Synova’s breaking down the business of writing for fellow authors. Don’t get overwhelmed, get simple with Synova’s Simply Biz.
A book can be an incredible tool to grow your business, but until your platform is established, it cannot be the entire business. You need something that drives your career. In the past, a published book was your entryway into a world of book tours, interviews, and speaking engagements. Now the role has been reversed.
To be successful in this insane publishing industry, you must have something driving your train. Think of your book as the passenger car of your train. Your destination is success, but the train is missing a vital piece. Down deep within the iron framework is a man, or woman, shoveling coal into the fiery furnace. That is what drives the train. What is driving yours?
I will use my business as an example. I write true crime books, and I run a cold case blog. Every week I’m researching and writing a new case. I share that post to nearly 500,000 people every week. A few of those people share my content, and my net spreads even further.
I’m accomplishing several objectives with my blog.
1. I’m keeping readers interested in my work while I’m researching my next big book
2. I’m providing a service for victim’s families
3. I’m generating interest in my business
4. I’m building a network of fans who share my work
5. I’m establishing my expertise in the field
6. I’m bringing more traffic to my site
While my books are the beautiful train cars, my blog is the engine that drives my train. There are many ways to drive your train. Some people use Youtube videos to drive their business and others use a speaking tour. Whatever you choose, make sure to find the perfect engine to drive your business to success.
Don’t sell books at your booksigning!
I know it sounds insane, but selling books at your book signing won’t lead to the writing career of your dreams. In this blog post, I will lay out a simple strategy to help you focus on building a fan base that will sustain your writing career over the long haul. Do you want to peddle books on the street corner for the next ten years barely making enough to cover your expenses, or do you want a six-figure writing career?
You’ve worked hard on the next New York Times Bestseller, and now you’re ready to present it to the world. The local indie bookstore has graciously offered to host your book signing event, and you’re on top of the world. You pile your car full of books eagerly awaiting the sudden flow of cash that’s inevitably coming your way. Now you are sitting at a table brimming with your hopes and dreams only to find it hard to sell. What are you going to do?
Do you try to sell your book to every poor soul that happens to pass within a mile of your table?
Do you find yourself starting your sales pitch the moment the customer is within earshot of your display?
If this isn’t your first book signing you probably already know that neither tactic is effective, so what are you supposed to do? I suggest you stop trying to sell books at your table. I know what you’re thinking. What? Are you crazy? Isn’t that the purpose of a book signing? In short, the answer is no.
Think about it. If you push hard enough and talk long enough the person might buy a book just to shut you up, but what have you accomplished? Are they going to turn into a raving fan that follows your work and buys all of your future books? Probably not. Are they even going to read the book? Most likely no. So, you’ve made a few dollars on the sale, but what have you lost?
Instead of hard selling our books what if you started focusing on building connections with people? Build a tribe of people that genuinely love what you do and can’t wait to hear from you.
Start by asking if the person likes to read to pull their attention towards your display. If they say no, then let them pass on. I usually break the ice here with a joke. Here’s one of my standard lines.
“Oh no. You can’t say that to a writer!”
We usually laugh & sometimes they walk on, but most of the time they’ll keep talking. I will tell you exactly what to say next. Are you ready? Do you have a pencil to write this down?
That’s right. Don’t say anything. Instead, listen to what the person says next. Sometimes it’s an overworked mother who doesn’t have time to sit down with a book & happens to prefer audio books. In this case, simply understand where she is coming from and offer your audiobook version.
Sometimes the person is interested in your books but doesn’t have time to stop and listen to a full-blown sales pitch. In this instance send them off with a card or a bookmark with your website information. Other times the person isn’t in a buying mode and wouldn’t buy a million dollar bill for five bucks. Encourage this type to sign up for your mailing list and offer a free ebook in return.
The important thing is to listen to the person and meet their needs. I know this is hard, especially when you’ve had to pay for booth space. I’ve been there. I understand. You have a specific number in mind to cover your expenses. I get it, but what if you focus on connections instead. Building connections can lead to a group of fans that could potentially buy your books for the rest of your career. Is it worth giving that up for the measly royalty off of one book sale?