If you want to know how to go about getting a lot of book sales, all you need to do is write a really good book that’s better than others in your genre on a topic that’s not overdone or obscure that is published properly, distributed well, and promoted endlessly.
Easier said than done!
But there are many things an author can do to generate book sales. I have promoted more than a thousand authors over nearly three decades and have come to discover that book sales come to those who follow the unwritten rules.
Here are a mere 16 things you can, and should, do to garner sales of your book:
- Write a book that’s timely on a subject that’s not overexposed. The writing must be sharp, with tight editing, and a creative approach should be taken. Rethink how to make the book’s packaging—format, style, visuals, supplemental resources, paper quality—top notch.
- The book needs a catchy title and subtitle that accurately reflects what the book is about. It shouldn’t be too long nor use slang or terms that readers won’t understand.
- The cover image draws people in or turns them off. Test yours before going to press.
- Price it right or no one will buy it but the wealthy or those passionate about your book topic.
- Consider making the book available in multiple formats at multiple price points—ebook, trade paper, mass market, hardcover, deluxe gift edition, audio.
- Have strong testimonials on the book’s cover, back-cover, or first few pages.
- Make sure the catalog copy, book cover copy, and online descriptions at Amazon, bn.com, and other retailers draw you in. Don’t merely tell what’s in the book — give people an exciting reason to want it or show why it’s needed. Highlight its uniqueness.
- Employ smart advertising campaigns, especially digital ones, where you don’t just pay for ad space or even clicks, but actual sales. Sign up with affiliate programs and turn others into your commissioned sales reps.
- Arrange for speaking engagements with organizations, businesses, schools, and nonprofits. Conduct book signings at bookstores and libraries. Connect with temples, churches, chambers of commerce, government agencies, and anyone who will give an opportunity to present to a built-in audience.
- Execute a social media campaign using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, or the other popular platforms to get your message out.
- Create your own podcast, blog, and YouTube channel and push original content to induce interest in your book and brand.
- Seek out bulk sales with institutions, groups, schools, etc. Offer a fat discount. Perhaps combine it with a workshop or some type of give-away.
- Execute a best-seller campaign where you recruit friends, followers, family, and incentivized strangers to buy your book on a certain date/time frame through a specific channel, such as Amazon or BN or bookstores that record sales for best-seller lists. Your best chance will come with pre-orders months in advance of your official launch date.
- Initiate a PR strategy and utilize an experienced book publicity pro to collaboratively pitch all relevant media — local and national TV, radio, and print; and digital media (podcasts, blogs, websites, social media). Be creative, assertive, and persistent. Reach out, follow through. Change your pitches, try new people, go to new outlets, and keep at it. A good book—and a good story—will eventually be discovered with your full-court press. Little happens accidentally or passively.
- Act out of desperation, but not fear. What I mean by this is act as if you have nothing to lose and be of the mindset that you must act now and often. Have a sense of urgency. Act as if people must be persuaded by you, that to convince them is akin to saving a life or changing the world. Be hungry and desperate—be willing to do anything legal to get the job done. Trade favors, beg, borrow, work hard and long, and take a gamble. But never let fear creep in. Don’t think about failure or loss or being denied. Only visualize opportunity, optimism, and success. You can make great things happen, one day at a time, by pursuing and creating situations that can lead to a breakthrough.
- Above all, you must believe in yourself. Don’t be a slave to your ego. Greatness comes from merit, not mere desire. But if you believe you have something special and worthy, fight tooth and nail to help others see the light.
If you think about it, you only have to get 3,500 books sold—in a certain time period through certain channels—to make a best-seller list like Publishers Weekly or be considered successful. In a world of 7.6 billion or a nation of 321 million, you really only have to persuade a tiny fraction to part with a few bucks. The numbers are in your favor.
Ask yourself what it will take to sell more books. Act on that answer—daily—and you will enhance your chances of success.
Brian Feinblum is the chief marketing officer for Media Connect, North America’s largest book promoters. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent. BookMarketingBuzzBlog.blogspot.com was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby, and in 2018, was recognized by Feedspot as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by WinningWriters.com as a “best resource.”