I get hundreds of e-mails asking me how my books are selling and what kind of effort I have been putting into getting them out there.
Here is my partial answer:
The payoff has been worth it, although it has been slow going and ridiculously time-consuming. Bottom line: It’s all about the buzz.
Okay, so you wrote a book and it’s finally out there. Congratulations! The feeling of holding a copy of your published work is indescribable. But once the euphoria wears off it’s time to sell and market.
You thought writing the book was exhausting? Writing it was the opening act. Now it’s time for the featured presentation.
It takes a village to be a successful writer. And writers need readers—a village of them. Focus on readers and you’ll get sales.
You may not think of yourself as a salesperson, but you better start thinking like one if you want your book to be successful.
First and foremost, you need to create and build a large and loyal fan base. It’s all about branding. You need to brand yourself as an author, editor, publisher, blogger, marketer, and anything else worth branding. It’s all about creating your authorial image and persona.
The most successful selling tool available to you is word of mouth. Don’t be afraid to cultivate readers—one reader at a time.
Make sure to give away books. If you hand out your book for free to one person, they may tell two, and those two may tell four. When people talk positively about your book, the word will spread fast, and your book will sell. The more people read it (and presumably like it), the quicker the word will spread, and with enough people spreading the word, you’ve finally got buzz.
But if no one knows your book is out there, no one will buy it, which equals zero buzz. And zero sales.
Start compiling a list of magazines, websites, blogs and organizations you think are in sync with your book genre. Then send out a review request in the hopes of getting reviewed.
Here is an example of a review request:
I’ve recently published a book and would appreciate your considering reading it for possible review. My book is entitled [Book title here]; see the short synopsis below.
If you are interested in reading my book, I’ll gladly send a complimentary copy. If you would like additional information about me or my book, please go to [Website here].
Thank you in advance for your time, and I hope to hear from you.
Create an author website. Create a Facebook page (book title or author). Create a blog. Create a Twitter account. Blog, tweet, and Facebook often, and build a solid base of followers and friends. Social media is the only way to build an audience, and eventually you’ll find your subset. Or more accurately, your subset will find you.
Offer to speak at workshops for free, and donate books to appropriate organizations.
Send any reader who contacts you a request for a short review on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, etc. Here is an example of a reader review request:
Thanks so much for your kind words about my book! If you have a spare moment, it would be a great help if you could post a review of it on Amazon, Goodreads or Barnes and Noble. Letting other potential readers know why you liked the book would help increase interest in it. It’s not necessary to write a lengthy, formal review—a quick summary is perfect. Here are the links should you be so kind as to write a review: [Insert links here].
Create quality promotional business cards and postcards and have them available at all times. Remember that you are never off marketing duty.
And don’t be discouraged if months later your book is still unknown. Your marketing can take years. And try to publish a book every year. No, I’m not kidding. But only if you can crank out a quality book. Quality is critical.
Don’t expect best seller status overnight—if at all. But never stop marketing your name and your books. And never stop building a loyal readership and fan base.