you feel like everyone has a stellar marketing idea on how you can sell
more books? The Internet is rampant with opinions.
Some marketing gurus say
Facebook and Twitter are part of the secret formula. Others say
blogging consistently is the key. Still others tell you to become the
Book Club Queen.
But is there a proven
marketing method that will move more copies?
Here are the three steps:
1. Write a great
2. Writer another great
3. Write yet another great
4. Repeat steps through 3
My answer seems flippant, but
it’s not meant to be. If 80 percent of a novel’s sales come through
word of mouth (and I read a report last month that pegged it at 85
percent), then the only guaranteed way to increase your sales is to
write fiction that makes people say to their friends, “You have
to read this novel!”
Does that put marketing pros
like myself out of business? No, we can still help you with the other
20 percent, but if you want bigger sales numbers, you must write story
after story that captures people’s hearts.
Here’s why I said story not
book. To me a book has all the grammar right, is formatted correctly,
has the right paragraph breaks, chapters end at the right spot, and I
like it, I enjoy it, but I don’t rave about it.
Dan Brown is a poor
DaVinci Code is packed with cringe worthy poorest
John Grisham’s breakout novel The
Firm is one of the finest examples flying body parts,
including eyes that leap out of characters’ heads and scurry around the
as you know, those books sold. Big. Because of the story.
You’re a writer. You care about
craft snafus. Readers don’t. Before you became a writer did you notice
gross errors of technique? I didn’t. But I always noticed a story I
couldn’t put down.
Yes, you need a platform. Yes,
you need a Website. Yes, you need to start building your tribe before
But if the bulk of sales come
from word of mouth, then I suggest the bulk of our marketing time be
spent on craft (because in the end, your book is essentially a thick
brochure that is the most effective marketing piece in selling your
How much of your time should be
spent on craft? Eighty percent seems to make sense.
And not just craft. We need to
study the stories that hit best-seller lists. What is it about them
that captured readers? A universal theme? A compelling protagonist? A
triumph over evil?
Take three of your favorite
novels and describe in one sentence what made it resonate so deeply in
Then see if your story does the
As always, if you have a
marketing question you’d like me to tackle,
send it over. My eyes will race to my marketing books and slide across
the pages until I find the answer