The tip this time is along the lines of helping you frame in your mind your role as the author and my role as your marketing rep. Whether you’re just starting out, or you’ve danced this dance a few times, it’s helpful to have a clear idea of what we’re all doing here.
So what does “You’re the feet, I’m the shoes” mean? In short, it means that I can’t do the walking for you, but I can make it hurt a lot less. Walking is hard and takes a lot of energy. Same with marketing a book. Too often, authors feel that there is something we can do to walk for them, but this isn’t true. We can take the impact of the rough terrain for you. We can absorb some of the heat and provide a little traction when it is slippery.
This is because there is no better advocate for your book than you. My colleague, Terry Cordingley, often says, “No one will ever care more about your book than you do.” That’s true, and it’s the way it should be. You are the expert on your topic. You have to have the passion to carry the vision forward. We are experts in the industry and marketplace. Our passion is for serving you in your passion.
Therefore, it is your job to work on spreading the word about your book. It’s our job to help you make the most impact and income for the time you invest and to publicize every event. There are always harsh realities and closed doors in any venture. It doesn’t help either of us to debate things we can’t control, and in certain parts of this business (primarily retail outlets), there are many things we can’t control.
What we can do is keep walking. What do we do when a bookstore says no? Keep walking. What about when an entire chain says no? Keep walking. What if we have trouble getting speaking engagements lined up? Keep walking.
Remember what the apostle Paul said, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Beating our heads against a closed door is not good. Finding ways to serve your target audience is always good. When you help others, they will help you, and you will reap a harvest!
Finally, if you’ve been selling Special Edition hardcover books at your events, stop reading. If you haven’t, a lot of our authors have found that it helps them to sell more books, including more paperbacks. How? Well, my signature line says you’re supposed to ask, but I’ll just tell you. When you are at an event selling paperback books, the only question you have is, “Do you want one?” Only 50% of the possible answers there is yes. But if you have hardcover books as well, the best question is “Do you want paperback or hardcover?” Then 2/3 of the possible answers are yes, and you didn’t really give them the option to say no! If you have the sense of humor that Chris Weston has, you might say, “Are you going to keep the book in the bathroom or the coffee table?” This has helped him sell hundreds of copies of his book, Hawgeye. Find out more about the bathroom version here or the coffee table version here.
Have a great Labor Day weekend!