sebgwrites

Worlds of imagination by Sara B. Gauldin

A simple obstacle to book sales…

I have spent quite a few hours recently writing a book. Is clear in my mind and it needs to be recorded. Writing is an outlet for the emotions, and imagination that would be there anywhere. Writing is a joy. I wish I could say the same about marketing.

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Marketing a book ( or three at this point) is a journey that I never thought about when I chose to put my energy in to the act of creating a book. I cannot fully describe the elation I felt on the first day I clicked “publish” and became an author rather than a writer. After the elation wore away a bit I sat back and watched my sales. This was not a very entertaining pursuit because the reality was that nothing happened. I had agonized for weeks about releasing my innermost thoughts to the world. Suddenly it seemed that the world did not really want them. I was stumped. I sell many items on Teacher’s pay Teachers and other sites. My initial price for my first book was lower that a study packet I had created. I waited. I watched. I saw nothing.

My first revelation was that nobody knew about my book. Obviously I needed to make announcements to the readers at large or they would not find my work. So I researched blogs and twitter. I opened an author Facebook page. I interacted on Goodreads. Sales were dismal.

A fellow author suggested that I needed reviews to sell books. This sounded like a reasonable strategy. I redoubled my effort. I contacted bloggers and others I had networked with. I asked friends, coworkers and acquaintances to read my book and write reviews.

Upon asking people to read my books a new realization began to form. People resisted reading my books. Certainly most were polite. A few caved in and were pleasantly surprised. A few bought the book to show support but were very plain about not having time to actually read it. I heard a multitude of reasons. People were busy; family, work, home or church took up all of their time. People were not readers. People were already reading some best seller. Keep in mind that these were my family members and friends, the very people who I had counted on to celebrate my marginal victory of publication. Many of my teacher colleagues ( who I am reasonably sure are literate) were glad to use my instructional materials but balked at a free eBook.

busy

The big question is why? The answer is that these people are being brutally honest. They don’t want to read my book or anything else. Reading is an act that requires sustained mental effort and a substantial amount of time. My book and my writing is an unknown variable and is perceived as a risky investment of peoples’ valuable time and energy. Conversely, my teaching materials save time and energy. They are much easier to sell because they make life easier. This in the same reason why takeout food is infinitely more popular that cooking organic meal at home. In our culture there is a never ending stream of demands on the average person. These demands make it difficult for many people to invest their time and energy in anything that is not a sure bet. After the chaos of the day, a stream of entertainment is available to most people. Television, music, and internet interlaced with social media takes over a large percentage of the time people would once have devoted to reading, writing letters, and gasp, having conversations with people who are in the same room.

time

Essentially, what I am saying is as a new(er) author whose books have not universally proven to be worthy of people’s time, the main obstacle to gaining readers is convincing people to invest time, not money in the product. Like any successful product, the sure way to make a sale is to convince readers that the product will make their lives more pleasant, rather than a project they are committing themselves to among too many others.

 

Don’t miss Sara B. Gauldin’s amazing books! Click HERE!

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2 comments on “A simple obstacle to book sales…

  1. Writer's Carnival
    June 23, 2014

    You hit the nail on the head here! Marketing is really tough. It takes a lot of trial and error and research to get a good stride. Joining an online community helps, too. It gives us other people to discuss strategies, up and downs, and process with. Keep on writing! You’ll find your way soon enough 🙂

    • Sara B. Gauldin
      June 23, 2014

      Thanks! I remind myself all the time that writing is a marathon rather than a sprint!

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