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Giving Readers What They Want – The Strategy that Leads to More Book Sales

By Penny Sansevieri

There isn’t a secret formula for executing the perfect book launch. There are numerous factors in play that are constantly changing, from news and popular culture, to the publishing industry, to what just plain work in marketing and promotion.

As authors, it’s important to be flexible and adaptive to these changes and have a clear idea of how they play into our own marketing plan.

But while change is inevitable, there are still some key strategies I’ve tested and one in particular I want to share today. Though it won’t guarantee success, it has worked well for me and the authors I collaborate with, and I hope it can help you too.

The Latest Trick for How to Launch a Book

I say “trick” but this is really not a new concept. I’ve been testing it, however, and it’s worked so it’s new for me to promote so wholeheartedly.

I want to focus on the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) marketing principle that every single author needs to get intimately familiar with.

Increasing engagement, increasing your followers, increasing your newsletter sign ups, increasing sales, increasing reviews – these all require that you give your audience something worth their time, effort and loyalty.

That’s just the reality, and when you think of yourself as a consumer and not as the author on the receiving end, I’m sure you’ll realize how true this is.

Understanding Who Your Buyers Are

Figuring out how to launch a book the right way, specifically if you want to push for pre-orders and that lucrative bestseller ranking, means you need to figure out a WIIFM offer that will really resonate with your target buyer market.

This is a great brainstorm, in general, for your ongoing marketing and not just for how to launch a book with more success. I’ve written about bonus content and special promotions before, and this plays heavily off that concept.

1. If you write non-fiction, your offer should be a bonus that supports the topic of your book or the problem you’re trying to solve for your audience. Yes, you could do something only semi-related but you’ll miss out on the psychology behind helping them make the easy choice to buy.

2. If you write fiction, this gets a little trickier sometimes. If you already have a strong follower and fan base of people you know will buy your next release and you just want to push them to do it in a shorter time period to improve your seller ranking, you have a lot more options for the kind of bonus content you can offer.

3. If you are a new fiction author and don’t have a lot of return buyers, you have to be careful to not      offer something too brand-centric. Meaning, if people don’t know they love you yet, offering them something super specific to your story or characters may not be a big enough draw.

How to Launch a Book with this Strategy

Now, how to launch a book with a killer WIIFM concept!

It’s not as top secret as you’d think. Essentially, what you need to do is set up a very strong, short-term promotional plan to get the word out about your pre-order period and the bonus content buyers can get for purchasing your book before the release.

Yes, some of you are thinking, “That’s the big secret? Easier said than done.”

But it’s really not that complex:

1.Figure out a solid WIIFM offer. In fact, think of 2-3 and get some feedback from friends or colleagues that understand what you do and who you write for.

2. Figure out the logistics of confirming purchases and delivering the bonus.

3. Plan out how you’ll get the word out – create a mini marketing plan and schedule.

4. Shake off any fears you have of bothering people!

We all get busy but most of us mean well. I tell authors this all the time, especially when it comes to figuring out how to launch a book or build up reviews, you have to remind people multiple times – and most of us actually appreciate it when there’s a limited time to act.

The last step I want to add is:

5. Be genuine and grateful. Make it as personal as you can. Don’t sell people, make them an offer they can’t refuse, let them know you’re doing it because you appreciate their support. And plan to send thank yous or a follow up of some sort to ensure you don’t let these newly interested and invested readers fall to the wayside.

By understanding your buyer market, you’ll gain a clear insight into how you can connect with them and what will motivate them to buy your book. Using the WIIFM strategy effectively communicates this understanding and leads to a fan base that will stick with you. Start brainstorming what you can offer today!


Penny Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. (AME) and Adjunct Professor at NYU, is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. To learn more about Penny and AME, visit

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