Many authors and others who have developed products and services realize they need marketing, but what some want is growth without change. For instance, this is an excerpt from a conversation with a new author about marketing his book after he had no sales for more than six months on Amazon.
CLIENT: Can you help me market my book?
MARKETING REP: I read it, and it needs some editorial work, namely editing. CLIENT: Well, the people who’ve read my book say it’s good. MARKETING REP: You want the book to be great, not just good enough for family and friends. CLIENT: I think it’s good enough. I just want the book out there so more people will read it. MARKETING REP: You do realize that the number one form of advertising is and always has been word of mouth. If people think something is really good, they will spread the word. Let’s start by giving copies away to people who will be ambassadors, such as bloggers. CLIENT: We shouldn’t have to give books away. People will like it and want to buy it because the book is about something everyone wants and needs – SEX. MARKETING REP: There are lots of books about sex. Have you read any of the more popular authors, such as… CLIENT: I don’t want to read their books because I want my style to be original. MARKETING REP: [Changing the subject from content] Your book is about 7,000 words, so maybe you should consider lengthening it to justify your price. Right now, it’s not competitively priced. CLIENT: How much money will I make if I change the price? MARKETING REP: How much money have you made at the current price? CLIENT: None, but… MARKETING REP: I don’t think we will be able to help you. This conversation exemplifies someone who believes that marketing is based on what he likes, not the target audience. The author wants more sales and exposure without having to change anything about his previous attempts, including fundamental things like the product itself, pricing, and promotion. Here are the author’s mistakes in thinking about marketing:
- He is focused on making money, not the customer.
- He believes he can sell to anyone because the topic is popular.
- He thinks his friends are a better authority of what is marketable.
While this scenario may seem unlikely to some authors, many authors believe that they can simply write what they want and how they want it and the public will clamor for it because it’s interesting. Marketing a book is like marketing any other product; the packaging, pricing and promotion must be effective. Marketing is both a science and an art. This means you need as much imagination as you need research, which both involve change. Understand and accept this so you can ultimately find the right formula for success. -Annette Johnson