Bill Platt sent out this email recently and he summarised the importance of marketing your books so well that I asked him if I could post his email on my website. He very kindly agreed.
“Before Amazon jumped into the digital ebook business, many of us were already selling our digital ebooks in different formats and in different marketplaces.
Chances are the you have purchased my digital ebooks through JVzoo, WarriorPlus, Zaxaa or through my own website. You have even seen most of my digital ebooks produced as PDF files.
Each marketplace has a different set of buyers that it serves.
Some products I sell are better served in the ClickBank marketplace, while others are better suited to JVzoo.
Within a specific set of writers, who purchase on the recommendation of my affiliates, Zaxaa is sometimes the better platform, except that Zaxaa only gives me access to a very specific, tight-knit set of affiliates. If I want to reach more affiliates than those I know personally, I should market my digital ebook through a system like JVzoo instead.
JVzoo charges more fees than Zaxaa, but it is able to bring in more affiliates than people I know who might mail for my products.
The digital ebooks/products that I sell to writers are generally made available through WarriorPlus, JVzoo or Zaxaa, so that I can reach more affiliates and provide a customized shopping experience for my buyers.
I sell general non-fiction through Amazon Kindle, B&N and the iStore.
I dabble in fiction within the Amazon Kindle store only.
The bottom line is that it is more important to target the buying habits of your most loyal customers than it is to target one specific store from which to sell your digital ebooks.
If you want to make more money as a writer, then you should sell your products in the method that best-enables you to reach your target audience, using the marketplaces that best-enable you to reach more people in your target audience.
The downside of selling in a marketplace like JVzoo or WarriorPlus is that your extended audience, those people who may benefit from owning your book, may have pre-conceived notions about people who sell in your chosen marketplace.
For example, I produce products for writers. However, many of the writers who participate in the forum at kboards.com — people who are also in my target audience — may feel that I am a marketer first and a writer second.
There is a certain element of snobbery in my target audience, where many professional writers won’t buy from someone that they perceive to be a marketer. 🙂
Never mind that all independent writers need to have a certain understanding of what it takes to market their own books.
Choosing our marketplace, where we are going to sell our books, is part of the marketing equation.
Choosing the price at which we are going to sell our books is a marketing decision.
Choosing the appropriate book cover for our books is again a marketing decision, as is how we title our books, how we write our book descriptions, and how we go about getting reviews for our books.
Many Kindle authors mistakenly believe that Amazon is going to do all of their marketing for them. Amazon does provide us access to a really large audience. And, Amazon does help people find our books within its marketplace.
However, no matter how much traffic Amazon can deliver to your sales page, the on-page marketing is an essential part to selling more books.
You can have the best book written since the Holy Bible, but if your marketing sucks, then your sales will suck too.
Like it or not, we all have to have a simple understanding of marketing, and more importantly, how to market our books specifically.
I get it. People don’t want to be perceived as a salesperson.
I believe the reason that is the case is because people who describe themselves as “salespeople” tend to be shallow and focused on their needs, rather than the needs of their customers, i.e. used car salespeople. 🙂
I might sell stuff, but to be honest, I think of myself as being very different from a used car salesman.
A used car salesman is focused on his next sale, his next commission. He generally has little concern for the needs of his customers.
A true salesperson, in my mind, is someone who is focused on the needs of his/her customers. An honest salesperson is not thinking of his/her next commission. Instead, this person is focused on giving his customers enough information to make a good buying decision.
This is the group where I place myself. I try to give you enough information that you will be able to make a good buying decision, towards the purpose of buying something that is right for you — the buyer.
My goal is to get the right products to the right people. And, if I do my job right, the commissions/royalties will come in due course.
As a book author, I need to show you the benefits of owning my books. I need to give you enough information for you to be able to decide — pro or con — in favor of you owning my ebook.
That is why I focus so much of my energy on writing a good book first, then creating the marketing that will ensure that people will want to buy my books.
Back to my original point, some people will refuse to buy my ebooks, because I sell my ebooks in the WarriorPlus and JVzoo marketplaces.
But, if you have read one of my products for writers, you might believe as I do that most writers could benefit from what I produce.
Most of the snobs are not hurting me. They are hurting themselves by ignoring me. 🙂
If I told you that I am not at all a snob myself, I’d be lying to you. I am a bit of a writing snob myself, so I cannot hold against those people their snobbery.
Despite this, I tend to apply my snobbery to the product, rather than a producer or a sales channel.
If I find a product that is good, I am going to tell you why I think it is good.
If I find a bad product, I am going to tell you why I think it sucks. Even good people put out stinkers once in a while.
Since I am being honest, there are a few sellers, whom I don’t like or trust, and I won’t tell you about their products at all. 🙂
While I can understand the position of many writers that they want to write and not sell, I feel a strong need to convey to my readers the importance of taking the steps necessary to ensure that they can make a living as a writer.
I cannot at all understand the willingness to be a “starving artist,” in lieu of getting paid well for what you have written.
My writing has enabled me to make a nice living as a writer, so much so that I have not had a job in over 9 years.
My wife has one of those jobs that most people have. She and I are married, but we have been separated for more than 4 years. 😉 She earns what most people would consider to be a “good living wage.” And every month, I make at least 4-times what she makes.
While I earn quite a bit more than she does, I want to make more money. So every day, I wake up and do more work. I write, and I market what I have written.
“Marketing” is not a dirty word!
Being a marketer too does not make what I teach to writers any less important or valuable than what is written by someone who does not market training materials.
In fact, if you want more people to buy more of your books, so that you can make more money as a writer, I would argue that my being a marketer will make it more important for you to read what I have written. 🙂
If I wasn’t marketing what I have written, chances are that I would still have a job, because if I am waiting on someone else to do my marketing for me, I might be waiting forever.”
P.S. Have you checked out the Elite Membership yet?
Diana Heuser specialises in e-Business and Publishing Resources for Authors. Connect with Diana Heuser on her business website, via Twitter @DianaHeuser or on Google+. Join our fabulous free Group “Secrets To Publishing A Book on Facebook”. You will find it interesting. Request to join here.