Monday, December 10, 2012

If you do nothing, nothing happens!

A few days ago, I posted an article titled “How do you pick your next book to read?” I received a couple questions on a throwaway comment that “sales can occur a considerable time after a promotional event.”

My background is direct marketing , so I understood why this statement was troubling. The mantra in direct marketing is measure and react. If you can’t measure due to an extended time delay, how can you react by adjusting or amplifying your marketing actions? 

I don’t know.

I do know personal appearances like signings, club presentations, and book festivals work because even if I don’t sell many books at the event, I see Amazon sales improve the following week. But what about greater delays? Most people take a long time to read a book, and prolific readers always have a queue. How do you know what specific event caused a reader to download a sample of your book onto an eReader? How long does it take for a reader to get around to a free sample they downloaded? Another question: do sample chapters at the end of your book generate follow-on sales?

One time I sat down and made a list of all the marketing things I was doing and then separated them into three groups: 1) actions that didn't work, 2) actions that did work, 3) actions I didn't know if they worked or not. You guessed it; the third category was by far the longer list. 

The real issue isn't whether something works or not, but which actions are the most productive. I know the #1 most productive marketing action. Write a darn good book—one that will generate word-of-mouth. Beyond that, I’m at a loss.

I may not know which other actions are productive, but I have learned the cardinal rule of book marketing.

If you do nothing ... nothing happens!

1 comment:

  1. Dickens was a market-driven writer, yet how could he react to readers more than a century after his death? Maybe that's a weird example, but I think it says something about the variables at work in the marketing of books.