Again I have chosen an article by “The Snowflake Guy” Randy Ingermanson himself. I think he can teach you an awful lot about writing and marketing probably as important as the writing. Today I put his blurb on the bottom so please go on and enjoy:
Marketing: Why Did You Buy THAT Book?
A big part of marketing is learning to think like your
More than a hundred million books have been published
since Gutenberg did that neat trick with movable type.
Out of all those choices, why would any reader choose
yours? What would be her motivation? What would be the
actual process she follows from the initial state where
she knows nothing about you to the final state where
she pays for something you wrote?
That is a scary question, and if you let it, this
question will paralyze you into never writing another
So let’s turn the question around and make it unscary.
Take five minutes and think about the last book you
bought. Why did you buy it? Why THAT book out of a
hundred million others?
This is a fun game that can teach you a lot. I’ll play
The last time I bought a book was yesterday. A bunch of
friends and I were talking online about standing desks.
Some of these friends already have one. I’ve recently
ordered one. A standing desk is supposed to be good for
your long-term health. People who do a lot of sitting
tend to end up dead sooner than those who don’t.
One of the friends in the group asked, “Did you guys
read DROP DEAD HEALTHY?”
I’d never heard of this book. She explained that it’s a
hilarious book by a guy who decided to spend one year
trying to do all those things they say we’re supposed
to do to get healthy. He wanted to become the
healthiest person on the planet. This is the same guy
who wrote a humorous book called THE YEAR OF LIVING
BIBLICALLY, which I’d heard rave reviews about.
It sounded like an interesting book, so I popped onto
Amazon, read the product description, and clicked the
Buy button. It all took about two minutes. The main
driver was a product recommendation from a friend. I’m
reading the book today. It’s good so far.
What do we learn from the above? If anything, it’s the
power of word of mouth. The author of this book did
nothing — nothing active anyway — to earn my sale.
One of his fans did most of the work. Amazon did the
rest. The author gets the money, no matter how the sale
OK, that was actually informative, so I’ll play again.
I have another book on my stack that I’ll probably read
next. It’s titled CITY OF BONES, by Michael Connelly,
one of the best writers of police procedurals out
I got an email recently, either from Amazon or from
BookBub, saying that CITY OF BONES was on sale at a
special price. I don’t remember the price, but it was
lower than normal. I had read several of Connelly’s
books and found him to be a terrific writer. Police
procedural is not my absolute favorite category, but I
read it some.
I figured I might as well get it now at a good price,
so I clicked through and bought it.
That’s the end of the story, but it’s worth asking
about the beginning. I knew Connelly would be worth
reading because I had already read several of his
books. But how did that happen originally?
Well, I had first noticed his novel THE LINCOLN LAWYER
on the top of the best-seller lists a couple of years
ago. Then a friend of mine who writes thrillers
mentioned that Connelly is one of the very best writers
in his category. So I bought a few of his books and
found them to be outstanding.
What do we learn from this? My purchase was a result of
a combination of several things:
* Name recognition — I had seen the author on a
* Word of mouth — my friend mentioned Connelly was
* Experience — I read a book by him and found that he
really is excellent.
* Branding — Connelly writes in a clearly defined
niche, so I know that today’s book is going to be
similar to what he’s done in the past.
* A sales trigger — I received an e-mail with
notification of a special price for a limited time.
We learned something new with that one, so I’ll play
one more time. Just last week I finished reading THE
INDIGO SPELL by Richelle Mead. It’s a young-adult
vampire suspense novel. What led me to buy it? Here’s
Last summer I was Skyping with a friend who mentioned
that she’d been reading Richelle Mead’s VAMPIRE ACADEMY
series. She said it was her daughter’s favorite series,
and her daughter reads a ton of YA fiction. My friend
said it was fabulous, so I opened a web browser, went
to Amazon, and did a search for the title.
I found it pretty quickly, read the product
description, and then clicked on the Look Inside
feature. I read the first chapter and found it
extremely engaging. I’m not a huge fan of vampire
fiction, but I had read the TWILIGHT series, and
vampires can be fun. VAMPIRE ACADEMY looked like a
terrific read, so I clicked the Buy button.
I read the book quickly, loved it, and raced through
the other books in the series. Then I started the next
series, featuring one of the minor characters who now
becomes a major character. That series is incomplete,
and after the first two books, I ran out. But I got an
e-mail in December from Amazon mentioning that the next
book, THE INDIGO SPELL, was due to release in February
and if I preordered it, I’d get it the day it released.
So I clicked the link and preordered the book. A couple
of months later, exactly at midnight, the book
magically appeared on my iPad. And I started reading it
the next day.
Again, there is something to learn from this chain of
events. Here’s how I bought that book:
* Word of mouth alerted me to the existence of the
author and gave me a title.
* A search on Amazon brought the title up.
* The sample chapter and product description made the
* Great writing got me to read the sequel.
* Strong branding throughout the series assured me that
each book would be “the same but different.”
* Good characters pulled me from one series to the next.
* An e-mail from Amazon got me to pull the trigger on
the sale two months before the book was actually
* Automatic delivery put it at the top of my To Be Read
list on the day the book was released.
OK, I’ve played the game three times and I’m starting
to see the common threads. Word of mouth. Sample
chapters. Great writing. Clear branding. E-mail
notification. Easy electronic distribution.
Those are the things that get a sale from me.
Now what about you? Play the game several times,
writing out how and why you bought the last few books
you’ve bought. Then analyze the results.
What are the common elements that trigger a sale to
Not all readers are like you, but some of them are. You
might want to get some of your friends to play the
game. Choose friends similar to your target audience.
Look for common elements.
Now here’s the point of this game.
What can you learn from this game about how you should
be marketing to your target audience? Where should you
be putting your marketing effort — your time, your
energy, and your money?
This article is reprinted by permission of the author.
Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, “the
Snowflake Guy,” publishes the free monthly Advanced
Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 32,000 readers.
If you want to learn the craft and marketing of
fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to
editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit
Download your free Special Report on Tiger Marketing
and get a free 5-Day Course in How To Publish a Novel.
- Pimp The Indie – Kerri Williams (havebookwillread.com)
- Richelle Mead chats with EW on Indigo Spell and The Vampire Academy Movie (houseofvampires.wordpress.com)
- Kindle and Nook readers protest high e-book pricing with angry one-star reviews (reviews.cnet.com)