I see this all the time. A writer pours tons of time and effort into creating a wonderful story. They’ve taken their time to edit it, create an amazing cover, and tested it with beta readers. Now to send that baby out into the world.
The manuscript gets loaded into Amazon; they press the “publish” button and wait for the world to start buying the book.
The secret to selling more books
Maybe you’ve experienced this, too. So what happened? You know you’ve got a decent story, and you followed all the cover design principles. It’s not like you’re putting utter rubbish into the world like so many other self-published authors, but the only sales you got are from your mom and maybe a couple of friends.
But herein lies a clue.
The idea that if you build it, they will come might work for baseball diamonds in a corn field, but it doesn’t work in real life. Just because you wrote a great story doesn’t mean that people will find it or care about it. It’s up to you to switch hats from writer to marketer.
Hang on a sec, I’m not suggesting you do what some writers do and send out 50 tweets a day with a link to your book, or flood your IG or FB account with self-promoting begging of “Buy my book . . .please!” That has never worked.
The most effective way to sell more books is to find more people who like you, so they’ll want to buy your book without being bludgeoned with cheesy pleas.
This truly is the secret to selling more books: build a list of people who like you, who know you like your friends and family do, so they’ll want to support you.
Marketing your book
The basic idea is this: you build an email list of people who might be interested in your story. Then, you tell them about yourself over a series of emails and time so they get to know you. Then, and only then, you tell them about your book. This is not about selling (i.e. begging). This is about building relationships with people through email so they’ll want to buy your book.
Everyone knows about 100 people, right? You already have those emails on your computer, but now you’ll want to 10X that number in order to sell more books. I’m going to assume that you don’t have a huge blog site or anything like that, so how do you attract these new people?
The way I’ve done it in the past is through a giveaway. There are apps out there that’ll help you set one up for free, then you drive targeted traffic to it, collect their emails, and start your relationship.
Kingsumo.com is one such giveaway application.
I use Facebook ads to target people to my giveaway and to attract only those who might be interested in reading the kind of story I’ve written.
Once you have a big list, your next step is to help them get to know you. Put together a string of emails introducing yourself, what you do (writer), what you like, things you can teach, and so on. Give your new audience a chance to get to know you and like you.
Do this for a couple of months. This’ll give you a chance to weed out those who really aren’t interested, and to focus on those who have warmed up to you. One of the things you can do is give them a free chapter of your book to show them your style.
And then, you can let them know about your book for sale on Amazon and invite them to support you.
This will not sell you thousands of books overnight. This is a slow, intentional, deliberate process. But it does work. Keep on doing this, that is, building your list and a relationship with your followers, and you will sell switch those crickets to rounds of applause.