How to Sell More Books: The 3-Step Process

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There’s a mistake I see many authors make when it comes to creating and promoting books and other info-products, such as online courses, teleclasses, webinars, etc.

It’s a blunder that causes dwindling cash flow and frustration over how to sell more books. But there’s a simple remedy I can sum up in three simple steps.

How to Sell More Books

First, let’s identify the problem …

This mistake occurs when an author, speaker or consultant realizes that he or she has a message or story that people need to hear. The key word there is “need.”

There’s nothing wrong with feeling that way. It’s perfectly understandable. If you have an epiphany or discover some secret to living a better life or doing something more efficiently, you want to share that insight with the world.

“People need to know this!”

The problem is, what you feel people need to know may not be what a lot of them want.

And that’s the key to creating and promoting books that sell. You have to find the overlap between what you think your readers need to know and what they eagerly want to know.

Here’s an example …

My niche is music marketing for independent songwriters, musicians and bands. I’ve spent the past couple of decades building a reputation and a series of books and info-products on this topic.

A couple of years ago I wanted to create a new workshop. I knew that musicians really needed to know the importance of engaging with fans and building relationships with them. My mantra has always been “focus on fans” (a principle every author would do well to embrace as well).

Most self-promoters put the bulk of their energy into creating awareness (getting their name “out there”) and then asking for the sale (putting up a sales page with a “buy now” button).

The missing ingredient is fan engagement, which includes building and using a mailing list, interacting with fans on social media, replying to emails, etc. This is what my musician followers really “need” to know.

The problem is, there isn’t much of a “want” for a workshop called “The Importance of Engaging With Fans.” Not a very sexy or appealing title.

However, I knew that one topic most musicians eagerly want to know is how to make more money from their music. Knowing this, I created a workshop called “How to Make Money as a DIY Musician: Fours Steps to Converting Fan Attention Into Sales.”

Guess what one of those four steps is? You guessed it! Engaging with fans and building relationships with them. I ended up giving my customers what they want AND what I felt they need to know.

So here’s the easy three-step formula I used (that you can use too) to create and sell more books:

  1. Sell the want
  2. Deliver the want
  3. And deliver what you feel they need to know

It’s such a simple process that most authors overlook it completely.

The key factor is discovering the want

The best way to uncover what your readers and fans want is to pay attention to what they’re saying. Here are some things to consider:

One great way to discover wants is to directly ask your fans (via email or social media) what their biggest challenge is related to your topic or area of expertise. Once you identify a widely held problem, the solution to that problem is usually a big, fat want waiting to be satisfied.

The strongest wants often involve some aspect of these three traits:

1) Results – A specific outcome is identified, such as “Lose 10 pounds in two weeks” or “Double your income in 30 days.”

2) Ease – People naturally want to avoid pain and complication. Let readers know about some aspect of your book or info-product that delivers a simple way for them to get the result they want.

3) Speed – Even though patience is a virtue, we all want our desires to manifest sooner rather than later. If you have a way to speed up the process, let potential buyers know.

In fact, I used these exact same principles to craft the title of this blog post. I could have called it “Wants vs Needs: What Authors Need to Know.” But would that have gotten your attention? Probably not. But “How to Sell More Books: The 3-Step Process” most likely did grab your attention. Why? Because it taps into something you truly want to know. And it stresses an “easy” way to look at the topic.

The bottom line is this …

The next time you find yourself saying, “People need to know this, so I’m going to publish a book or course about it” …

Stop and consider if there’s a true “want” for the thing you want to communicate. If not, is there some aspect of your message that can be molded to directly appeal to a known want (while staying true to your message)?

Can you position your content to be the solution to a widespread challenge? Can you transform your information so it appeals to a specific outcome, an easy implementation, or a quick result?

Above all, take these three simple steps:

  1. Sell the want
  2. Deliver the want
  3. And deliver what you feel they need to know

What do you think of these three steps to selling more books? How has this wants vs needs aspect affected your sales?

I welcome your comments below.



One single comment

  1. Informative and very timely for me. Thank you!

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