In today’s publishing industry, it’s common for 80% of a publisher’s book sales to come from its top 20% bestselling authors. These “A-level” authors are treasured for their ability to write and market books that sell 100,000 – 1,000,000 copies or more. Plus, their platforms are so strong that their presence at a book-signing or speaking events can quickly draw hundreds of readers. Thus, publishers tend to devote more marketing dollars and resources to these writers. Who can blame them? A-level authors represent a safer bet to produce much-needed revenue, especially in a difficult economy.
The surprising reality, however, is the amount of marketing mistakes that some A-level authors continue to make. Sure, they’ve sold a lot of books. But, they could generate even more sales if their oversights didn’t hold them back. By making a few simple improvements, these authors could boost sales by an extra 10 – 25%. I’ve consulted with several author clients who’ve sold over 500,000 copies each, but they’re not immune to mistakes that erode their full potential.
If you’re a top-tier author, or aspire to be one, take a moment to examine if you might be limiting yourself. For new authors, consider the following three mistakes as issues to avoid in the future. And, if you’re a publisher, make sure your top guns aren’t wasting easy opportunities to boost book sales.
Mistake #1: Falling behind on new technology
Since our society is now an Internet-based culture, it’s imperative for authors to maximize technology’s ability to reach more readers. Fortunately, it’s never been easier to setup a website, send emails, and use social media tools to influence large groups of people. But, I’m shocked at how many A-level authors fail to exploit these resources.
For example, I recently consulted with a bestselling author of 25 books who has sold over 8 million copies. After 30 years of tireless work, he only had 12,000 people on his email list and 16,000 Facebook followers. Those numbers are way too low for someone of his stature and experience. By now, he should easily have over 50,000 email names and a much bigger social media presence. But, he’s neglected to maximize the technology at his fingertips. How many additional copies could he have sold if he’d steadily focused on building his digital platform? His publisher probably winces when they think about it.
Staying current on technology doesn’t have to be labor-intensive. You can learn it or farm it out to a capable assistant. But, it’s mandatory to take necessary steps because we’re talking about adding easy book sales from online fans that are akin to low-hanging fruit.
Don’t shun technology. Instead, use it to your benefit. If you already have a large platform, then maintaining a website, blog, email list, or FaceBook page will only make you more efficient. These new tools represent great ways to capture readers at their emotional peak, generate word-of-mouth, and empower fans to help market your books.
Mistake #2: Believing It’s all about Me
Authors who sell over 100,000 copies should be proud of their success. Becoming a bestseller is a rare achievement that most writers only dream about. But, the marketing style of many A-level authors comes across as “it’s all about me.”
For instance, I visited five big-time author websites whose Home page was the actual Store page for their books! From the very beginning, their marketing seems to imply, “I don’t care about you. Just hurry up and buy my stuff.” Other examples include bestselling authors who plug their books throughout an entire speaking presentation. The audience feels like they’re sitting through a live infomercial.
Sure, it’s important to make sure people know your books exist. But, you can’t endear readers to your message and grow a larger platform if you don’t meet their needs first. The main issue that concerns most people is “How can you help me?” To establish the value that you offer your audience, consider these two questions:
- How is the condition of my audience improved from my writing?
- What tangible results do my readers experience from my books?
The key to effective book marketing is showing how you meet people’s needs, even if you write fiction and provide entertainment. Therefore, your marketing efforts should be reader-focused, rather than self-focused. Examine all of your promotional materials, such as websites, bios, blogs, and brochures. Do they express a selfless desire to help others? Or, do they convey a sense of self-importance?
When A-level authors achieve success, some mistakenly believe that people are flocking to their personality. In most cases, however, the real attraction is to the message that changed the readers’ lives. When authors stop focusing on value, they start churning out fluff that leaves people feeling disappointed. Over time, this mistake erodes trust and respect with their audience. Eventually, the audience stops buying books.
Mistake #3: Stuck in the Success Trap
If an author sells a million copies, it can be easy for them to think that they’ve reached their peak. But, this mindset can lead one to stagnate. In the corporate world, leaders are expected to expand their knowledge and increase their skills. Yet, in the publishing world, some A-level authors are treated with kid gloves and rarely challenged. Top authors can literally get trapped in their own success.
Management consultant, Alan Weiss, explains the Success Trap by saying, “To grow, you must fail periodically so that you are continually aware of opportunities for improvement and for expanding your envelope. This discipline not only will provide for internal stimulation, but it will influence how the external world views you.”
When top authors get stuck in their success, they can also wind-up out of sync with their audience. One recent example is a parenting book by a well-known male author who presumed that most mothers weren’t working outside of the home. Or, if they worked, their jobs were mostly administrative roles. Plus, his parenting advice never touched on remarriage and how to handle raising stepchildren. This author’s material has grown so out of touch with current society that he risks losing credibility and growth potential.
Another example of the Success Trap is when A-level authors neglect their public speaking or media interview skills. For instance, they don’t use fresh illustrations or recent experiences. Their messages lack creativity and original content. The lack of self-evaluation prevents the ability to speak at larger events that could dramatically impact book sales. It’s easier than ever before to learn new talents. An author’s platform usually starts to diminish when complacency takes hold.
In a competitive economy, A-level authors are the fortunate few who reach thousands of readers and sell large numbers of books. They’re in the best position to thrive and keep their publishers growing, too. Don’t let these three mistakes undermine your full potential – no matter what level you might be. Stay current with new technology, stay focused on meeting your readers’ needs, and avoid falling into the Success Trap. Enjoy the benefits of being a top-tier author, and take steps to always bring your A-game.
Speaking of A-Level authors, I invite your to download my new free e-book, 7 Advanced Income Secrets of A-Level Authors. How do the top-tier authors keep the revenue flowing to boost their careers? Click on the image below to learn their secrets.
Top-seller image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net