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3 Steps to Book Sales

Monday, September 24, 2018

As a whole, Americans shop a lot. We constantly buy and discard items. Scientists regularly study people’s buying behaviors in an attempt to better learn how people make purchasing decisionsStudies reveal that people’s purchases are determined by three factors: awareness, decision, and availability. You can capitalize on each of these components to sell more books.

1. Awareness

People have to know your book exists to be able to purchase it. This is where book marketing and book publicity is very helpful. The more exposure you have for your book, the more people you make aware of your book.

However, we live in an age of information overload. The average person is bombarded with more information than they can retain every day. In fact, information scientists have found that, in 2011, Americans took in five times as much information every day as they did in 1986 (think pre- and post-internet). Your marketing messages and promotional efforts must stand out amidst a sea of competing information to raise awareness of your book.

2. Decision

Decision comes after awareness. Only after readers know about a book can they decide to purchase it. You can increase readers’ decision to buy your book in two ways: repeat exposure and persuasion.

Repeat Exposure: Studies show that people need to be exposed to a new product seven to twelve times before they make a purchase decision. The same is true for your book. Repeat exposure is required to convert a browser to a buyer, so think of different ways you can reach your ideal reader to achieve multiple impressions.

Persuasion: People are more likely to make a purchase decision when they have social proof. Social proof is the construct that persuasion of an idea or behavior for an individual is linked with how others are responding to it. In essence, social proof reduces the perception of risk associated with a purchase. Using words like “a lot of people” and “popular opinion” in your marketing messages can help persuade people to buy. But don't say it if it isn't true! Truthful marketing is the best kind of marketing and helps build loyalty among your fans.

3. Availability

When it comes to selling books, awareness and decision are not enough. Availability (think ease of purchase) is just as important a factor in the buying process. Having your books available for sale in multiple places enhances your ability to sell your book, so it's important not to limit your book distribution by retailer (just Amazon or just your author website) or even just your home country. Readers are worldwide and they shop in many different locations and formats, which is why it's wise to find a book distributor, like IngramSpark, that offers both print and ebook formats and book distribution to over 39,000 retailers and libraries both in-person and online

Once a reader decides to buy a book, the book must be available in the format and place he or she wants to buy the book. If readers can't find the book where they usually shop, the sale is easily lost, so be sure lack of appropriate distribution isn't costing you book sales.



Sarah Bolme

Sarah Bolme is the Director of Christian Indie Publishers Association. Through this organization Sarah provides assistance to small publishers and independently published authors marketing books to the Christian marketplace. Sarah is also the author of the award-winning book Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace. The fourth edition will be released in February 2019.