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Why Is My Book Not Making Me Any Money? Part 3


There’s a buzzing street full of vendors selling high quality [insert name of your type of book here]. Books are being sold by the dozen every minute; the place is crowded and full of people chattering about their most recent purchase.

Where is your stall? It’s over a couple of streets, in the wrong place, round the corner.

Provided that your book is of sufficient quality in the first place, we can fix this.

Here are a few tactics for accessing the right audience:

1. Spend time and money on the right things.

That doesn’t mean buying expensive Facebook or Amazon ad campaigns which require constant monitoring and which hoover up what little cash you started with in very short order.

It means looking for YOUR readers. That can take months — yes, months. Sometimes years, though usually not that long. That means that the false idea that you can enter a few demographic details into a piece of software and press a button instantly resulting in millions of booksales is just that: false.

Think of yourself as on a safari to locate a missing kingdom deep in an African jungle. You need supplies, planning, good guides and time. But when you find the place you’re looking for? Wealth unimaginable will be yours.

There are tons of groups, events, conferences and organisations out there at varying costs and levels of exclusivity, all pertaining in some way to what you write about. Last time, we used the example of Victorian ghost stories as the sub-genre in which you have specialised — so, using that as an example again, we enter 'Victorian ghost stories' into Facebook and find dozens and dozens of related groups. That means hundreds and hundreds of people who like to read the kind of thing you write. Possibly thousands.

You can spend money going deeper and wider if you wish, but it can be more fun to spend the time. Explore the landscape relating to your work. The larger your repertoire, the vaster that landscape will be. You specialise in Erotic Horror? Thousands of Facebook groups alone, not to mention probably hundreds of thousands of connected websites. Perhaps you write Science Fiction? You don’t need to tell me how many people are out there — but the trick would be to narrow down your niche to something smaller.

Yes, think smaller. Feels counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? But look at what happens if you do: let’s say you enter ‘Martian Science Fiction’ into Facebook’s search engine. Again, dozens and dozens of groups. Narrow the field, and you are enriching your potential readership, digging to find the motherlode of people who want what YOU are writing. The more of these you find, the more likely they will be to have the spending mindset, plus friends and colleagues who are looking for similar things.

Obviously, you don’t join all these groups and spam them with ads. You join and listen and watch and read and participate a little — and they will start to reach for you and your work. It’s almost a universal law — it may in fact BE a universal law — that the more genuine interest and attention you give out, the more you pull in.

However it works, work it does. You might be unlikely to find a reader willing to spend money to buy your book in a general Facebook writing group. But if you spend the time to find a group like 'Victorian Ghost Stories Forever', you would encounter many, many more potential readers who have the interest in and willingness to buy your book. At that point, because you have already gotten very specific about what you offer, you will be well positioned to acquire many readers in this new pond!

2. Focus on specific ideal readers.

Building a presence online through social media to increase your authority is a longer-term tactic.

If you want to get readers in the next few weeks, the fastest approach is doing some good old-fashioned reaching out to specific, named people you identify as hot prospects for your book.

It might not be your particular cup of tea, but it’s virtually guaranteed that, in a list of social media friends, a certain percentage of them would buy your book if you spoke to them individually about it. It might take a little persistence, but you only need one or two readers to make a difference to your morale.

Let these people know you exist and hope they will remember you. Don’t go in for a sell, just be there and introduce yourself and your book. After enough of these connections, one of these people is going to say it’s a crazy coincidence that you called because they were just looking for your book. A lot of people will just say no, but may well buy your book online later.

3. Make sure you have a high quality, accessible, affordable book!

These things are obvious, but for the sake of clarity:

a) you MUST have a thematically packed, well-written book which will have an emotional effect on the reader

and

b) you MUST have a clear and easy way for interested readers to reach you! That usually means a domain and a website through which sales are simple and straightforward — not just an Amazon page, but something a little more personal.

In summary, if you know you’re doing all the right stuff and you are confused as to why you aren’t getting more readers, it’s likely because you’re speaking to the wrong people. Make sure you are being seen by the right people who have a need and desire for YOUR writing, and who know they have a need. In the meantime, link these long-term actions with some short-term tactics to get readers now. If you’ve got a clear message packaged in an affordable book for a very specific market, super-targeted reach-outs should be able to land you a reader or two in the meantime.

Luckily, if you do have that clear message and high quality, you’re in a wonderful position to make the money that you’ve always wanted to make from your writing... as soon as you find YOUR people.

I can help you with all this. Drop me a line at

grant@clarendonhousebooks.com

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