As writers it’s easy to get caught up in all sorts of analytics and metrics. We have so many different ways to promote our work and reach out to readers that it can be overwhelming. Add in we hear success story after success story from people doing so many different things. One guy made it big through using social media, the other through using more traditional means, and another through putting up videos on a video sharing site. We think “Man do I have to do all of these things to have any sort of success?”. So then we go out and try to a million things at once.
We update our twenty social media profiles, we write new content for our blogs, we finish up another chapter in our book, we debate making an ad for Amazon, we write more e-mails for our autoresponders, and so on and so forth. We rarely take the time needed to sit back and really focus on what is important and the numbers that matter most. While social media and the like are all great they are not what matter most and people often confuse them for what matters most. But to make it as a self-published author it’s not Twitter followers that determine if you eat or not.
Book Sales Is King
At the end of the day the thing that truly matters is book sales. Everything that drives book sales is good and everything that detracts away from book sales is bad as far as business is concerned. And that is after all what you are in if you are a self-published author, a business. Just because it involved art doesn’t mean it’s not a business. It’s a business just as much as an oil company or ad agency is a business, successful authors (meaning those who make their living from it) know and understand this. And treat their writing as a business.
You can’t eat Facebook likes, YouTube views, or Twitter retweets. None of those things produce income. Don’t get me wrong used properly they can be used to drive sales but they are not nearly as effective as people think that they are. How successful you are as an author doesn’t depend on how many followers you have on social media, how popular your website is, how many have signed up for your email list, or even how many quality good relationships you have with readers, how successful you are as author all depends on one number and one number only. How many books that you sell.
How To Drive Sales
There are those with thousands of Twitter followers who will barely sell any books, likewise there are those on YouTube with thousands of subscribers and hundreds of thousands of views who will barely sell any books. The number one thing that sells books is connections with your readers. And the number one thing that drives connection with your readers is talking with them. The best way to do this is through having them signing up for your email list and emailing them frequently with value adding emails. Likewise responding to all of their comments and having engaging content does this well also.
However none of that matters if you never ask for the sale. Just like in copywriting you could have a amazing headline that states the biggest benefit, a great lead that really engages the emotions, testimonials from the president and major celebrities, but if you don’t follow all of that up with the ask then it was all for nothing. You have to remember to ask your readers to buy your books. Whether it’s at the end of your autoresponder emails or at the end of your content you need to ask otherwise you won’t sell.
The Marketing Funnel
Tim Grahl has a great book called Your First 1,000 Copies where he outlines something he calls the connection system. The connection system is essentially a traditional sales system that he has modified for selling books. The parts of it are permission, content, outreach, and selling. I’m going to get to the important parts here but I’d encourage you to get the book to learn more about making it as a self-published author. Tim talks about how social media and the like is an outreach strategy designed to bring people to your content which is designed to bring people to your email list which is designed to sell your books.
So it’s a traditional marketing funnel but with a different names (probably because authors are such a sensitive lot when it comes to sales and selling, this is also why so many authors are broke). You use social media to get people to your content, you use your content to get people to your email list, and then you use your email list to build a relationship with your readers in order to sell to them. That last part is important as you can’t eat relationships either last time I checked. Get this marketing funnel up and running for maximal success.
Here are the key takeaways that I want you to get from this article. First off YouTube subscribers, Twitter followers, and the like don’t mean jack as far as making money and selling books is concerned. Sure they can help but there are things that are far far more important. Things like having a good marketing funnel in place, building relationships with your readers, having valuable content, and above all else asking for the sale repeatedly. Just like every other business on earth sales and marketing play the major role in who is successful and who isn’t. Being a self-published author is no different.
If you have any questions you would like to see answered in a future post send them to me at charlessledge001 (at) gmail (dot) com. If you found value in this post then I would encourage you to share this site with someone who may need it as well as check out my books here. I appreciate it. You can follow me on Twitter here.