Wednesday, May 9, 2012

[Build Book Buzz] How to Make Sure People Buy from You, Not Amazon via @sandrabeckwith

Tips, tactics and tools for generating media awareness and other buzz about your books.

May 9, 2012

In This Issue:

Buzzing Around

Hi sylvia,

My BabyMy baby graduates from college on Saturday. 

How did this happen? 

It's cliché, I know, but it does feel like my first emotional goodbye in her dorm room 8.5 hours from home happened four months ago, not nearly four years ago. 

We've both grown since then. I've figured out how to use the TV's DVR without her help and my baby? Well, she appreciates my wisdom...and my company...a little bit more these days. 

These milestones tend to be bittersweet for me. How do you feel about them? On the one hand, I'm excited about what comes next (even though we don't know what that is yet), but I'm a little sad about her leaving that college cocoon. 

But I've got one more weekend on the Xavier University campus to look forward to and enjoy with both of my girls. It will be a good one, I'm sure. 

And one more thing...I'm speaking today about "What's Your Hook?" at the Self-Published Online Conference today. It's a virtual event - get all the details on my blog. I hope you can listen in! 

Enjoy your week!



Expert View:
How to Make Sure People Buy from You, Not Amazon

One of the challenges of self publishing is selling enough books to earn back what you spent on your book's production. You've got editing, cover and interior design, and printing expenses, for starters. This comes out of your bank account well before cash flows in from sales. 

It's not surprising, then, that many self-published authors want to get the most profit possible from each sold book. 

The best way to do that for all authors, self-published or not, is to sell books directly to readers. When you cut out the middleman, whether it's or your local independent bookstore or chain, you make more money when people buy books directly from you. 

Many book buyers, though, are accustomed to buying from their favorite book retailer. This means that when they find our books on our websites or meet us in person when we speak at events, they could be more inclined to purchase from that favorite trusted retailer instead of from us. 

That's better than no purchase at all, but we make less money that way. 

What can we do to encourage them to buy from us? Here are a few ideas:

1. Sell books on your website with a secure shopping cart system designed for e-commerce. A smooth-running e-commerce set-up (rather than "send me a check and I'll send you a book") reassures site visitors that they will actually receive the product they're trying to buy. WordPress offers a free shopping cart program, but talk to others with shopping cart systems about what they use and whether they would recommend it. Without an efficient, official-looking purchasing option in place, book buyers will leave and purchase from a trusted retailer instead.

2. Offer an incentive. Offer a free bonus gift that we can't get when purchasing your book elsewhere. To lure us away from our favorite retailer, your bonus product needs to be relevant and value-added (a signed book plate isn't enough, although you should offer one with all direct purchases). 

Options include:

  • A downloadable file of fill-in-the-blanks forms that make your nonfiction book even more useful
  • A collection of case histories cut from the book because you had too many
  • An audio file of an online interview you did about your topic or craft
  • Somebody else's booklet or recording
  • A coupon code good for a discount on an upcoming educational program you're leading
  • A complimentary telephone consultation
  • A copy of one of your earlier books of their choice (this is especially appropriate for novelists with lots of older books sitting in boxes) 

Be creative about this. What do you have that your readers want? Package a "light" version to offer as a bonus. It needs to have substance, though. A free bookmark isn't enough.

3. Add a sense of urgency. Studies show that people are more likely to act when you give them a "limited time offer" that expires on a specific date or time or ends when you've hit a target number sold. If your offer says that you're providing the complimentary bonus item only to the first 100 book buyers, when you achieve that goal, you can update the text to say that you were so overwhelmed by the number of people who bought the book that you decided to make it available to the first 500 buyers. Similarly, you can continue to change the deadline going forward if your strategy is working.

In the end, you still need to make sure you've got a link on your site to the expected retailers -,, and so on - so that you don't completely lose the sale to someone who doesn't want to make a purchase on your site. But if you give them an incentive to buy directly from you and present that incentive in a way that reassures them that it's a safe option, you'll not only sell more books, you'll make more money from those sales, too.

Subscribers Will Receive Hefty Discount on My New E-book

I'm still a few weeks away from introducing my newest book marketing educational product, but I wanted to let you know in advance that when it's done, I'm giving subscribers only a substantial discount on the already low and super affordable price. 

Get Your Book in the News: How to Write a Press Release That Announces Your Book is an e-book available in PDF format. It has that same step-by-step, "here's what you need to know" approach that has made this newsletter and my other educational materials so popular. 

Because it's so important to me that as many authors as possible get this important information (writing a good, coherent press release announcing your book is crucial to your book's success), I'm pricing this book so that everyone can afford it. 

And even though the full price is ridiculously low for the valuable information this book contains, I will be giving you - and only you - a nice discount on the book when it's available. If you know other authors who might be interested in this discount, encourage them to subscribe to this newsletter at in the next few weeks. It's the only way they will be able to benefit from that discount, too. 

I'll provide more specific information soon!

Register for June 2012 "Book Publicity 101: How to Build Book Buzz" E-course

Are you ready to learn how to get the word out about your book? It's time to register for the next "Book Publicity 101: How to Build Book Buzz" e-course running online from June 4 to 29, 2012. Both sections - one for traditionally published authors and the other for those who have self published - emphasize the planning, strategy, tools and tactics needed to get - and keep - your book in the news so that you sell more books. (The course for self-published authors includes a section on how to announce a book's publication and generate reviews.) You'll leave the class with your own book publicity blueprint, tools you can use immediately to get media exposure, and a solid understanding of how to get attention in both traditional and social media worlds. 

The class is taught online in a forum format. There are no scheduled meetings or sessions - you work at your own pace according to your own schedule. I provide very personalized guidance and feedback as you move through the course. 

For details on the original course, "Book Publicity 101: How to Build Book Buzz," go to

For specifics on the self-published authors course, "Book Publicity 101 for Self-Published Authors: How to Build Book Buzz," go to

About Sandra

Sandra Beckwith is a former publicist who has won several national and regional publicity awards and teaches authors how to generate long-term media buzz for their books. She is the author of three books on publicity, conducts publicity workshops, and writes frequently on small business marketing and management topics. Please visit her book publicity site and publicity blog to learn more.

Build Book Buzz is a free e-newsletter published twice monthly by Beckwith Communications. Please forward this newsletter to anyone. To subscribe, visit We do not share our mailing list with any individual or organization for any reason.

Need a writer's conference speaker or workshop presenter? Sandra's workshops at the American Society of Journalists and Authors annual conference, the University of Wisconsin Writers Institute, and at other industry conferences share priceless how-to information you won't get elsewhere. Contact her at for more information.

Build Book Buzz
Sandra Beckwith, Editor & Publisher
Phone: 585-377-2768

Beckwith Communications

25 Erie Crescent
Fairport, NY

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