Are you focused on selling books or serving readers?
In this post, I'm going to explain how a subtle shift in your book marketing focus can make your marketing efforts more rewarding for both you and your readers.
I have worked with plenty of authors over the years, and I know that the words “book marketing” can bring up a whole lot of uncomfortable feelings. You might feel pushy or sleazy trying to sell your book. You might feel overwhelmed and exhausted with all the things that you need to do. Or you might feel frustrated that things don't seem to be working as fast or as well as you'd like.
I have heard it all and I get it.
But what if you shift your focus from trying to sell your book to serving readers? If your sole purpose is to sell books, then the experience will quickly become uninspiring for you and unrewarding for your readers.
A tale of two restaurants
Let's think about this with an example. Imagine there are two restaurants and they serve identical food. Now, at the first restaurant you go to, the server greets you with a smile, shows you to your seats, and takes your drinks order straight away. The service is attentive but you don't feel rushed. The environment is relaxing, everything looks clean and all the staff are friendly and have a smile. You have a great time in this restaurant. You enjoy your meal and at the end, you're happy to leave a generous tip.
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Now imagine the second restaurant. In this restaurant, the food is exactly the same. The meal was brilliant in the first restaurant, and it is the same in the second restaurant. But when you arrive, you're greeted with a bit of a grunt from the server. They show you to your seats and plonk the menus down in front of you. You have to wait for them to come back to take your drinks order, which seems to take forever.
Everything seems to be a bit of a problem for the server. They don't appear to want to serve you and you wonder why they're even there doing that job. You feel rushed at times, and you feel neglected at other times. You even have to go and find somebody to take your dessert order. You're tucked away in a dark corner of the restaurant, and you feel pretty much forgotten about.
The interesting thing about this is that even though the food is identical to the previous restaurant, you even think the food is not so good. Because everything is so negative, it impacts your enjoyment of the meal. You notice things that may have been there in the previous restaurant – the meat was a bit tough or something was a bit cold. You notice it in the second restaurant because you're not having a great time.
The experience matters
I could go on but you get the picture. The food is identical in each restaurant, but your experience in each is completely different. One of them, you leave happy, you've left a big tip, and you're keen to return. With the other one, you can't get out of there quick enough and you never want to go back.
Of course, you're going to tell everyone about the first restaurant. You might post on Facebook that you went there, that you had a great meal. You're going to recommend it to everybody. The second restaurant, you are not going to recommend that to anyone. You may even leave a negative review because you're annoyed that you had to pay so much for such a bad experience.
How do you make readers feel?
So, what does all this have to do with book marketing? Well, like in the restaurants where the food was the same, your book is only one piece of the puzzle. How do you make your readers feel? This is something that can make all the difference with your marketing.
If you're not doing any long-game marketing to grow your author platform, if you only run ads to your books, and then let your Amazon listing do the heavy lifting, then serving readers beyond writing brilliant books may not be necessary. But if you are doing any kind of content marketing, if you have a blog, an email list, a podcast, or you're active on social media, then how you serve your readers and how you make them feel is important.
Are you serving readers?
How do you welcome them into your world? How do you let them know that you appreciate them and that you value them? This is so, so important because people who feel appreciated and valued are going to tell their friends about you. They are going to leave glowing reviews, and crucially, they are going to come back for more.
On the flip side, if you only bombard them with sales messages, they're soon going to feel used and unappreciated. They're going to be less likely to buy your next book, even if they enjoyed the first one. And in fact, they may even come to the conclusion at some point that they didn't like your first book that much after all. Bad marketing can damage your brand.
Serving readers first – thinking about what they want and need from you – rather than putting your book first can make a huge difference to the success of your marketing.
Book marketing can be joyful
There is one more difference that putting your reader first makes that I want you to be aware of. This is how it makes you feel about your book marketing.
Shifting your focus from selling books to serving readers can make the process much more enjoyable for you. It can make it more logical as well. And it will result in more book sales too.
Of course, the key to serving your readers is knowing exactly who they are. If you're still not sure about that and need to do a bit more homework, then make sure you grab my free Identify Your Target Readers Checklist. It will get you asking yourself the right questions, and making sure you do know who your ideal readers are, so that you can go out and start serving them.