The Only 2 Reasons Why People Will Buy Your Book

Oct 20, 2022


by Martijn van Tilborgh

So far I've personally written and published 7 books and have contributed to several others. As a result I know first hand the effort it takes to take a general idea and move it through the different phases required to put it into a fully published format. 

It's not easy. It takes time, energy and resources to get the job done. 

Having that said, publishing a book (or a derivative product) is the easy part! 

Just because your book is available, doesn't mean a bunch of people are going to buy it. 

Over the years I've helped countless authors put their messages in book format. I love the excitement of seeing authors open the first box of their newly published book that just came off the press. 

Yet more often than not authors seem to have an unrealistic expectation when it comes to selling their books. 

Let's envision the following scenario (which actually happens a lot) ... 

After working on it for the last year, you have just published your book. You're excited! It turned out really well. The cover looks amazing and people who had an opportunity to read it before it came out tell you it's really good! 

So you're conservative and "only" order 3000 copies for your first print run. Then one day the delivery truck drops two pallets in your driveway. 

The books have arrived! 

You now drag the boxes in your garage where they will be "temporarily" stored until you sell them. 

You start spreading the news. Your new book is out! Who wants a copy? 

And guess what? The first 50 sales are easy! 

Your family, friends and even your neighbors (they probably felt bad for you seeing you drag those boxes in your garage) are excited to purchase a copy from you. 

But then, only days into your book launch, you run out of people you know. You are now faced with the reality that you have to sell the remaining 2950 copies to total strangers. People who don't consider your friends or family. People who may have never heard about you! 

It only takes a short time to figure out the harsh truth that people buy books for selfish reasons! 

People want to know "what's in it for them?". 

If they are going to give $20 for your book, what are they going to receive in return? 

The trade has to be (at least) based on the exchange of equal value. 

Here's the reality ... There are only 2 reasons why people will purchase your book! 

1) People buy books from authors they have a connection with!

When was the last time you purchased a book from a perfect stranger? 

Chances are never!  

Before you buy someone's book, you've heard this person speak, seen his or her video or maybe your friend told you about this author. Maybe you're following this person on social media or you've seen this person on TV. 

The point is, there's some sort of connection with this author that precedes your decision to buy the book. In other words, at some point and in some way or form this person has added some sort of value to you that has given you confidence that buying this book is going to help you. 

If you don't buy books from people you have absolutely no connection with then chances are that other people won't buy from you as well under the same circumstance. 

In other words, sales and marketing have more to do with making connections then it has to do with pushing products. 

2) People buy books on niche informational topics

The only exception to #1 is when you're the author of a book that focuses on a very niche informational topic that serves an audience that is looking for very specific content that not many people have written about. 

For example, if I am a car enthusiast and I just purchased a 1967 Ford Mustang. The car is in good shape but still needs some minor repairs. Because I'm a hobbyist I'd like to do it myself, but I'm looking for something that will provide me with information to do the job right. 

If you're an author who has written a book on "how to maintain and service your 1967 Ford Mustang" then chances are that I'm going to give you some money in return for that book. It doesn't matter that I don't know you. I simply want the information that you have made available through your book. 

Now here's the good news! 

I know that all of this may sound a bit discouraging, but honestly it presents us with an incredible opportunity. An opportunity to build an audience around your message! 

Yes, it will take energy and effort to do so, but the result will be amazing. 

When you put yourself out there and add value to the people you're called to serve you're creating connections. Connections that will ultimately result in sales. Sales of your book and any other products you'll develop in the future. 

When you go out and create your own connections you will ultimately "own" the audience that you're building around your personal brand as opposed to being dependent on other people's audiences that you don't have a relationship with. 

Believe me, it's worth it. 

You can do it. 

Go out there and deliver value to those you are called to serve. Answer their questions, solve their problems in context of the message you've been given. 

When you do that consistently, you'll find out first hand that it will become easy to sell books!