Sunday, April 21, 2024

A Different Author Strategy

A Different Author Strategy

By Terry Whalin

Some publishing experts estimate 1,000 new books are published every day. This estimate includes the self-published books and it can be overwhelming when you consider the volume of print material which is entering the world. 

How can an author standout, be different and sell books? In this article, I want to give some strategy ideas and action steps. Upfront, I will tell you each of these methods are not quick and easy. They require effort and work to sell books. 

As you read and study the path of other authors, you need to understand success leaves traces. If you study the details of the success of others, you can discover the path for your own success and sales of your book. First, you have to gather some basics. What type of book are you writing? In general the techniques and path for a childrens book will be different from a novel from a nonfiction self-help book. Each of these types will often follow a different strategy and path to sell their books.

Several years ago I interviewed an author friend who self-published a nonfiction book. In the creation process, he created a book which was well-written with an attractive cover. He crafted the back cover copy and made sure there was a publishing logo on the spine and the barcode on the back was perfect. This friend paid attention to the details as he self-published and produced a book which when placed along side any other book would be accepted. Many people self-publish but they slip on these production details. 

This author targeted book sales to libraries. The American Library Association says there are over 123,000 libraries in the United States. He located a list of these libraries with the phone numbers. For several hours every day, he called the libraries, introduced himself and had a brief pitch for his book. He got the librarian interested in his book, got their name and with their consent, mailed a book with an invoice. It took hours of work and the development of a plan and execution of that plan, but he sold thousands of books in this process.  If you want more of the details, I have this interview in the extra products when you purchase my 10 Publishing Myths book. This strategy to sell books worked for this author and you could learn from his success.

I follow the teaching and stories from book marketing expert John Kremer, author of 1001 Ways to MarketYour Book. Recently he made a bold claim encouraging authors to make up to $150,000 before your book is published! The strategy of pre-sales is one every author can learn about and practice.

If you have published or plan to publish a childrens book, then look at the information and actions in this section from John Kremer. As with the other strategies in this article, you can learn and then implement the practices for your books. 

Have you heard of bestselling novelist Terry McMillan who has several movies including Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back. As John Kremer said, Her first novel was published by a large New York publisher, but they didnt do much with it. This was in 1987. They sent out press releases. They sent out some review copies. But Terry was a first-time novelist, so media didnt care. Nothing much happened. How did Terry turn around this experience? John gives the details in the Rule of 3,000. McMillan handwrote personal letters to 3,000 bookstores. It was a huge commitment of time and energy but it got attention and paid off. Few authors would make this sort of effort but it launched a bestselling novelist. Maybe you want to follow this path for your book.

John wrote some additional details saying, “The response was so great that she ended up doing a 39-city book tour. Her efforts gained her plenty of rave reviews for her book as well as two reprintings in six weeks. Thats a major success for a first-time novelist. Her publisher got behind her once they saw that the book was selling, and it was worth reprinting again and again. The key point to this story is not who Terry sent letters to, but how many letters she sent. Its a numbers game, and what happens with most authors, even though Ive told them this story many times, is that they ignore this crucial advice. Write a lot of emails.”

One of my Morgan James Publishing authors published a personal story with a tie to the pro-life issue. She mailed 1,000 copies of her book to Crisis Pregnancy Centers around the United States. The effort was a financial and time investment in her book. One of the keys for her success will be the strategy behind it. Did she offer bulk sales to these places and how is she following up on the mailing? Each of these strategies have different details which are important for them to succeed. 

My encouragement is for you to learn about these different author strategies for selling and marketing your book. Try some of them and see if they work for you. If they work, then do it some more. If not, then press on to another one. There is not one path to success but many paths and as an author you have to select the one for you. If there was a single path, every book would be a bestseller. Instead we know some books have dismal sales and others succeed. 

My encouragement is to try a different author strategy to sell your book and keep doing it over and over until you find success. Is there another strategy that you have used to successfully sell books? Let me know in the comments.

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