Sunday, March 22, 2009

My Book's Not Selling!

If you're looking for a blog to tell you "My Sure-Fire Way to Get on Oprah," or "Fifty Ways to Guarantee Your Book's a Bestseller," try another blog. I'm simply detailing writing and marketing strategies as I implement them and will transparently tell you what's working and what's not.

Week One Review

So my book's been available on Amazon for eight days. The first day, one book sold. Over the next two days, three more sold. According to my research into Neuro-Economics, when we see something happen a couple of times, our mind jumps to the conclusion that a pattern has formed, and we expect the pattern to continue. And as we know in premarital counseling, if we fail to dispel unrealistic expectations, we set couples up for a disappointing let-down.

I think I experienced that letdown a bit after the third day. Nothing else has sold. I should have expected this. After all, my marketing plan involves

#1 - Getting early reviews from big-time reviewers (galleys sent to places like Booklist months ago; hoping to get reviews in two months).

#2 - Get my Amazon page and other Web pages tidied up to look enticing when people come.

#3 - Let all my Facebook friends and other friends know about it.

#4 - Get the word out to magazines, newspapers and other media.

#5 - Speak, sell in alternative markets, and slowly build a following.

So, why would I expect people to be purchasing books at this stage? I shouldn't be expecting any to sell. I haven't marketed it yet.

Sure, my book's in the world's largest bookstore. But I know a person whose book was available on Amazon for a year and never sold a copy. Typically, if you're not already an established author with people eagerly awaiting your next book, you've got to go out and sell books.

So why did my books sell for the first few days? My wife leaked out the word to some of her friends and they bought books. We know this explained a couple of the sales and assume it accounts for the other two.

Books don't sell themselves. The Chicken Soup guys put their first book in the trunks of their cars and marketed them. I'm on track for all this, but my first week's experience is a good, sobering reminder of the importance of getting the word out.

"But what about all those things you've done to fully utilize Amazon?" you might ask. Those things, like choosing tags and choosing search phrases, may pay off in a few weeks. I believe Google "dances" once a month to change rankings according to the new data that its "spiders" have gathered. Surely Amazon's searches work similarly.

My first box of books hasn't arrived yet. When it does...I'm ready to start!