The Two Things Every Author Must Do To Sell More Books
Let’s face it, writing a great book is tough. It pushes your creativity to its limits. It forces you to grow new skills. It compels you to develop an armor of self-belief when people (including you) question your abilities, your ideas, or even your right to be writing at all.
No wonder so many writers get “writer’s block” or give up entirely. And yet the drive to create something beautiful, meaningful, personal is in our DNA. It’s like the urge to breathe. Shout out to all the flowers growing through concrete!
And so we persevere until eventually, heroically, joyously, and exhaustedly we complete our book. We do it right. We have it professionally edited, we solicit feedback from our target audience, we revise and revise and revise until… hallelujah… it’s ready to publish! Time to open the bubbly, right?
Sorry. Not yet.
What most authors don’t consider is that getting a book ready for publication is only the first step in creating a successful book. And that other work actually needed to start before the ink was dry. Can you guess what it is? Yup:
I know. Ew. The very words can give writers palpitations. I take myself as a prime example. Despite spending a decade in high-level marketing positions, after I published my first book, I felt lost. Panicked even. What the heck do I do with this thing?
I was drowning in advice from well-meaning friends. Make sure you have a website! No, don’t use a website because if you don’t update it regularly, you’ll look lame. Be active on social media! Forget social media! Send copies to every book reviewer you can find! Don’t waste your time mailing out complementary books - it looks amateurish and you’ll go broke! Try to get on the radio! Don’t bother. No one listens to radio anymore! Hold a contest! Organize bookstore signings! Make posters! Postcaaaards!
And on and on and on.
The truth is, there are a mind-boggling number of tools and strategies to market your book. Many - if not most - writers are so overwhelmed by marketplace noise they hardly do anything beyond a book launch and one or two readings.
What’s an ambitious writer to do? Well, as it turns out, there's a lot you can do - but you don’t need to do everything. As David Chilton—who has sold more than 5 milllion books—explains, in order to have success, an author only needs to do TWO things:
You must make sure a lot of people want your book. Create demand.
You must make sure people that the people who want your book can find it easily.
Is this an oversimplification? Not at all. Narrow your focus to these two goals and not only will you get a lot more clarity about what you’re trying to achieve, but you’ll also be better equipped to pursue those strategies and tactics that suit you and your book. The truth is, you don’t need to do it all.
David's insight is part of a mammoth video masterclass called The Chilton Method. The course is packed with fantastic book marketing ideas and best practices.
But perhaps most importantly, The Chilton Method brings much needed clarity to bewildered writers. As he says,
“The question isn’t ‘How can I be a better book marketer?’ but rather ‘How do I do the things I need to do to become a better book marketer?’”
The takeaway here is that your marketing efforts will be far more successful if you stay focused on your two goals: 1. create demand, and 2. make sure people can easily find your book. Make a sheet with two columns, then fill them with ideas. You’ll be amazed at your options. Which ones feel right for your book? Which ones push you in a direction you could stand to grow? Which ones can you do right now?
Dave’s approach not only helps make book marketing much less intimidating, he might even - shhhh, whisper it - make book marketing fun. You can check out more of Dave's focused advice for free on our YouTube page.
As writers, we owe it to ourselves—and to our book—to make the biggest splash we can. Zeroing in on these two simple goals will help with that.
Happy writing and go get 'em tiger!