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Three Questions Every Author Must Answer

By Suzanne Kuhn

In one of our early coaching sessions, we ask our authors to answer three questions about themselves and their book(s); so what, who cares and why you? Many authors fail to take this self-evaluative journey. As we lead them towards answering these questions, they find their audience, purpose and direction in the marketing of their books.

So What? Amazon is the fourth largest search engine in the world and the premier data base for the book industry. There are about 3,500 books uploaded on Amazon everyday. How does an author stand a chance? The market aware-author starts by answering the question, So What? So what you wrote a book? So what God gave you this book? So what this is a current topic or a hot genre?

You the author (not your editor, not your publisher, not your publicist) are responsible to communicate the so what of your book. How? Answer fresh what is your passion and how are you connecting that passion with readers.

Who Cares? If you can answer this question, you can find your readers. One of our authors was a fiction writer who also homeschooled. One of the groups we identified and targeted as readers for her books were homeschooling moms. Surprisingly, this was not part of her publisher’s plan. We determined that homeschooling moms would care; they are researchers, networkers, writers and they are readers. What a fertile field to plant marketing seeds! When an author finds out who cares and makes the point of connection, readers are engaged and books are sold.

Why You? Again, 3,500 books are uploaded to Amazon everyday. We must answer the question, why you? What distinguishes you from other authors? Regardless of where you are in honing your craft, bestselling authors are not always best writing authors. Bestselling authors give not just readers, but also retailers and publishers reasons to buy their books. Retailers need a reason beyond position in a catalogue to buy books. And publishers want to see books sell before the next contract is issued. These reasons often go beyond the written words and are tied to the person who holds the pen.

In order to get a traditional contract, one of our authors needed to sell through the initial print run and go into a second printing. We discussed an intentional retail strategy which would connect her with retailers and readers. While many authors and publishers feel that book signings don’t work (the average book signing sells four books), this author did nearly 15 signings in six months, averaging 20 books a signing (her book had been out for for over a year at the time of the campaign). How did she do it? She answered the three questions for the readers and retailers every time she connected. Her three signings in that region sold a total of 60 books. In that same region, she sold 76 books through Amazon in the weeks following the signings. She answered for her readers at least 136 times So What, Who Cares and Why You.

Suzy Q 2013Suzanne Kuhn of SuzyQ has 25 years of book retailing and event sales experience. Her knowledge in the book-retailing venue gives her an edge when coaching and training authors in reader engagement, developing promotions for increased sales and reader loyalty, and coordinating live events. Suzanne truly believes in the power of Christian literature to impact and change lives. Connect with Suzanne:
SuzyQ4U.com
facebook.com/SuzyQ4You
twitter.com/SuzyQn

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8 Responses to Three Questions Every Author Must Answer

  1. Excellent input. Thank you.

  2. Suzanne Kuhn says:

    Thanks for taking the time to read this, Sandra. So glad you found it helpful.

  3. Hi Suzanne,

    Thanks for sharing your expertise. I’ve tweeted and put this post on two ACFW Facebook groups (Midlantic and Pennsylvania).

    Have a great week!

    God bless,
    Susan J. Reinhardt

  4. Katy Lee of KatyLeeBooks.com says:

    Tough questions, but very important to have ready. Readers won’t put their money down without these answers.

  5. Suzanne Kuhn says:

    Susan, Thanks for taking the time to read my guest blog. I’m humbled that you found it share-worthy. Thank you!

  6. Suzanne Kuhn says:

    Katy – Exactly! The author who is brave enough to answer these questions will find they are able to reach more readers and expand their audience.

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