Monday, May 7, 2012

Book Sales Reflect Author Attitude

Disappointed with your book sales? Angry at the publisher for not doing more, advertising more, promoting more, more more more? Blaming the economy for  lackluster sales? Blaming the weather?

For those authors struggling with disappointing book sales, maybe poor sales are a reflection of your lack of energy and enthusiasm for your own product. Or, perhaps you're just going about it all wrong. Let's take a look at both of these possibilities - not that these are the only two things that can go wrong, but in most instances lackluster sales are a direct result of one of these two items.

First, let's look at the most important item: your lack of energy and enthusiasm for your book. You probably started off charged up and excited, but something happened along the way. What happened was the dawning realization that selling books is extremely hard work and takes an incredible amount of determination and gall. Now, if you're a big name author with a big name publicist and marketing agent, this probably won't apply to you. But if you're a self-publisher or have gone through a subsidy/vanity press, this could well be the main issue why you're not raking in the dough like you anticipated.

Most authors, especially self-publishers or those going through vanity/subsidy presses, are not prepared for the amount of work they will have to do to sell their books. It's not easy and, unfortunately, most of the time good authors are not good at marketing. The talent/temperament to excel at both isn't there, and it's hard to come by. Selling a book takes energy, enthusiasm, and sometimes outrageousness. Most people tire quickly. It can also take money, and authors are under the impression that they're going to get wealthy from their best seller, not have to spend money to sell a dozen copies here and there.

Here at Moonlight Mesa Associates we make it very clear, that while we will make every effort to sell an author's books, NO ONE CAN SELL A BOOK AS WELL AS THE AUTHOR CAN! We ask our authors to submit a marketing plan BEFORE we sign them on. Unfortunately, a good marketing plan doesn't mean the person can execute it. In fact, most authors don't start out with a marketing plan which is a big first mistake. Before you even begin to write a book you should have a good idea who is going to buy it...who is your audience? How will you reach them?

The second issue here is that you may be going about things a bit...or a lot...wrong. I know everyone dreams of the big book signing at Barnes and Noble or some other high falutin' establishment, but don't count on these grand debuts. I have written numerous articles on inexpensive ways to market books. There are entire books written on the subject, although many of the suggestions found therein are rather expensive and not terribly helpful unless you're well-heeled. There are blogs on marketing and newsletters galore...most wanting you to buy something. However, the point is, there are lots and lots of ideas floating around the web, and if you're clever enough to write a book, you are undoubtedly clever enough to come up with your own ideas on how to market it. The key is to be able to sustain your energy and enthusiasm.

Don't count on your publisher to make all your sales, particularly if you've used the services of a vanity or subsidy press. They ALREADY made their money when you paid them to publish your book! Don't count on your book being a best seller, although some get very lucky in that regard. You're most likely not going to get rich from this project, either. I know that sounds cruel, but remember that the vast majority of authors do not even sell 100 copies of their books.

A simple suggestion here is this: Think positive. Positive thinking leads to a positive attitude, and quite honestly, people who are positive are a lot more successful than those who are not. Next, set a goal. It's okay if your goal is to sell two books a week. Just do it. I once read of a young man in New York who wrote a book. He decided that he would leave home each day and not return until he had sold ten copies. Some days he was back in an hour or two; some days he was out until midnight or the wee hours of the morning. I think the end of the story was that he became rich and famous...can't really remember. But his approach worked for him, and it could work for you. Just make that goal and stick to it. Make it doable. Even one sale a week adds up. You can always up the ante later and try to close one sale a day.

Don't be obnoxious, by the way. Pushy people don't make sales either. It's a fine line, folks. But you can find it.

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