I have some bad news for first-time authors.
Nobody cares about your book.
Nobody cares about your newsletter.
Nobody comes to your site looking to subscribe to your blog posts—nobody.
Oh, people will come.
They come looking for an answer to a question.
They are trying to solve a problem.
They are looking for information they can trust.
Maybe they want you to entertain them.
Sometimes the searcher is in a tough place. That’s what motivates a lot of people to take action. It could be frustration, not being able to find an answer you desperately need. Or it could be a physical pain.
Years ago I got a pretty nasty case of poison oak. (For those on the east coast of the U.S., it’s very similar to poison ivy.) I was on a walk through some woods with my son. At a certain point in order to continue on the trail, we had to get up and over the trunk of a large tree that had fallen across the trail.
I didn’t notice the poison oak growing there, and hoisted myself up, straddling the trunk to get myself over to the other side. I’ll let you imagine just how uncomfortable this became when, later that night, an angry red rash developed which, sure enough, soon turned into lots of leaking, itchy pustules. Ugh.
Like anyone else, I started searching online for something that would give me more relief than I was getting from Caladryl, and I wanted it right now. That was the only thing I could think about.
Sure enough, I found someone online with a small site selling a “cure” that—he claimed—was the only thing that could solve my problem. It was a very expensive little jar of cream, about $65 as I recall.
Did I care about the price? Nope. All I wanted to know was, did he ship Fedex? I wanted it now.
But here’s what’s intesting for anyone with a site based on expertise and authority. He didn’t call his site “Interesting information on poisonous plants”, or “Avoiding poisonous plants in riparian woodlands.” No, of course not.
He called it something like “Get rid of poison oak itching and discomfort fast, guaranteed!” And he had plenty of content on the site in the form of articles that explained all the benefits to poison oak sufferers of his magic cream.
That’s what I was interested in, and the seller knew exactly what people who actually had poison oak were looking for.
By the same token, it’s absolutely urgent for you to understand why people might be looking for you and for your information (and by extension, your book).
(And isn’t that the essence of marketing?)
Those people, and their interest in your solutions, your stories, and your help, are the key to making sure enough people care about your book when you publish it.
Do you want to sell books?
Do you want to engage the right readers?
You’ll need traffic, people, eyeballs, interest, attention.