|Failed attempt at salesmanship|
I don't know about you, but mobilization is the biggest problem I face. Sure I Tweet, I Facebook, I blog (obviously), I post stuff on different websites to advertise. What good does any of it do? Most of the time, none at all. Actually most of the time it seems like the harder I try to advertise, the less sales I get. I know there are some articles that say it's a waste of time to self-promote, that advertising is pointless. And advertising can be pointless if it fails to get people off their butts to buy your book.
|Another epic fail in salesmanship|
In Tom Wolfe's A Man in Full, the mayor of Atlanta talks about his creative way to solve the problem of mobilization. On election day his campaign would go around with vans and round up people and take them to polls. (Probably more than one polling location too.) Because especially in the inner-city it can be difficult for people to find the time and transportation to get to the polls. So if you go and pick them up and grease their palms with a few bucks they don't have any excuse.
|Maybe this would work!|
The problem is for those of us without those kind of financial means, what can we do? I don't know. If I knew that, I'd be selling a lot more books and thus probably not writing this post right now. A problem authors have that politicians don't is there are a lot more of us. Your book is competing against billions (nay perhaps even trillions or dare I say gazillions!) of other books out there. In an election you might have a dozen other candidates at most for something like a school board or college trustee election.
As an author without financial means you have to try to come up with an enticing ad campaign all on your own. It's pretty damned difficult without a lot of luck. Because most authors are not Mad Men, ok? That's why publishers have marketing departments and politicians have campaign managers, pollsters, and a whole mess of other people.
Really though the first step is probably to stop thinking like an author and try to think like your potential reader. Why should I buy your book when I have 89 books in my Kindle already? Because it's MY book! (So what?) Because I'm the greatest author! (In your own mind, but who the fuck are you?) Because it's cheap! (So are a billion others.)
I should probably analyze my own buying tendencies. Those would be:
A)The price is low, like $3.99 or less (because I'm cheap)
B) It sounds interesting
C) It helps if I've read other books by the author I enjoyed. Or if I've at least heard of the author it helps.
Do covers matter? Not that much to me. Do titles matter? Sometimes. Like last month I bought one on sale called "Emperor Mollusk versus The Sinister Brain". There's a title where you go, "Huh? WTF?" And then go to the page to see what it's about. (Incidentally that book is as hilarious as the title suggests.) Or one called "Superhero (An Action Thriller) naturally intrigued me even though the cover was lame. Maybe I should have called A Hero's Journey "Superhero" or something like that so people would know what kind of book it is straight off.
So think about it: what factors cause you to buy a book? How can you apply that to your book? If at some point you get it all figured out, let me know.
Here are a couple of obstacles you face in getting people off their asses. You have the people who say, "I can't talk about any book I haven't read and approved of!" And you have the people who say, "I'm too busy to read your book but maybe I can fit it in next year some time." You can't get much of a campaign together with people like that. What you need are what another blogger described as "fangelists" (fan + evangelist) the type who will sing your praises online and offline to everyone they meet. Good luck finding someone like that. You're far more likely to find the apathetic types. It does probably help if you aren't the apathetic type yourself so you can pay it forward.