Book Marketing is Not the Same as Sales

Many authors mistakenly think that selling and marketing are the same.  They aren’t. You may already know that the book marketing process is broad and includes all of the following:
1. Identifying your target readers
2. Deciding upon a suitable subject, story and style
3. Writing and editing the book
4. Developing a suitable title for the book
5. Creating an attractive book cover
6. Getting reviews and endorsements from mavens and influential publications
7. Setting up distribution for your book in online and brick and mortar stores
8. Creating buzz for your book
9. Advertising your book
10. Getting your customer to buy your book (including order processing and calculating your royalties or revenues)

Most authors confuse the last step to be ALL of marketing.

Marketing is everything that you do to reach and persuade prospects. Sales is everything that you do to close the sale and get the book into the hands of your customer and the money into your bank account. You need both. Without marketing, you cannot expect a customer to carry out the final step and buy your book (except in certain freak purchases which are a result of luck.)

The book buying process works something like this:

1. A book reader from your target market sees your book cover
2. She becomes interested in the book based on title, cover image etc.
3. She explores more about the book (by reading back cover, about the book, story behind the book, reviews and book-excerpt)

4. She decides to purchase the book

The BookBuzzr Book Marketing Funnel which was featured in an earlier blog post is another way to understand how the book buying process works. As you move down the funnel, the number of people carrying out the activity decreases. To increase sales, you can either increase the size of the top of the funnel (i.e. get more people to hear about your book and look at your book cover.) Or you can improve the conversion rates from one stage to the next (and this is usually a result of quality … i.e. if your book title and cover are interesting, people proceed to the next stage; else, they abandon your book.)

Your goal then is to get people to hear about your book’s core idea (or about you or about the story behind your book.) The goal of your book front cover is to get people to look at the back cover. The goal of your back cover is to get people to look inside your book. The goal of the first few pages of your book is to entice your readers to continue reading (and buy the book.) So you are really selling on every page of your book. is designed to facilitate the first two steps of the initial process. and the CoverMatcher game are designed to get as many people as possible from your target market to learn about your book title and view your book cover.

Freado also leverages upon the idea of the exposure effect. The exposure effect (also known as the mere exposure effect) is a psychological phenomenon by which people tend to develop a preference for things merely because they are familiar with them. In social psychology, this effect is sometimes called the familiarity principle. In studies of interpersonal attraction, the more often a person is seen by someone, the more pleasing and likeable that person appears to be.

Freado translates this idea to books. The more often a person sees your book cover and book title, the more likely that person is going to be to like or at least accept your book.

Now, one of the questions that we’re frequently asked by new authors is this:

“Does guarantee that you will sell more copies of your book?”
And our answer always is a vociferous “NO!”

But Freado definitely increase your probability of selling more books. When a user constantly views your book cover inside the game, he or she begins to unconsciously memorize your book cover. So the next time this book lover is in a bookstore or on, and sees your book, the chances of him recognizing the book is increased. And it creates buzz for your book where people tend to discuss your book (or bid for your book if it is made available as a prize on Freado.)

In conclusion, when you put on your book promotion hat, it is important to understand that book marketing is a concept that is wider than sales. Sales are important. But they don’t happen unless you create the right conditions.

Or like author Chetan Dhruve says, “You know the saying in English – “You can take a horse to the water, but you can’t make it drink.” Similarly, we authors can bring the horse (reader) to the water, but we can’t make him buy the product, because that ultimately depends on the PRODUCT itself (i.e. the book). Think of the alternative, which is doing nothing, i.e. having no horses at the watering hole.”

Vikram Narayan is the founder of BookBuzzr Book Marketing Technologies. Follow him on Twitter
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