A funny thing happened. At my first book sale/signing event about ten days ago I noticed someone hovering a few feet away from the table. She stepped closer then further away, squinting at the cover. Then she said, “I know your book”, which was about the last thing I was expecting to hear. Actually, I was so surprised the next words out of my mouth were something like, “that’s not possible, it just came out”. Guess the ‘Self-Promotion 101’ didn’t rub off as much as you’d think. Anyway, turns out she is a friend of a friend who had (thank you!) shared news about the book launch on her FB page. The lady now in front of me had seen the post and recognised the cover. We chatted and she bought a copy.
Thinking back later, it dawned on me that this experience was a valuable lesson in sales/marketing. Although my friend had gushed about my book (she read it during the editing stage), this lady hadn’t bought a copy based on recommendation. It was only when she’d seen the book again that she was tempted. Sure, the fact I was standing in front of her, wielding a pen ready for signing, and that we have a mutual friend, will likely have made a difference, but it got me thinking about what makes people actually buy something – as opposed to just thinking about reaching for the wallet.
Exposure, I guess. This isn’t a big reveal but somehow the things subliminally learned about Sales and Marketing suddenly feel very real. People might hear about/see your book (car, film, face cream, whatever) but it’ll only really have an impact when they’ve come across it a few times. Unless they’re actually looking for exactly your product at the time they come across it, presumably.
As the days passed, I started to think more about how I’ve been going about selling my book. Because my personal efforts have been pretty restricted to my bit of South West London. Not as part of a MegaMind master plan but just because it’s what I know and there’s plenty here to keep me busy, if you see what I mean.
The fact is, very few authors (even the traditionally published) are going to have the benefit of a marketing budget big enough to plaster ads about their books on the sides of buses and in newspapers. And with the usually zero-budget of self-published authors, what hope of exposure?
Maybe sticking to a small area is a good way to start. It gives UMA & IMP the best chance of being seen in different contexts by the same people so, in theory at least, the best chance of sale. Maybe?
Now if anyone doesn’t have the answers … that’ll be me. But it sounds like a good theory. And because it’s not proper marketing unless you make up a word, I’m calling it Sales and Microting!
This week, predictably, sales dropped radically down to 16 books. My next event is on November 27 and I’m unlikely to sell many copies until then. I can feel the chill of sales wilderness closing in around me … but this was expected. Apart from spikes that come from the Christmas Fairs, here on out it’s going to be a slooow and looooong process. So, I’ve kept sending out arrows.
This week I’ve:
– Sent off 10 copies to people who ‘won’ the Goodreads giveaway. None of the copies went to people in London so it felt really good to have the book spread its UK wings a little.
– Spoken to two local libraries about doing a reading/author chat. I’m now booked at Chelsea Library for January 10. It’s so great to have something in the diary for post Christmas but I am going to have to promote the event beforehand, ‘cos otherwise I may end up just reading to myself …
– Spoken and written to two local newspapers who seemed open to the idea of running something – let’s see how that pans out in reality. It involved writing my first ever Press Release and it’ll be interesting to see the response (if any).
– Written to a local glossy magazine and another local magazine. They’re a long shot but worth a try.
– Posted Uma’s first blog, also announcing a drawing competition (www.impprintbooks.com/#!blog). Now I just need to spread the word so that kids actually send in drawings!! Deadline isn’t set until January 30, so hopefully there will be time.
– Left four signed copies of UMA & IMP at a local kids’ store. Apparently, books sell better if they are signed – even if you aren’t known. Let’s see.
And that’s where I am so far …
Thanks for reading!
Good luck with it all. I have a talk at a library tomorrow, to adults, and hope to sell one or two of my printed ebooks there then.
Good luck! Hope it goes well!
It’s really useful having a first-hand experience of marketing, rather than an abstract ‘this is how its supposed to work’ pitch. Thanks, and good luck