When you get right down to it, you are selling a book (product) and the people that buy it from you should expect nothing more from you than the book (product) that they pay you for, so why worry about doing anything for them beyond giving them the product?
Certainly, when you buy a house, you only expect to get the house you paid for and would not dream of asking for any seller concessions or changes at the expense of the seller - would you? When you buy a car, it would be inconceivable to think of asking that the gas tank to be filled when you take possession. If you go to the store to buy a pair of shoes, you would never expect to find a promotion that offered you a second pair at half price - would you?
Selling a book is no different than selling anything else. When you as a customer are looking at several options for a book about “How To Do Something, " don't you ask yourself which one is most likely to provide you with the most information for your dollar?
If you as an author, will put yourself in the shoes of your customers and evaluate what it is that you are offering that sets your book apart from the others, and take some time to identify what features you might offer that make your offering better, you are likely to make more sales.
One author I know of, writes public blogs to both help his customers and to establish himself as an expert in the field of his book's theme. This works very well for him and his sales definitely indicate that he has mastered his marketing, but he is not offering his customers anything he does not give away freely in his blogs, which for the most part are sections of his book. I admit, I use a blog on my website to promote my book too, but I feel an obligation to my customers to reserve some information for them only so I do not put sections of my book in my blogs.
A while back I was looking for a way to provide my customers with follow-up information that would help them after they bought my book and I felt I could accomplish this via a newsletter or a message board. I started with the newsletter, but I learned quickly that it was very time consuming and did not provide a venue that allowed the timely deliverance of information to my customers, so I set up a message board. With a newsletter, it is also very difficult to get customers to participate, or to get customers to submit things to include. It is also not a good way to get customers to interact and help each other.
The message board does a lot more than allow me to post information for my customers, it allows them to share information with each other and from what I have seen, they share a lot of information with each other.
This was not a marketing ploy, in fact, the idea came from a customer that asked if there was some way for me to set up a message board so she could converse with other people starting in the business and learn more about it while sharing tips, ideas, and experiences with them. While I did not set out to establish the message board (or newsletter) as a marketing tool, the fact that I offer a restricted access forum is very popular with customers.
Yes, hosting a message board can be time consuming, but it can also be educational for the author. Besides giving customers a place to learn more, it will yield more satisfied customers that will directly and/or indirectly lead to more customers through word of mouth.
So, when you are marketing a “How To Do Something" book and you are looking for a win-win offering for your customers and yourself, consider hosting a message board for them where you can continue to help them after they have bought your book and they can teach you a thing or too as well.
Michael E. Mould is the author of “Online Bookselling: A Practical Guide with Detailed Explanations and Insightful Tips, " [Paperback ISBN 1427600708, CD-ROM ISBN 1599714876] and the developer of “Bookkeeping for Booksellers" [CD ISBN 1427600694], you can learn more about online bookselling at: http://www.online-bookselling.com