by Eddie Jones
When it comes to book promotion there is no magic. Authors may think a version of pixie-dust can be purchased and sprinkled on their book, but they are mistaken. The book buying business is mysterious but the formula for success is not.
Write a great book and get it into the hands of influencers of that genre. Repeat as necessary.
This week I’m on faculty at the Blue Ridge Christian Novelist Retreat where the topic of book sales, the publishing industry, Amazon, Nooks, Kindles, eReaders, print books, bookstores, etc… will be discussed at length. (Did you notice the way I included all those key words early in this blog post? This is a subtle way of inviting the search engines to find this post and thus find me and my books.) I know these topics will come up because this discussion dominates almost every writers’ conference I attend.
At some writers’ conferences up to half the classes focus on marketing, social media, and platform building. But in one sense these workshops only confounded the conferees.
“Platform seems to be all anyone cares about,” one author complained to me. “But I’m not (famous author name here) with two hundred thousand blog followers and I doubt I ever will be. Does that mean I don’t stand a chance getting published?”
No. This author can self publish. But that doesn’t solve the missing magic problem. You still have to find readers. Which brings us back to your first goal: write a great book.
But you may ask, “If I write a great book and no one finds it, no one reads it… what’s the point?” The point is, a poorly written book marketed well will sell … once. A great book marketed poorly may not sell, or may sell years later, but it will always be a great book.
Let me say it again; there is no magic. There is, however, work. Book selling is seed sowing: and authors must sow lots of seeds.
Here are a few ways to sow seeds:
• Email free Kindle copies to reviewers and influencers
• Sell your book at 99 cents for a very limited time on Amazon and B&N.com
• Give away books as prizes on blogs
• Write articles on blogs (like this one)
• Appear in a guest interview on blogs
• Offer books to blog visitors
• Advertise your book on Goodreads
• Give away books on Goodreads
The thing to remember is that not all seed will take root. In fact, in the Parable of the Sower only 25% of the sown seed fell on good soil. That seed yielded a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
If there were magic, the rich would buy, horde, and use it for themselves. Praise God, when it comes to book selling, we’re all farmers sowing seeds.
Work as if your book’s success depends on you; pray as though it depends on God.
And stop looking for pixie dust.
Eddie Jones is a North Carolina-based writer and founder of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He is also an award-winning author with HarperCollins and creator of the Caden Chronicles series and Caribbean Chronicles series. Both are featured at BuyaBoyaBook.com