You’ve done it! After many months (or even years) you have published your own book. Give yourself a pat on the back for your achievement. But wait … the books aren’t going to sell themselves. What should you do? Here are 5 ways to sell your book.
Put your business hat on. Many of the strategies you can employ to sell books are the same ones businesses use to sell their services or products. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
1 Identify your ideal reader/customer
Writing your book is the easy bit. Marketing and selling it is a whole new ball game. You will never please everybody, so do what business people do; get a clear picture of one perfect reader. Identify their age, sex, interests etc and speak (or aim your posts and articles) directly to them. Other people will still want to listen.
2 Get yourself known on social media
Ideally, you should do this before you even start writing the book, but it’s never too late to start. Pick two or three channels you’d like to concentrate on, for example Twitter and Instagram, and set up accounts if you don’t already have them. Think about where your potential readers might hang out.
When writing posts, be yourself and let your personality shine through. Don’t be boring or ‘salesy’ – people hate that. Talk about other things as well as your book. A good rule of thumb is to only mention where and how to buy your book in 20% of your tweets or posts. Follow people who fit your ‘ideal reader’ description. They might be sufficiently impressed to go and buy your book.
You’ll also find forums and groups you can join where you can connect with other authors. You can get good ideas and feedback, and support other budding writers too.
3 Publish e and print books
Some people prefer to hold a ‘real’ book, so do consider print (a short print run or print-on-demand). Get to know your local booksellers too – this is important as they can influence readers by recommending certain books or displaying them prominently. You could also organise the launch of your book in a local bookshop.
The down-side of print books is that they might only sit on the shelves for a few weeks before they get returned, which is a very small window of opportunity for enabling your book sales to take off.
E-books can potentially have a worldwide readership and be around for many years. They enable you to niche very effectively when you categorise and promote your book. Play with the price points and keep an eye on the Amazon algorithm as it changes from time to time.
4 Hire a professional book cover designer
Jackets make so much difference as to whether a book will sell or not, so find yourself a professional book cover designer – one who specialises in publishing, not just graphic design. The genre must be clear so that the cover will reach the right reader. It must work well both as a thumbnail (for ebook display purposes) and also as a full-sized print cover. Finding the right designer is key. Have a look at their portfolio, and if you like it, get together with them to see if you like and trust them enough to work with them.
If you’ve never commissioned a designer before, you might find this blogpost useful. You might also like to have a look at our Book Design and Production page and our portfolio to see a few examples of work we’ve done.
5 Contact all the people on your database
Tell them that your book has been published; if they are on your database you already know that they are interested in you and what you do. What, you don’t have one? Well now’s the time to start. Email your fans, friends, family and colleagues and get them to sign up. You’ll have to offer something in return, though. How about the first 3 chapters of your book? Your readers might be sufficiently impressed to go and buy the book. If they enjoy what they’ve read, encourage them to leave you a review online.
A book recommendation
There are plenty of other ways in which you can promote your book, but these ideas will get you on the right track. if you want to read more about the subject, I can recommend PR expert Chantal Cooke’s excellent book Marketing your Business Book. Don’t be put off by the title, the easy-to-follow tips can apply to other genres too.
About the author
Annette Peppis leads the team at Peppis Designworks, a creative hub of established publishing industry experts who create books, branding, marketing material and design templates for leading publishers and businesses. Keep in touch by subscribing to her bi-monthly emails.