Bigger is Not Necessarily Better

The bigger the better. That’s our mindset.

Go to a fast food restaurant and you are frequently asked if you want to “supersize” your meal. We are usually looking to acquire bigger cars, bigger houses, and bigger paychecks.


Authors can easily fall into this mindset. We want to sell our books to the crowds. The bigger the audience the better. We can get so caught up in gathering a large audience, that we end up neglecting to convert the people in our audience to buyers.

Most people assume that larger audiences equate to more sales. This is the mindset of most traditional publishing houses today. The questions editors ask most aspiring authors are “How big is your audience?” and “What is your platform?”

A friend of mine blogs on virtues and skills of manliness. He has done a fantastic job of growing his audience through networking and cross-promotion with other bloggers speaking to men. As a result, a publishing house approached him about writing a book on ways to use pocket knives. The book was not his idea, it was the brainchild of the publishing house. They were simply looking for someone with an audience to write the book. That way, the publisher would be assured of sales because the author already had an audience to promote the book to.

Many people independently publish a book because—rather than having a large audience to sell the book to—they have a message or story they believe in. Yet, after the book is published, these same authors can get so caught up in seeking a large audience that they fail to really connect with their audience. As a result, their sales remain dismal.

Recently, thought leader Seth Godin did a short article on “How to be heard” on his blog. One of the statements he made was “Convert six people before you try to convert sixty.” This is excellent advice.

If you are struggling to be heard, if you are struggling to sell your books, follow this great advice. Focus on a few. Work on convincing the few people you already have in your circle to believe your message and buy your book before you try to persuade the masses.

In our immediate gratification culture, the concept of building your audience a little at a time seems counter intuitive. Yet, slow and steady usually gets that job done. Go for better, rather than bigger.

Related Posts:
Selling Books in an Overcrowded Market
The Key to Selling Books
A Lesson in Selling Books

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Photo Courtesy of Providence Doucet

Creating Impact

I am always on the lookout for interesting book marketing ideas. When I come across creative ideas, I share them here on my blog.


Recently, I received a copy of a self-published book in the mail. The authors of this book have some marketing savvy.

First, the book has a foreword by four Duck Dynasty family members. Second, the book carries an endorsement by Lisa Osteen Comes (sister of Joel Osteen, bestselling author and pastor).

The free print copy of the book I received included a letter by the authors. The letter requested that I read the book and then asked that I do the following:

  • Email them a personal endorsement for use on their website and other places they market their book.
  • Help them build their social media campaign by following them on Facebook and Twitter.

Here is the important piece. I do not know these authors. The reason I received a free copy of their book is because they sent the book out to people they believe are influencers in the Christian marketplace. In other words, these authors are willing to spend money sending out free copies of their book to a number of industry professionals hoping to gain publicity and help in promoting their book.

Here is what these authors know. They know that reaching influencers is an effective way to spread the word about a new book. If they like a book, influencers will tell their audience about the book. This is effective publicity.

Who are important influencers? Influencers are pastors, church leaders, bloggers, authors, journalists, and anyone who has a loyal following of people who listen to their recommendations.

Consider how you can reach influencers with your book. Maybe mass mailing copies of your newest book is not in your budget. Fortunately, there are other ways to effectively reach influencers.

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Back to Basics

More books are being published today than ever before and the number continues to increase. At the same time, the number of readers for those books isn’t increasing at the same rate.


It begs the question: Are there enough readers for all the books?

Every book has an audience of a certain size. Authors should be helping to develop readers for their book through creating a tribe and connecting with their potential audience via social media online.

In addition, publishers (and authors) must also be working to connect with a target audience and in this way develop readers for their books. Developing an audience for a book means going back to the basics—the basics of marketing.

Here are three steps to help you get back to the basics in developing an audience for your next book.

1. Identify your audience.
Your audience is not going to be every Christian, or every Christian parent, or every Christian mom or dad. It is going to be narrower than that. Ask yourself: Who specifically would benefit the most from the information or story in this book?

2. Identify the movers and shakers in that audience.
A mover and shaker can be a person. It might also be a journal, newspaper, or magazine. Associations or organizations can also be movers and shakers. Every audience has them. Christian teens, military moms, Christian lawyers, potential missionaries, each of these audiences has movers and shakers, spokespeople that the audience listens to.

3. Reach out to the movers and shakers.
Movers and shakers are the medium to use to get the information about your book to your audience. These are the people (or organization, etc.) who your audience trusts and follows. Getting the movers and shakers first to buy into the message in your book, and then to talk about book to your target audience, is the best way to develop and reach your potential readers.

If you are looking for more readers, be sure to include audience development in your next book’s marketing plan.

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