“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.” – Nora Roberts
In short, the main sentence I want to focus on from this quote is, “If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.” It’s for this very reason that you must ask people to buy your book.
If you don’t, you’re severely limiting the reach of your message. That equals a bunch of lives untouched by your words, solutions for people’s problems that aren’t being addressed, and lots of dollars that could be in your bank account but aren’t.
So while you need to ask, you certainly can’t do the equivalent of jumping someone in a dark alley to say, “Hey, buy my book!”
They’ll feel like you’re robbing them more than they believe you’re offering them something of value. That’s exactly what you don’t want.
Asking the wrong way doesn’t establish trust, hurts your brand, and kills any chances of them doing business with you in the future.
So there are two main principles to selling books:
- You must ask people to buy your book
- You must ask the right way
Let’s dive into both of these and come out the other side with more book sales.
Ask People To Buy Your Book
When it comes to selling books, you do have to look out for yourself by asking people to buy your book.
No one else is going to be out there selling your book for you (unless you have a sales team, which is unheard of for books), just you.
And unless you already have a huge audience or have thousands of views on your author blog each day, you can’t passively rely on people to buy your book once it’s published.
You need to actively pursue book sales by:
- Asking your immediate family and friends
- Reaching out to your professional network
- Going on relevant podcasts to pitch your book
- Doing guest posts where your target audience reads
- Speaking in front of your target audience
Get creative to find new ways to be in front of your target audience so you can make that ask to buy your book.
Ask The Right Way
People do things—like buy, read, and review your book—for those they like. By following the three steps below, you’ll offer an appealing motive to buy your book. And if they aren’t interested, an easy way out to keep the friendship alive.
1. Make the pitch personal.
People can tell when they get a general email because it sounds robotic. There’s no personal connection to it. So what if instead of blasting those who might be interested in reading your book, you send a personal email? Or made a personal phone call?
Maybe this pitch involves childhood stories or inside jokes that you still remember with this person. By appealing to their emotion, you’re much more likely to be genuine and convert sales. Although this method takes longer, the success rate is much higher.
2. Give one reason for your request.
I learned this in sales: You’re more likely to convert if you offer one reason for them to buy your product instead of listing two or more. Requesting multiple reasons takes off the weight of each reason, which doesn’t help your convincing factor.
So ask someone to buy your book because it will help them in one area, or ask them to buy your book because it will help you in one area, just don’t do both.
3. Give the person a way out.
Some people have a legitimate reason for not wanting to buy your book. They could not have the money or time to get it. Because maybe they aren’t lying about being really busy, and they actually are.
When you give people a way out, you maintain the friendship and the possibility of them getting your book in the future. And you don’t burn any bridges over a stupid misunderstanding.
This way out at the end of your request could look like, “I totally understand if you’re not interested though,” or “I realize that this book isn’t for everyone.” Taking the edge off of your request won’t detract those interested and it will make life easier for those who aren’t interested.
So the takeaway is to always ask people to buy your book, and do it in the right way! In other words, ask people to buy your book the way you would want to be asked.