by Gina Burgess
While reading an article on Entrepreneur about eight mistakes entrepreneurs usually don’t realize they are making, mistake #7 hit home. You can read the whole article here
Mistake 7: Taking ‘no’ for an answer.
Great entrepreneurs realize that a no actually means “not yet” in many scenarios. They break through walls where others get blocked. While bad entrepreneurs may take a no as a sign that they need to give up, great entrepreneurs recognize it as valuable feedback.
Getting a no from an investor doesn’t mean you’ll never get funding. Instead, it’s a sign that you may need to rethink your value proposition. Similarly, a no from a target customer means you have to do more to differentiate your product. Using this feedback to refine and improve your product or service will help you build your way toward success.
Let’s exchange some words here. Let’s exchange investor with agent, funding with published, and proposition with proposal.
At noon Central time on September 27th—that’s a Thursday—Terry Whalen is going to discuss with us in a live web-ed the importance of and how to write a great book proposal. More info coming about that soon. Agents need a great proposal so they can see the vision of the book, but also so they can sell it to a traditional publisher. We all know that. But someone who self-publishes needs a great proposal as well!
So when you are getting no sales of your book, that’s a no from potential readers—your target customers—you need to do more to make your book stand out. You also have to give potential readers who may have never heard of you good reasons to take that chance and spend money on your book.
Often times authors think, “I’ll just publish this, do a little splash in social media, and readers will rush to purchase my book.” The problem with this thinking is that social media is more like scatter-gun advertising, or net fishing. I’ll just toss out the net, and miraculously like Jesus did for the disciples, it will fall on the right side of the boat and hundreds of people will buy my book. Not likely unless you are focused with targeting your market.
A no from your target market just means they aren’t getting the kernel of your message. They don’t understand why your book is exactly what they like to read so they should buy the book.When you’ve targeted correctly, that no is actually a not yet.
So how does one refine and improve the message so that the target market gets the message?
There are some questions to consider that may help change that no to a yes.
- Have you defined your target market correctly?
- Have you overcome reader objections?
- How have you tailored your message to resonate with your market?
Defining your target market is the first crucial step to selling books. Unlike a bookstore, your book is unique because you and only you wrote it. Only you could write that particular story in that special way. Therefore, it won’t appeal to all six point some odd billion people in the world. I know your work is brilliant enough to, but everyone won’t take the time to read it to find out. So, you need to create a message that will stop someone in their tracks because the message is arresting enough to grab their attention. You also need to overcome reader objections.
The only way you can create that message is to know whom you are talking to. What their interests are, and the kind of stories they like to read. Of course we aren’t Google or Bing so we can’t track someone’s digital life to find out those things. And we can’t sit back and hope our extremely innovative website will draw the exact type of readers we need to purchase our books.
That’s why we need to begin our search with the book’s genre. You go to Facebook and Google+ and LinkedIn to find groups that are interested in your genre. It is best to do this months before you publish so you can get to know the folks in each of the groups you choose to participate in—and participate a lot. At least once a week, and more if you can spare the time.
If you’ve already published, or publishing is imminent, that’s okay. You should still do this.
Show the real people in each group that you are a real person with a moral compass and a sense of humor. Show them you are deeply interested in them as people. You can even talk to them about your work in progress. Ask them about any trouble spots you have. Ask them their opinion about a character, a scene, names, plausibility of plot twists, etc. Getting them involved, you will attract their attention and they will be more interested in purchasing your book because they participated in the writing of it. They are invested in your book, so how can they say no?
Do you see what you are doing with this type of market targeting? You are building relationships. People buy from people they trust. You don’t have to be one-on-one to build relationships. You build relationships through branding yourself and through group interaction. You can read more about how to correctly target you reading market here.
Next week we’ll tackle what reader objections are and how to overcome them.