Share the Love of Books

I live and breathe books. I beg, borrow and buy books. I buy new and second hand, go to the library, borrow off friends. It’s essential that we do this to foster a love of reading, to keep the book alive (although I have no fear of it dying).

There are writers out there who don’t understand this and it makes me sad. I’ve even heard of an author complain about his books being in libraries because he doesn’t get the same amount of money. And this man makes serious money because his books for children sell exceptionally well.

There is still value in a book being in a library. I’ve often borrowed a book then bought myself my own copy or a copy for a gift. And then there’s public lending rights too. But I won’t get off topic. Libraries help to foster a love of books, especially for children when their experience is limited or parents may not have much money. It’s a place to try them out, fall in love with them.

How do you share the love? Do you visit bookshops or libraries? Buy books? Share books? Attend writer’s festivals? The only way to make sure that books are part of our collective mindset is to make sure we actively pursue them and read them, not just be the writers of them.

Besides, you can’t be a good writer without being a good reader. That’s a whole new topic but one I strongly advocate when I facilitate anything around writing and publishing.

This week I’ve been hanging out at bookshops and visiting Adelaide Writers Week. In Port Fairy, I visited Blarney Books and Art and spoke to Jo about the book-selling world. I hadn’t really thought about it too much but it seems that it’s equally hard for a little indie bookseller as it is for a little indie publisher in terms of being taken seriously. I hadn’t thought about this in terms of book distribution but it’s something I’ll be thinking about as I look at different ways to distribute books in the future. In the meantime, we all need to hang out at our local bookshop and make sure they feel loved and help us keep the book alive. If you’re ever passing through Port Fairy, be sure to pop in and check out Blarney Books. They have an awesome space for author events and a mix of new and second hand books, as well as exhibition space.

If you’re an author and worry about your books not selling, have a think about your own reading habits. Are you sharing the love around?

Blaise, the book chick.

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Creating Word of Mouth

My last blog talked about the fact that word of mouth sells more books. Many of the well-known books became bestsellers because of this. Alice Sebold and Dan Brown are just a couple of examples. But how do we get people talking about our books?

First of all, you need to have a platform where people can discover you. It can be a website and on social media. Some say that this doesn’t sell books. Maybe it doesn’t directly but it helps people to talk about them. The very first rule for selling books is discoverability because if no one can find it when they hear about it, word of mouth is useless.

These platforms actually have two functions. The first is to gather a fan base and the second is to sell the book. If you feel shy about putting yourself out there in the public arena you will struggle to gather a fan base. But if you’re smart about it, you can put a lot of content out there on these platforms that aren’t necessarily just about you. Remember, you want to create word of mouth about your book. So these platforms are the places to expand on everything that readers are saying about your book.

The best way to start the conversation is to ask people to read your book. You might feel like this is giving it away. But these people will be your first fans and the reviews they give will accumulate and add to the ‘talk’ about your book. They’ll also feel special about having been one of the first to read the book and will want to help you to succeed. Ask these people to tell others about it and before you know it, there are discussions creating little ripples of interest before the book hits the market.

Be as strategic as you can when asking people to read it. Think about librarians, teachers, industry professionals in your field. These are people who will talk to other readers and recommend your book to them.

So, a big part of your book marketing strategy should be to make a list of people who you will approach to read and recommend your book. Try to make a list of at least 30 and if possible, make sure you give them an actual printed book, not a pdf by email.

Blaise the book chick

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