I’m a Writer, Not a Salesperson!

You’re a pastor. Or maybe an elder in your local church. You might be a stay-at-home mom or a teacher. But you’re probably not a professional salesperson. So now that you’ve written a book, it needs to be sold and you’re feeling a little squeamish. Why? Because it’s likely that your initial “customers” will be friends and family, and that feels awkward. You don’t want to be that friend or family member who is selling a product and making everyone feel obligated to buy it. And yet, you need the support and word-of-mouth marketing of your inner circle. So how do you sell your book to those closest to you without it getting all weird? Here are three ways:

Be confident

More than likely your book is the result of years worth of prayer, reflection, research and sustained effort. You’ve sacrificed time and money to produce the manuscript. You’ve edited, re-edited and re-edited again. You’ve agonized over words, commas and even deleted entire chapters. This book contains your highest thoughts and deepest revelations. It may even be the result of God’s call on your life. If so…be confident. Be proud. Be assured that your writing is amazing and will greatly benefit those who read it.  The temptation will be to say something like this,

Uncle Mike, I hate to be pushy, but it would really mean a lot to me if you would buy my book.

Instead, try this,

Uncle Mike, you know how I’ve always been passionate about worship? Well, I’ve finally written down all the things that God has taught me and I would love for you to read it. In fact, you mentioned recently that you had some misgivings about your church’s worship style. I think you might find some helpful advice in my book.

See, your book has value. Don’t be embarrassed about that. Imagine that you are hosting Christmas dinner for all your relatives. You carefully plan the menu and even practice the recipes. After some refining, the big day comes and you meticulously prepare all the dishes. As you set the food in front of your guests, do you apologize for it? No. You are excited for them to try it! You truly believe that this meal will bring them joy as well as nourishment. You should view your writing in the same way. As a gift and a blessing to those who read it.

Be helpful

Which tagline for a stain-remover would be most effective to a mom of young kids?

Five ways to remove baby food stains

or

Buy our stain remover!

Of course, it is the first one. Why? Because it offers a solution to that mom. How will your book help people? Will it provide encouragement to the depressed? Hope to the addict? Maybe it gives pastors’ wives the tools to keep their sanity. Or it educates on the history of the Jewish people. As you promote your book to friends and family, think of ways that it can help them and become a tool in their spiritual toolbox. This approach will take you much farther than simply constantly asking, “Will you please buy my book?”

Be authentic

If you weren’t a pushy salesperson before you wrote your book, please don’t become one now. We’ve all seen it. The acquaintance who suddenly becomes ultra-friendly only to lay on the sales pitch for some product or another.

Books… actually most products… are best sold through meaningful connections. In his bestselling book Your First 1000 Copies (a book we highly recommend), Tim Grahl states,

Let’s sum up what marketing is and should be.

Marketing isn’t sleazy car salesman tactics.

Marketing isn’t tricking people into buying.

Markting isn’t unethical.

Marketing isn’t intrusive self-promotion.

Marketing is two things: (1) creating lasting connections with people through (2) a focus on being relentlessly helpful.

Be confident. Be helpful. Be authentic. These three attributes will start you off on the right foot as you venture into the world of marketing.

At Certa Publishing, we believe that our authors’ books offer tremendous value and we stand ready to help you reach the readers that need the wisdom your book offers.

So, What is Your Book About?

It may sound like a simple question. But the following excerpt from a post by Rob Eagar, author of Sell Your Book Like Wildfire, illustrates how crucial your answer can be.
College football fans were treated to an amazing game a few years ago as Michigan State upset highly-ranked Wisconsin on the last play of regulation. As time expired, Michigan State’s quarterback threw a last-ditch, 44-yard, “Hail Mary” pass that was bobbled by two players until receiver, Keith Nichol, caught the ball and crossed the goal line.
Some people called the desperate play a “lucky” win, and it was certainly a rare situation. However, Keith made an interesting comment in the post-game celebration interview. He said that Michigan State practiced that exact kind of last-second desperation play every week. In fact, they practice it so much that they have a name for the play called, “The Rocket.”
What does a lucky, last-second catch in football have to do with marketing a book? There are times in life when you suddenly find yourself in a desperate “Hail Mary” situation. For example, you might randomly sit down next to an important person on the airplane. Someone may suddenly introduce you to a high-profile leader at a party. You may be asked to fill-in for a well-known speaker who cancels the day before. You might get asked to appear on a major radio or television show with little advance notice. Each of these situations has happened to several of my author clients.
The question is: are you prepared to handle those “Hail Mary” moments when they arise?
Don’t avoid the work and think you can just “wing it.” Instead, do you practice reciting the value of your book? Do you have a powerful speech ready to give on short notice? Do you rehearse your sound bites so that you could give an effective interview if a TV producer called tomorrow?
Sometimes, the biggest marketing opportunities appear unannounced. If you’re caught off guard, you won’t be in a position to maximize those occasions. That’s why it’s important to continually prepare for those situations. For example:
  • Memorize the key value statements for your book.
  • Rehearse answering media interview questions while driving in your car.
  • Practice a new speech out loud by yourself until you own the material.
After the big win, Michigan State’s football coach, Mark Dantonio, said, “We always tell our players that they have to be ready, because you never know when your time will come.” As an author, a major opportunity to market your book may be just around the corner. Will you be ready?
At Certa Publishing, we want our authors to be the most prepared in the business. We’d love to help you market your book. We can even assist you in crafting a great pitch for those “hail Mary” situations. Let us know how we can help!