“Discoverability” seems to be the central theme at the 2015 Publishers University conference; something all indie publishers need to put at the top of their book publishing, marketing and promotion list. In 2014, the theme was the importance of indie authors becoming entrepreneurs, hence the term: “Authorpreneur.”
“Discoverability” is what the majority of self-published authors, or independent publishers, are looking for, and with 43 million book buyers in the U.S., how do you get discovered?
According to Peter Hildick-Smith, President of Codex Group, who presented, “How Books Sell,” there are three essential pillars to success:
- Discoverability: Do I know the book exists?
- Conversion: Is the book message interesting? Do I want to buy it?
- Availability: Is the book available for purchase in book stores?
You need to do all 3 well, in order to sell books. Obviously if no one discovers your book, there are no sales.
How many true book buyers are there in the U.S.?
- 235 million adults
- 43 million adult book buyers
- 83 million infrequent book buyers, (those who hear about a popular book, and then buy it.)
- 13 million frequent book buyers (most of them are well-educated and make 50% more income than the average.)
- Digital books are now skewed towards older people, because they can make the print larger, etc.
But discoverability alone does not guarantee book sales, it simply means an awareness that the book exists. Sadly, there was no difference in online discovery selling, between 2010 and 2014. The percentage remained low at 6%..
The real problem lies in the conversion aspect of book sales.
How do you move a discoverer to act to buy the book?
According to statistics on books purchased in the U.S. in 2014
- 29% of sales were because of a favorite author/series
- 24% Book topic/message
- 13% Personal recommendations
Author Brands dominate the list in both fiction and non-fiction book sales.
- In order to be considered an author brand, you need to have 500,000 fans or more.
- Your book/topic message is critical in determining book purchasing conversions, and increases towards narrative non-fiction and non-fiction.
- Book covers make a huge difference in book sales. They have to be able to tap into the reader’s imagination.
- A free e-book sticker with purchase of print book, made no difference in book sales.
- Books are an extreme niche market; focus on your target audience.
- Publish for the 85 million untapped book buyers.
- Discoverability is not a one-size fits all. Be different.
- Conversion is not discovery, and discovery is not conversion.
- Your book message is the mini-story that has to connect with the buyer.
- Book stores remain the largest discovery sources; not Amazon
- You need Discoverability, Conversion and Availability or you lose.
STAND OUT, have a bold message. There are 51.9 million books sold on Amazon as of April 2015, so you need a BOLD MESSAGE.