Leverage the power of your fellow authors to boost your marketing
It’s been a while since we’ve addressed the importance of an abundance mentality, versus a poverty or lack mentality. But it came up as I chatted with a fellow author at the recent Summer Author Event.
My thinking in putting together the Summer Author Event was that a collective is almost always more powerful than a single person when it comes to getting things done. Think about the barn raisings of yesteryear – and occasionally of modern times. The whole town would come together to help one farmer literally raise the structure’s frame from the ground to its permanent standing position. Now consider what might never have happened if one person – even one very strong, very organized person – might have tried to build a barn on his own.
While Americans live in a culture that seems to idolize the “can do” spirit of entrepreneurs and high achievers, it’s easy to forget that literally doing it on your own can be a long, lonely, difficult endeavor. This is true for authors as much as for any other business owner.
The gentleman mentioned at the start of this post expressed dismay at the thought that I’d like to have even more authors at the next event. “More authors just means more competition, which will probably translate to less sales for me!” He also insisted that he must sell his books at list price if he’s to make any money on them.
I challenge this poverty perspective on both counts.
FIRST – how many titles do you typically find in a brick-and-mortar bookstore? I’m guessing it’s at least a few thousand more than we had at our fledgling author book signing/meet-and-greet event. And how often do you find all the car dealerships, antique shops, and hotels grouped in close proximity in cities and towns around the country? We generally recognize that competition is a good thing. Not to mention that my friend’s historical novels were likely not competing with about 90 percent of the other titles at the event, as the remainder were from vastly different genres.
The more authors who come together in this event, the more people there are to spread the word, and the more people they have to invite. My list of 700 invitees vs. 50 people’s lists that amount to thousands – which will result in a better event for all of us?
SECOND – I asked the authors to track their sales, first noting whether they were selling at list price or offering special event pricing, and to record how many of each title sold. This was for tracking purposes: I wanted to know for next time which kinds of books did well, and at what price. I won’t say that people expect special pricing when they attend things like the Summer Author Event, but it actually can increase sales.
E.C. Brierfield, our best-selling author at this event, was really creative, putting PDFs of 4 of his novels on one jump drive and selling the whole thing at a flat price. Guess what he did? He sold out all 10 of those before most of the other authors had sold 2 printed books. Was it a special event price? It was a special event item!
How can YOU leverage the power of the collective to multiply your marketing efforts and increase your sales? For one thing, stop thinking of other authors as competitors. Look at them as colleagues, allies, and partners – and see if you can’t come up with a creative way to market your books for the coming holiday season!
Here’s to the power of the group!
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Check out Laura’s newest book, Practical Philanthropy: How ‘Giving Back’ Helps You, Your Business, and the World Around You. A percentage of all book sales is donated to Art4TheHomeless.org and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.