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Alley

Selling your book, selling you, or selling both?

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I'm wondering about readers interactions and making long term fans. Do you guys think it is all about selling the book? Selling yourself as the author for personal interactions? Or a blend of the two? Why do you believe this? And if there are other options, I would love to hear about them!!

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8 hours ago, Alley said:

Do you guys think it is all about selling the book? Selling yourself as the author for personal interactions?

 

Okay. So who is going to buy your book if they haven't heard of you? Yes, it happens but more likely, a book sells because someone has interacted with you. And that means a platform. If you had a plumbing problem, would you pick someone out of the yellow pages (what's that ;) ) that you didn't know or pick a friend who is a plumber? And word of mouth then goes into effect for the plumber. As does your name.

 

If no one knows you or has not heard of you, they will probably not buy your book. It's not so much "selling" yourself and it is becoming known. And that doesn't necessarily mean well known. But you have to develop relationships. You have to put yourself out there. Kinda like a politician. You go around and, in essence, shake a lot of hands so people know your name. They decide they like you and when you mention you've written a book, they're curious and want to know about it and possibly buy it! :)

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2 minutes ago, lynnmosher said:

So who is going to buy your book if they haven't heard of you

? Am I the only person who has never bought a book based on who the author is? (Unless I already read and loved their previous book!) Not that I don't agree platform is important, just that I am trying to figure out other people. I know I'm totally a weirdo and y'all love me for it! ?

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Posted (edited)

These days the indie author ecosystem is built around developing platforms, and the "experts" seem to be making a lot of money selling their expertise in doing so than selling actual books. 

 

For non-fiction, and certain fiction genres, platforms work well - although I often cringe over how many authors oversell themselves as SMEs. It's similar to crafting a resume by exaggerating skills and experience to score that interview.    

 

I write in fiction genres that make building an effective platform a challenge (to put in mildly). I personally sell more books when my books themselves get more exposure, as opposed to me. So book covers, blurbs, and reviews have more effectiveness at the outset, then readers get to know my work. A fan base is built far more organically.   

Edited by Accord64
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45 minutes ago, Alley said:

Am I the only person who has never bought a book based on who the author is?

I have two personal stories on this matter. Once I discovered Walter Farley (many years ago), I bought every book he wrote (or my parents did). I loved his Black Stallion and Island Stallion series. So, yes, I thought those based on the author.

 

I had read a book or two by Will James and consumed them like candy. Mother made the mistake of opening one and reading some of the dialog. She never bought me another one! (Cowboys don't speak in properly educated grammar!) That was based on the author.

 

Personally, I'm more interested in looking at the cover, front and back. Or someone will make a comment about a book that intrigues me. I occasionally buy a book based on the author, but that's not my standard procedure.

 

But that's just me.

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Oh, I agree, Accord.  And I come from the opposite side of the street on this and shouldn't have said anything.  But I totally agree, the three B's are essential: book covers, blurbs, and blabs (reviews)! And this kind of blab...

 

1 minute ago, carolinamtne said:

Or someone will make a comment about a book that intrigues me.

 

Word of mouth. I'm more likely to buy a book based on someone's recommendation as opposed to just picking one up. So it all has to start somewhere to get the ball rolling. So, I'll shut up now. :confused:

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2 hours ago, carolinamtne said:

Personally, I'm more interested in looking at the cover, front and back. Or someone will make a comment about a book that intrigues me. I occasionally buy a book based on the author, but that's not my standard procedure.

 

 

Me too.

I generally look at the cover and read the blurb on the back. If it looks interesting I will take a chance and buy it. If I find the first book compelling then I will search for other books by the same author.

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3 hours ago, lynnmosher said:

Oh, I agree, Accord.  And I come from the opposite side of the street on this and shouldn't have said anything. 

 

Nah, you're okay!

3 hours ago, lynnmosher said:

But I totally agree, the three B'sare essential: book covers, blurbs, and blabs (reviews)!

 

And boy are you ever right!

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I'm a 63 year old Philadelphian woman who went to church today and now has to move plants from a window upstairs to the garden to get ready for men to put in new window units.

 

Spaulding is a 9 year old Philadelphian teddy bear who woke up in a trash bag, fought to get out, only to discover the same thing happened to all the stuffed animals in the country.

 

Who do you want to learn more about?

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17 minutes ago, lynnmosher said:

LOL I should have said: the opposite side of the street...as in nonfiction! xD

Ohhh, that's a whole different marketing strategy then. (When I read your first response I was thinking, "even my plumber won't remember me." xD)

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6 hours ago, Alley said:

Am I the only person who has never bought a book based on who the author is?

I do it all the time!  I mostly go on genre and back cover summary.  If it's something that looks interesting, I'll give it a try.  I've found a lot of good authors that way :)

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This is a very interesting question. 

 

There are fiction writers who are very successful with very little interaction with their fans. I keep an eye on a lot of best-selling names in regency romance and clean romance on Amazon's Kindle Select platform. A significant number of them are not even actual people, but rather personas who are a front for teams of ghostwriters. They all have the same publisher and their author biographies are suspiciously similar. Their portraits are actually stock images from sites like Deposit Photos and Shutterstock.

 

I'm not going to name names, but if you spend any significant amount of time studying the best-seller lists in certain genres, you'll get a sense of what I mean.

 

They make their money by publishing a book a month, and throwing wads of advertising cash at them. It's not the way I think you want to do things, but it's a proven business model of success on Kindle Unlimited.

 

I've also seen other successful authors who nurture their relationships with their readers, spending lots of time interacting via social media, newsletters, and good content marketing.

 

Of course, as others have said, there has to be a great book with a professional cover and a grabby blurb. But beyond that, there are a number of strategies that seem to be working.

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Boy, am I in trouble then. I've got nothing out there right now. I had something, but I shut down my Facebook and WordPress sites due to NO traffic. Thought I'd wait a bit and try again later after I learn sumpthin. ?

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3 hours ago, Spaulding said:

Spaulding is a 9 year old Philadelphian teddy bear who woke up in a trash bag,

My penguins want to know about the teddy bear. How could he breathe in a trash bag?

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17 hours ago, carolinamtne said:

How could he breathe in a trash bag?

Why does this send the Winnie the Pooh song through my head? ?

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18 hours ago, zx1ninja said:

Boy, am I in trouble then. I've got nothing out there right now. I had something, but I shut down my Facebook and WordPress sites due to NO traffic. Thought I'd wait a bit and try again later after I learn sumpthin. ?

Well, first, do you have something to sell? (I'm assuming books, however, it could be articles, short stories, or other kinds of writing.) If you do, then up to you to sell it.

 

And you don't have to have super-seller genes to do that. Usually whatever we write about is where our passion is, so we're not just writing it. We're living it. And in living it, we meet others with the same kind of passion. That's the beginning of networking and selling. All you have to do is add a bit of the selling to it, which isn't as scary as it sounds. I'll use me, since I'm an expert on me. xD

 

My passion is stuffed animals. Because of that, so is my story and so is my online presence. I look for other nuts who like to post stories and pictures of what their stuffies are doing today. I look for it, because I love it, not because I'm writing about stuffies. I've become connected to different bloggers and Tweeters who do what I do -- post pictures and stories about their stuffies often. And my teddy bears join in. (My teddy bears, their wives, their kids -- it's a whole weird thing. :$) But I'm also me, so sometimes I comment, instead of my stuffies commenting. And people get to know when I'm me and when I'm my teddy bear if they hang around long enough. Because of this, I have bought books from other writers who do "teddy bear stories." And they know I'm working on one. Will they buy mine? Does it matter? After all, I'm doing this for fun, not to sell.

 

But when it comes time to sell, just being me has generated some interest already. There are forums and blogs and FB pages, (not nearly enough to keep me happy), and all sorts of places online for people nuts enough to like teddy bear stories. For forums, all I have to do is add a signy on the bottom promoting my book. 

 

And, I've don't know if you've noticed, but I've been on this site for less than a month, and already people are finding out "she's the nut writing teddy bear stories." It just comes out naturally. 

 

And that's marketing! Not big. Not scary. We just talk about what we're passionate about with others equally as passionate.

 

Whatever you're writing about there are others online somewhere equally as interested. And chances are good you already know that because you've been hanging out in those places.

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17 hours ago, carolinamtne said:

My penguins want to know about the teddy bear. How could he breathe in a trash bag?

Give the closest stuffed animal to you a good loving hug. You just pushed out his/her air, but the hug was nice enough he/she likes it. Now let go. And that's how a teddy bear breathes. ;)

 

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2 hours ago, Spaulding said:

And that's how a teddy bear breathes.

That's important to know.

 

I wonder if teddy bears and penguins would get along. I'll bet they would. Maybe Guino can find a teddy bear under the bleachers and they can start a relationship. Thanks for another story idea.

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On 5/19/2019 at 8:42 AM, Accord64 said:

how many authors oversell themselves as SMEs.

 What are SMEs?  Subject Matter Experts?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, suspensewriter said:

What are SMEs?  Subject Matter Experts?

Yes. I think it's a term used too loosely these days.

 

I studied military communication protocols so that the comm-dialog in my thriller novel would be realistic. Does that make me an SME on this? Absolutely not! But many would suggest that I claim to be, and then write a blog (or newsletter article) so that I can leverage it to help build a platform. I have way too much respect for our military to make such a ridiculous claim. 

 

I've also done presentations on eBook retail channels for my local author group, so newer authors could quickly learn where they can sell their books. On more than one occasion it was suggested that I could create (and charge for) a seminar, because I'm an SME. Hardly! All of the information I shared could easily be learned for free, and besides, I stop short of the information that authors really want to know - how to actually sell books (not just where to put them up for sale).

Edited by Accord64

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