Going it Mostly Alone: the Publishing Path of A Perfect Blindness
So, what is social media good for an author if not selling books?
Reframe the approach, and put yourself in the position of the person cruising Face Book. Are you looking to spend money? Looking for a book to read, perhaps? Doubtful. If you wanted to buy, you’d be on the websites of Amazon or Barnes & Nobel or be walking to the local bookstore. Looking for reading recommendations? That’s imaginable, but most people looking for recommendations either ask someone they know, or they go to goodreads.com, Book Bub, Book Shout, or again Amazon, Barnes & Nobel or the local bookstore. If they’re just browsing, they’re looking for something interesting, something that will catch their attention, not something that will demand a credit card number. They want stuff. Good stuff. Free stuff. Twitter, same thing. Think of the platform, and most likely you won’t find people hungry to buy books, clicking away to find the right ad.
Sure an intriguing headline might draw them in. If the copy is good enough, perhaps they will decide they want to get the book the article’s about. They might even click on a link right then and buy it.
Notice: NOT AN AD. Rather, it’s an intriguing headline that drew them to what? Interesting Free Stuff—the article, review, whatever it was.
It would, of course, be fantabulous to have a constant stream of content about your book that is so awesome that people keep buying it as soon as they finished reading, time after time after time. But more likely, there will be some interesting free stuff that intrigues people who like it enough that they want more of the same interesting free stuff, and would be willing to give you an email address to keep getting it.
In Grahl’s and Hyatt’s terms, that’s them giving you permission to talk to them. Directly. In a form they are far, far more likely to see, open and act on than yet another bit of sales copy sprinkled all over Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.
But what good is emailing people you don’t know?
Mirror time again: ask yourself about the last time you got an email from someone you don’t personally know but had signed up to get stuff from. Did you open it? Read it? Perhaps act on it? Now, imagine that it’s from you, and the email giving these strangers interesting free stuff includes a couple of blurbs about your book and a link where they can buy it.
Has the answer begun to form?
Keep holding that mirror up, and ask yourself how many times you’ve purchased something through an email you got from a trusted source. Such as Amazon? Or Apple? Or, around NYC, Fresh Direct? The number of times you’ve put in the CVV code for something purchased from a trusted source will likely leap, stratospherically, compared to the number of times you’ve pulled out your credit card after clicking on an ad on FaceBook. I know it does for me.
Not that I came up with this idea. It’s Tim Grahl’s method, spun a bit to fit my experiences. A similar idea is proposed by Michael Hyatt in his book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, though Hyatt is a generalist, offering advice to anyone looking to sell something on line, and gets rather more deeply into how to craft posts on various sites. Grahl, on the other hand, deals only with selling books: what I’m looking for.
This is all to give a hint as to the direction these posts will turn once A Perfect Blindness got ready to launch.
It had a couple of hurdles to clear, as do I still.
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To ask a question or follow along with the self-publishing adventure, join the “Publishing Path of A Perfect Blindness” here.