It’s Not About Selling Books, It’s About Getting Read

sell booksEver since How to Blog a Book was published, I’ve been thought of as a book marketing expert. This isn’t surprising since the book is about writing, publishing and promoting a book one post at a time. The publication of The Author Training Manual only seems to have enhanced this general opinion of me. After all, this book focuses on crafting a marketable book—one that will sell. However, the assumption that book marketing is my primary focus when it comes to helping authors is incorrect.

I’ve always considered it my primary goal to help writers and businesspeople get their books successfully written and published. As part of that goal, it’s my desire to help authors be of service to their readers. My focus, therefore, is not on selling books per se but on getting them read.

What Happens When a Nonfiction Book Gets Read

I want my clients’  books to get read so the information in them gets disseminated, so their messages reach their ideal readers, their target markets. When that happens for nonfiction authors, that means they:

  • Help people
  • Make a difference
  • Transform lives
  • Create movements
  • Inspire positive and meaningful change

It means their words have impact. As authors, they fulfill their purpose or their mission, and so do their books, which share that purpose or mission.

If that doesn’t happen, it’s not only heartbreaking to the author, it’s a tragedy.

How to Achieve Impact With Your Nonfiction Book

Although much of my work as a coach revolves around helping writers and businesspeople craft their nonfiction ideas, structure their nonfiction books, get their books written, and build a business around them, as part of that process I focus on how they can have a positive and meaningful impact in the world with every aspect of their book projects. There are three essential things you must do to create nonfiction books that get read and, therefore, have the ability to have impact in readers’ lives:

  1. Create a marketable book—one that is unique and necessary in its category and offers a benefit sought after by a sizable target market. This is a viable business proposition, a project any publisher (indie or traditional) can invest in confidently because it seems salable. This is a book your potential readers want and need.
  2. Build author platform—a built-in readership for your book in your target market created via visibility, reach, authority, and influence prior to your book’s release. This ensures there are people ready and waiting to purchase your book and that you have a foundation to use when you begin your promotional efforts.
  3. Produce a marketing plan—a to-do list of ways to help promote your book to your target audience. This is how you use your platform to help sell your books to potential readers.

With these three elements in place, no matter the type of book you write, it stands a high likelihood of reaching your target market, and those potential readers will want to read what you’ve written. That means they will purchase your book.

Marketing is Essential if You Want to Impact Readers

You can see, however, that marketing and promotion are essential. Considering how you will create a book that will sell—get read—begins in the ideation phase and must focus on the market and a book that provides the market with value. It continues to the pre-promotion (author platform building) stage and then extends to post-release promotion; without platform and promotion, you rely solely on the book to sell itself. You can’t get away from “marketing” if you want to write and publish a book that has the highest likelihood of producing impact on readers.

But if you write and publish a book that gets read, you can achieve your bigger, more important goals—the ones most of my coaching clients and I care about most. You can provide your readers with valuable content, nonfiction books filled with information that enables people to transform their lives or inspires them to improve their communities, organizations or the world.

That’s why marketing and promotion are important and why I talk about producing marketable books. And I guess that’s why I’m thought of as a book marketing expert. Marketing, in one form or another, is a necessity if, as a writer, you want to have a positive and meaningful impact with your nonfiction books. Ultimately, though, the goal is not just to get your books sold but to get your books read.

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