Whether you have a popular web site, a radio show, an informative newsletter, or professional credentials, selling a book requires a personal connection. Selling a lot of books requires this level of personal trust on a large scale.
While reviews, social media, and web sites are all part of extending a marketing platform, these pieces should not be confused with making very personal connections with readers. Twitter and blogs are great, but they have their limits.
The Kind of Connections Authors Need
From what I can tell, my greatest success in selling books has come from personally talking with readers whether through personal conversations, events, e-mail, or interaction on web sites.
When I have a chance to share my passion for my book, I have a much greater chance of convincing readers to spend their hard-earned money on it. However, reaching potential readers with your personal message and creating enough trust for them to spend money on your book requires a fairly significant number of connections with readers.
I personally would not endorse every method used by authors out there to sell books and some will be more difficult for new authors to use effectively, especially radio and television, but there are lots of ideas out there about building a platform that will help you speak directly with readers and develop a level of trust for you and your book from a monthly newsletter with valuable information to a niche-focused public event.
How to Connect with Readers
Building a platform begins with the question, “How can I effectively connect with readers interested in my topic?” Keep in mind, this isn’t the same as advertising, and posting to a web site is probably the least personal way to do this, making it generally less effective.
I’m building my e-mail newsletter, working on some videos, leading workshops with local community and arts organizations, and connecting with various podcasts, but the possibilities are endless. I’ve been encouraged to hear from a respected author and friend that he finds my newsletter very valuable, and many of those who attend my workshops give me positive feedback. It’s good to know I’m doing a few things right, even if there’s always a lot more to do.
The hardest part about building these connections with readers is starting small. You may begin with twenty newsletter subscribers and workshops with only five attendees. However, if you continue to make connections, to help people with your material, and to build on those relationships, you should be able to connect with enough readers who will not only trust you enough to buy your book, they may also recommend it to others.
Previously in this Series:
Also in this series: Five Great Things That Don’t Sell a Lot of Books