Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Fine Art of Getting People to do What You Want.

Face it, we all have a silly and sometimes evil agenda. If you don't, you are lying to yourself or have nothing to do. So what is it you want? Do you want to live on the beach somewhere, have a super cool car or travel the world? Do you want to live in the middle of the woods and never see a human again, or be on TV so everyone knows your name? We all want something out of life and as writers and readers a big part of our world is about books.

So this Christmas I found as I am sure you did as well a ton of Tweets and messages from authors encouraging and downright nagging everyone to buy or download their book. I do not have a problem with authors pushing their work and I think more need to learn how to treat their art like a business if it is to go anywhere.

But when is enough, enough?

A business that markets all the time, forces and nags will end up getting ignored or pissing people off or both. So how do we Indie authors learn how to push in a gentle way? What is the line from being annoying to being smart?

First I want to be the first to admit that I have also pushed to hard, forced myself on others thinking that was the only way to sell books. But I learned that it is not about what you are saying and more about who you are.

I used to work in sales at Golds Gym, they are high pressure and will do whatever it takes to close a sale. I was taught how to sell and the one thing that stuck with me was the saying: "People buy from who they like."

I was 3rd in the country for sales in Golds because I put aside the high pressure and made friends. If I thought the client could not afford the membership I would tell them to pass and save their money and eat better. They would look at me in shock not expecting to be told not to buy, and even my boss did not like my style as I let a lot of clients walk without buying. But I made up for it by closing everyone else. Why? Because they liked me and trusted me to tell them the truth even if it was not to buy.

I do this same thing with my books. I was at a Costco signing and a lady was asking me about my books and I could tell from the other stuff she was reading that she would not like my books. She was going to buy them and I took then from her hand and said, "You know, you will not like these books, they are a little scary for what you read."

She thanked me and left without buying.

I saved her from being angry with me and saved myself from a bad review. Your book is not for everyone, it is not the best book on earth and it is not going to be a movie. There, feel better? Find out who your reader is and market to them, and I mean be a friend to them.

Social Media is a great way to make friends, but if you use it like a new way to spam everyone you meet it will hurt you in the end. I did send out a few tweets and a Facebook thing on my books over the weekend but I tried to offset that with talking and other things to bury the book push.

And yet I saw some authors tweeting their book and pushing it out like every hour. Even book bloggers were like STOP, and they LOVE books!

But even without really pushing hard this last weekend my sales on amazon went up in a bug way. I think I sold over 1000 eBooks and doubled my books sales in just two days. My ranking went up into the top 300 and made it to #4 in the Hard-Boiled Thriller category. How did this happen?

It was not because I nagged readers or sent out emails. I spent about four hours the week before Christmas tagging on Amazon. Yes, tagging.

I figured more people were going to look on Amazon and if I was seen more I would sell more. It worked in a big way and I did not have to bother all my friends. And did I just be selfish and tag my book? Nah... I also tagged other authors books that I thought would help them out. I do not know how it works with everyone else but Amazon and the tagging system is amazing. You can link your book and yourself with other books. So I took the time and every day I tag on amazon, it is part of my job, part of being seen.

Is not what you do over a weekend but what you do day in and day out. I think I have been tagging for the last two years and I will keep doing it as long as it is an option on Amazon. The one reason B&N does not sell as many books is they do not have this tagging system, it is hard to find other books and authors you might like because they are not set up to sell. But that is another post.

This is a long term thing, you are in business, do what it takes day after day to make it as a writer. and next year you can have a good time watching the other authors stressing over sales and watch yours go up as you sip eggnog. I hope this helps and I know readers, bloggers and the rest of us will be happier as well.

I wish you all a happy new year and please GO BUY MY BOOK NOW!!!!!!!!!!! Lol
Just kidding, Have a good one, be happy and keep writing.


Author Aaron Patterson: Blog: The Worst Book Ever.


  1. I want to make enough money to pay my bills, provide for the necessities of life, along with a few wants and be able to read good books to relax on my Kindle.

    I'd say that's about 5k a month. It's pretty simple

    Good post

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  3. I thought you said something in a previous post about "over-tagging"? Like how it will dilute something. I don't understand, what am I missing here?

  4. Good point Rick, that is a little different. I have one maybe two authors that I tag to and I tag them to me, so a 2 way street. This means I will show up with their books and they will on mine. You do not want to tag a lot of different authors as the search will be to weak. So in my case I will help the author I am tagged to and he will help me. There is no bad thing about tagging, it helps both authors to be seen more, and in the search the more you are there the better you have to be seen.

    So in short, tagging to a single book that may be like yours or tagging to every book and audio and mass market and so on and putting them on all your books audio etc. One should be done as a marketing plan and one is like a shotgun, anything that is like your book, as in Thriller/thriller... romance/romance.

  5. Thanks for the info! Have a happy new year!

  6. It was nice to come across your blog. Funny, on Twitter we get so accustomed to following and being followed that we fail to actually click on the website or blog attached to the authors we'd like to see more of. So, with that said....I enjoyed this blog.

    Not only is your approach regarding sales and being to-the-point, so was this post. I like that. I can't stand posts that go on and on. I did customer service for 20 years and there's nothing better than honesty. People do like it.