Kristen Lamb

Author, Blogger, Social Media Jedi

Kristen Lamb — Photo

The Evolution & Devolution of Sales: Why Your Books Aren’t Selling

sales, book sales, how to improve book sales, book marketing, marketing for authors, marketing for writers, how to promote your book, Kristen Lamb

Sales can be one of the most terrifying words in the English language. If one happens to be a creative professional, let’s just multiply that fear level by ten…or a thousand.

In fact, many writers long to sign with legacy publishers for the sole reason they believe a major publisher will tend to all that vulgar sales business for them so they can simply write and create!

*clutches sides laughing*

It’s cool. I once thought the same. We’re all friends and philistines here.

The hard truth is that, even if we are fortunate enough to score a contract with NYC, if our book doesn’t sell, the publisher will eventually have to cut their losses (‘losses’ being code for ‘writers who fail to sell enough books’).

Publishing houses are businesses not charities, and throwing good money after bad is better left to Hollywood. This said, the idea of having to ‘do sales’ is still enough to make many creatives break out in hives.

Deep Breaths

sales, book sales, how to improve book sales, book marketing, marketing for authors, marketing for writers, how to promote your book, Kristen Lamb

We writers have a nasty habit of black-and-white thinking in regards to sales. In our minds, there are only TWO approaches to selling.

One approach is to be on every single social site running marketing blitzes, promotional campaigns, holding contests, and blasting people with emails/newsletters until they buy a book…or file for a restraining order.

The other option is we never tell anyone we’re an author or—GASP—that we have a book(s) for sale. Short of applying for WITSEC, we do everything and anything to hide that we’re a writer, including our NAME (refer to The Problem with Pen Names).

In an effort to avoid ‘sales’ we pretty much guarantee we’ll never sell any books…thus fulfilling the societal assumption that writers are all broke losers.

***We’ll tackle that bugaboo later.

I believe most writers are afraid of sales because they don’t understand what sales actually IS. Remember, we writers are in the entertainment business. Notice half that word is business and I dare you to name any business that will last very long without any sales.

And before y’all have a panic attack, what’s the title we authors covet most? New York Times Best Selling Author. Notice the title isn’t New York Times Best Writing Author. 

Even though it should be *grumbles*.

Evolution is Real

sales, book sales, how to improve book sales, book marketing, marketing for authors, marketing for writers, how to promote your book, Kristen Lamb

Before we tackle misconceptions about sales, I want to point out that we’re no longer in the 20th century. I know, time flies, right? The audience (customer base) of 2018 has evolved and what worked in the 90s no longer works today. Doing MORE of what doesn’t work is…well, stupid.

Alas, I cannot count how many sales books, training programs, etc. still push tactics that are almost twenty years out of date.

Our customers have evolved, which means sales, promotion, marketing, branding, etc. must evolve as well or it will be virtually impossible to create meaningful connections that yield results.

Think of the English language. Have you ever tried to read the original Beowulf in Old English? To spare your eyes and WordPress from a cascading font meltdown, just listen to this for 15 seconds.

Or five.

YES, THIS IS ENGLISH! Brought to us courtesy of Realm of History who apparently got someone drunk enough to be able to pronounce the words properly (as if anyone other than Cait would correct them *rolling eyes*)…

Can you imagine if we tried to hold a conversation speaking this way? Good luck getting a date, a job, or ordering a hamburger.

If the world has evolved, we’re wise to keep pace.

Sales Has NOT Evolved…Much

sales, book sales, how to improve book sales, book marketing, marketing for authors, marketing for writers, how to promote your book, Kristen Lamb

This profession is as old as time. In fact, sales has been around since Og first realized others wanted the pointy sticks he’d become rather adept at crafting. #TrueStoryIJustMadeUp

Once Og grasped that others were willing to give him berries, nuts, and shiny rocks in exchange for one of his pointy sticks, the concept of business/trade emerged and an entrepreneur was born!

Og, being the clever Homo ergaster he was, eventually realized a fellow tribe member might even offer a couple of hot daughters in exchange for a large order of extra-pointy sticks. So, he recruited his drinking buddies Ag and Ug to help.

In doing this, Og unwittingly discovered scalability.

Og understood that, the more pointy sticks he could fashion and the pointier the pointy stick, the better. This meant he also needed to find ways to let others know about his pointy sticks. Maybe even demonstrate some advantages of owning a pointy stick on say a fish, a squirrel, or an annoying neighbor.

Welcome to SALES!

sales, book sales, how to improve book sales, book marketing, marketing for authors, marketing for writers, how to promote your book, Kristen Lamb

Once we appreciate sales has been around since the dawn of time and is vital and necessary, we can relax a little. While sales in and of itself is a permanent societal fixture, tactics have to evolve. Don’t believe me? Try stabbing an annoying neighbor to demonstrate that knife you’re trying to sell and…point made.

*Bada bump snare*

Now that we’ve settled that sales is a good thing that’s here to stay, let’s do some myth-busting. I feel once we separate facts from fiction, it will be far easier to face our fears.

***Bonus points there for alliteration 😛 .

Myth #1: The high-pressure, fast-talking, aggressive personality is necessary to be good at sales.

sales, book sales, how to improve book sales, book marketing, marketing for authors, marketing for writers, how to promote your book, Kristen Lamb
AHHHHHHH!

Wrong.

There seems to be this cultural idea of what ‘personality’ is required in order to be successful in sales. Usually this is the fast-talking, Type A ‘extrovert’ willing to pummel any prospect into a purchase.

This is total bull sprinkles.

Yes, this type of salesperson exists and, odds are, we’ve all run into one…then run away from one. Good news is we’re now in the digital age.

The high-pressure, fast-talking, aggressive salesperson is a relic best left in the 90s with shoulder pads, fanny packs, the McPizza…and these things.

sales, book sales, how to improve book sales, book marketing, marketing for authors, marketing for writers, how to promote your book, Kristen Lamb

In the old days, badgering had no consequences. Now? We now can unfriend, unfollow, block, and unsubscribe. Or, if nothing else works, we can post on social media that this business or product is to be avoided more than The Black Death pandering a litter of rabid kittens in need of a loving home.

Myth #2: Salespeople Sell Stuff & Good Salespeople Sell A LOT of Stuff

Yeah, no. Not exactly.

Salespeople solve problems. Good salespeople solve a lot of problems or solve bigger problems.

That’s it.

The better a person solves problems, the more money they make. Why? Because happy customers LOVE to share a win because it makes us feel super smart, and we like to brag. Also, humans dig being helpful.

This is called ‘word-of-mouth.’

Simple.

Why so many ‘sales tactics’ fail is the seller fixates on selling the product (their needs) instead of focusing on the best way to solve problems (the consumer’s needs).

I get that newsletters, automation, and email marketing are all the rage. Somewhere, somehow my business email was rufied and taken hostage. I’m relentlessly bombarded with emails from authors (or ‘PR firms’ representing authors) all wanting something FROM ME.

Read MY FREE book. Review MY FREE novel. Share MY FREE series with YOUR friends!

This is NOT SALES.

sales, book sales, how to improve book sales, book marketing, marketing for authors, marketing for writers, how to promote your book, Kristen Lamb

Sales is when someone solves my problems, not when some stranger ambushes me to solve a long@$$ list of their problems.

Some random writer’s lackluster sales are NOT my problem. When the author (or their ‘PR firm’) craps up my email with fresh lists of demands guised as doing me some kind of a favor (I.e. Offering ME a chance to interview THEM about THEIR BOOK…on MY BLOG?)…

*deep cleansing breaths* ….they’re not a solution to ANY of my problems.

They’re an additional problem.

Because when I get an average of twelve of these kinds of emails a day, it makes it a bugger to find messages salient to doing my job. This doesn’t make me want to buy their books.

It makes me want to save that money to fund anyone willing to develop technology that delivers a non-lethal but painful electrical shock to anyone who spams me.

Myth #3: More is MORE

sales, book sales, how to improve book sales, book marketing, marketing for authors, marketing for writers, how to promote your book, Kristen Lamb

I mentioned earlier that we were no longer in the 20th century, but many marketers and promoters simply don’t grasp this. Or they don’t care to because being lazy and uncreative is easier.

See, it wasn’t until the late 90s and early aughts that computers and laser printers lowered the barrier to entry for businesses who wanted to use printed material for advertising.

This might seem like no big deal, but Kinko’s (and their ilk) started a small trend that’s turned into an unrelenting MONSTER—direct marketing.

Y’all have to understand that, before roughly 1998, printing was ridiculously expensive. Only big companies with massive budgets could afford to print anything on a large scale.

***This is why business cards used to actually impress people. Also, if you lost your cat, you only put up fliers if you liked (or feared) that cat…a lot.

sales, book sales, how to improve book sales, book marketing, marketing for authors, marketing for writers, how to promote your book, Kristen Lamb

Anyway, cheap printing breathed life into the golem we know as direct marketing (a.k.a. junk mail). Then, once more people owned computers and used email, direct marketing simply migrated to another place to bug the $#@! out of us.

Now? Social media is experiencing this same devolution. Too many authors (mistakenly) believe they need to be on all sites all the time to sell, sell, sell which is why there’s so much automation.

But riddle me this.

If we didn’t want the spam served as paper in our mailbox, and we didn’t want it served virtually in our email, why would it magically become appealing when plastered on our Facebook wall?

Hint: It doesn’t.

Capitalism 101

sales, book sales, how to improve book sales, book marketing, marketing for authors, marketing for writers, how to promote your book, Kristen Lamb

We live in an age with countless choices, unlimited options, lower and lower prices, and in every color we could want. Even with SPARKLES! Cheap and FREE are invasive species glomming up the business ecosystem and making us all sick.

To succeed in any business, the goal is not to replicate what’s already abundant, but rather to take time and zero in on what is scarce.

So what’s scarce? For the sake of brevity I’ll name a biggie.

Trust

sales, book sales, how to improve book sales, book marketing, marketing for authors, marketing for writers, how to promote your book, Kristen Lamb
I’m just watching you. Honest!

All brands, businesses, services and products must earn the customer’s trust. The reason spamming ‘readers’ with free books is so ineffective is that FREE alone is insufficient to close the trust gap, especially in areas the customer stands to lose more than they gain.

There are many instances where FREE has zero impact and perhaps a negative impact on the purchase decision.

For example, would you hire a nanny to watch your children while you went to work because she offered her first week on the job FREE? A new skydiving business opens and first jump from 16,000 feet is FREE! New tattoo artist, and first tattoo is FREE!

sales, book sales, how to improve book sales, book marketing, marketing for authors, marketing for writers, how to promote your book, Kristen Lamb

Granted, my examples sound crazy but why is FREE not super valuable in these instances? Because whoever is offering the FREE product or service is a stranger we don’t know or trust. We (customers) also stand to lose more than we gain. This is the important difference when considering FREE as a sales strategy.

The COST of FREE

If I’m in the store and a smiling rep offers me FREE a sample of sparkling juice, cool! Costs me nothing and the worst case is I dislike the taste. But, when an author who’s never so much as said hello to me offers me a FREE book, this costs my most valuable resource and the one that’s nonrenewable.

TIME.

And, since the book is being handed out to total strangers FREE, this makes me question why. If the book was actually good, why are they giving it away for nothing? This is when I deduce that FREE will cost me and I decline.

My decision might have been different had the author done something ahead of time to close the trust gap between us. This is why the social media platform and brand is essential if we hope to sell books.

sales, book sales, how to improve book sales, book marketing, marketing for authors, marketing for writers, how to promote your book, Kristen Lamb

Social media isn’t a new and improved way to spam people and push ads.

Used properly, social media is one of the most powerful ways to close the trust gap between unknown author and potential readers by establishing then growing relationships.

Too many writers are using social media ‘for business’ and then hang out with their ‘real friends’ elsewhere. They’re mystified why their books aren’t selling yet they’re failing to recognize they’ve skipped a crucial step.

In their rush to promote, they never created rapport with their potential audience and thus remain an unknown. The harder they market and the more they promote, the more they widen the trust gap into a trust chasm.

What is Our BUSINESS?

sales, book sales, how to improve book sales, book marketing, marketing for authors, marketing for writers, how to promote your book, Kristen Lamb

We writers are in the business of storytelling. Great stories are our business, our product and our single greatest selling tool. Outstanding books solve a lot of life’s problems.

Just ask anyone stuck in an airport with no wifi.

The best ‘sales strategy’ for selling a lot of books is to take the time, effort and money one might be tempted to pour into a steady stream of ‘promotional campaigns’ and write excellent stories instead. LOTS OF THEM. Write books people enjoy so much they can’t wait to share their experiences.

Delighted readers are the best salesforce of all…and they not for sale 😉 .

What Are Your Thoughts?

***Sorry to be away so long. Got summoned for jury duty and NO they didn’t pick me *shock face*.

Does this post make you feel a little bit better about sales? Clearer about what to DO on social media? Yes, it is OKAY to have fun and YES, post the kitten videos. It is also perfectly okay to advertise, promote and market…eventually.

Just that whole horse ahead of the cart thing.

Are you afraid of your email, too? I have three that I finally let go feral. There has to be a name for ‘fear of email.’ Do y’all have a theory why I wasn’t picked for jury duty? Bonus points for creativity 😀 . Let’s have some FUN!

I love hearing from you!

What do you WIN? For the month of JUNE, for everyone who leaves a comment, I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

NEW CLASSES!

steampunk, writingClass Title: Building a Believable Steampunk World

Instructor: Cait Reynolds

Price: $50.00 USD Standard

Where: W.A.N.A. Digital Classroom

When: FRIDAY, July 20, 2018. 7:00-9:00 p.m. EST

REGISTER HERE

Who doesn’t love some steampunk cosplay? Corsets, goggles, awesome hats…

Steampunk has become one of the hottest genres today, crossing the lines of YA, NA, and adult fiction. It seems like it’s fun to write because it’s fun to read.

However, there’s a world of difference between the amateur steampunk writer and the professional steampunk author, and the difference lies in the world they create.

Is your steampunk world historically-accurate enough not to jar the reader out of the narrative with anachronisms? Does your world include paranormal as well as steampunk? Are the gadgets and level of sophistication in keeping with the technologies available at the time?

Steampunk is not an excuse to take short-cuts with history. Good writing in this genre requires a solid grasp of Victorian culture and history, including the history of science, medicine, and industry.

This shouldn’t scare you off from writing steampunk, but it should encourage you to take this class and learn how to create a world that is accurate, consistent and immersive.

This class will cover a broad range of topics including:

  • Not-So-Polite Society: Just how prim and Victorian do you want to get?
  • Grime and Gears: How to research Victoriantechnology, science, medicine, and industry without dying of boredom?
  • Putting the ‘Steamy’ in Steampunk: How to obey (and more importantly, break) Victorian rules of romance;
  • Keeping it Real…ish: How to drop in historical details without info-dumping, and how to describe and explain your steampunk innovations without confusing.

A recording of this class is also included with purchase.


Class Title: World-Building for Dystopian Fiction

Instructor: Cait Reynolds

Price: $50.00 USD Standard

Where: W.A.N.A. Digital Classroom

When: Friday, July 27, 2018. 7:00-9:00 p.m. EST

REGISTER HERE

There’s no greater fear than fearing what dwells deep in the dark corners of human nature. Dystopian literature, for all its bells and zombie whistles, shines an unforgiving light on all those shadows.

Can’t think of any dystopian-genre books off the top of your head? How about:

Farenheit 451, The Hunger Games, The Handmaid’s Tale, 1984, The Lorax, The Stand, Neuromancer, Ender’s Game, Divergent, World War Z, Underground Airlines, Brave New World, Ready Player One, A Clockwork Orange, and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (just to name a few…)

Still, it’s a challenging genre to write. Done badly, dystopian fiction is the equivalent of that emo kid down the hall in your dorm who drinks way too much coffee and just won’t quit playing The Cure.

Done well? We get the dangerous thrill of skidding close to the edge of moral insanity, looking through a mirror darkly and seeing ourselves and our neighbors, and a hyper-creative outlet that combines the dubious fun of post-apocalyptic totalitarianism (zombies optional) with chilling truths about human nature.

Topics covered in this class include:

  • Having fun with things you shouldn’t: why destroying society is just so much fun!
  • ‘First Fright’ vs. ‘True Fright’: sure, we’re afraid of enforced barcode tattoos because totalitarianism!…but maybe we’re really afraid because it really sounds so seductively convenient;
  • Picking and choosing ‘normal’: how to balance having enough familiarities with society today with creating shocking changes that go right to the heart of our fears;
  • Fear leads to the dark side (unless you’re already there): creating dystopian characters that invite both shock and sympathy;
  • To apocalypse or not to apocalypse: do we really need nuclear fallout or an alien invasion…or can we do it all ourselves?
  • Playing with your food: how to put a new and unique spin on zombies, aliens, and food shortages (i.e. asking critical questions like whether Soylent Green is gluten-free).

A recording of this class is also included with purchase.

About the Instructor

Cait Reynolds is a USA Today Bestselling Author and lives in Boston area with her husband and neurotic dog. She discovered her passion for writing early and has bugged her family and friends with it ever since. She likes history, science, Jack Daniels, jewelry, pasta, and solitude. Not all at the same time. When she isn’t enjoying the rooftop deck that brings her closer to the stars, she writes.

 


 

35 thoughts on “The Evolution & Devolution of Sales: Why Your Books Aren’t Selling”

  1. Debra A ParmleyDebra A Parmley

    OMG yes. I had a crazy amount of emails offering to send me a free book back when I was hosting Book Lights for Circle of Seven and Readers Entertainment.
    Note to all authors and PR companies – No, the radio host does not have time to read your free book. Please trust that the radio host knows their business and is perfectly capable of creating a script which will highlight both book and author based on the bio and book blurb you have presented. How about you focus on polishing those?

    And yes to this entire post about sales. Merchandising 101 from my vocational school days said – find a need a endeavor to meet it.
    That’s the basis of any sales.
    Such a good post Kristen. Thank you for this one.

  2. Elizabeth DrakeElizabeth Drake

    The whole marketing and promotion thing seems like a black box to me.

    I have done some research, read several books on marketing, taken a few classes, and it’s still a black box.

    Most of that research confirms what you’ve said. Before marketing really starts to work, you need to have 4 books or so out. And they have to be decent books that will sell your next.

    Back list is still the way to go, and there’s a slog to get a back list before you can get some traction.

  3. Barbara MeyersBarbara Meyers

    Kristen, come on. Smart, funny, clever, beautiful people NEVER get selected for juries.

  4. Charlayne Elizabeth DenneyCharlayne Elizabeth Denney

    Let me take a stab at this…

    You came in, bloody and limping. The first thing they notice is not the blood, not the limping, but the fact you’re a blonde.

    Oh yes, she will be easy to sway, easy to get the verdict I want. I think I will…is that blood? Why is she bleeding? That looks like, cat scratches? I think it’s going to bruise.

    What? Yes your honor, I will continue to interview prospective jurors. So, number 12, what is it you do for a living?

    I’m an author.

    Author. What do you write?

    A mixture of non-fiction pieces helping other authors get their books into the hands of readers and nice murder mysteries that are part bloody and part fun friend craziness. You see, there’s this woman who lives in Texas, in a small town, you know the type, and she’s blonde. But she’s got this problem with the FBI and the local constabulary and…

    Your honor, I wish to keep this jurist.

    Your honor, I object, she’s much too….smart….to sit on the jury that will be chosen to convict this man of murder of his blonde girlfriend.

    Can you guys go settle this?

    We can’t, I want her, he doesn’t. We are at an impasse.

    Ok, we don’t need to keep her bleeding on my courtroom carpet any longer. Number 12, you’re dismissed, thank you for your time.

    Thank you, your honor.

    As you slowly limp out, the people in the courtroom hear “damn, I really wanted to be on that one, I need some new material.”
    – – – – – – – – –

    And, about the column, I agree. This is why I not only talk vampires, but I take a little werewolf baby doll with me. We get to bond over this creepy but infinitely adorable little thing and then we can discuss why you need my vampires and angels in your life. And a vampire cat.

  5. Sydney AveySydney Avey

    Thank you for this. As I read through your commentary, I asked myself the question I always ask before I read a blog. “Is this going to make me feel better, or worse?” You made me feel better! I have always felt that “free” translates to “this isn’t worth anything.” Ninety-nine cents might be a bargain to try out an author who has captured your imagination, but “free” sits on the sidewalk and begs for passersby to relieve the owner of a burden.

  6. J. Ellyne (aka Jini)J. Ellyne (aka Jini)

    My favorite part of your post was what you wrote about “Og” and his drinking buddies “Ag” and “Ug.” I had a good laugh, thank you, and it resonated because (and I’m not making this up) in my first novel my BBB (big bad boss) was a prehistoric savage named “Ur” and his two henchman I named “Muh” and “Dk.” Nostalgic — that was published in 2012.

    As for feeling better about sales now, sadly no, sorry. I actually feel worse while agreeing with you 100% about everything you said. You said spamming social media and giving away free books won’t work and I agree. I always suspected free was a bad idea but I did it because my publisher tells me it’s a great way to introduce readers to a series. You make good points debunking this myth. I never did think spamming social media was a great idea and I’ve never done it. I think it just pisses people off because social media is almost nothing but spam today.

    So your bottom line is like Field of Dreams — make it and they will come. Oh really? Why will they pick one new author’s book out of millions of new books written by often-talented new author’s? Your answer is write a good book and word of mouth will sell it. I’m having trouble believing that and it’s not because no one is buying my books. They are well written, get good reviews, and are professionally edited. I have modest sales. I just have dim hope of ever making the best-seller list based on word of mouth alone. I think I’ll die of old age before that happens.

    Any other suggestions?

  7. ReneeRenee

    This is so good, Kristen. I miss you when you don’t post.

    Watched a PBS documentary on singer/composer John Denver, who at the height of his popularity, was still panned by the critics. No one wanted to claim him – folk singers, rock and roll bands, country and western – he didn’t fit neatly into any category and his music was often ridiculed by the cool kids, Rolling Stone magazine and the like.

    Denver’s manager, Jerry Weintraub, was interviewed for the documentary, and he observed that people simply loved his music. Then he said something like, (paraphrasing), “You can be very talented and put your music out there, and the public might not respond to it. You’ve got to have a product that people like. That’s how you become popular and how you sell.” I think Weintraub just kinda described word-of-mouth.

    Word-of-mouth always sells books.

    I also think that timing plays a hand in it. An art instructor told us in college, that art was a product of its time, that art reflects its culture. “Peyton Place” rocked the 1950’s. Would it have the same impact now? “Fifty Shades of Grey,” what made it so popular? Was it “Twilight,” the dark version, and had a built-in audience, girls who’d read “Twilight” as teenagers and had grown up, married, had children, still sought out fantasy? Is it a reflection of our culture in some way?

    Finally, I think we writers face greater odds. We console ourselves by saying: “well, we still read and belong to book clubs and our kids read.” That’s anecdotal, not statistical. Statistics point to a lower literacy rate. Newspapers and magazines have been dying out for years. Sure, an online platform for newspapers might make sense, news changes constantly. I remember buying a “Time” at the grocery stand – no more. It’s all “People” or “Us,” dense with photos, very little copy.

    People don’t reach for books like they used to, they binge watch Netflix, and there are hundreds of TV shows now. They obsess over their phones. I think technology has rewired (is rewiring) our brains and made it almost harder to read.

    The real money maker appears to be computer games. Even there, my husband, who loves “The Witcher” (soon to be a Netflix series, I think) – and story type games, remarked recently that there is less story on the newer games. Less narrative.

    Read on author Charles Martin’s site that 3 million self-published novels are released every year. That’s almost 58,000 self-pubbed novels coming out every week – 8,200+ every single day. Traditionally published books – what is that, 200,000 to 300,000 printed every year? Plus the 3 million self-pubbed books? Whoa. Martin recommends trying to find an agent to represent your work.

    Gotta get writing.

    FYI, John Denver documentary promo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paFYyeAFNVc

    • Suzy Taylor OakleySuzy Taylor Oakley

      Renee, I loved John Denver and think we lost a great talent when he died. Thanks for link to the documentary.

  8. Patricia M RobertsonPatricia M Robertson

    I’ve been following your blog for a while and respect your knowledge on marketing, but I also follow other marketers whom I respect as well who strongly advise that you make first book in a series permafree then give second book away to people who sign up for enewsletter as a way to build your email list. What are your thoughts on this?

  9. Patricia M RobertsonPatricia M Robertson

    Not sure if my comment went through, so trying again. Kristin, I have been following your blog for some time and respect your knowledge on marketing, however there are other marketers I follow whom I respect as well who insist way to go is to have first book in a series be perma-free and give second book to people who subscribe to your enewsletter in order to build up email list. I’ve recently done this. What are your thoughts?

    • Patricia M RobertsonPatricia M Robertson

      Thanks, Kristin, I received your responses. Don’t know why they are not showing up here in the comments. Thanks for your clarifications.

  10. Deborah MakariosDeborah Makarios

    I got picked for a (non-fatal) stabbing trial jury once, despite taking my mother-in-law’s advice to “dress the way you usually do; they’ll never pick you.”
    Dare I suggest that you looked too much like a woman liable to want to ask questions? I think juries are picked to be passive recipients of information, not active inquirers into the truth.

  11. Suzy Taylor OakleySuzy Taylor Oakley

    I love this, and it’s really making me think about posting more to my personal Facebook profile (which I haven’t done much lately) and not try so hard to engage people on my blog FB page, which has followers but not many true friends.

    But I definitely do NOT want to treat people like their only worth is as paying customers. I’m not much of a salesperson, and I’d rather default to human than “salesman.”

    Thanks for always challenging me to rethink “conventional wisdom” or crowd-think, or what “everybody else is doing.”

  12. BrendaBrenda

    Sorry, can’t leave fanny packs in the 90’s. They’re every bit as useful and functional now as then. 😎

    Thanks for the post. Another way to phrase the trust issue–particularly when someone offers something for free is the instant thought that follows: “What’s the catch?”

  13. S M SierraS M Sierra

    I liked your take on the sales aspect, I like to read interesting blogs about the aspects of writing by writers, Authors. I do not spam people for them to read my book, as for giving free books I run free on Amazon once in a while and tell my friends on Facebook. I do not have a blog or Website. I wrote my first book because my mother was a huge Harry Potter fan and I had this idea in my head for years about a girl in a magical Realm, anyway I self published in order to get it on Kindle so my mom, who was paralyzed from the waist down and could not hold a book any longer, could read it on Kindle.I then wrote a sequel. I was in the process of the the third book (and still am) when unfortunately, she passed away two months ago, but I told her how the story would go and how it would end. Anyway I just wanted to say I wasn’t in it for sales but just to share a story that my mom loved.

  14. Joy V SpicerJoy V Spicer

    And now I’m humming John Denver tunes 🙂 Thank you so much for this post, Kristen, such a refreshing change to all the hard-sell tactics that we’re made to feel we have to do, which have never sat easy with me. Still feeling my way around Twitter, but enjoy it so much more than FB. Forget sometimes that the people I meet there might be ‘potential customers’, I’m too busy having fun! Right, off to listen to the much-missed Mr D on youtube.

  15. J.Q. RoseJ.Q. Rose

    I actually wanted to stand up and cheer at the idea of having a New York Times Best WRITING list! Right on. I know, I know, I need to develop know and trust with readers, but I wish they’d hurry up and trust me so I could sell them my books for Pete’s sake. Love your crazy humor. Thanks for the post.
    JQ Rose

  16. DeborahDeborah

    Excellent post, Kristen. Sales scared me until you cut the crap from the truth today. Everyone needs sales. Trust and problem-solving will be my new mantras from now on.

  17. Kelley L GriffinKelley L Griffin

    Kristen,
    As always, your timing in my world is impeccable. Thank you for always shooting straight, making us laugh and teaching us in the process. I’m grateful!

  18. Icy SedgwickIcy Sedgwick

    I reframed my thinking so that I’m not trying to sell books, I’m trying to entertain readers. If they forget about those unpaid parking tickets, that ridiculous queue in the post office, or the fact their team lost the World Cup, just for half an hour while they read my book, then I’ve done my job. It’s easier to put a slice of escapism in front of someone than it is to sell a book because the solution is immediately apparent, not what it’ll do for me. Oh, the altruism.

  19. Brian PopeBrian Pope

    Kristen Lamb was not only recently turned down for jury duty; she was also flagged as an unacceptable candidate for all future opportunities. Apparently someone at the local courthouse heard her muttering something about “knife wounds large and deep enough to cause bleedout within three minutes.”

  1. Author Newsletters: The Good, the Bad & the PLEASE JUST STOP! - Kristen Lamb
  2. Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 07-19-2018 | The Author Chronicles

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