Get Readers’ Permission to Sell your Book

The fact that authors are expected to contribute a lot to thepublicity and marketing of their books is reflected in the trend of lower advances and higher royalty rates. Why demotivate the author by giving him alarge advance, so he won’t wake up in the morning and post a link to his bookon Twitter first thing? This seems to be especially the case with ebooks,which, when priced low, are easier to market directly by the author.
If you are a new author, especially a self-publishing author,you are by now probably considering social media as an effective selling channel for your titles. So many have done it with great results after all.  
I’ve been on Twitter for only a few months. It’s hard work.How can I keep up with almost 300 people I follow and react to their Tweets theway they would like me to? It always amazes me how the people that neverinteract with anybody are the ones that try the hardest to win everybody’s, butno one’s in particular, attention, make everybody, but no one in particular,follow them, click on their links and buy their books. A review would be greattoo.
I guess it is against reason for anyone to react to push-sellmessages from people they don’t know. However, it’s proven that most books sellthrough recommendations from friends and family. So the answer must be to makestrangers your friends.
In his PermissionMarketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers, SethGodin says it all in the title. “Interruption advertising”, the adverts spam uswith things we haven’t thought we wanted in the first place, will have to bereplaced with “permission marketing”: marketing to those people who have toldus what they were interested in and it happens that what we sell responds tothat particular interest. That’s why keyword advertising on search enginesworks so well. Instead of you telling people they want your product, people aretelling you they need a product like yours. “Instead of advertising with a plain banner ad on the Internet, youshould focus on discovering the customer’s problem and getting permission tofollow up with e-mail.” (Seth Godin)
How do they do it?
Which isexactly what some authors have already done with huge success.
I am a big John Locke fan. Not because of his fiction books,I haven’t read any of them yet, but because, in his How I Sold 1m eBooks in 5 Months, John Locke shows he understandspermission marketing perfectly and that he can use it effectively by sellingone million ebooks in five months. He discloses he has built his fan basemanually. One by one, interacting with people at a highly personal level, byreplying to their emails and by showing interest in their thoughts. This isdifficult. This is time-consuming and exhausting and it can be hugelyfrustrating if you don’t enjoy it. Luckily for him, he does enjoy it and hisfan base looks like a tribe on steroids. He has over 25,000 followers onTwitter, some of which reply to his tweets, click on his links and buy hisbooks. Some out of 25,000 still meansa lot.
How come it works for him and not for thousands of otherauthors, getting increasingly annoying and obsessed? He gives the answer in hisbook and it is because he doesn’tpush-sell. This is a crucial detail in the efficacy of his tribalmarketing.
So what do JohnLocke and other best-selling authors do to break through?
He gets people’s permission to sell them his books, byinteracting with them a lot and by directing them to nonmarketing blog posts.Such an inexpensive, but powerful thing to do. Write something that willresonate with your audience and they are likely to want to read more. Luckily,more information is at hand, like a link to a book.   

About Lorena Goldsmith

Literary consultant at Daniel Goldsmith Associates.
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