Today’s Topic: Why Is A Book the Single Best Marketing Tool?
If you’ve been considering writing a book, and done any amount of research online, you’ve probably seen all kinds of ads claiming that a book is the single greatest marketing secret in the world. But, what exactly does this mean, and is it true?
On the surface, yes I will agree, this can be true. But, it’s not really quite as straight-forward as it sounds. Yes, a book will draw attention to the particular topic you’ve written about and will create a certain level of interest in the fact that you have something to say about it, but there are two factors even more important than attention. First is alignment with your message, and second is whether or not the book supports that message - either by fulfilling a mission, or by enhancing the income you generate from something related to this mission. In other words, do you have a clear objective and how to you fulfill or justify the book’s alignment with that objective?
As I often say in my podcasts, your “why” is critical to define (and know) well before you go into your book project. You have to have a certain level of passion and drive for your topic and, to get a maximum return on investment, you need to make sure that you haven’t written a book that has dead ends. Sure you might have a message but books are time-consuming and expensive to produce and if you don’t have a way to get a return on your investment - or, better yet make a profit - then you aren’t going to be overly excited to pay people to read your book. What, what? Pay people to read my book?
Generally, if your book doesn’t have legs outside of the pages, then you will literally end up paying people to read your book and paying distributors to try and help you sell it.
I can’t tell you how many times clients come to me from other coaching systems and they’ve been through the entire process of creating their book and they are now siting in front of me realizing that it’s expensive… and they might end up paying people to read it after they calculate the cost to produce, the selling price, the distributor fees and discounts, marketing and printing expenses, and then realize they also have to pay shipping fees.
It’s pretty common a nice-sized hard cover book (about 250 pages) will cost a client almost as much to reproduce it as it does to sell it. But, once some time has gone by, the book is no longer new, and the distributor hasn’t moved many, then they begin discounting them to sell them. It’s not uncommon to find your book for sale on Amazon for less than you are selling it for on your own website and with prime shipping. It’s also not uncommon to find it far less than your printing cost. So it’s not uncommon when new authors are at this stage and they’re frustrated!
What does any of this have to do with marketing secrets? Well… you kinda have to determine your motivation before you get to this stage. But, unfortunately you may have never written a book before and it took getting to this stage before you understood all this. If you are here and you are frustrated then you are not alone. But, now what do you do about it?
It always comes back to understanding why you took this project on to begin with. Hopefully you have defined and measurable success models well thought out before you begin writing. The fact is that if you don’t have something that links in or out of this book to your mission or goals then you haven’t likely understood that your book is no profit center. A book will almost always not be a profit center. And, if it is then you are in the business of selling books.
If you are not writing a book to become a professional author you should never be in the business of selling books. You should be focused on how you engage a prospect into your ecosystem (using the book as a tool perhaps). Your goals once you bring a prospect into your ecosystem are for you to define. Most authors look for profits to measure success. “Did the sale of my book generate a profit?” is common thinking. But, when you level-up into using the book as a conversion tool for up-selling a prospect - kinda that “do you want fries with that” mentality then you have likely increased your revenue or awareness beyond a book.
I have plenty of clients that come to me thinking they will write a book and people will suddenly come pouring into their ecosystem and buy from them. The marketing secret really is not so much about the book, but how the book guides prospects (or readers) into your ecosystem. The trick is having a well-defined ecosystem. If you get an interested prospect you should know why they are interested and how you can level them up into something you offer… generally the best conversion is into a system offering a higher plateau of whatever the book offered. Most new authors fail at the launch of their book because they haven’t taken the time to put together a solid offering. When they are doing their book release they don’t understand it’s never about the book. It’s always about how you can provide value, but you also have to be solid in your presentation of how a prospect can engage with you. Most authors just kinda think they will flow with the onset of interest in their ecosystem by offering more of the same. But, the trick really is offering even more value than the great value you already offered in the book. The book is always going to give a reader easy or free information. Sure they pay a small token to buy the book, so it’s not entirely free, but the book is public information that is easily available for the cost of the book.
What you offer next needs to be a part of an insiders club. This is an investment in the next level you have to offer. Often times this is exhausting for a new author because they’ve just extended themselves to put everything they know into the book and they are tapped out. But, I have news for you. The book should be a teaser. What you provide next is the how. The book is going to sell the why… why a reader or new prospect should invest in you… it sets the stage. It allows someone to get to know you. You are starting a relationship with a book so you have to provide value, knowledge, and be relatively likable for someone to desire more. You’ve just written 45,000 plus words in a book to paint a picture of your world and the value you offer, but now you’ve got to start giving the how.
In most cases a new author writes intangible ideas, makes general statements, and discusses personal stories of achievements. If you want to take the relationship further you’ve got to work on giving valuable, meaningful, and practical guidelines that can move a prospect from reader to client. You might hear someone say - “wow that was good, but what else you got!” Generally the authors first book lacks an active connection with the reader.
Did you ever see that Mel Gibson movie Field of Dreams? The big saying in the movie was “if you build it, they will come”. Its kinda the same thing with a book. You will always be in the business of selling books if you haven’t built something for readers to come to. The conversion will never happen if you aren’t offering value. The fact is that when you offer enough of what people want, they will find you. But, often times they will not easily see how they can engage with you so they assume you have nothing else you offer. Most new authors are looking for approval for their bold move to write a book. So much healing happens for authors. But, a smart author learns the greatest marketing trick is to move past personal emotional satisfaction and approval into a sales role—showcasing what’s next.
I mentioned it in another podcast once, but I had a gal trying to upsell me from a little free online event she was offering. She told me she could get me what I was looking for if I paid her $5,000. But, she had nothing explaining exactly what that was, then she got upset with me for asking for a list of deliverables. I wanted to know exactly what I was getting once I paid her $5,000. She was obviously offering me far more than I needed. I wanted just one piece of this larger package she offered but she wanted to sell me more. She wouldn’t break up the offering either. It was all or nothing. I thought I could simply pay her $500 and get my answer and move on. You have to really be clear what you are offering as a level-up outside of the book offering. If it’s not easy to buy or not clearly identified then you will loose interest.
I always try to tell authors never to do pre-sales and always go into a book release with something else in mind outside of selling books. Selling books is boring. Selling books is time-consuming. Selling books is not profitable. If you are signing books and there are people standing in line for an autograph I sure hope that you aren’t just signing books. I hope you’re engaging with people who took that time to stand there for you! Do you know why they are there? Did you miss an opportunity to interact with them because you were too focused on selling books?
Sure, it’s impressive to hand someone a book, but just make sure you have far more to offer outside of the book. You will be far more proud to offer a well-thought-out and practical system after your $24.99 sale! Just remember, most success stories related to a book are on what happens outside of the book!
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