Over the last 6 months, I have spoken to nearly all of our 400+ authors. Many of you also provided feedback via the survey in February. In all of these author-focused efforts, one thing was communicated loudly and clearly – everyone wants help with marketing and selling more books. We are excited to say that we have been adding various activities on our end to help with that.
That said, it is IMPORTANT that there is a clear awareness concerning how books actually get sold. Selling books requires 2 kinds of marketing efforts: push-through AND pull-through marketing. One does not work without the other. Push-through marketing is what we do as a publisher. It’s reaching out to books stores, buying ad space, putting your book in catalogs, etc. Pull-through marketing is what you do as an author. It includes doing book tours, reaching out to podcasters and bloggers, scheduling speaking and other events.
For those of you who are taking advantage of those opportunities, thank you! We are excited to work with you and help you get traction on building your platform.
Conversely, I have noticed some of you wanted a publisher who would do the push-through efforts; however, some of you are not doing the efforts required for pull-through. This will not result in book sales. Moreover, we have made extensive efforts and investments to begin promoting your work on social media and schedule in-store book signings, review journal submission, etc.. Unfortunately, many of you are not taking advantage of those efforts by either not providing your content for our social channel or not choosing to do book in-store book signings or not submitting back to us the information we need to promote your book.
If you are not interested in pursuing opportunities provided, that is fine; but, please understand there is little reason for us to create and manage opportunities that will not be supported by author pull-through.
Like you, we care about getting a return on our investment. As such, we will focus our efforts on where that is possible. That said, perhaps the issue is you are unclear about how you get ROI with some of these efforts, so, I will explain.
For most of you, the experience of a book signing is not fun and feels unproductive. The average book signing only produces about 6-10 in-store sales. Your royalties on that will barely cover the price of the gas (especially for those in California). However, the ROI does not come from that single signing. When you do a signing, the bookstore, for example, Barnes & Noble, must buy the books. That hits their system. Other Barnes and Nobles see what other stores are buying. When you do 4-5 signings, suddenly 4-5 B&Ns are buying your book, other stores see that.
That exposure creates a potential domino effect. Further, if the store buys 10 copies and all 10 sell-through at your signing, the store will buy 1-5 additional shelf copies as a re-order. That reorder tells other stores your book sold. So, you not only want to be doing signings, you want to be doing them at multiple stores AND you want to promote them.
Promoting and participating in book signings can feel awkward; however, there is no better promoter of your book than you. If you don’t believe in it enough to sacrifice a few hours of your life and a little bit of pride, then why should I and why should the book store proprietor? If you are not willing to do signings, you will likely not get much retail traction.
Many of you understand the value of social. Some of you don’t. For those of you who do not understand why you would want to use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, just follow our lead for now – you’re in the dark ages. The world has changed. You need to be doing it. Your greatest opportunity for sharing the dream you have to impact others’ lives is through social media – even for fiction. “Good Books” do not sell themselves in today’s market. Few people have no idea what they will buy when they walk in a bookstore or go to Amazon. You have to tell your story on social to get people interested in what you’ve written and/or what you’re trying to accomplish. If you don’t want to use social media to tell your story because it’s ambiguous and too complicated, you do not want to be an author in today’s economy.
We need you driving social media or we cannot help you. If you do not know what to do, call me, email me, ask!
We have one author who started a Pinterest account in June for the first time. She researched optimization and jumped in not knowing what she was doing. She was excited 3 days later because she was up to 3,000 impressions. 6 weeks later she laughed at her own initial enthusiasm because she was now up to 1.5 million impressions. She’s building a brand that is getting reinforced every day leading up to the launch of her book. My expectation is that she will sell over 25,000 books because she is using social well.
We are committed to creating opportunities to grow your platform. We will pursue appropriate push-through marketing. Those are our commitments. Equally our commitment, we will help those that help themselves. We have some authors that we are happy to pour 100% of our time into because they are. We are committed to working with partners who are committed to building their brand, influence and reach.
by Tony Ferraro