When auto manufacturers present their new vehicles to the world, it’s a big occasion. In Detroit a winter event is held – The North American International Auto Show – to display dream cars and new concepts. It costs a lot to get in, and it’s packed. Why do they reveal their secrets? Because the auto manufacturers are savvy marketers. They invest their buyers in the future, hinging their hopes upon the upcoming dream cars.
Then the cars roll off the assembly line in late summer. The manufacturers don’t merely show us one commercial of each vehicle, figure we now know they have new cars for sale, and then stop marketing. No! They bombard us, making that car and its driver appear sexy, glamorous, invincible, and adventurous, hoping we’ll imagine that will be us when we drive it. They attach our self-images to their vehicles with their advertising.
Not millions, but BILLIONS of dollars are spent on marketing. And we buy cars.
Cars are a necessity in most locations in the U.S. We don’t have the fantastic train and public transportations systems of the rest of the developed world. But, the non-necessities are marketed just as heavily. The manufacturers of items we don’t really need pitch their ads at us with just as much vigor. And we buy them.
What about books? Do you consider books a necessity or a luxury item?
What about stories, novels? Where do they stand on your priority list?
If you’re a book lover, words on pages are very important. You want to read a variety of stories or non-fiction content. You consider reading essential to your mental, social, emotional, and spiritual state. The Bible is a compilation of sixty-six books, after all. You want writers to continue to write. But you may not be aware of a writer’s challenge to keep writing. Many are quitting. Here’s why:
When I started writing fiction, but before I was ready to publish, the average published novelist was earning around $10,000 annually. That’s as much as a fast food worker earns. That modest amount was my goal. Then eight million books landed on Amazon. Now a writer earns much less, as you can see in the above graphic. If you add the profits from paperbacks in addition to ebooks, you might double those earnings. Might. Can a writer continue when the cost of being in business exceeds her income gained? Not unless she has patronage, others who support her!
Writers not only host a website and pay to protect it from hordes of hackers, but we must advertise our own wares. Only the bestsellers are marketed by their publishers. The rest of us learn to design our own ads, to push our own products – things we never wanted to learn. If I told you how many thousands this can cost annually, you’d be surprised. It surpasses that earnings figure.
Authors need to quietly contemplate, so we can write more stories. But we want readers to be able to find the message we have already published within our previous stories. If we don’t market our current books, they’ll never be found among the millions of titles on Amazon. We didn’t major in marketing. We’re novelists. We’re not savvy like professional advertising companies, yet this is how we spend most of our time.
So what sells books? You do! Word of mouth is now the most powerful tool for book sales! These ideas are the modern version of word of mouth:
- Write a review. Each review is like a book commercial.
- Post that review on more than one bookseller site. That’s more commercials, and it moves the book up in the search engine algorithms.
- Tell your friends about books you love. Another commercial.
- Buy your friends copies rather than lending yours.
- Donate a copy to the library.
- Buy copies to give away. My stories are evangelistic and spiritually challenging. Two of my readers have given away nearly twenty copies each as an outreach to others in their locations.
- Host a book club to read the story and discuss it. Invite the author to speak to your group. She’ll be thrilled to do it.
- Share the author’s social media posts about her book. I’ll spare you any more explanation about algorithms.
About six months after I published my first book someone asked me if I was rich yet? I laughed. Only bestsellers get rich, and they arrive there with marketing money behind them, professional advertising campaigns to woo readers and reviewers, and television appearances, just like the auto industry. That’s definitely not the norm!
How can you help promote the authors you love?
Here are more ideas:
What do readers need to do? by literary agent Rachelle Gardner: CLICK
The Ninie Hammon Classic Post for Readers: CLICK
How to Support an Author’s New Book: 11 Ideas for You by Chuck Sambuchino: CLICK