Posts Tagged ‘Sell Your Nonfiction’

How Authors Lose Book Sales by Distracting and Annoying Potential Book Buyers

By Laurie Winslow Sargent:

CLICK HERE . . . NO, HERE . . . NO, HERE . . .

Do you really want me to buy your book, or are you just teasing me?

If someone asked you as an author, “Do you want book sales?” you would answer, “Of course!”

Yet many authors these days lead potential book buyers down multiple rabbit trails . . . to the point that readers finally become annoyed or distracted from buying that book that originally caught their attention.

At least that’s the case for one voracious reader: me.

Last year I actually purchased more books (including Kindle books) than I have in years past. But this is how it usually works for me:

I see on Twitter a book title–with a clear topic–linked directly to the Amazon (or other bookseller’s page) where it is sold. Or within the text of an article I see a hyperlinked book title or cover image I can click.

Click 1 and I’m to Amazon. Click 2 and I’ve bought your book. Maybe a bit impulsively, but if priced well, I’ve rarely regretted that.

Sometimes I do take time to read reviews, or even open another browser tab to visit the author’s website. But at this point the Amazon sales page is already open for me to make a decision on — one way or another.

Sadly, there are too many other great-looking books I ALMOST bought. Was so very close to buying. And never did.

Did you ask me to click from Twitter, to Pinterest? Then to your website to find out more about you? Then make me hunt on your website for your book tab? Then make me hunt within that book webpage full of lovely images and text about your book for an actual link to buy it?

Sorry, but I am WAY too easily distracted to hop from social media to blogs or websites without losing track of my original goal — to possibly buy that one book. Please remember, I’m a reader. I love to read. That means if you keep giving me new things to read, and click, and read, and click,  I will forget what I was doing in the first place.

Call me flaky, but I end up thinking: Oh, my, what an interesting author! And this article is fascinating. (Read through article.) Wait . . . why am I here?

Oh yeah. Her book. What was that title again? (Hunt on the blog or website for the Books link.) Ahah. Here it is. Oh, look at all her interesting titles! Hmm. Maybe I want that one instead.

Suddenly I’m temporarily distracted by new mail in my Outlook folder, so I stop to check that. An hour later I realize I still have the author’s website page open on my desktop, with all her books.

Hmm. She looks so interesting, but I can’t decide which book I want. I’ll bookmark this site, check it out later…  I fully intend to, but never do.

Authors, I’m begging you . . . although Pinterest itself may be great for book sales, please don’t lead me from one teaser to another. A teaser on Twitter to a teaser on Pinterest. With a click to a teaser on Facebook.  Call me impatient, but at that point I often think, Good grief, I don’t feel like logging into Facebook right now.  If I do log on, but am led at that point to a blurb about your book on Facebook with no link to where to buy it, I’m just frustrated.

Even when potential readers want your book, they don’t necessarily have time to explore all your sites. Value their time. Get them to your book sales page with 1-2 simple mouse clicks.

Many authors who are timid about book marketing fear pushing what they think is a hard sell. Other authors use so much automation, connecting their social networks, that it just creates a maze of confusion.

Are book sales your goal? It’s OK to be honest about that. Readers know it anyway, and if they’ve clicked at least one link they are already interested.


How Can I Tell if Comments are Spam?

By Laurie Winslow Sargent:

I’ve got to admit, some spam comments are terribly creative, yet may target freelance writers and lead them astray.

Spam Definition Magnifier by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos~net

I was emptying my spam folder today, when a few comments made stop and scratch my head. Were they real? From readers who had actually visited my site, read the articles, and thought about them? I wondered, ‘How can I tell if comments are spam?

Some spam comments are cleverly written. They incorporate  (via computers, of course) key phrases found in my articles or in my post titles.

These pseudo-cyber-comments flatter me. Sometimes I like to pretend they are real, although when I’m called Sir, that to me is a dead giveaway that they aren’t. (Except that Laurie IS a male name in England. Hmm.)

Anyway, the following comment nearly tripped me up. It offered a resource for writers, so I thought I’d check it out. I do like to pass on good resources (although do know that the pay level referred to in this comment is measly for professional writers):

 “You’re an English major, right? I have always enjoyed your creative discussions… your style really reminds me of mine, all the way down to your transitions and readability. I am a free lance author and have had excellent success using this agent (insert name of website offering work for hire for writers) I am bringing in $50 – $75 writing articles …”

WordPress had put this in my spam folder, but out of curiosity  I Google-searched two sentences from this comment, encased in quote marks. Sure enough, an identical comment was on another site–for pregnant women.

This brought to mind that many writers would love a quick fix to get their words in print–anywhere-and may not mind earning peanuts to do so.  Some online sites do offer that (while also probably keeping all the rights to your writing). But fake (yet  sincere-looking) comments on author sites sure don’t make me trust any site those comments link to.

Instead, I always recommend that those of you who are serious about writing for publication and payment take time to learn your craft.  On this site you can explore Laurie’s Lessons (best if  read in order) to get you started. Learn to write well for magazines, and an article can earn you ten times what that spam comment suggested–and you keep the rights, meaning you can resell that article again.

Want to be sure your own legitimate comments are actually posted on sites, including this one? Praise is lovely, but avoid generic comments. Add to the conversation. I myself love genuine comments from real live people–so feel free to ask any questions you like related to magazine article writing or offer resources that nurture writers.


Laurie Winslow Sargent is the author of two nonfiction parenting books published by Tyndale House Publishers:The Power of Parent-Child Play, and Delight in Your Child’s Design and contributor to eight additional books, published by ZondervanMultnomah, HCI (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and others. (To see books Laurie has written/contributed to, click HERE.) Laurie has also enjoyed publication in 28 magazines, with circulations of  up to one million readers. Content on this site is based on her Sell Your Nonfiction workshops presented in workshops for writers.

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