I had a good weekend, a lot of working, particularly on a marketing plan for the re-release of the Wing Slayer Hunter books this fall. I have all the covers now — very hot I think I’ll be doing a cover reveal in my newsletter so be sure you are signed up for my newsletter.
In additional to all that I listened to a video by HM Ward (New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Indie Author who has sold millions of copies of her books) on How To Sell a Bazillion Books. Here’s her tweet promoting it so you know I got this from a legitimate place to share it:
You can link here to listen yourself. But I’m going to recap and discuss her tools to increase sales. First, she’s outsold me and done extremely well. Listen to her! That said, I’ve learned a few things I’d like to add from my own experience (selling what I believe is well over 200,000 across all vendors on self published/Indie books, a heck of a lot more if we add in my traditionally published books).
HM Ward discussed her Golden Trifecta. After you write the book, you need three things to sell it: Cover, Blurb and Sample. These are, HM Ward says, her Golden Trifecta.
The Cover is the Visual Summary. This needs to show the reader the genre and tone of the book at a glance. It should grab them very quick. She made an interesting point that often new, innovative covers don’t work. Readers are looking for familiar. I believe that is true. We have a very short time to grab attention, so readers need to easily recognize what they are seeing and be visually hooked.
Next is Blurb. This is the short description of the book, traditionally found on the back cover of a paperback book, and these days found everywhere to give the reader a taste of what the book is about. This is NOT a full summary. It should be a Tease and a Hook. I agree with that! So easy to say, and so painfully hard to do. I’ve been writing and rewriting the blurb for Blood Magic — a book I could practically recite in my sleep, but getting that hook and tease into about 150 works is killing me. But it’s critical to do it right. HM Ward pointed out that readers often skim the blurb, searching for tropes. Tropes are another word for emotional hooks like: Secret Baby, Second chance at love, Friends to Lovers, Blackmail, Enemies to Lovers, Boss and Secretary, Billionaires Bad Boys… all those emotional hooks that grab our attention. Get those tropes into your Hook and Tease Blurb.
And the last thing is the Sample. Now we’re mostly talking about electronic readers where they customer can download a sample — approximately 10 to 15 percent of the book for free to sample and decide if they want to buy the book. The cover and the blurb’s job, in HM Ward’s video, should lead the reader to download the sample. And the sample should be the final hook that leaves them wanting…and they’ll not only buy your book but read it. (How many unread books do we have on our e-readers? I have quite a few). For a sample to do that, she said they must have three things: Conflict, action and empty. My example of that is my book, Her Temporary Hero. The heroine Becky finds out her ex not only got out of prison early, but he’s going to try to get custody of their child — the child that he didn’t want. Becky is terrified. That scene has conflict (she must protect her child, but how?), action (she’s scared and trying to get away from her ex who has hurt her in the past) and empathy (Becky’s a young, very poor mom who clearly loves her baby and is willing to do anything to protect her.) The combination of action, conflict and empathy should hook the read into needing to know what will happen and buying the book.
That’s my summary of HM Ward’s Golden Trifecta and she has a lot more interesting points. I encourage you to listen to her video, again you can link here.
Now my point. For HM Ward, she believes hitting on the right cover, blurb and sample sell the books. My point is this: Your Cover, Blurb and Sample better deliver. I don’t mean it better to be good in the literary sense, first off that’s incredibly subjective and second, most of us that are commercial authors, so our standard is different. No, what I mean is the book had better deliver the emotional punch promised in the Golden Trifecta. If you disappoint readers, they will forget our book and NOT talk about it. Talking about a book is the most powerful way to promote it and build sales momentum. To deliver an emotional punch usually comes down tropes (along with internal conflict but that’s too much to cover now). I know 50 Shades of Grey has its detractors (Understatement!) but the truth is, that book had a compelling hook that delivered on emotion for a large segment of the population. Will Anna stay with Christian as she learns what he really is, or will she leave? That question kept a lot of people hooked. Millions in fact. It’s a play on the old bad boy good girl and fish out of water tropes. Even the people who were angry about that book, made enough noise to generate more sales. The reaction wasn’t flat, it was loud and wild and shot that book to the top of lists.
In summary, HM Ward’s Golden Trifecta is Cover, Blurb and Sample.
My Golden Rule is deliver the emotional punch you promise readers in the Cover, Blurb and Summary. Or phrased another way, Don’t Pull Your Emotional Punch!
Okay I’m done rambling. Did you all have a good weekend?
August 17th, 2015 at 9:42 am · Link
Good advice. I just wish there was some magic that added discoverability to the Golden Trifecta and Emotional Delivery. I haven’t found it yet. I think I do okay with the trifecta. I’m pretty sure I manage to deliver but standing out from the herd is where it gets really hard for a small to mid-list author. Of course, it doesn’t help that I’m not fond of social media and self-promotion. LOLOL Yeah, I really need to get over that.
Finished ETH yesterday. I liked it. A lot. I’m holding off finishing CM until you re-release all the others so I can read the updated versions. I have contest entries to read that will keep me busy, even though I pet the cover. Can’t wait to see what you came up with for the new covers. When’s your newsletter coming out????
Have a great week!
August 17th, 2015 at 11:12 am · Link
Silver, I know. Discoverability is tough, and much tougher than it was just 2-3 years ago. I’ll do some more, less rambling tips soon. Maybe Friday or Monday if I have time. One thing I’ve learned over my career is to be willing to change what we’re doing.
But no matter how some people deny it; Luck, and being in the right place at the right time with the right product plays a role. And a group of very well known authors were in the right place at the right time.
As for EtH, I think we talked about that? Why I knew it wasn’t going to blow up the charts? Any why I wouldn’t call it a romantic suspense if I had control? Anyway, moving on…
I think the release date for BM is Oct 5th. A final decision will be made today. The rest of the books will be released in two week intervals.
August 17th, 2015 at 1:29 pm · Link
Awesome post, Jenn! Definitely things I need to be thinking about. And yes, a writer better deliver on the promise or the reader gets pissed, and none of us want that. Here’s hoping I’m doing what needs to be done. It’s early yet, so we’ll see. I did just roll over 800 books sold and for a debut author in her first year, that ain’t bad. I must be doing something right. LOL
I lazed out this weekend and read a bunch. I did get back to work last night – entering my edit notes for Bloodflow so it can go to my editor next month. This is my November release book. Sorry I was late stopping by today, but we were without internet all morning. Bleh. Now Hubs and I are both trying to get everything done we were supposed to do this morning. Nothing like no internet the morning before Release Day. Panic city.
August 17th, 2015 at 3:03 pm · Link
Interesting post. I agree with you that luck is a big factor in just about any form of success.
My weekend went well. Continued to wait on hubs ;). We had the family dinner at Mitchell’s Fish Market because I wanted lobster bisque. It was a really good time. Every one seemed to enjoy themselves.
Have a great afternoon :).
August 17th, 2015 at 8:22 pm · Link
Yay, B.E., for hitting the 800 books sold milestone! You’re doing very well!
Oh no, another day with Internet issues? What a pain! But you never have to apologize for being later or not getting here — it’s stop by when you have time kind of place. No stress!
August 17th, 2015 at 8:23 pm · Link
Viki, I agree, luck always plays a part.
I’m glad everyone enjoyed themselves Saturday night, but I hope they were focused on YOU for your birthday. You deserve some special attention.
And hope Hubby heals quickly!