Marketing is all about selling books. That would seem to be a statement of the blindingly obvious yet it’s often confused with promotion. The promotion of a book is designed to raise interest, the assumption being that high interest equals high sales figures.
This of course does not necessarily follow. Try wrapping your book up in brown paper, wire and insulating tape and address it to The Infidel Capitalist Pig Dogs who live at 10 Downing Street. For a short while your book may well be the most interesting book on the planet but that is unlikely to improve your overall sales figures. It’s also unlikely to improve your living arrangements either.
Marketing should be aimed at selling books in the most effective form possible. Taking out a full page advertisement in a Sunday Supplement is a random event. Again for a short while it will create awareness that doesn’t necessarily follow through into sales.
Marketing is ‘Active’ promotion is ‘Passive’. Taking a box of your books door to door is active marketing and it will sell books. Not a very efficient method of course but it will produce results.
Leveraging Your Efforts
“Give me a long enough lever and I’ll move the world.” Archimedes
If you have ten minutes to spare to present your book to a group of people in the hope that some of those will buy it, is it better to work to a small group or a large one? That again seems fairly self evident, yet often authors will spend huge amounts of time working in very limited market places. Marketing is a pyramid; you should spend the largest part of your time working those areas that will yield the greatest returns.
It’s more efficient to spend an hour persuading the local bookshop owner to take a dozen copies of your book than to spend that hour going door to door. Same hour, different results. Better yet, spend that same hour talking to the manager of the largest bookstore in town and persuade them to take two dozen copies.
Amazon is the world’s biggest bookstore, so in leverage terms it makes sense to concentrate the bulk of your time there. The footfall in your local bookshop can be measured in hundreds per day, on Amazon it’s measured in millions. Same hour, different results. That’s not to say you should ignore all the other opportunities to sell your book such as book signings and pestering local papers and radio stations but your prime target should be you largest potential market.
As a new writer, Amazon is your greatest potential market but only if you handle it skilfully.