The Golden Rule of Book Sales
Most authors love writing books more than selling books. We want readers to buy our books, but with acquiring readers comes the hard work of business, marketing, and self-promotion. We dream of the day we will sit behind our book table as readers line up to buy autographed copies of our latest book. But the line does not form without a lot of work.
One way that I work at seeing that line take shape is to serve my readers and other authors. Instead of putting all the time into serving myself and my own interest, I serve others and find ways to help them.
I serve my readers in several ways:
- I provide a monthly newsletter where I share on an area of my specialty and provide updates about local book events.
- I maintain a website with free articles for my readers.
- I use social media to supply my readers with content they will enjoy.
- I offer a free chapter from my book for signing up for my newsletter.
I serve authors in several ways:
- I buy and read their books. Reading is as important as buying. Authors want to know their book is being read.
- I provide book reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, and other forums that will help promote their book.
- I inform authors of author events I have learned about.
- I attend their events, when I can, to support their book signings and events.
- I share any tips I have learned to other authors to help their book sales.
- I share about free websites that will promote their books like Hometown Reads. Many of my author friends signed up here.
- I retweet, share, congratulate, comment, and promote other authors and their books.
Why Serve Others?
Serving others is rewarding in that it creates a community working together to hone our craft and serve our readers. Instead of being a lone author hoping to draw in readers, so they can serve my purpose, I look for ways to serve their needs.
We all want to receive sales, readers, reviews, and crowds of people lining up at our table. Receivers are first givers. The better we are at giving the more we will benefit from receiving. It is far more rewarding to give than to receive. To receive after giving is far more gratifying than to receive in any other context.
Is Self-Promotion Wrong?
Writing is a business. Businesses require marketing and self-promotion, but there is a way to do it that does not make your readers feel like you only care about getting them to buy your book.
I attended a mixer event where business owners were networking. A young man walked up to me and asked me about my work. I answered thinking he had genuine interest. Before I finished my short response, he handed me his business card and moved on to the next person. No one wants to be on the receiving end of this kind of self-promotion.
Instead, be different. Rise above. Be the best servant you can be to your readers and the authors you meet. You will find yourself rich in friends and well on your way to being an author with a long line at your book signing event.