Three Easy Steps to Selling a LOT More Books and Information Products

by Joel Friedlander on July 31, 2013 · 19 comments

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by Bob Baker (@MrBuzzFactor)

I’ve been following Bob Baker for several years. Bob is a real pioneer in modern self-publishing, and has been encouraging and training authors—particularly in the music field—for quite a while. Bob has a direct way of expressing himself that makes it really easy to follow his ideas. After doing an interview with Bob recently for a new project of his (see the bio box at the bottom for links), I asked if he would share some of his expertise on how you can sell more books. Here’s his response.



There’s a mistake I see many authors make when it comes to creating and promoting books and other info-products, such as online courses, teleclasses, webinars, etc.

It’s a blunder that causes dwindling cash flow and frustration over slow sales. But there’s a simple remedy I can sum up in three simple steps.

First, let’s identify the problem …

This mistake occurs when an author, speaker or consultant realizes that he or she has a message or story that people need to hear. The key word there is “need.”

There’s nothing wrong with feeling that way. It’s perfectly understandable. If you have an epiphany or discover some secret to living a better life or doing something more efficiently, you want to share that insight with the world.

“People need to know this!”

The problem is, what you feel people need to know may not be what a lot of them want.

And that’s the key to creating and promoting books that sell. You have to find the overlap between what you think your readers need to know and what they eagerly want to know.

Here’s an example …

My niche is music marketing for independent songwriters, musicians and bands. I’ve spent the past couple of decades building a reputation and a series of books and info-products on this topic.

A couple of years ago I wanted to create a new workshop. I knew that musicians really needed to know the importance of engaging with fans and building relationships with them. My mantra has always been “focus on fans” (a principle every author would do well to embrace as well).

Most self-promoters put the bulk of their energy into creating awareness (getting their name “out there”) and then asking for the sale (putting up a sales page with a “buy now” button).

The missing ingredient is fan engagement, which includes building and using a mailing list, interacting with fans on social media, replying to emails, etc. This is what my musician followers really “need” to know.

The problem is, there isn’t much of a “want” for a workshop called “The Importance of Engaging With Fans.” Not a very sexy or appealing title.

However, I knew that one topic most musicians eagerly want to know is how to make more money from their music. Knowing this, I created a workshop called “How to Make Money as a DIY Musician: Fours Steps to Converting Fan Attention Into Sales.”

Guess what one of those four steps is? You guessed it! Engaging with fans and building relationships with them. I ended up giving my customers what they want AND what I felt they need to know.

So here’s the easy three-step formula I used (that you can use too) to create and sell more books:

  1. Sell the want
  2. Deliver the want
  3. And deliver what you feel they need to know

It’s such a simple process that most authors overlook it completely.

The key factor is discovering the want

The best way to uncover what your readers and fans want is to pay attention to what they’re saying. Here are some things to consider:

  • What questions do you get most often by email?
  • What common topics come up from your readers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Amazon customer reviews, etc.?
  • What blog posts, YouTube videos, or podcasts of yours get the most web traffic, views, and downloads?

One great way to discover wants is to directly ask your fans (via email or social media) what their biggest challenge is related to your topic or area of expertise. Once you identify a widely held problem, the solution to that problem is a usually a big, fat want waiting to be satisfied.

The strongest wants often involve some aspect of these three traits:

1) Results – A specific outcome is identified, such as “Lose 10 pounds in two weeks” or “Double your income in 30 days.”

2) Ease – People naturally want to avoid pain and complication. Let readers know about some aspect of your book or info-product that delivers a simple way for them to get the result they want.

3) Speed – Even though patience is a virtue, we all want our desires to manifest sooner rather than later. If you have a way to speed up the process, let potential buyers know.

In fact, I used these exact same principles to craft the title of this blog post. I could have called it “Wants vs Needs: What Authors Need to Know.” But would that have gotten your attention? Probably not. But “Three Easy Steps to Selling a LOT More Books and Information Products” most likely did grab your attention. Why? Because it taps into something you truly want to know. And it stresses an “easy” way to look at the topic.

The bottom line is this …

The next time you find yourself saying, “People need to know this, so I’m going to publish a book or course about it” …

Stop and consider if there’s a true “want” for the thing you want to communicate. If not, is there some aspect of your message that can be molded to directly appeal to a known want (while staying true to your message)?

Can you position your content to be the solution to a widespread challenge? Can you transform your information so it appeals to a specific outcome, an easy implementation, or a quick result?

Above all, take these three simple steps:

  1. Sell the want
  2. Deliver the want
  3. And deliver what you feel they need to know

self-publishingIn addition to being the author of many books and resources on music marketing, Bob Baker is also looking for a small group of authors, speakers, teachers, coaches and consultants who want access to a new course he is creating called “The Magnetic Cash Flow Formula.” Visit this web pagefor details today, as this is a limited-time offer. He is also the author of “55 Ways to Promote & Sell Your Book on the Internet.” Visit www.FullTimeAuthor.com and www.TheBuzzFactor.com for more info on Bob and his resources for authors, musicians, and creative entrepreneurs. And watch the video interview Bob did with Joel on this page at www.DIYcareerManifesto.com.


Photo: bigstockphoto.com

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    { 12 comments… read them below or add one }

    Colin Dunbar July 31, 2013 at 1:25 am

    Hello Bob
    This is a neat article. Yes, the “need” and “want” thing is important. Thanks for sharing.
    Best regards.
    Colin

    Reply

    Bob Baker July 31, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Thanks, Colin. Glad you enjoyed it!

    Reply

    Dan Erickson July 31, 2013 at 7:18 am

    Great post and I agree completely about engaging with fans/readers. I write fiction and I do engage. But as a new self-published author, my fan/reader base is still very small. Building takes time.

    Reply

    Bob Baker July 31, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Thanks, Dan! Yes, it does take time. But as Joel has proven, if you engage your readers and continue to crank out quality writing, it can pay off!

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander July 31, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Dan, everyone starts this journey with 1 reader, and that’s you. Having a good plan and implementing it in simple steps that you can handle without stress on a daily basis will build that base over time. If you plan to be a writer for a while, there’s simply nothing else you can do (besides writing better books!) to enhance your chances for success.

    Reply

    Linda C. Senn July 31, 2013 at 8:40 am

    That’s so logical and doable, Bob! I’m going to use that for the back cover copy of Your Pocket Divorce Guide, 2nd edition. Your guide is just what I wrote the book to accomplish.

    Reply

    Bob Baker July 31, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Great to hear from you, Linda! Some of the most powerful ideas are simple and logical :)

    Reply

    Denise Renee Phinn August 1, 2013 at 8:44 am

    Hey Bob, you are so right! It’s something my husband, business strategist and coach Craig Phinn shares with his clients all the time. Thanks for always sharing on target information!

    Reply

    ABE August 1, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    It is a great idea – for certain kinds of fiction, too!

    I think of getting people to read things they need to read – Uncle Tom’s Cabin comes to mind – that they don’t necessarily think they want to read falls directly into this category.

    I know I have resisted reading certain books because I felt it would be too much of an effort to deal with the subject matter – there is no reason to think I’m unique.

    I’m thinking hard about how to do this for fiction – but the expression of the technique, and your wonderful example from the music business are a great starting point. Thanks.

    Reply

    Bob Baker September 7, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Thanks, ABE! I suppose the best fiction books that deliver a message do it within the context of an engaging story. You read it for the thrill, but end up with a lesson too!

    Reply

    Christopher Ryan August 12, 2013 at 1:40 am

    Bob,

    The hallmarks of a truly successful article are value of information, clarity of message, ease of access to that infor. Thanks for hitting all three so well.

    Joel,

    Thanks for hitting all three on a regular basis.

    Reply

    Bob Baker September 7, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Glad you enjoyed it, Christopher!

    Reply

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