Alinka Rutkowska is one of my newer friends from around these internet landscapes, and I’m thrilled to have her here on the blog today. She knows her stuff, friends. Be sure to sign up for her free book below.*
You know what it feels like to finally hold your about-to-be-published book in your hands? The satisfaction. The joy. The elation.
It’s like holding a newborn in your arms.
All that work (and for many authors that’s longer than 9 months), all that struggle, sweat and tears, revising for the 20th time, dealing with editors and designers finally pays off.
You look at your name proudly showcased on the cover and you can’t help but smile.
This elation usually lasts from a few minutes to a few days and then…
The unthinkable happens.
It’s been a few days, and your book hasn’t sold a single copy.
You post about it on Facebook – and nothing.
You send private messages to your friends – still nothing. Ah! Now you see who your true friends are! Or do you?
Wait – you just sold a copy. You do the happy dance and then you get a phone call from mom, “I just bought your book, honey.”
“Oh, that was you!” you say, not sure whether to laugh or cry.
You’re starting to doubt yourself as a writer. If nobody’s buying, your writing can’t really be that good, can it?
Here comes the shocker.
Listen to this. Amazon rankings are not designed to reward best-written books, they are designed to reward best-selling books and these are two completely different things.
And it’s not true that if your book is good, the readers will come. Even Apple, Shell and Viagra have an elaborate marketing system which ensures their products stand out.
I’ve seen that system from the inside and I now apply it to books.
And, guess what? Right here, right now, right in this post I will spill the exact system those multinationals follow to make their products visible:
Are you ready?
This strategy allowed me to sell over 80,000 books. And it’s simply called the Marketing Mix. It consists of the following:
Product, Place, Price and Promotion.
All four pieces are equally important and getting just one part wrong will send your book to that narrow alley everybody avoids at night (and day).
So let’s examine these 4 suckers most authors never even bother to take a look at:
Your book is your product. I know – shocking! But your book is only part of the product. It’s the core of your product. This is simply your final work. But there are two equally important product parts to consider. I call them add-ons and metadata.
Add-ons are things like your cover. Your cover is one of the most important elements of your product and it has to stand out because – guess what – readers do judge a book by its cover, as unfair as it may seem. Especially now when they scroll down pages of thumbnail sized covers – yours has to be the one that stands out! So make sure it looks really good in size xxxxs!
Another add-on is a review request at the end of your book. You know how difficult it is to get an Amazon review? I found out the hard way. I had to sell 2,000 books before I got 20 reviews of my first book. Let’s do the math. That means 1% of readers will write a review if you don’t ask them to! So increase your chances of getting reviewed before you even publish your book – add a review request at the back.
There’s more but I have a word count to stick to here, so let’s move on to Metadata. This is still part of the product but it involves things like title, subtitle, keywords and description. These are absolutely crucial to get right, so let’s try to cover them really fast.
Your title has to be catchy. If it’s fiction – it has to give readers the feel of what type of entertainment they will experience when they read your book. If it’s non-fiction it should show readers the benefit they will get once they read your book, like “How I Sold 80,000 Books”. It speaks directly to the target audience and gives a specific solution to a specific problem.
Your keywords need to be optimized for online sales because Amazon looks like a retailer but it’s really a search engine. And your description needs to be really smart and full of keywords. Onwards.
The two main areas you sell your books are online and offline. And while the online part is quite straightforward (the only thing to remember is that you can and should sell books directly from your website), the offline part is a road far less traveled – which means – there’s much less competition!
When I say offline I don’t just mean book stores. I mean places like libraries, supermarkets, airports, gas stations, cruise lines and more! I mean thinking themes and selling in bulk to places where your book is a perfect fit. And I mean selling foreign rights – how’s that for scaling up? Selling something you’ve already written to have a foreign traditional publisher translate and promote and you just need to is cash the check!
Two things to consider.
For physical books you need to price so that you’re able to give those guys who purchase your books in bulk a 60% retailer discount.
For ebooks – do consider a permafree book – with a well set-up back-end – it works wonders!
If this sounds like black magic right now – don’t worry – I have a little gift for you which will help you sort this out, but you need to get to the end of this post first.
This is such a huge element that I divided it into three parts: within book, online and offline. I also use another division I teach my students which is: before launch, during launch and after launch.
But let’s see what I can get out quickly before Andi asks me to cut any of this because I’m already over my word count.
I know. Let’s start with what you need to do right now. The most important thing you should include in your book is a link to a freebie that readers will get when they click on that link. BUT…before they get that freebie they will have to share with you their email address.
This starts a relationship which is priceless. You get a direct channel of communication with your reader (so you no longer need Facebook or Twitter or even Amazon to sell books).
That freebie can be a prequel or a cheatsheet or a video – really anything of value to your reader.
Let me show you a practical example: say something similar to what I’m going to say to you now:
What we went through here gives you a “helicopter view” of the strategy I use to sell thousands of books.
Alinka Rutkowska is an international best-selling and multi-award-winning author who helps other authors replace their corporate salaries with their book royalites.
She’s been featured on Fox Business Network, Author Marketing Club, The Authors’ Hangout, Kindlepreneur and many more.
Authors usually get their first taste of Alinka’s expertise by reading her “How I Sold 80,000 Books*” in which she reveals the sales and marketing strategies she learnt at university and perfected working with Vice Presidents of multinational companies to apply to her book business.
*This link is connected to me, so if you sign up to get her free book and then end up buying something from her, I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for helping to keep up the farm.