To convince people to buy something, you have to convince them that it solves a problem for them.
I think the books I wrote help people solve problems in their lives. For example,
“Are people who learn a trade or a craft happier with their lot than me?”
Not only that, my books solve the problem of ennui produced by empty, misleading news and entertainment
But how do I convince publishers that these books are a worthy investment?
I’ve heard that a common phrase in the publishing industry is:
“We don’t sell books, we sell solutions to marketing problems.”the publishing industry
What marketing problem does my book solve? I think it simultaneously enflames and soothes fears people have about how the world is changing. Surely that is a worthy marketing goal, but perhaps that is not specific enough.
My book makes fun of scientists, yet many might wonder how that could be a good thing in a time of increased skepticism and hostility towards science?
I think that by poking fun at scientists, it places science on a firmer footing. Showing that scientists have a sense of humour about themselves is extremely important in a time when people don’t trust science because scientists often appear to lack self-awareness and humility. By making fun of themselves, they can push back against this image.
But this still isn’t enough to sell my books. Even if I have produced a product that solves problems for consumers and publishers, I still won’t be able to sell it unless I am able to capture the attention of my target audience.
I was able to attract my target audience on Quora, but while they are happy to consume free online non-fiction content, they have proven to be difficult to convince to buy my novels.
Perhaps they are less interested in lighthearted, satirical stories and more interested in the sense of community they get from online forums. If I could create a safe, friendly space for discussions about the books and related ideas, that might make the products more appealing, although that is more of final step, rather than a first step.
Perhaps, Quora was the wrong audience and I need to reach for a more new-age, open-minded audience like the viewers of Gaia videos. Bridging the gap between hard science afficionados and religious or spiritual people is perhaps a bit too ambitious, but I’m going to try.
It is said that one must be a triple threat if one wants to rise above the noise on the internet: literary, visual, personal – amazon, youtube, blogging. People want their internet personalities to be more three-dimensional and real, yet still glossy and polished with a fake veneer.
I have to be comfortable with the fact that I am going to look stupid while trying to catch the attention of potential readers. But I’m doing it for a reason.
I wanted my books to change lives for the better. I think they have the potential to do that if I get them into the right hands.
I clearly still have some marketing work to do!