Sunday, September 6, 2009

"A Death For Beauty" The Novel Update

Okay folks, a lot going on with the novel. First of all, I tweaked the DFB website and I think it looks better. No major changes, but I've added a few more links. I've even added my own Classics Bookstore from Amazon. I like the way everything looks and the flickering B&W images really work with the theme. If you're using the IE Browser, you'll hear a new musical score that's a better fit than the previous one. Overall, this scheme works so I'll leave it alone for a while.

Okay, good news and bad news. Good news is that after the Book Giveaway on Goodreads, which went up to 569 requests for the book, many people said they were going to buy the book. They were very excited about it and about 35 people added it to their "to read" list, but guess what? Nobody has kept their word and bought a copy of the book. That doesn't surprise me because it takes a lot of momentum to build up a sales pitch and once that momentum is broken, for whatever reason, it's all over, you've lost the chance to make a sale. Besides, most readers on all those bookish websites are very fickle and their main purpose for being there is to socialize, not to buy books. (Wrong frame of mind.)

I'll have to admit that I'm not one to chase down prospects and beg for an order so I'll have to build all that sales momentum up again and this time keep my shame in check and ask for the order. Yes, that does work, but I hate to ask for the order. It sort of obligates people to buy and I think that's a bit pushy. Me pushy? I should go for the jugular but believe it or not, I'm a very sensitive guy. (Oh please.)

"In essence, the best offer that motivates book buyers, is the novel's story itself."

Okay, enough of that. Here's one more thing. Bookbrowse "offered me" an ad spot for $200 a month, (they make it sound so exclusive) but I just can't swing that right now. I think it might not have worked so well either, although I think this website is a dynamic place to advertise, but I haven't been able to try it. When I did have the money, they didn't have the space. They do have good ad placement though and apparently, loyal readers but a one month trial may not be enough, so I'll have to think about that one. In a perfect world, I'd place at least 3 different ads on 3 venues and test them out that way for several months or more and see if that works. But, if I didn't see results within the first month, that's a good indicator that the ads are not going to work.

It takes a lot of experimentation with advertising, but the bottom line is this: If you put together a good ad and place it in a fairly high profile website where readership is not just high but where the website can show you stats on how many buyers order certain books, (Bookbrowse does.) then you might have a good chance to make sales that way. Of course, an ad by itself is usually never enough to make a sale. That's where everything else in your marketing plan comes into play.

You must have a good, effective website in place where prospects can land and then you must have good offers in place to motivate sales as well. I've got all that, but what I don't have are advertising dollars to point prospects to my website to begin with. Not good. Effective advertising in all the right places is a must. (But you know how life is, baby needs new shoes.)

I still have a handful of reviews pending from both Goodreads and LibraryThing but those will take some time in coming. And although, reviews do help sell books, a review by itself is not enough to motivate prospects. I'm convinced that the main factor in determining what produces a sale is the connection that a reader makes with your book, its story. Second in line as a motivator is the author's platform. Their position in the marketplace in relation to the story, their background. (Mine is a bit fuzzy.) And last but not least, a great offer.

You know the offers, two for the price of one, or buy now pay later. Problem is, those offers work for just about any product, except for books because usually the profit margin on books is so low that those kind of offers are not viable.

In essence, the best offer that motivates book buyers is the novel's story itself. That's why it's so important to present your book so it offers intrinsic value to the prospect. You must present your book in such a way that the prospect will think that if they don't order your book, they will be missing out on adding something very important and meaningful to their lives. Just that simple, and that complex.

Again, having all that in place, as I believe I have, is no guarantee of sales. (I'm living proof of that.) You must find an effective way to drive qualified traffic to your website where closing the sale must happen. And that folks, takes plenty of cash that you must invest and possibly lose in the process. But who said selling books was easy? You haven't heard that from me. What you have heard is that good, repeated advertising is the key to consistant sales.

Don't have the money to invest in advertising? Then you can expect to only sell a handful of books if you're lucky. Which reminds me, my mom said she was going to buy a copy of my novel, but she never did. I'll see if I can work up the nerve to bring that up during our next conversation.


Meanwhile, consider breaking open your penny jar and buying as much advertising as you can. Believe me, you're going to need it.