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For decades, there was a huge disconnect with traditional book publishers. More specifically, there was a communication breakdown between authors/publishers and the readers they served.
A publisher might create awareness about a new title and get it into distribution channels and bookstores. And because of that, many books sold – and some sold very well.
But if an author or publisher wanted to directly contact the people who purchased his or her latest title, they were often out of luck. The publisher generally had no idea who bought the book, and readers/fans had no direct way to connect with the author.
Hence, the disconnect.
In the digital era, many authors and publishers are hip to the importance of this relationship and take steps to remedy it. Therefore, you see a lot of books these days (in both paper and ebook formats) that encourage readers to visit the author’s website and subscribe to a mailing list.
That’s a smart move that every author and book publisher should be taking.
But, as with every good idea, there are half-hearted efforts to implement it and connect with readers, and then there are stellar ways to do it.
One example that falls in the stellar category is the book The 7-Minute Solution: Creating a Life with Meaning 7 Minutes at a Time by Allyson Lewis.
Like many books on goal setting and productivity, it suggests strategies that the author and her students have used to get more out of life. And, within the pages of The 7-Minute Solution you’ll find images of custom-made forms that can be used to track your priorities and accomplishments.
But, of course, the forms printed in the book itself, while great representations, are not the most practical tools to use. So Lewis smartly points readers to her website to download full-page versions of the forms and other supporting resources.
And here’s where it gets interesting …
Go to the www.The7MinuteLife.com home page and you’ll find two options for accessing the forms. You can download a 14-page PDF of them absolutely free, without registering or opting into a mailing list.
Why is that smart?
Because it lowers the barrier to access, and it reduces the friction that some readers will feel when being required to submit their name and email address to get something – even if that thing is something they really want.
So Lewis gives readers most of the forms with no strings attached.
But, readers can also access a full collection of “7 Minute Member Tools,” which includes additional checklists, instructional videos and audio recordings on how to implement her system. And that requires a name and email. There is still no cost, but readers do have to “opt in” to get those goodies.
I love this two-pronged approach (and may even borrow it for one of my upcoming books 🙂 In fact, here’s a hand-drawn image to represent the flow:
Lewis delivers value for all types of readers. She offers free forms to those who are interested in her topic but not yet ready to engage with her further …
AND she offers more in-depth tools and resources for those who are ready to take a free (but slightly more involved) plunge.
And … I bet a lot of those readers who simply download the no-strings forms come back later to register for the bigger collection of tools.
All the while, Lewis is building a growing database of readers with whom she can stay in touch and build awareness and trust.
(Another smart thing she does: At the bottom of the free form pages are small ads that promote other titles in the 7-Minute Solution series.)
There’s no disconnect when your book has a built-in incentive to visit your website to access more information and download supporting tools.
Does your book have a similar incentive built in?
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