I write because the characters in my head will drive me crazy if I don’t. As I like to say, I put my psychosis to work. I enjoy writing and love sharing my stories with readers. That’s the artistic side of me. I sell my titles to make money. I know a lot of authors who say they aren’t in it for the money. Granted, that’s not the only reason I’m in the business, but if making money weren’t part of it, I wouldn’t charge for my titles.
There are no quick fixes, and overnight success is luck that most of us don’t have, so take steps to increase your sells. Below are a few tips to help you along your way.
Plan For Success: No groaning. It takes time, but proper planning will save you time and money while increasing your sells. Set measurable goals and strategies to reach them. Work your plan and make adjustments where needed. Don’t know how to set goals? Here’s a little help: Creating S.M.A.R.T Goals that you can apply to creating your plan. Here’s an article I wrote a while back that shows planning in action: Proper Planning Testimony: A Key To Publishing Success.
Invest In A Successful Outcome: If you are not willing to invest in your product, why should your customers? Learn the craft and strive to make each novel better than the previous. You can not edit your own book and expect it to be the best it can be. Pay for professional editing (developmental, copy and proof reading—a different editor for each type of editing). If you can’t create professional quality covers, then hire someone to do it for you. The same goes for the other steps in the production process.
Use Your Prime Realty: How many of you include a list of your titles in your novels? I know numerous authors who do, but they put that list at the back of the book. Many readers do not continue reading to see what’s included after the novel ends. Move that list to the front matter. I experimented with this, and sells of my backlist drop when I place that list at the back of the book.
Same goes with your website. You should have a product page for each of your titles AND a page that list purchase information on all of your titles. I can’t tell you how many authors’ pages I’ve gone to that don’t have product pages or it’s hard to find the product pages for their older titles. Your website is your personal showroom.
Make It Easy For Readers To Buy Your Books: I make a few thousand in sells on Barnes & Noble a year. Nowhere near as much as I make on Amazon, but I’ll take it. One of the reasons I do okay on Barnes & Noble is I make it just as easy for readers to by my Nook titles as I do my Kindle titles. I’m shocked at how many authors only place their Amazon link or say “Available on Amazon” then forget about the other online sellers. I know numerous users of devices other than Kindle who ignore post that only say Amazon or Kindle because they figure the author must be a part of that KDP Select program where they have given Amazon exclusivity.
Work Smarter Not Harder: Direct your marketing/promo for readers in your target audience. I manage and belong to several genre specific, online readers groups. It amazes me how many authors come into the groups and post promos that do not belong to the groups’ genres. Many groups have begun blocking authors for continual promotion and promoting non-genre titles. You do not want to become a pain in the butt to readers.
Instead of joining every group that allows authors of your genre to promote, pick a few and actually participate in them. You’ll get a much higher return on your investment (more sells) than if you just pop in to promote your titles and it will take less time. That includes participating a few weeks before your book comes out, then promoting your book and disappearing. Yes, many readers pay attention to that type of thing.
Stop Spreading Yourself Too Thin: It seems like every few months there is a new type of social media out there you can use to promote. Do you know which is the best social media site to use? The one you utilize to its full extent. Each one has its own flavor. Pick the one that you like best, then focus your energy on building your fan base through that site. Once you are comfortable, if you have time, then expand to a second. Remember, each of the major social media hubs have millions of readers for you. You don’t have to be everywhere. Get the millions from the hub you find works best for you, then expand.
Cross Promote: Work with authors in your genre to cross promote. I don’t know of any reader who says they only read one author’s work, but I know many who say they only read one genre. Stop competing with each other. Readers read. Even if they don’t purchase your book today, if they want it, they will buy it.
Cross promotion is as simple as posting in social media when an author has a New Release. Have guest bloggers on your website. Do signings with other authors. Create online groups and web sites with other authors in your genre.
I’m all for cross promotion, but ensure the people you are promoting are interested in releasing as high of quality work as you do.
There is no secret or magic behind increasing your sells. Just keep releasing quality products and building your audience. With each title, your base will grow, and you won’t have to work as hard promoting.
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