Why it’s not all about the cash register

In a recent post, “What a phantom book publisher told me,” I walked how we should think about guiding customers through a book buying situation.

It starts with the front cover which leads them to the back cover which leads them to the cash register.

Front cover…

Back cover…

Cash register…

And while that is the road we want them to take, I want to clarify where we want them to end up.

As far as the sale goes, we want them to end up at the cash register.

But they shouldn’t end there.

In the end, they need to read.

The reason is not philosophical. We aren’t worried about what specifically they will get out of the book. Whether or not it will make their life better, easier, simpler, etc. That is part of the writing and editing process, not the marketing process.

The reason is purely a marketing reason.

That is, we want them to purchase, with their hard earned coinage, one of our books…

…and have the experience of getting useful information that will make their life better, easier, simpler, etc.

We want them to have this experience for two reasons:

  1. It validates their choice.

When they have a good experience with a book they have bought, it resolves the inner dialogue about whether or not the buying decision was valid.

     2.  It reassures them.

When this inner dialogue is resolved, they are willing to give books with your publishing logo the benefit of the doubt. It takes a little part of the gamble out of their mind the next time they come around to considering one of your books.

So in the end, it isn’t so much about the cash register.

Our books ought to make people’s lives better, promote the truth, and fix problems. That is the reason we do what we do.

But the reason we do marketing is to sell books and make repeat customers.

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