Let’s be real with each other. The only reason you write a book is so that other people read it. Sure, there are a handful of people in the world who dream of writing a book so it can collect dust on some bookshelf. Those folks are few and far between.
The vast majority of all of us want to write a book that actually becomes noteworthy within our niche.
Is it Harder to Write a Book or Get People to Read It?
To become noteworthy people actually have to read your book, right. So, it’s funny how everyone talks about how hard it is to write a book, but you hardly ever hear people talk about how hard it is to get people to read your book.
In my mind, writing a book is the easy part. Maybe it won’t be on the Seth Godin guru level. Nonetheless, getting a decent book written that tells a good entertaining story while teaching a lesson or two is an attainable goal.
So why do some decent books turn into best sellers and some great books collect dust?
Well, I can’t answer that question definitively. The answer logically falls somewhere between a book’s ability to go viral through word of mouth, the use of PR to get solid press coverage, and how effectively (if at all) paid advertising is utilized.
This blog post is about selling books by going viral through word of mouth, so let’s cut to the chase and get to the good stuff: How to sell more books using the viral coefficient.
A few weeks back I broke down how to use the viral coefficient in an article titled The science of going viral broken down into one simple formula. You may want to go back and skim through that article first so you can better understand the technique I am going to share next.
Step 1. Give away your book for free
Before you curse me, let me explain. I’m not talking about giving away the book you spent months, if not years laboring over for free. I am talking about giving away a book that you will write for the purpose of content marketing. In this book, I want you to write about the process you used to write the book you want to sell. This should be an ebook formatted as a PDF, and should contain a step by step story sharing the tips and tricks you learned through your experience of writing a book. This book should be no longer than 50 pages, and you will give it away for free.
Step 2. Market the book you are selling within the book you give away for free
Within the free ebook, strategically place 3 or 4 “call to action boxes” to buy the book you are selling. Make sure you don’t do this in an in your face manner that comes off as scammy or slimy. It needs to be elegant so that it flows with the story you are telling. Since you are using a PDF, you can place active links to buy the book within the call to action boxes. So make sure you spend some time testing the call to action box to make sure you get the best click through rates.
The good thing about it being an ebook is that you can make updates to the book over time as you see the results coming in. Don’t hesitate to change the contents of the book 3 or 4 times in order to figure out what will work best.
Step 3. Create a killer landing page with the viral coefficient in mind
So this is the super secret sauce step. This is the page that you will promote your free ebook and create a viral coefficient above 1. This landing page can be on your main domain, or you can create a separate domain just to promote the free ebook.
Either way, the strategy I want you to use is based on a concept called social content lockers. To learn more about what is a social content locker please read this post that provides a quick overview.
By using a social content locker to protect your ebook, you will be able to get a viral coefficient above 1.
Obviously, creating a landing page with a social content locker is not something a novice can do. However, in the article I linked to just above explaining what is a social content locker, I do reveal one quick and easy way anyone can install this viral growth engine on a landing page and get started in less than 2 minues.
If it’s worth it to you, you still may want to hire a web development professional to design a premium landing page customized to fit your needs.
Step 4. Promote your free ebook to a niche within your niche
You should focus your efforts to promote your book mainly to aspiring authors. Start with social media, but please be sure to think outside of the social media box.
You may want to use Meetup.com to host an aspiring authors roundtable meetup or join an exsiting meetup for aspiring authors. You may even want to do some search engine marketing and target long tail keywords such as “how to write a book about such and such niche [insert your niche here].”
It should be much easier to drive traffic to a page with a free ebook teaching how to write a book, than to drive people to a page selling your book. My theory is that those aspiring authors within your niche are also avid readers who would buy your book.
I also believe that starting with a niche within a niche strategy is a sure fire way to utilize one of the 3 traits of a viral advertising campaign to use word-of-mouth to go viral.
It Takes More than One Strategy
Please remember that this should just be one of many strategies you put in place and not be your entire marketing campaign. You will still have to go out and promote your main book using the traditional PR and advertising techniques.
What do you think about these steps? Do you have any other tips to help authors sell more books? If so, please leave a reply below with your comments.