For a self publishing author it’s all about finding an audience for your book. So when you read about the authors who do break through with big sales figures for self published e-books like:
- Darcie Chan with 400,000 sales of her novel, The Mill River Recluse
- Michael Prescott whose thrillers earned $300,000 in 2011
- Amanda Hocking self published e-book sales of paranormal romances led to a $2,000,000 deal with St. Martin’s Press
- John Locke who has sold well over a million e-book downloads of his action adventure and westerns
the average author asks what they are doing to achieve such success.
Locke has written an e-book How I Sold 1 Million ebooks in 5 Months to describe his marketing system which he says is “100% workable” for anyone seeking to sell e-books.
Locke’s ideas about writing are unconventional. Treat “writing as a business,” he says. Books are products, just like any other widget. What makes his books successful is his marketing system. Locke says, “…your writing doesn’t have to be really good. It just has to be effective.”
Locke sees target marketing at the heart of a book’s effectiveness. He says, “I write to a specific audience, and I know how to find them.” Every self publishing author should think about that.
Locke himself writes novels for a very specific audience which he has identified before he begins to write. Of course, most authors have created a book before they give much thought to marketing it. Locke advises them to, “Study your book and try to determine the type of person it speaks to.” He suggests you get your book into the hands of as many people as possible “and figure out what those who LOVED it have in common,” by asking questions like:
- What was your favorite scene, and why?
- Which thematic elements appeal to which people and what traits do these people share?
The information you gather helps you to define who the specific readers are most likely to be.
Locke’s marketing system doesn’t require any unique or unusual tools. “If you have a book, a website, a Twitter account, and a blog, you’ve got the right tools,” he says.
The key is knowing where in the social media landscape to find the target readers so that you can use the tools to reach them.
Think about the vastly differences kinds of audiences three different kinds of memoirs might have:
- A memoir about first time motherhood will most likely appeal to an audience of younger women going through currently going through the trials, tribulations and triumphs your book describes.
- A memoir about your experiences with a successful start-up business might appeal to other people currently involved with a start-up, to people who plan or hope to become entrepreneurs, or people who are interested in the type of business in which the start-up operates.
- A memoir about coping with cancer might be targeted for those suffering from cancer themselves. It might also appeal to people battling other life-threatening illnesses. Families and friends of these people might want to read your book as well.
Once you’ve identified your book’s most likely readers reaching them through social media to let them know about your book is much easier than sitting at your computer and shouting into the void. Think about the places these people are likely to hang out on Facebook. What groups might they join? What Twitter hashtags might be most likely to be of interest to your target audience? What blogs are likely of greatest interest to your potential readers? When you have a specific target audience in mind you can work smarter not harder with social media tools because you have greatly increased the likelihood that you can get the message about you and your book in front of people who are most likely to buy it.