What is the magic strategy for selling more books?

Every day, authors come to me, looking for a quick fix. They want to know the simple secret for turning their manuscript into a profitable venture. Surely there is some magic strategy or formula, they say, suggesting that I might be holding back some profound wisdom.

Well, there is a pattern (or strategy) we follow to maximize the potential for profitability. And since I’m a triple-bottom-line guy, I define profitability as achieving whatever financial, personal, spiritual, political, environmental goals you have set out for yourself and your book. At the risk of being pedantic, I will emphasize that determining those goals (your PURPOSE in the 14 Ps of book marketing) is essential to figuring out your overall marketing plan.

The strategy is roughly as follows, and I could talk for half an hour about each point:

  • determine your USP – unique sales proposition – and ensure editing, design and promotions tightly reflect that POSITIONING statement
  • quality of content is essential to have readers’ satisfaction — that’s the PRODUCT part — so get the best writing, editing, design and presentation you can afford so you are promoting a product of which you are totally proud
  • start the PUBLICITY locally (geographically and networking), then expand as you learn
  • do the free, maximum impact marketing tactics — such as getting reviews on your book’s Amazon page
  • grab the low-hanging fruit (go to the obvious, easiest market niches first) — this is identifying and targeting the best PUBLICs
  • create multiple editions and distribute to multiple channels (PLACE), so you aren’t solely focused on bookstore sales with their tiny margins and yucky returnability
  • have fun: do only those promotions that you look forward to and can easily afford (a fit with your PURPOSE/PASSION and your three profit plans of PEOPLE, PLANET and PROFIT$)
  • aim for the long-term: try to set up sales as a perpetual flow of revenue with minimal new effort or investment; look to creating a “classic” that will sell steadily, forever.

Can this be done? Sure. We do this with every author. Can following this strategy pay off financially? Definitely yes. One of our books is paying its author over $200 per month in royalties, eight months after its launch — and none of this royalty is from local bookstore sales. I see that as creating a long-term classic, almost like having an annuity. Seeing this success is why I’m re-working three manuscripts of my own — tuning up the quality level, so I can launch more classics, and build my passive income stream.

That’s the magic and not-so-secret formula. Plot out your 14 Ps of Book Marketing DeMystified and away you go!

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