By k | April 16, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

I knew as soon as
the missile strike
on Syria was announced,
that sales of my romance novels
for the day
and possibly the next day
would drop to zero.

External events
WILL affect sales.
We can try to mitigate this
by having different avenues of sales,
different sets of customers,
but there will be an impact.

So what do we do?

If it is a short term event,
I hunker down
and wait it out.
I get my shit together
so when impact of the event fades,
I can emerge with a bang,
selling as much as possible
as quickly as possible.

If it is a long term event,
I look for pockets of opportunities.
I might tweak the product
or my marketing or my sales approach
to better work
with the new reality.

There WILL be external events
that will affect your sales.
Know what they are
and figure out a plan
to work with them.

By k | April 5, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

Some writers talk about
selling books.
That’s their focus.

My focus is building readership.

It might seem like
these two things are the same.
Readers buy books.
But they are very different.

Selling books focuses on today,
on the single transaction.
If I do X, how many units will I sell?

Building a readership
is long term.
It focuses on the relationship.
If I do X, how many units will I sell
over the next two decades?
Will my ‘forever’ readership
increase or decrease?

Unfortunately, many people
are solely focused on the sales today,
on that single transaction.

Seth Godin

“The season ticket holder
bought a ticket
and got his games.
Even steven.
We owe you nothing.

The dedicated fan
sat through endless losing games.
Even steven.
Ticket purchased, game delivered.
We owe you nothing.

The problem with ‘even steven’
is that it turns trust
and connection
and emotions into nothing
but a number.
Revenue on a P&L.
It ignores the long-term
in exchange for a relentless focus
on today.
Only today.”

Are you selling a product
or building a relationship?

By k | April 4, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

Amazon, as the biggest bookseller,
is my biggest ‘partner.’
They know how to sell books.
They have data
writers would dream of having.

The challenge is…
they don’t share it.

They don’t tell writers
that the best pricing is X
or the best length of pre-orders
is Y days.

However, we can guess
by what we’re allowed to do.

For example,
the average small publisher
is allowed to put a book
on pre-order
up to three months
before release.

Clearly, the ideal pre-order date
is three months or less.

A book hits the hot new release lists
for a month after release.
Clearly, Amazon customers
consider a book
less than a month old
to be a new release.

Combining this information,
I view 3 months before release
and 1 month after release
to be the best time
to promote a release.

Usually partner rules are based
on logic.
By sharing their rules,
these partners are sharing
their secrets.

Pay attention.

By k | March 31, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

Yesterday, we discussed
how early buyers
are more valuable
than late buyers.

This is important
to keep in mind
when bundling older products.

We do this quite often
in the Romance Novel industry.
We’ll group all of the stories
in a series
into one convenient boxed set
for readers.

The prospects
most interested in this boxed set
will be the late buyers.
The early buyers will already have
the individual stories.

There’s a temptation
to add ‘extra content’
to the boxed set
to try to incite early buyers
to buy the boxed set also.

Resist this temptation.

This tactic punishes early buyers,
that they were fools
to buy the product early.
These customers will remember this
and will wait to buy your next release.

It also makes late buyers unhappy.
These additions are new.
They haven’t been proven,
haven’t been given the stamp of approval
by other buyers.

Reducing the price
on a bundle,
has little impact on early buyers.
They usually aren’t as price sensitive
and they prefer to have the product first
even if it costs a little bit more.

And it makes the more price-sensitive
late buyers

When creating bundles,
consider your different types of buyers.

By k | March 30, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

I talked about customers
who pre-order,
who plunk down payment
before the product is ready.

There’s also a group of customers
who wait.
They wait until there are reviews,
until they know EXACTLY
what they’re receiving.
Often they’re waiting for the price
to drop.

If you asked me,
while I was in my writer persona,
while I was in ‘public’,
which group was the most important,
I’d tell you that I love all my readers
They’re all special to me.
It doesn’t matter when they buy.

But this is client k
and there’s no reason
to bullshit you.
These two groups are NOT equal.

I’m a small business.
I prefer to receive cash now,
rather than six months from now.

I prefer to have customers
who will buy at full price,
who will buy before the product is successful,
who will MAKE that product successful.

If it weren’t for the early buyers
making the product successful,
the late buyers wouldn’t even
be interested in it.

Yes, try to make the late buyers happy
but NEVER at the cost
of the early buyers’ happiness.
They are your most important customers.

By k | March 29, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

I always make my books available
for pre-order.
Readers can buy them now
and the books will be delivered
to their eBook readers
on release day.

The latest trend
in the romance novel industry
is putting pre-order books
on sale.

This makes NO sense.

Pre-order folks are superfans.
They love our books.
That’s why they don’t need reviews
to pre-order a book.
They are going to read the books
whether they are on sale or full price.

And their primary concern
is reading books FIRST, not price.
Lowering the price makes NO difference to them.

Giving out a gazillion advanced copies
WILL make a difference to these superfans.
It will make them extremely grumpy
if they don’t receive one.

Don’t reduce the price
for customers
who don’t care about price.

By k | March 25, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

If I don’t interact
with readers,
I don’t sell books.

Usually my sales funnel
looks like this…
I post marketing.
A reader makes a comment
about that marketing.
I respond to that comment.
She buys the book.

My reply is an important part
of the process.
If I don’t reply,
the reader doesn’t buy.

This is the same
now that I’m selling
thousands of books
as it was
when I was selling
hundreds of books.

The only difference is
when I post marketing,
more prospects comment on it.

Laurie DeJong,
Founder of
LDJ Productions,

“The best way I’ve found
to build the business
is [knocking on doors].

When I say ‘knocking on doors,’
I mean really, really pursuing them
and leaning on industry newsletters,
finding names of people,
and then just emailing them
and following up every other week.

I was trying to be
as persistent
as you could be
without getting annoying.”

The knocking on doors
never stops.
Embrace that part
of the process.

By k | March 12, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

I once worked for
a major beverage company.
It had one main competitor.

Customers would switch
back and forth
between these two companies.

The beverage company
would lose a customer.
The competitor
would gain the customer.
Four or five years later,
the opposite would happen.

Losing that customer
ensured the company
gained that customer
in the future.

Mike Michalowicz

“Let your client know
that they’re always welcome
to bring their business back to you,
no questions asked.

Since nobody can predict the future,
you may want to make sure
your customers know
you’ll happily take them back.”

Keep the door open
for your former customer.

By k | February 14, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

In the Romance Novel industry,
we all hear about the Cinderella stories.
XXX was featured on Oprah
and sold a gazillion copies
of her first book.
YYY was discovered by a big blog
and she made the New York Times Bestseller List
with her first book.

So when we talk about promo,
promo that is doable for everyone,
someone always pushes back
and says something like
‘You’ll only sell 5 books
during your all day Facebook party.
Don’t waste your time.’
‘Promoting in groups
will only increase your sales
by 2 or 3 books a day.
Don’t bother.’

Yes, compared to an appearance
on Oprah,
it DOES seem insignificant
compared to NO sales,
2 books sold IS a big deal.

I would have been thrilled
with 2 books sold a day
with my first releases.

Most small businesses
start with small sales
and then build.
Embrace these first sales.

By k | February 10, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

I usually have my books
available for pre-order
for a couple of months
before the release date.

There’s quite a bit
of discussion in the industry
about whether or not
a writer/publisher should offer pre-orders.

IMHO… it comes down
to whether or not
the writer/publisher can sell pre-orders.

Pre-orders are delayed gratification
which is challenging for everyone.
There has to be a ‘reward’ to offset that.

In my case,
my stories usually have a twist.
One of my readers’ greatest fears
is hearing about that twist
before she has read the story.

So she ‘pays the price’
and pre-orders the story.

Seth Godin

“If you’re trying
to persuade someone
to make an investment,
buy some insurance
or support a new plan,
please consider that
human beings are terrible
at buying these things.

What we’re good at is ‘now.’

Right now.

When we buy a stake in the future,
what we’re actually buying is
how it makes us feel today.”

If you’re selling the future,
you have to offer something
to offset that advanced payment.