We are inundated with social media and advertising nowadays. It always seems that someone is trying to yell at us to buy something. And I really do mean yell.
Everyone’s trying to shout over everyone else to get our attention and we’re already busy as it is with our family, our career, our pets, etc.
That’s why those that follow my 4th tip on What Really Sells Books will find much more success: Slow Down
A personable one-on-one email or FB private message works. And I mean, a custom-made message; even if it’s only customizing the first couple of sentences.
Asking one person at a time, after you’ve gotten to know them, to read your book and review it or to buy it and then following up with them every couple of weeks until they do, works 100 times more effective than a Facebook update, a tweet or a BCC to everyone.
And when I say, “get to know them” I mean, you’ve spent at least a few weeks doing nothing but taking an interest in them and what they’re passionate about without even hinting that you’d like them to read your book.
I’m telling you this after having made that mistake many times in the past. I cringe when I think about the mistakes I’ve made in the past, getting too anxious or impatient or desperate. They didn’t bring me the results I wanted. But hey, everyone makes mistakes they wish they hadn’t so why dwell on the past? Just learn from it.
Then it dawned on me, especially looking back on the last 10 years. “It’s amazing how much you can get done when you … just slow down.”
The person that masters being personable, taking an interest in the other person first, growing the relationship over time, even if it’s just a matter of weeks, then ask for the sale, and finally follows up until they do, will be much more successful than the 99.9% that are not taking that route.
Yes, it’s slower. Yes, it takes more effort but it also works.
How long have you been a writer?
I’ve been a writer ever since I can remember. When I was very young, my mother caught me scribbling underneath the lines in a Dr. Seuss book and when she asked me what I was doing, I told her I was writing the story. Apparently I thought Dr. Seuss needed my help. I have always had the desire to create stories.
Why do you feel compelled to create stories?
I love creating the worlds, characters and stories that populate my mind on a daily basis. And it’s the only way to turn off the voices I hear. Yes, I hear voices—my characters’ voices. Sometimes they’re impatient with me because it’s not the right time to write or I have other priorities. But once I am buried in creating a novel, everyone is happy. Especially me. It’s the only way to shut them up!
What book are you most proud of?
That’s a hard one; it’s like asking a parent of 12 kids which child they’re most proud of. My “heart book” is WHALE SONG, and that’s because it has changed people’s lives for the better, something I never really expected. It has saved relationships and lives. CHILDREN OF THE FOG and SUBMERGED are probably my best works to date and both deal with fears that I have had—the fear of a child being abducted and the fear of being trapped in a submerged vehicle. The one title I am proud of because of outstanding sales is CHILDREN OF THE FOG. It is my #1 bestseller and has sold over 60,000 copies.
What do you credit as being the main factors in “learning” how to write something that sells?
I wrote short stories while in school and sometimes they were critiqued by my teachers. This taught me many of the basics. I also studied other great writers in my genre, like King and Koontz. I really absorbed how they put their sentences together, how they created tension, how they paced themselves. I took a journalism and short story writing course in my early 20s and graduated with Highest Honors and a 98% overall score. I joined various critique/writers’ groups over the years, read books on writing, editing, and more.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself as even more successful, with more foreign rights and audio deals. I feel there’s at least one movie in my future, maybe more, and that could happen within 5 years. And I see myself having made the New York Times bestsellers list at least once! I know…I have lofty goals.
From August 12-18, you are going to attempt to achieve one of these goals. Tell us about it.
August 12th is my 50th birthday, and I’m going to be GIVING AWAY gifts during a special multi-author promotion, in hopes of making the USA Today or New York Times bestsellers lists. I am one of 8 authors who form the Power Authors, and all of our books will be on sale for one week in August & September.
My week is Aug. 12-18, and everyone who purchases a Kindle ebook of my bestselling supernatural thriller, CHILDREN OF THE FOG, or gifts it to someone, could help me achieve my dream. The more copies that are sold from Aug. 12-18, the better chance I’ll have of making it.
How do we buy or gift a copy?
Any other links or info you’d like to share?
Cheryl’s website: http://www.cherylktardif.com
Official blog: http://www.cherylktardif.blogspot.com
And don’t forget my contest!! I’m giving away LOTS of awesome prizes—including a Kindle Fire HD!
In this series of posts, I’ve been looking back at my last almost 10 years of working as professional author and reviewing out of all the things I’ve tried, what has actually sold books.
My motto lately has been, “promotion and awareness is great but what actually sells books?” The last two posts I covered two tips. One was the basics and the other was about doing book signings the right way.
This week’s tip is about something that I know sells books immediately, doing speaking engagements. And I don’t mean wasting your time trying to put together your own groups of people but rather speaking at pre-existing groups that are always hungry for new speakers.
My first novel was an urban love story. Yet I sold hundreds of books at Rotary Clubs all over the country. I was invited to speak as far as Nigeria. Rotary Clubs are generally local business people. So, how did I manage to book gigs there? I focused on my back story, of how I came from very humble beginnings (having lived in my car as a teen) and accomplished my dream of being an author. And this was before I landed the Warner Books contract with the same book.
I absolutely loved speaking to these groups all over the place and after my 15-20 minute presentation, I sold books in the back of the room. Usually on a bad day, half the people who attended bought copies but generally 70-90% of those in attendance bought books.
That’s my tip for you, find groups such as Rotary Clubs, Elk’s Clubs, Women’s Organizations, Business Associations that are looking for speakers. Send them a quick email introducing yourself and offering to speak for free in lieu of being able to sell books after the engagement.
There are a lot of details that go into doing this but that’s the gist of it and it works!
Next post, we’ll discuss a way you can sell books without leaving your house.