Home > Uncategorized > A Sales Strategy That Avoids Selling? Is It Possible?

A Sales Strategy That Avoids Selling? Is It Possible?

It’s interesting that people equate buying books with authors or publishing houses advertising them, but bookstores don’t sell.

Bookstores entice. Even online stores such as Amazon or Barnes and Noble Give us spaces to relax in and browse. They help us feel comfortable. Allow us to look around the shelves. Let us search for what interests us. They don’t wave books in our face and say, “Buy this book!”  Yet, for some reason, Indie author book promotion seems to mean hawking our books like a peddler on the old prairie, begging for the mama on the farm to buy his newest gadgets.

A book store uses color and soothing environment to relax customers into remaining longer and looking at more and more. They know the longer a person remains in their store, the better chance they will buy something. Beyond that, if they stay even longer, they will likely buy more than one thing.  But an Indie author promoting books seems to be expected to shout about their books in every forum, on every media outlet, with everyone they meet, and everywhere they go.

A bookstore is organized in such a way that popular books are easier to find than unpopular ones. Of course unknown books never make it to real bookshelves. An Indie author, though, is often expected to act as though their book is already a bestseller, even though no one has heard of it.

I suspect that, in this day and age, as we see a marked shift from paper to ebook, and from NYT bestseller list to Amazon top rank, the demand on authors to promote will only increase. The rise in ebooks will create masses of books, with easier accessibility than ever before. This naturally translates to more competition, or does it?

One of the benefits of being an Indie writer is the absolute lack of expense to write and publish a book. Aside from the normal expenses print authors spend on computers and coffee (or tea, or maybe beer and wine), Indie books can be written and published for next to nothing. The book can then be sold for significantly less than a print book, resulting in higher per-book royalties for the author, and pure profit for the digital store. Because of this, the Indie author generally has access to forums, discussion boards, and various social media that is offered by the book store itself. Amazon has hundreds, if not thousands of digital boards where members can discuss books, aspects of writing, publishing, and even buying and reviewing.

What does this have to do with promotion?

Everything. An Indie author does not need to hawk their book to sell it. They just need to make acquaintances. Share good information. Have fun and get to know other writers and readers. Forums, message boards, social media groups…all of these allow for this. A print author can also do this, and should. So instead of hawking a book, we share it. We share other authors’ books. We help other authors with the writing or proofreading process. We write objective reviews. We critique covers. In essence, we make friends. And friends help each other.

Eventually, as we get to know more and more people, writers and readers alike, we will create a snowball effect. People will start talking about us behind our backs (good or bad doesn’t really matter here since people tend to make up their own minds). If our writing is good, and people enjoy it, this will lead to sales.

How long will this take? I really think it’s just a matter of how active we are. No one would even know the name Stephen King, or Danielle Steele if people hadn’t started talking to each other about them. Since the old days of giant publisher advertising budgets and advances (that can be used to promote) are pretty much behind us, we need to get people talking about us. That means talking to other people.

Start in a few Facebook groups. Book Junkies and Indie Writers Unite are my two favorite writers groups. There are many others. Get on Twitter and share good info about books. The more you tweet, the more followers you’ll get. These people will start talking about you to others. Join forums and become part of the discussion. Review books and encourage discussions about the books and feedback on your reviews.

The more we step out and get to know people, the more people will get to know us. The end result is going to lead to more book sales and even better quality in our writing. People who talk about us will also often talk to us, and we should listen if more than a few say the same thing.

Look at your book marketing strategy as a meet and greet, as opposed to a full-time ad, This will be more effective in the long run, and a lot more fun.

David Cleinman is a writer, reviewer, and blogger who lives in Central Florida at present. A strong supporter of Indie writing and publishing, he reviews Indie books, offers interviews and guest posts to fellow Indie writers, and has published three Indie books and an Indie short story. Find out more about David and his fellow Indie writers on his blog at: http://www.davidcleinman.com/writings

Principle of Destiny is available at amazon.com | amazon.co.uk | Smashwords  | B&N

Toys in the Attic is available at amazon.com | amazon.co.uk | Smashwords  | B&N

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. January 15, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Thanks Rasana for hosting me!

    • rasanaatreya
      January 15, 2012 at 6:42 pm

      My pleasure!

  2. January 15, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    David, I really like the concept of sharing – it speaks to my whole philosophy in general and likely has a lot of truth in it. It is what most of us who participate on-line are doing. But I take some exception to the idea that we can publish for next to nothing. In my humble opinion, in order for any book to look professional, that is without many errors, it needs to be edited, or at least proof read by another, almost always someone who is trained to do this and paid for it. We do not see our won errors, no matter how many times we go over our work. Editing is no small cost and somehow needs to be recouped before we can say we are making ANY profit. And if we wish to be considered professional writers our work must look professional.

    Aside form that I really like your approach.

    • January 20, 2012 at 12:52 am

      That’s true, Yvonne, but there are ways to have your book edited without costing a fortune, and if you mean proofreading, as opposed to editing, that can be done by sharing a manuscript with a few friends and asking them to proofread. An experienced writer, who has studied the craft and is well-read, can self-edit fairly well.

      Pro editors are generally willing to work with Indie writers for a very reasonable price, as well. The bottom line is that we can build a strong foundation as an Indie for far less than the advertising cost it takes to move a mass hardcover, or paperback.

  3. January 15, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    Rasana – great forum.

  4. rasanaatreya
    January 15, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Glad you like it, Yvonne!

  5. January 20, 2012 at 4:15 am

    David, I agree to a point. I have self-published two books. The first cost me a fortune, but I was a novice and needed the feedback. The second needed very little. The editor I chose had to make very few corrections and charged me accordingly. She said she had never seen such a clean manuscript. As she charged by the hour, not the page, the cost was low. Still, I am grateful that she was there to catch the few errors that I had missed. And I doubt my friend’s, even the other writers, have the in depth command of grammar she has. I think they would have missed some of what my editor caught.

    So your second paragraph says it all. On that we can agree.

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