Remember that kid who decided to take apart a toy just to see how it worked? And then, surprise…that same kid couldn’t figure out how to put it back together again. We authors can sure learn something from that one kid. We can learn how to use reverse engineering to figure out why readers buy our books. Think about it. Kids take something (computer, radio controlled car, Barbie dolls) apart to see how it works, get to the guts of what makes that thing go, run, fly, burp. So why shouldn’t authors be able to take apart the sale that lured readers to buy the book in the first place?
The first question you should ask yourself is: Why did you purchase insert name of book? Was it because it was your friend’s book? Perhaps a suggestion? Or a book you learned about through a review? Was it an emotional purchase? A New York Times Bestseller? Or was the book part of Oprah’s book club? I want you to chase down the sale and figure out what made you buy that certain book. Got it? Good.
Now once you do this kind of reverse engineering you can build a profile for the sale. You get to see how a sale is built. You get to know how the book market works. That’s when you can develop a marketing strategy for your own books. Get it? Great.
A lot of times you’ll find the answer is word of mouth via the social media, or a friend suggested the book (or wrote it), or they passed by a bookstore window and the cover caught their eye. Even Oprah has the golden touch. Dig deep, and find the reason for that sale.
While doing my own reverse engineering, I suddenly saw this quote from Bill Gates in my Twitter feed: “You’re most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” That’s when it hit me. Book reviews. Not the one-star reviews you get from trolls, but those reviews that seem sincere, yet only give you a 3 star. Those are gold. Use these kinds of reviews to fine tune your writing. Listen, really listen to what the reader/reviewer is conveying to you, and apply their advice in your next book if it rings true with you. I know you can’t please everyone, but you can certainly make changes in your writing that will help boost your book sales and reach new readers.
Thanks a heap for reading my blog. Authors, if you have time, please leave a comment and share what you do to track down your book sales. If you’re a reader, please share what leads you to buy a certain book? I’d appreciate your input. Cheers!