Pearls of (Almost) Wisdom

How To Get Me To Buy Your Book

There are a lot of people out there who have written books.

(WOW, really, Anne? You are such a genius! That is such an earth-shattering revelation!)

Alright, alright, let me rephrase that: There are a lot of people out there who are marketing books they’ve written.

And this is not a bad thing. After all, I do have a degree in advertising; I’m trained in the art of selling a product. I know that A) a good ad campaign can sell a product to someone who otherwise might never have considered buying it, and B) good advertising can save a brand or product that otherwise would have tanked.

I  just sat here trying to come up with some examples, but it’s the end of the quarter at school so I’m kinda like this right now:

Photo courtesy of Old Shoe Woman on Flickr

Which means I’m not really in the right frame of mind to come up with examples of anything, except for the various ways I might COMPLETELY LOSE MY MIND over the weekend.

What was I even talking about? I am going to have to scroll up because I honestly don’t remember.

ADVERTISING. Riiiiiiiight.

Okay, so what all this boils down to is that there’s a right way and a wrong way to market your book. I do think that every author should put some effort into advertising and marketing. It’s an essential part of all this, especially if you’re self/indie published and you don’t have a big pub house doing all the publicity for you.

But how do you do it?

Well, everyone is different, but I’ll tell you what kind of advertising and marketing works on me. Ready?


1) Have an awesome blog that is updated often (at least 3 or 4 times per week). Be funny. Talk about your personal life without oversharing (because really, oversharing is awkward for everybody). Keep mentions of your book to a minimum. I really don’t respond well to having a product pushed on me, so make sure that 90% of your blog posts have absolutely nothing to do with your book.

2) Be active on Twitter and Facebook. When I tweet you, tweet back–and make it personal. If I post on your Facebook fan page, leave a comment as a reply. Again, make it personal. Take the time to give me a good response. It will make me feel connected to you and I’ll want to support you.

3) Return e-mails. Fact: EVERYONE is busy. Make it a priority to return my e-mail, even if it takes a couple weeks. If I took the time to write you, I will be SO appreciative if you take the time to write me back. Answer any specific questions I asked. Give me a good reply–no form letters!

4) Do everything you can to encourage other writers. No matter if they are traditionally, self, or indie published. No matter if they aren’t published anywhere or they haven’t even started putting their story on paper. Treat them with respect and give them all the advice you can. If I see you doing this, it makes you feel like a real person. Like you’re accessible and down-to-earth. And then I’ll want to reward you with a book sale.

5) Write an awesome book, and be excited about it! Make it the best it can possibly be. Seriously. Make people say, “Wow, he/she really worked hard on this one. They took the time to do it right!”

What about you? Is there something I didn’t mention above that you would add to your own list?

17 thoughts on “How To Get Me To Buy Your Book

  1. You know what I like about this list? It focuses on making personal connections rather than adhering to marketing tips and trends. Great advice!! (and I so agree with it)

    1. Thanks! And you know, with me, a personal connection is the ticket. I *need* to feel connected to my favorite authors. It’s a weird compulsion I have. And if I feel like they’re ignoring me or they don’t care about connecting with me, I probably won’t buy their book anymore. Unless it’s JK Rowling, because let’s face it, she doesn’t have time for me.

  2. Can I add have a good cover? Because let’s be honest….the cover is what will grab my eye as I’m browsing (with absolutely no intention of buying anything of course) through BAM or B&N. So, a good cover that isn’t cheesy or overly “done” (oh yeah, and a good title) are what initially get me to take that book off the shelf and give it the once over.

    1. VERY good point. Covers are so important–a lesson I wish I would have learned sooner! Thanks Ansley!

  3. Yes yes yes. All of this (especially 2-4, and of course 5). Because…personal experience. In a couple different instances (once in person, and a couple times online) I’ve had published authors either ignore me outright or be rude and dismissive of me because I have no agent and no book deal and am basically a nobody. (And I’m not talking about like tweeting at JKR and not getting a reply–these were debut authors, and I wasn’t going up to them trying to get them to like read my stuff, either. Once I actually had a conversation interrupted by a debut author because she wanted to introduce herself to the person I was talking to–who happened to have a (well known) agent. It was like I wasn’t even THERE talking to this person first. And the other time was online and more complicated and I’ve already gone on too long so you get the idea!) It hurt my feelings and made me mad, and I don’t think I’d ever buy books by these people now.

    1. That would make me mad, too! Grrrrr! You deserve so much more respect than that. I wouldn’t be likely to buy that author’s books, either!

      1. This point boils down to “mind your manners.” In August I attended my first mystery writers’ conference. Eye-opening. Just as I don’t have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun you, I realized I could rise to at least the top half of people clamoring for attention by not behaving as I saw many unpublished writers do.

  4. Hi Anne,

    This is really insightful, in the sense that most book blogs these days are all about “shove it down their throats” sort of campaigns. I absolutely have to agree that if I see a [however they did it author] with a new book out, they are kind, respectful and considerate to others (especially inexperienced writers) who contact them in public, and they their blog posts are real and natural, and give me a taste of who they are, then I am more likely to part with (my almost nonexistent) book funds. Because for someone who has to absolutely be sure that every purchase is necessary and often has to chose one product or book over another, I want to make sure I’m supporting someone who is real and will appreciate my sale!

    Great post!


    1. Hi Natalie! Thanks for commenting! Yeah, I’m the same way–not much cash to use on books, so I want to make sure I’m supporting someone I really believe in. And if an author doesn’t take the time to connect with their audience, I probably won’t choose their book over an author who does!

  5. Great advice! I know there are a few authors out there who have not followed your rules of politeness and respect… and despite good reviews from others, I haven’t bought their books. It doesn’t take much to be polite and kind 🙂

  6. Point 1 – I really have to work on this. Although my blog is a place to post quick writes while working on character development, I understand your point as I do enjoy reading blogs with humor added keeping the mood light and refreshing.

    Point 2 – I really have to work on this. On my other blog I have admitted to being a Digital Experience Lazyman…guess I’ll have to change.

    Point 3 – Glad to hear you understand everyone is busy and replies can take some time, but totally agree that replies should be made. E-mail is electronic and instant and too many people think replies should be instant.

    Point 4 – I really like this step as I am just putting the “pen to parchment” and have found many wonderful supporters even though I have only begun.

    Point 5 – I’m excited about starting. I’m excited for the people I meet via blogs who are published or publishing their first – you can feel their excitement and it’s catchy.

    Thanks for sharing, Anne. There are so many aspects to writing, marketing, publishing, etc., that well…thank goodness for people like you and so many others that readily share this information!!

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