Here’s an excerpt from Successful Selling Tips for Introverted Authors to help you sell more books…
Perhaps the most important lesson I learned over the years was the difference between advertising, marketing, and sales, and how they all work in conjunction with each other. Here are their definitions as per The Free Dictionary (2015a):
• ad·ver·tis·ing (ăd′v r-tī′zĭng)
1. The activity of attracting public attention to a product or business,
as by paid announcements in the print, broadcast, or electronic media.
2. The business of designing and writing advertisements.
• mar·ket·ing (mär′kĭ-tĭng)
1. The act or process of buying and selling in a market.
2. The strategic functions involved in identifying and appealing to
particular groups of consumers, often including activities such as
advertising, branding, pricing, and sales.
• sell (sĕl)
v. sold (sōld), sell·ing, sells
1. To exchange or deliver for money or its equivalent: We sold our old
car for a modest sum.
2. To offer or have available for sale: The store sells health foods.
4. To be purchased in (a certain quantity); achieve sales of: a book
that sold a million copies.
To clarify, advertising is the vehicle you use to reach your target market of customers. Marketing is the language in which you choose to speak to them to pique their interest in your offering. And selling is the act of convincing them to buy from you—of coming right out and asking for the sale. The most successful salespeople harmonize all three of these components together in a well thought-out sales campaign, which I intend to teach you how to do in this book.
Since leaving that literary press and learning these new skills, I have achieved my goal and become a bestselling author. To date, my books have been publicly listed as bestsellers on Amazon’s Canadian, American, and United Kingdom ecommerce sites as well as in a traditional market—a prominent daily newspaper in one of Canada’s major cities.
I’ve published six books in total (you are reading the sixth one right now), including my two most recent titles that compile all my knowledge of the book publishing industry, as a whole, into two compact and easy-to-read volumes: How to Publish a Book in Canada … and Sell Enough Copies to Make a Profit! (Staflund, 2013) and How to Publish a Bestselling Book … and Sell It WORLDWIDE Based on Value, Not Price! (Staflund, 2014). I highly recommend picking up a copy of either of these books to complement the lessons you will learn in this one because they contain answers to basically every question you’ve ever had about how to write, publish, copyright, market, sell (online and traditional methods), price, print, and distribute a book anywhere in the world, no matter what book format you’re working with: ebooks, paperbacks, hardcovers, even audiobooks.
In this book, we’re going to focus on online advertising, sales, and marketing, alone. And, my introverted friends, I’ve got some good news and some bad news for you in this regard:
- Let’s start with the bad news
If you want your book to sell well, you have to be an active participant in the selling process. There is no way around this, no matter which book publishing business model you’ve published your book through: the traditional trade publishers, the vanity publishers, or the hybrid publishers. Authors are entrepreneurs. Your book is your business.
- And now for the good news
It is possible to sell your book all around the world using nothing more than a comfortable chair in your quiet writing room, a laptop, an Internet connection, and your own God-given talent for writing.
Need more convincing when I say that you have to be an active participant in the selling of your book for it to be truly successful? Okay.
Let’s talk about a well-known, bestselling book series you’ve no doubt heard of: Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield. In The Secret (Byrne, 2006), Jack discussed what it took for him to make his trade-published Chicken Soup book a success. Around the time he was first published, he said he was earning only eight thousand dollars per year. Then he went on to share with Byrne,
. . . so I said, “I want to make a hundred thousand dollars in a
year.” Now, I had no idea how I could do that. I saw no strategy, no
possibility, but I just said, “I’m going to declare that, I’m going to
believe it, I’m going to act as if it’s true, and release it.” So I did that.
About four weeks into it, I had a hundred-thousand-dollar idea. It
just came right into my head. I had a book I had written, and I said,
“If I can sell four hundred thousand copies of my book at a quarter
each, that’d be a hundred thousand dollars.” Now, the book was there,
but I never had this thought. (One of the secrets is that when you
have an inspired thought, you have to trust it and act on it.) I didn’t
know how I was going to sell four hundred thousand copies.
Then I saw the National Enquirer at the supermarket. I had seen that
millions of times and it was just background. And all of a sudden it
jumped out at me as foreground. I thought, “If readers knew about my
book, certainly four hundred thousand people would go out and buy
it.” About six weeks later I gave a talk at Hunter College in New York
to six hundred teachers, and afterward a woman approached me and
said, “That was a great talk. I want to interview you. Let me give you my
card.” As it turns out, she was a freelance writer who sold her stories to
the National Enquirer. The theme from “The Twilight Zone” went off
in my head, like, whoah, this stuff’s really working. That article came
out and our book sales started to take off. (pp. 96–97)
There are a couple of reasons for sharing this story with you that have nothing to do with spirituality or the lessons taught in The Secret. First and foremost, it clearly illustrates the realities of the traditional book publishing industry and just how small a royalty unknown trade-published authors can expect to earn from their books. (Only 25¢ per copy? Ouch! He would have to sell four hundred thousand copies of his book in order to earn his goal of $100,000? Yikes!) Second, this story also proves what I’ve been telling authors all along—that it’s up to you to sell your own book, no matter which type of publisher you’re working with: traditional trade publishers, vanity publishers, or supportive self-publishing houses.
Jack Canfield is the main reason why Jack Canfield became a bestselling author—not Jack Canfield’s publisher. Repeat that to yourself again. And again. And again. Until it sticks.
Once he got the ball rolling, Jack’s book sold millions of copies. And now? Years later, just his name can sell his books without that much effort on his part, no matter whom he publishes through. But he was the one who got that ball rolling in the beginning—much more so than his publisher. His publisher simply produced a professional, saleable version of his book for him and then supplied the distribution networks where Jack could direct people to buy it. Period. The same can be said for Fifty Shades of Grey, a vanity-published book by E. L. James that went viral via social media marketing and was later picked up by a subdivision of Random House, a trade publisher that wanted a cut of those sales (Wikipedia, 2015d). And the same can be said for what will need to happen to get the ball rolling for your book.
Even if you decide to hire a publicist as yet another vehicle to increase the exposure of your book through the mainstream media (which we will discuss as an option later on), you still have to be able to explain the many virtues of your book’s topic matter to the publicist’s company so they can explain those virtues to the media on your behalf. You have to first sell it to your publicity firm before it can convince the media to pick up the story.
Once you can reconcile yourself to this fact and commit yourself to actively selling your own book, you’ve already won half the battle right there. You’ve put yourself in the driver’s seat and are well on your way to success as an author as a direct result. Now let’s dig in a little deeper to learn exactly how you’re going to do this in an introvert-friendly way.