As a savvy Internet entrepreneur of the indie author/publisher variety, I look at imitation, or "modeling," as part of a good business plan.
You see what successful people do, and you do the same. That's success modeling.
No, I don't mean go copy my plot lines, book covers, or product descriptions–or any other author's. I mean look at someone successful and compare your marketing efforts–book cover, product description, keyword tags, etc.–to theirs.
Why Do This
I use referral links when I have an author on SlingWords. When I have time, I check referral link reports to see how my guest's book did. I'm always surprised to see that guests' books usually received lots of clicks, but few sales. That means, many who read a guest's post clicked to see the book, but after visiting the book's webpage, they rarely bought the book.
In an effort to see why readers don't buy, I randomly analyze some of these book pages. I usually find elements that keep the shopper from clicking the buy button.
If you're not analyzing other authors' success–or the success of anyone in any business who is your competitor–you need to start.
7 Steps To Success Modeling
1. Pick 3 successes in your genre to analyze. By that I mean, 3 who have the kind of sales you want. Visit 3 book pages for each author. I recommend doing this on Amazon.
2. For each page visited, you'll make notes. Actually write it down, don't just look at it. Notes about the book cover, the product description, and the price. A couple of years ago, you could also note the keyword tags the author used, but Amazon did away with that feature. Still, there's much to be learned from another author's book page. Print out 2 copies of each book cover to use for further analysis.
3. Begin with analysis of the book covers. Write down your immediate overall impressions. Then break it down into specific details: image, font, colors, layout. Is it appealing to you? If so, why? If not, why? Does it graphically represent the kind of category in which the book is listed? Does the cover image represent the book the blurb or Product Description describes? Does the image graphically represent the tone (humorous, romantic, sexy, mysterious, edgy, lighthearted,etc. ) of the book described in the Product Description?
4. Now, take the second printout of those book covers for a "blind" market analysis. Mark out the authors' names, and show the picture to everyone you meet. Ask them what kind of book they think the picture represents.
5. Analyze the text of the ad copy. When you read the Product Description, does it make you want to buy the book or take a sample? If so, why? If not, why not? Is there anything about it that keeps you from clicking the buy button? Does it read like a back cover copy from a big NY publisher? Does it read like a movie poster? Does it read like boring copy written with little forethought?
6. After all that analysis and field research is over, apply what you've learned to your product. Go look at your book page. Do the analysis steps above with your own book as subject. Maybe you'll find answers to why your books aren't selling well. Edit your marketing materials as needed.
7. Be brave enough to ask others what they think about your old marketing materials versus your new. Never ask anyone who can't be honest such as your mom, dad, sis, brother, or spouse. You want honestly not someone afraid of hurting your feelings.
Analyzing product marketing in your field is one way to market better in the New Year.