The 3 Pillars Of Selling More Books
by Beth Bacon
In the digital book marketplace, individual authors fight in the same ring with legacy publishers. The big publishers have an advantage: the power of their reputations grabs the notice of readers. Indie authors and publishers struggle for any attention at all. The “little guys” can overcome this disadvantage if they build their careers around three strategic pillars: brand curation, relationship marketing, and, finally, creating quality books.
Pillar 1: Brand Curation
Successful authors don’t just write books. They build their careers. Bestselling authors don’t become a household name on the sales of just one book. (Okay, there’s Harper Lee, but To Kill A Mockingbird is an epic exception). Successful writers become known within their niche. They build series, work in a single genre, and develop a clear, focused brand.
Know your audience
Authors who sell a lot of books know their readers. Elmore Leonard recently passed away at age 87. In its eulogy of the late, great crime writer, the business radio show Marketplace ran an old interview with Leonard in which a reporter suggested he should write about Wall Street. After all, he joked, the place is full of criminals. “But I don’t write that,” Leonard replied without even pausing, “My people don’t have stock. I think it’s the most boring thing in the world.” Leonard knew his audience and wrote for them specifically.
Center it all on your website
A major part of curating a great career is running an effective web site. High-selling authors treat their online presence like it’s the hub of the universe—because, for their fans, it is. Take a look at John Green’s Tumblr page. http://fishingboatproceeds.tumblr.com/ Green is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars, Looking for Alaska, and other YA novels. His posts are fun, educational, and often have nothing at all to do with his books. But they all have everything to do with the worldview of his teen audience. Green uses YouTube and Twitter and a bunch of other social media vehicles as avidly as the teenagers who read his books. But his single Tumblr web site connects to them all. It’s his hub, the one solid place his fans can track the many balls that John Green juggles.
Finally, to have a great career as a writer, don’t be trendy, be yourself. Erotica is big right now. But if you are more comfortable writing PG romances, don’t add titillating scenes just to jump on the racy bandwagon. Stick with your voice, be true to your own sensibilities. Readers are very canny at picking up inauthenticity.
- Why Do We Read? (urbantimes.co)
- Elmore Leonard, the ‘Dickens Of Detroit,’ passes away at 87 (dnaindia.com)