContactPR.com
    800-457-8746 (TF US) 509-531-8390 (Cell) 509-582-5174 (Direct)
    Free eBook download http://www.directcontactpr.com/files/files/TrashProof2010.pdf

  2. admin says:

    Thanks Paul for your excellent comments. You are talking about the “pull” side of the promotional puzzle which is how you get consumers to ask for the book.

    My client was focused on the “push” side - to the trade, having distribution, etc., but has done little on the “pull” side. Good insight from you as usual. Thanks.

    Carol

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"And I thought after 40 years of writing, I could write a sales letter... WRONG! Carol White's letter went beyond my imagination and into the sales stratosphere. Thanks, Carol! " -- AD Walker