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I am in the process of revising my book and I started reading a little about marketing. I got this wonderful e-mail by Jeff Bullas, who explained to me the basics of selling:

It is not trying to convince someone to buy something they do not want. Selling, true selling is about giving the people what they want. It’s about making their lives better, making them happier. In short, it is about finding a connection and building trust.

In order to find out how my book can serve people, I first need to be able to research and define the compelling needs of my readers.

Here's where I am stuck. Anyone with an idea?

  • Is your book fiction or non-fiction? – Philipp Jun 13 '17 at 14:07
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    Be aware that marketing has about the same amount of voodoo as homeopathy. – Davor Jun 13 '17 at 15:05
  • It is fiction and I love the homeopathy comparison:) – Lady Fickle Jun 13 '17 at 15:12
  • Don't forget to accept an answer, if you think it answers you question :) – Noralie Jun 19 '17 at 8:49
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Why do you read books? You want to be entertained? You want to be transported to another reality? You want to learn something? You want vicarious excitement? You want an aesthetic experience?

Whatever compelling reasons you have to read are generally the same for your audience.

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1) Marketing a product is not "convincing someone to buy something they do not want" or "giving the people what they want." It is creating a need in the buyer which s/he either didn't have or didn't realize was there before. That's what ads do: convince people "You NEED this!"

2) Selling a story is not like selling toothpaste. You have to create a blurb which makes the reader want to find out what happens next. That's your hook.

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Making it unique and interesting will make it something people want, but doing that is not really the problem you will face. No matter what is inside your book, if you want to sell it you need to give them a reason to want it. It doesn't matter what you write while revising. That has nothing to do with marketing. Maybe the overall story is, but I assume you are not creating a whole new book.

The moment people will read your book, the moment they have it in their hands and start reading the words you are revising now, they have already bought your book. So there is nothing more you need to sell them.

The part where you do create this need, is in everything around that. Make the cover compelling. Use the space on the back to write a small piece about your book that will draw people in. And the best way to do this, is showing them something new. Something they haven't thought about. That will make them curious. And curious people buy a lot of things.

Also, you don't have to think of something completely new. You can also take some existing thing and use it in a new, different way. Or slightly adjust it. As a good example (not related to books):

While randomly browsing the internet, I found the most intriguing thing. Laser guided scissors. Laser guided scissors you said? What is that? Do I need it? Well, I can just draw a line right. Works as well. But lasers. It looks so amazing! The red line is so Majestic!

Needless to say I am now the proud owner of two pair of laserguided scissors. I bought them last year. One of them is still in the wrapping and the other I used only once. But hey, what do they care how much I use them? I still bought it anyway.

As an addition, based on the comments:

I'm not saying a book should not be good. Just that for trying to sell your first book, changing what's in it doesnt make a difference. Its better to write an amazing novel and worry about marketing later, than trying to do the marketing part within your novel. Marketing within a book is kinda useless, because the moment they read that 'marketing' they already bought the book.

  • A bit too cynic for my taste. There is more than one author of which I have a complete collection at home, not because they scammed me with marketing, but because their first book was so good that I wanted all further books as well. Of course, this goes both ways; one or two of those authors developed in a direction I was not fond of, so I stopped buying them, leaving me up with a dud or three, but nothing to worry about. – AnoE Jun 13 '17 at 15:09
  • I'm not saying a book should not be good. Just that for trying to sell your first book, changing what's in it doesnt make a difference. Its better to write an amazing novel and worry about marketing later, than trying to do the marketing part within your novel. – Noralie Jun 13 '17 at 15:13
  • "Its better to write an amazing novel and worry about marketing later" is what I meant to say. But your answer contains "The moment people will read your book, the moment they have it in their hands and start reading the words you are revising now, they have already bought your book. So there is nothing more you need to sell them." which sounds like the opposite (at least for me...). – AnoE Jun 13 '17 at 15:15
  • It maybe sounds strange, but what I meant was that marketing within a book is kinda useless, because the moment they read that 'marketing' they already bought the book. – Noralie Jun 13 '17 at 15:21
  • Sounds good, feel free to update the answer to make that more clear, if you wish. :) – AnoE Jun 13 '17 at 15:28
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I have worked with NYTimes Best Sellers. I know many authors. If the writer is bored so will be the reader. You cannot market your book to fame. It doesn't work. What you have to do is create something someone wants to read, and once having read, want more. Compelling characters, interesting plot, well rounded world building. You can spend a million dollars on marketing but if no one buys it is waste. There is no formula for success. I thought Fifty Shades of Grey was one of the worst written things I ever read. Badly written, badly plotted, horrible dialogue and astoundingly tacky. And it sold millions. Mostly on word of mouth. That is, one person told another how great it was and they bought it too. Word of mouth is still the best marketing tool ever. And that you cannot buy. Now ask me about the books I loved that didn't sell well.

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Firstly, you do not state the type of book you are trying to market. But I believe the Jeff Bullas method is full of crap. Very popular is the US is the old scheme.

"If you give me $10 I'll show you how to make $1000."

After handing over $10 he'll inform you that all you need to do is convince 100 people to hand over $10 - the way he just convinced you.

There are a thousand gurus who will tell you "10 ways to do this" and "6 ways to do that."

However, there is nothing behind the method. They are effectively telling you how to do something they could not or have not done themselves.

"Selling" is not giving people what they want - that'd be "serving." "Selling" is about creating "desire" or "need".

"The Da Vinci Code is total crap but you must have a copy because that's what everybody's talking about and unless you've read you'll look stupid to others." - Is one sales angle.

It's hard to create desire for a book.

  • I am not trying to market a book yet, rather I am revising a book with marketing already on my mind. It is in the genre romance/fantasy/vanilla. – Lady Fickle Jun 13 '17 at 9:51

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