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?
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.
Tell them that your book has been published. 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.
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. You’ll find forums and groups you can join and connect with other authors. You can get good ideas and feedback from these, and support other budding writers too.
You will never please everybody, so do what business people do and get a clear picture of one perfect reader. Identify their age, sex, interests etc and speak directly to them. Other people will still want to listen.
Some people (myself included) prefer to hold a ‘real’ book, so do consider print (a short print run or print-on-demand). Get to know your local booksellers – these are important as they influence readers by recommending certain books or displaying them prominently. 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.
Print books are local, whereas e-books have a worldwide readership. They enable you to niche very effectively too when you categorise and promote your book. Ebooks can be around for many years. Play with the price points and keep an eye on the Amazon algorithm as it changes from time to time.
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 a graphic designer. The genre must be clear so that the cover will reach the right reader. It must work as well as a thumbnail (for ebook display purposes) and also for a full-sized print cover. Finding the right designer is key. Have a look at their portfolio, and if you like that, 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.
There are plenty of other ways in which you can publish and sell your book, but these will get you on the right track.