The Book Sales Limp Along Factor

By Judith Briles

Summertime is here … are your book sales easy … jumpin’ and high? Or, are they limping along? Many reveal that sales have been on the light side since COVID-19 arrived … does that sound familiar?

It’s time to remaster your thinkin’ and doin’. You do know that every author needs to master the art of selling … yes? And do you know why?

Here’s the WHY … Ineffective authors lose books sales. And money. Could that be happening to you? If so, you are showered with the limp along scenario.

At the core is your mojo … pitching and positioning your book … and yourself. Even if no one told you that the job description for “author” and “writer” had “sales” sandwiched between the covers, you need to realize that you and every other author is in sales from the moment the day starts. It may not be all about your book, but sales are in play.

Be it:

  • convincing yourself that you are going to tackle a problem that’s been looming;
  • deciding between the chicken or taco salad;
  • interacting with an irritated customer, colleague or boss;
  • or wooing others to your point of view . . .

you are selling—either to yourself or others. And that includes books.

Transitioning from “in person” gatherings created some challenges … but not impossibilities.

That’s the challenge. It’s not uncommon to tie the words scam, con, liar, manipulator, or fast-talker to someone who “sells”. But we authors are all in sales—our ideas, our words, our positions … and yup, our books.

If your mannerisms and pitching are those of the ”perceived” salesperson, trust and credibility take a hit. Stereotypes and rejection are in play. Reality check: no author wants others to think that they are liars and to be avoided.

Rejections happen … all the time!

Oooh … the rejections word–no one likes them. No one wakes up and says, “Hooray … I can hardly wait for the next rejection.”

But here’s what’s happening: when you can’t handle rejection, you don’t want to pick up what you perceive to be a 250-pound phone or meet new people because you just know that the rejection experience will happen. It feels awful.

With all the electronic gizmos we have today for communicating, phone contact necessary—be it good news or bad news? You bet. Outside of actual one-on-one contact or live video, phone interfacing is crucial. Hearing voice tones adds a significant dimension to any words that flow.

Begin with the end in mind.

Sounds good—what does it mean? That means being clear on the specific goals you want to achieve and then determine the specific activities necessary to attain those goals. If it’s selling more books–yes!–then start there.

Will rejection happen?

Of course it will. To overcome the pit in your belly when it smacks you in the face, start with:

  1. Separate what you “do” in your role –author– from who you “are” as a human being—i.e. self-worth and self-esteem.
     
    Regardless of whether someone chooses your solution—you are still the same human being … creative, dependable, funny, generous, etc.
     
  2. Set your goals, set them high and go for it.
     
    Rarely do you excel unless you stretch yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or cannot achieve. Be clear on your personal vision and goals, have a plan to achieve them and refuse to let anyone or anything stand in your way.
     
  3. Use a sales process that is focused on continually adding value and is all about the other party, which is something many talk about but few implement.
     
    This is where relationship selling surfaces. Yes, it focuses on:
    • Relationships
    • Engaging
    • Leveling
    • Asking
    • Tailoring
    • Endorsing

    It’s all about creating trust and credibility so you can quickly clarify, qualify, and move forward.

Relationships are built on trust and credibility—with yourself and others.

We authors need to think of it as being a member of the 4-H club is essential in building relationships:

  • Humor
  • Humility
  • Honesty
  • and chutzpah

Instead of raising critters … you are raising a book!

Engage others in something of interest about them. It’s all about THEM … not you.

The axiom, knowledge = power is inaccurate. It’s knowledge + implementation = power.

The more you know about your readers’:

  • needs
  • concerns
  • pain
  • problems

the more you can:

  • acknowledge
  • learn
  • implement information and solutions …
  • and transition upward

You will be about them, so you are perceived as a “partner” versus a vendor or salesperson.

Level your expectations every step of the way. Gain mutual commitments about next steps. If there is no next step—stop.

This is appropriate with almost any interaction for effective communications—whether a job interview, meeting with a co-worker/boss/peer or prospect … or selling books.
Ask, “What would you like me (or do I need) to do next?” Clarifying expectations eliminates confusion.

Asking questions—lots of them—is essential.

The more you know, the better you can provide a solution that fits the need of your potential buyer.

Tailor your solution to meet their specific needs—no more no less. Remember, you are a problem solver.

Endorsements are always good to pull from. Gain them from everyone who you know that has benefited from your sage words. The more “buy-in” you have up front, the greater your chances of a successful sales going forward, even in the COVID year of 2020.

When you’re selling yourself and your book—whether:

  • in-person
  • in podcasts
  • in a print article or blog
  • in a webinar
  • on anything online

this how to differentiate yourself and create long-term relationships. A smart author move.

Yes, every author is involved in sales … from the get-go!
 
Want to read more articles by Judith Briles? Click here.
 
Photo: BigStockPhoto

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