With millions upon millions of books to choose from, how do readers decide which books to buy? Research reveals four ways that help most readers determine which book to choose, and ultimately what encourages readers to buy books.
Self-aware authors know they’re taking on a challenge when they choose to publish their own work, a rewarding and exciting challenge, but a challenge nonetheless. If your goal is to sell as many copies of your book(s) as possible, it’s important to have a realistic understanding of the effort that entails. With the advancement of technology and opportunity, increase of indie publishing and small presses, and lessening of the bias against self-publishers, every author has a chance to succeed in the publishing space. Making your book available is a necessary step to achieving sales, but commitment and know-how on your part is essential to making it succeed.
The Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) has been championing independent publishers big and small, self and otherwise, since 1983. That’s over 30 years of advocating for indie voices in the traditional publishing industry. Over this time, we’ve seen a thing or two.
You’ve just spent what seems like a huge chunk of your life writing your book, and now, at last, it’s time to hit that publish button . . . but not so fast! Is it really time to publish your book? Just because a book is finished doesn’t mean the timing is right. Your publication date is important. There are certain months that would be perfect for your book and make your pitch to retailers and media outlets easier, and some months you should avoid altogether. Below are some tips to help make sure your book doesn’t launch with bad timing.
On your way to work today, you probably received lots of brand messages without realising. Maybe you picked up a coffee from a café with an Italian name and branding, maybe you grabbed a healthy snack in green packaging to go with it, or maybe you bought a bottle of water with a crisp, clean Alpine mountain on the side. Even if we take billboards and magazine adverts out of the equation, companies have a subtle way of telling you what they want to be known for in their marketing. Big brands spend millions on these clever ways of making you associate their name or product with certain values. Indie authors should be branding themselves in their marketing also.
Nothing makes me happier than to see an author successfully publish their first book. It is one thing to say you want to publish a book and become a published author but another to actually do it. It takes incredible focus for some to just sit still long enough to put words on a page. Not to mention that natural storytelling is a talent that few possess. There’s a story inside of all of us, but the craft of writing is one that takes discipline and practice to do well. So when someone reaches the point where they have a manuscript ready to publish, it is an accomplishment worth celebrating. Taking that one step further is to turn their publishing skill into a business.
Historically, publishers grant booksellers the right to return overstocked copies of books. These books are considered “returnable”. Although, online retailers are less selective than brick and mortar stores in regards to whether a book is returnable, typically, brick and mortar stores will not order a book unless it is returnable, so IngramSpark supports standard industry conventions by allowing publishers to designate whether or not their titles can be returned.
Most authors will have heard the gurus proclaiming that building an email list is essential for modern-day writing success, but very few start with the basics to explain why that is. Faced with the prospect of building a mailing list, most authors would run a mile. Screams of "I’m not very good with computers" and "I just want to write my books" will be heard, as they disappear into the distance. However, the simple truth is, if you’re not attempting to build a list of reader emails, you’re making life far more difficult than it needs to be, and you’re really missing a key book marketing tool.
As a self-publisher, the success of your book falls solely on your shoulders. Self-publishing allows you to have complete control, but as Spiderman learned, “With great power comes great responsibility.” You must decide on everything from the book’s interior and exterior design, the forms of marketing to use, and how to distribute. How can one person possibly know everything there is to know about publishing? The answer is simple, they can’t. No one is an expert on all things. So, how can you do everything by yourself knowing you won’t have all the answers? You look for publishing resources to learn as much as you can about the ever-changing world of the publishing industry and you turn to your peers, fellow self-publishers, who face the same roadblocks.
While Chanticleer Reviews was exhibiting books vetted by our reviewers and writing competitions at several Independent Bookseller Association trade shows, I was able to observe (a marketing habit of mine) how professional booksellers buy books in action. Their traits were consistent with what they were seeking to fill their shelves. Also, I was able to ask the book buyers what they were looking for in particular to make their book buying decisions.