Psychology and human-ness play a huge part in author success unless you consider victory nothing more than getting your composed words onto paper.
I had the privilege of working with book marketer and author coach Derek Doepker in 2017 when I was learning what it took to be an independent author after our ministry officially dissolved. In my experience, God is never done with you. Ministry never ends; God turns the page and invites you to come along for the ride.
God Changed My Status Quo as a Writer
Until late 2016, my books were licensed to a ministry so marketing and sales weren’t biggies. When that changed, I changed as well. Keeping up with God’s plan requires new study and application daily, which in turn deliver His promised delight of relationship in and with Him.
Community is about sharing the practical as well as the profound or humorous. This message from Derek is valuable to everyone who dreams of crowds of people reading their books or articles.
Here’s one secret of author success: “Give it away.” Those are the first words I heard in my spirit before the ride picked up speed. We’d just sold our ranch and deposited the check.
Give it Away
“Give it away”??? I replied to the Lord, “Okay, but you’re gonna have to tell me who to give it to.”
He didn’t mean the cash. He meant my knowledge, skills, and service. A year later He announced His plan for our ministry. Talk about a message from left field!
Share what you know, what you feel, and what will serve others without asking for anything in return. That’s what Derek does. The message is valuable, but try to read between the lines for hints for your own journey.
Book Buyers are ‘Cray Cray’
From Derek’s newsletter August 8, 2019:
Book buyers… and all buyers… and all human beings for that matter are a bit crazy. (Or as the kids these days say, ‘cray cray’)
We’re more illogical than logical. Here’s an interesting little psychological study to prove the point. In a study done at the University of Pennsylvania, they tested to see what would lead to raising the most money for a charity.
The Power of Facts
First thing they did is give a bunch of statistical facts about the problem. About how many millions of children are suffering. That generated an average donation of $1.14. Then they tapped into something you may know well as an author…
Telling the story of a single girl’s struggles led to raising an average of $2.38.
The Power of Story
They more than DOUBLED donations by using the power of story. A pretty compelling case for storytelling, don’t you think?
Which should also be good news if you don’t consider yourself much of a ‘marketer.’ You have the greatest gift in selling – the ability to engage someone with a story.
Whether you’re fiction or non-fiction, telling stories is a powerful way to move people into action.
Facts + Story = Don’t Know Math
Here’s where things take an interesting turn. Researchers decided to combine the two. Facts + Story.
Can you guess what happened? It’s counter-intuitive to the ‘uninitiated’ Donations DROPPED. Down to $1.43, only slightly better than facts alone.
Giving someone a bunch of facts and figures puts them into analytical mode. And therefore they lose touch, to a degree, with their feelings of sympathy.
Now sure, that’s about people giving to charity and we’re talking about people buying books. However, there’s plenty of evidence people buy books and other products based on emotions.
So even if you have a book that ‘makes sense’ for someone to buy, such as a book that’s really going to help them better their lives, or a book that’s better written than others…
It doesn’t matter (at least not initially). They won’t buy unless you speak to their heart. Their feelings. Their emotions.
So if you’re ever like me where you throw your hands up going “Why do people buy that crap when my book is so much better?” Rather than waste time wallowing in despair, ask yourself…
What’s Your Story
What’s the STORY you’ve been telling yourself about the situation? And what’s the STORY you’ve been telling them about your book?
Derek kindly gave his permission to share the content of his email here. Thanks! You’re a rock star!