A lot of things factor into book sales, but part of the problem might be the marketing message and positioning of your book. These tips can help sort this out before, and even after, your business book has launched.
Have you written a business book – or any book – that isn’t selling to you expectations? It can be pretty frustrating and demoralizing. All those hours of work are not getting you the reward (or book sales) you sought; and perhaps more importantly, your expertise and insights are not helping the people who need them.
First, you should understand that just because the masses aren’t buying your book, that doesn’t mean they don’t want to read it. If you were able to get them past the cover, you might find readers are hungry for what you’ve written. It’s all about how you attract readers to discover and purchase your book in the first place. It’s not just a matter of marketing, cover design, and a catchy title – it goes well beyond that.
People only buy what they want, not what they need.
Think about it. Other than paying your rent, mortgage, or utility bills, when was the last time you paid for something you had no desire to buy – even if you knew you needed it? “Well,” you may say, “I bought a treadmill last year, which I knew I needed, even though I would rather have spent my money on ice cream and chocolates.”
That may be true, but you bought the exercise equipment because you wanted the benefits it was going to provide (especially because you previously chose the chocolates).
We spend money based on emotion; we don’t tend to buy with our rational mind. Even decisions which may appear rational to begin with have an emotional need behind them – often we’ll rationalize afterwards to justify the purchase. Books are no different. We have to want to buy a business book or a self-help book because of how it will improve our lives after we’ve read it. To generate that desire in your potential readers, you have to get them to feel an emotional connection with your book right from the start.
There are three ways you can spark an emotional connection with your prospective readers.
1. Be relevant. Is your book written about a topic your target audience really wants to know about? Not what you think they should be reading (because you know how important it is), but what they want to read?
This can be difficult. As the author, of course you believe your topic is of value, so it may be difficult to fathom that it might not feel so important to your potential readers. However, all is not lost. It might just take a tweak in your title or marketing to unveil the relevance your book will have to your chosen audience.
2. Sell the benefits. Does your book title get across the benefits to be gained from reading your book? This can come from the title, the subtitle (or strapline), or both. If you’ve already created a devoted readership as an established author, people may buy your book no matter what; if you’re not yet established, you’ll need to optimize your title to hook your readers.
If you’re finding it hard to settle on a magnetic title, check out my previous post, “How To Choose The Perfect Book Title.”
3. Target your cover design. Is your book cover design and blurb targeted to your potential reader? People buy with their eyes and want to be convinced there is value in what they are about to purchase. If they’ve got as far as reading your book’s sales copy, they’re probably willing to believe that what you’ve written is of benefit to them – but only if you tell them why.
So what do I do now?
If you’re in the book planning stage, you can have a massive impact on your book’s success by taking into account the first point: do some research and try to discern what your target audience wants to know about your area of expertise. Is it the same topic and angle you had planned? Go to Amazon and do an online search on some keywords related to what you’re intending to write. Are there other books on that subject which are selling well? If not, it may be this isn’t a fertile area for sales.
If you’ve already written your book, or if what you’ve read here doesn’t fit with your plans, don’t despair: it may be that a tweak in your content, title, or cover design is all that’s required. Or it could be a small but profound shift in how you market and sell your book.
For example, your book might be about why finding the right business partner is essential to success, with advice on how to do it. When you do your research, you may discover that people are looking for advice on this subject only after their existing business partnership is causing them problems. The opportunity might be for a book about what to do after they discover there’s a problem.
Of course, you know that the book your readers need is the one that helps them avoid the problem in the first place, but that’s not the book they’re desperate to buy. So you change the angle of it so that the title and content address the problem-solving side of business partnerships, and in doing so, explain how to create a great partnership in the first place (which could then drive your second title). Bingo! You’ve got a book which solves a real problem and stays true to your initial concept and area of expertise.
As a matter of fact, that’s what I did with the title for this blog post. I know that many authors will only think about this subject after they’ve been disappointed with their sales and not before, so I pitched it at writers whose books aren’t selling, when I could have titled it, “How To Make Sure Your New Book Sells.”
Similarly, depending on how you market and sell your book, you can tweak your message – and even your audience – to fit this new angle.
Image via ShutterStock.com.
How To Choose The Perfect Book Title
Choosing The One Brilliant Idea For Your Business Book
Book Cover Design Tips For Independent Authors
Why Self Publishing Is A Lot Like Growing Bamboo
How To Approach Publishing As A Business: The Importance Of A Book Proposal
The Dreaded Competitive Title Analysis