Friday, December 23, 2011

On Marketing Books

The saying is that you can bring a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. To me, it seems like marketing is like bringing horses to water. The more horses you bring, the more horses will drink, but not all will. If you are trying to sell a book, your job isn’t to make people buy the book. Your readers will decide whether they want to buy the book or not. What you are trying to do is to put the book in front of as many people as possible. The more people who know about the book, the more that will buy the book. You need not be concerned with those people who don’t buy the book. They weren’t thirsty enough to drink. And who knows, maybe they’ll be thirsty sometime later. So you just keep putting it out there.

Some time ago, I heard that on average, a person has to see a book seven times before he makes a decision. That implies that we should look for ways to put it in front of the same people seven times. The problem with that is that we may spend a lot of time putting it out there and no one is interested. On the other hand, there are some people who will see a book one time and make a purchase. A better approach is probably that we put the book in front of the people who are most likely to want or need the book. We don’t try putting it in front of them multiple times, but the people who are the most likely to buy the book will likely see it frequently anyway, because they will be looking in many of the places where we are mentioning the book.

What this means is that we keep looking for places to mention our book. That may be through paid advertising. That may be on a radio show. That may be on the Internet. We don’t have to spend a lot of time talking about it, but we do want to put it in front of as many of the right people as we can. Those who want it will gladly buy it. Those who don’t may think we’re pushing it too hard. That just means they aren’t thirsty yet.