When Mike Krieger created Instagram he kept the product really simple: take a picture, use a filter, share it with friends. Why did Instagram grow so quickly and eventually beat Flickr and other competitors? Instagram was much easier to use. Now of course Instagram is huge — it’s been called ‘the Facebook for young people’.
This isn’t about why you should use Instagram. It’s about why things grow.
Growth occurs faster when it follows the easiest route.
In other words, when something is easy to do, it doesn’t take much energy to do it. And so it’s more likely to happen.
Doing something for 2 minutes requires less motivation than doing something for 5 hours. Donating a small amount requires less motivation than donating large sum.
Here’s the bottom line: the simpler something is, the more likely it is to get done.
Following from that, if you can make something really simple, it requires less motivation to do it.
What does this have to do with selling books?
When you post about your book, you have to make it as easy as possible for a potential reader to actually acquire your book. These days, that means links. I see many authors posting about their work but often forgetting to add a link so that anyone interested can follow through and get the thing. They expect the reader to look at the book, think ‘I am going to make the effort to find out more about that’ and then set off on a journey through obstacles, taking time to find and buy the book.
Unless the reader is highly motivated, it’s less likely to happen that way.
Any action will slow down to a stop if it contains
Too much time
Too much money
Too much physical effort
Too much mental effort
A change of routine.
These form a chain, according to BJ Fogg, PhD from the Stanford Behaviour Design Lab. Any one of them can stop an effort moving forward.
Cut time, cost, effort and change, and the action — in this case, someone buying your book — will be more likely to happen.
Take the Inner Circle Writers’ Magazine as an example: subscribers just have to click a link to download the whole magazine, every month, at a cost of less than two pounds per 146-page issue. If it took too long to download, or cost too much, or somehow required more physical or mental effort, or perhaps asked them to alter their routine each month, less people would read it.
If you don’t strengthen the weak links, the thing you’re hoping will happen will be harder to do. And that means you need to rely on motivation, which isn’t always strong enough to overcome the obstacles.
I realise that not all Facebook groups, for example, allow writers to post links. But most have some kind of promotional thread or day or something which permits you to do so. Take advantage of it. Otherwise, you’re making growth harder. Think like a potential reader and make the pathway to your book as simple as possible.