It is one thing to write a book and quite another to write one that is a salable, viable and marketable product. Ensuring the success of a book is something not even the biggest publishers have been able to guarantee. Mitigating circumstances, sudden trends and world events will affect buyer’s preferences. That said, there are still ways to use the sales factor to your advantage and this is how you do it.
1. Know your readers. We’re not just talking about whether your readers are male or female. You want to know a lot about your audience. How old are your readers (age range)? Are the readers married, single or divorced? Where do your readers live (generally)? What do your readers do for a living? What other books / publications do they read? Develop a profile that includes where they shop, which clubs they belong to, etc.
These elements will help you incorporate these aspects into your book * and * will help you discover great marketing opportunities (e.g., publications and shops).
2. Know your market. How is the market for your book? Is there a trend you are positioning yourself in? Are you reading all the posts related to this topic / trend? Is there a “hole” your book can fill? What is the future of this market / topic? For example, let’s say you are a fiction writer looking to publish chick lit. Go to any bookstore and you can’t help but see the cute pink cartoon covers. Many thought this trend was disappearing, but it has recently seen another rise. What do you know about trends related to your book / topic / audience?
3. Similar books. What else has been posted on your topic? Have you read the ten books in your category? If you haven’t, you should. You’ll want to know as much as possible about what’s out there and how it’s perceived on the market. It is never a problem to have a similar theme. When I published No More Rejections – Get Out Today, I knew there were other books on marketing. I read them all and then tilted my book differently.
4. Stay up to date. What is happening in your industry today? What are some shortcut buttons? What are people looking for? What are the prospects on the horizon for this topic / audience? If you can’t collect this information through traditional channels, why not probe your target audience? There are many places to take free surveys, Survey Monkey is one of them: http://www.surveymonkey.com
5. Follow the media. What are the media talking about these days? Keep track of media buzz: what they pay attention to and what they write about. Go beyond the first page of your article to the second or third page and see what fills the pages. If you can get documents from other states, do a comparative review. Do you see a trend in coverage? Is there anything that seems to spark more interest even if it’s on page six?
6. Speak, teach, listen. One of the best ways I found to connect with my audience was to lecture and participate in speeches. When I was preparing my Get Published Today book, I found that the lessons I taught provided valuable information to create a great book because they put me in direct contact with my audience.