Well folks, according to Walmart, we’ve officially entered the “weird” phase of dealing with COVID-19. The company reports that “hair clippers” and “hair dye” are flying off the shelves in record numbers as people attempt to “maintain their manes.”
Unfortunately, books aren’t flying off the shelves because most bookstores are now closed. This predicament has led Publishers Weekly to do something weird. They’re still posting new bestseller lists each Friday. But, they no longer display the BookScan sales numbers like they did before. That’s because there aren’t enough bookstores open to report sales. Kinda defeats the purpose of a bestseller list, don’t you think?
What should you do when everything is weird and messed up? Here’s what I suggest:
The best time to try something new
is when you have nothing to lose.
At this moment, no one expects you to sell a lot of books. Publishers are trying to avoid bankruptcy. Literary agents are scrambling to secure any contract possible. And, your family is hoping you’ll be able to keep paying the bills.
In other words, there is no pressure on your books right now. You are under no expectations. You can fail and no one will know or even care. Call it a blessing in disguise.
When pressure and expectations are removed from our mind, sometimes our best creativity takes flight and new marketing ideas are unlocked.
For example, I recently tried several experiments with my book, The Author’s Guide to Marketing Books on Amazon. I rewrote the marketing description. I moved the book into different Amazon categories. And, I created three new pieces of exclusive content to offer as bonuses and entice more purchases.
But, here’s my point. None of this would have happened unless I made the effort to try something new.
Yes, times are hard for everybody. But, rather than sit at home and binge-watch “Tiger King” on Netflix, why not use the current crisis as an opportunity to experiment? Give yourself a chance to test new marketing ideas.
Here are 10 examples of risk-free experiments for authors:
- Rewrite your Amazon book description to add more persuasion
- Dust off a book proposal and send it to a literary agent or acquisitions editor
- Try self-publishing a book with Amazon KDP and learn their system
- Create new content magnets to attract more email subscribers
- Research new keywords ideas for Facebook or Amazon ads
- Move your current books into different Amazon categories
- Plot out a new prequel or sequel to your novel
- Invite other authors to do a marketing partnership together
- Contact podcast hosts for author interviews
- Purchase an online course and learn new skills
Now is a great time to experiment in a no-pressure environment. If you attempt something and fail, no one will criticize you. Your reputation won’t take a hit. Your readers won’t reject you. The world won’t end.
When you test new ideas without the fear of failure, you can unlock new opportunities and transform the way you market your books.
Right now, life is weird for everyone. We are determining our survival by the rolls of toilet paper and the packs of hair dye we can hoard.
As an author, do something else weird. Try a risk-free experiment with your books. It just might work.
What have you got to lose?