Many of the books and articles I read on marketing your book speak about finding out who will want to read your book. This is all part of finding a niche, identifying an audience for your book, etc. But I say this is wrong! If you want to sell your book, you don’t want to find people who will read your book, you want to find people who will buy your book.But you ask, “How can people read my book unless they buy it?”
Many ways… a reader can borrow it from a friend or a library. He or she may receive it as a gift from a loved one or their company may have purchased it for them to read.Readers are not necessarily buyers. Buyers are not necessarily readers. But all buyers are buyers. (You might have to think on that one for a minute.) So it stands to reason that if you market to the later group (the buyers), you stand a better chance of selling your book.
For instance, when you market your book to libraries, you are not marketing to readers, your are marketing to the library’s buyer of books. Libraries don’t read books, they buy them for their patrons to read.This is even more evident if you write children’s books. Not too many children buy their own books. Parents, grandparents, schools, aunts, uncles… adults are usually the ones who buy children’s books for children to read.
Bryan Fields (www.bryanwfields.com) discovered this when he was marketing his children's book, Lunchbox and the Aliens (Henry Holt, 2007). This book is about a basset hound who is abducted by aliens and saves the world. What group would buy his book? Obviously parents of elementary school aged children. But Bryan hit on a unique group that no one had thought of before. Basset hound lovers. Bryan, who owned a basset hound, was aware of several basset hound groups, both online and off. When he announced his book with these groups, they went crazy for it. These loyal basset hound lovers were willing to buy anything having to do with their favorite canine. I’m sure many of the books that were purchased were never read, but they were bought and possibly ended up with the corners chewed!Super salesman, James Megellas, sells so many books at his book signings that he is always in demand at the Books-A-Million in Grapevine, Texas. James’ book, All the Way to Berlin, is about his experiences as the most decorated officer of World War II. Whenever people pass his table, he’s not thinking “reader,” he’s thinking, “buyer.” He asks questions like, “Are you a veteran?” Maybe this person will purchase my book from a fellow veteran. If not, then he asks, “Do you know a veteran?” Perhaps this person will buy the book as a gift for someone they know.
I know… you want people to read your book, but before you can get it into the hands of readers, someone has to buy it. And that’s what you should be doing when marketing your book – getting the buyers to buy it. Change the focus of your book marketing efforts from the reader to the buyer. It could make the difference between ho-hum and best-seller in the book world.