Writers Need to Take Care of Business
As a writer, it’s easier to work on the business of writing than on the business of selling books. You need to continue to grow your business by writing more books, while marketing your current catalogue to prospective buyers. It’s an ongoing task. While we would all love to spend our days creating and writing, we cannot afford to stop marketing to our readers, because every day hundreds of new books flood the market and voracious readers are always willing to try the latest offering.
Peak sales times for any products are Christmas, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Other themed days, for example Valentine’s Day for romance writers, can generate sales if you apply specific marketing techniques.
These heavy trade periods are not the time to discount your books or give them away. This is the time to crank up the marketing machine to a higher level to take advantage of the fact that people need to buy gifts for friends and loved ones, and are looking for ideas. Christmas especially can be a stressful time of year, so take some time earlier in the year to work on a marketing campaign that targets specific needs to help readers make a choice. Use terms in your marketing such as ‘a great stocking stuffer’ and ‘a book for the man who has everything’ to attract harried shoppers.
Instead of cutting your profit margins by discounting the price of your books, try to value add. If you are selling paperbacks, offer to wrap your book in Christmas paper and tinsel and post directly to the buyer so that all he has to do is place the gift under the tree. Have some inexpensive bookmarks printed and offer a free bookmark with each book purchase. If you have written a series of books – from an e-book perspective – make an offer to readers that if they buy the first book in your series you will gift them the second book. That way, the reader is getting something for free and you will get the royalty on the sale so the ‘gift’ has cost you very little. The customer feels he is getting something for nothing and you are building a relationship with your readers who will be more inclined to buying your future books.
Because people are more open to buying new things when they are in a rush to complete their Christmas lists, you may attract a lot of new readers so make sure you keep track of them and add their names and addresses to your email list so that you can advise them of any new releases.
You need to have your marketing campaign ready to go before any high peak sales periods and also to take some time afterwards to go through the figures. How many more books did I sell? Where did the sales come from? Take time now to be ready for next year.
The effort you put into creating a targeted marketing campaign will be reflected in the sales figures.
Make no mistake – writing books is a business that includes marketing and selling. Unless you want to pay for a professional to publicise and market your books, thereby eroding your profit margin, you will need to learn how to get your name out there – and keep it there – if you want to sell books.