My personal roadmap to help you sell more books.
Many authors pour their heart and soul into writing their books, and so they should. The act of writing a book can be a beautiful, life-changing process. However, some new authors make the mistake of thinking that since they invested so much of themselves in the process that their books will automatically fly off the shelves once the book has been published. Unfortunately, that’s not usually the case, unless the author has committed him or herself to selling their book in the right way.
As a writer myself and as a publisher who works with a number of new authors, I think it’s important to talk about what’s really required in order to sell books. You might think of it this way: If writing your book is an exciting movie, then selling your book is the must-have sequel.
Like writing your book, selling your book will require time and effort. However, once you know the exact steps you need to take (and do them), you can sell many copies of your book. The work you put in will pay dividends. I’d like to share with you the five most important things you’ll need to do to actually sell your book.
#1. Set Your Goal
A lot of people assume that success needs no definition. That you’ll simply know when it happens. But the problem is, that notion will often permanently relegate success to just around the corner. It’s much harder to get somewhere if you don’t know where the destination is.
In fact, the fastest way to set yourself up for book-selling success is to define what success looks like for you. How many copies of your book will you need to sell? Do you want to sell 10 copies? 100 copies? 1,000 copies? 10,000 copies? 100,000 copies? 1 million copies?
Not only will setting this goal give you the opportunity to celebrate wildly once you’ve crossed the finish line, but it will help you determine how best to get there. After all, the right strategies to use and the amount of effort and resources needed will look radically different depending on how many copies you want to sell. Selling 100 copies or selling 1 million copies will have different playbooks.
#2. Do Your Research
Some authors will write their books first and then look for their market. Others will identify their market first and then write their books. Either way, the key is to get to know your future reading public and how best to get your books into their hands.
If you haven’t already, take some time to do research and find the answers to questions like: Who will buy my book? Why will they buy it? What need will my book satisfy? How will I connect with readers? How will readers find out about my book? Why will readers buy my book and not competitors’ titles?
Doing your research and learning more about your audience will put you in a better position to sell them more books for a long time to come.
#3. Create a Marketing and Promotion Plan
It’s game time.
After you’ve learned more about your audience, what their needs are and how you can best satisfy their needs, then it’s time to start putting together your marketing and promotion plan. This is the nitty-gritty that will be responsible for bringing your goal to fruition.
Start by brainstorming and considering questions like: What will you actually do? When will you do it? How will you do it? Or will you hire someone else to do it?
Your marketing and promotion plan may include things like: speaking at events and selling your books there, inviting your clients and colleagues to buy your book, using social media to promote your book during holidays and writing guest posts (on blogs) containing links back to somewhere people can buy your book online.
Whatever tactics you ultimately choose, just make sure that they are options that make sense for you as well as for reaching your audience and promoting your book. Choose the most effective tactics that you will most enjoy and can commit to doing on a regular basis.
#4. Be Persistent in Your Efforts
You didn’t go to the trouble of making a book marketing plan just to let it sit on a shelf, did you? Don’t give up before you reach your goals!
Like shampoo instructions, your marketing efforts should be something to apply, lather, rinse and repeat. Every. Single. Day. Or if not every day, then on a regular basis. You can’t send one email and expect it to sell 1 million books. Selling books requires dedication and persistence.
By committing to put in the work with regular marketing efforts, you can make small adjustments to your marketing plan over time as you learn what is working well, what isn’t working as well and where it makes the most sense to concentrate your efforts.
#5. Build a Ladder of Success
It’s important to keep the forward momentum going. Always celebrate your wins and then let them propel you higher. After all, big successes don’t come out of nowhere. To climb to the top, a small success will be your necessary first rung. And progressively, you go up from there.
For example, if you sell 25 books to a reading club, that’s fantastic! But it’s also a great talking point when you approach additional reading clubs. Then imagine eventually being able to tell a reading club in another state that 50 reading clubs in your state are already studying your book.
Are you starting to imagine how you can sell more books? Great! And as always, I’d love to help.
Dudley Court Press
Dudley Court Press works with writers like you every day. As a full-service, hybrid publishing house, we help thoughtful people write their books and become successful published authors.
For more information, including about DCP’s programs for writers including Writers’ Sprint, Memoir Writing Made Easy and Aspiring Author to Published Pro, please get in touch at publisher@DudleyCourtPress.com.