How to Sell Books

What should you do if your books aren't selling?

 

The first thing to do is get angry. Get really, really angry. Ask yourself why others are selling and you aren't. Get yourself into the zone where you are prepared to do anything, and everything, to start selling books.

 

Next, look at what kinds of books are selling. You have to write what people want to read. If you are writing for pleasure then yes, you can write whatever you want to. But if you want to sell you have to write what people are prepared to pay to read. This might seem like selling out, but sometimes that is what you have to do to sell.

 

Next, is your cover the best it can be? Sadly, people do judge a book by its cover and you have about two seconds to make an impression on a potential buyer. There is no point splashing out hundreds of dollars if your book will only sell a few dozen, but there are many options. You could try getting a cover made on Fiverr. Or you can purchase the right to use a stock photography image and make your own cover. Whatever you do, keep it real. Don't pour money down the drain by using a professional cover on a poorly written book that is full of errors.

 

Is your writing as good as it can be? Ideally you need to find your own voice. If your way of expressing yourself is sufficiently different from other people, and you can write to excite, you are well on your way to finding readers. You need to have something valid to say - even if it is something as simple as I love being in love - and you need to be able to communicate your ideas clearly If a reader scratches his head when he finishes reading your book then you have not done your job properly.

 

Spelling and grammar are still important. Make sure that you know the rules. You don't have to be an absolute pro but there is a tipping point; too many mistakes in a sentence will take your book to the bottom of the lake.

 

Niche is important, especially for ebooks. The more specialized your niche - within the confines of what people are willing to buy - the better are your chances of finding readers. Firstly, the niche helps them find your books, and if they like what you write they will come back for more, especially if there are not many people writing in that niche. You could try creating your own niche but that is a more risky strategy; get it wrong and your books will tank, get it right and you might be smiling all the way to the bank.

 

Keywords are also important. Choose ones that will help readers find your books. For example, using romance as a key word is like throwing a cup of water into the ocean and hoping that someone will find your cup of water. Christian Pirate Romance (if indeed that was what your book was about) will be a much better choice.

 

Blurbs are extremely important. Once someone has paused long enough to look at your cover they will read the blurb to find out what your book is about. One line is not going to do it. There is no point saying 'this is a book for readers of all ages and it is filled with mystery and adventure'. You need to be more specific, without giving the entire plot away. If you do that, the person reading the blurb will no longer have any interest in reading the book. What you want to do is tease. Reveal just enough to tease without displaying everything. Ask questions that will draw the potential buyer in. Humans are curious; they like to know the answers to questions that have been asked. If you say 'will she get her tattoos removed, and shave off her moustache, to keep the man she loves?' you have already whetted the potential buyer's appetite to know more about this intriguing person.

 

Marketing and advertising are important, so I'm told, but who has time for that? Just keep on writing, and developing your craft, and one day that sales graph will start to rise. It is starting to work for me, though sadly so far only on Amazon. Perhaps one day I'll get lucky here too. Good luck!

Comments


  • Brambles a écrit :

    What should you do if your books aren't selling?

    The first thing to do is get angry. Get really, really angry. Ask yourself why others are selling and you aren't. Get yourself into the zone where you are prepared to do anything, and everything, to start selling books.

    Getting angry is a waste of time and energy.

     

    Next, look at what kinds of books are selling. You have to write what people want to read. If you are writing for pleasure then yes, you can write whatever you want to. But if you want to sell you have to write what people are prepared to pay to read. This might seem like selling out, but sometimes that is what you have to do to sell.

    I couldn't care less about what people want to read. I write what they should read. If they don't read it, more fools they are.

    The important point is that your book should be published in printed form with an ISBN, and entrusted with the legal deposit of your national library.

     

    Your other pieces of advice are wise ones.

  • I am talking about what to do if you want to sell. If you simply want to write, then write what you like; it won't matter if no one buys the book.

     

    Getting angry is not a waste of time. It focuses your energy. It takes you away from the phase of hoping, dreaming and praying that you will make sales to one where you are prepared to knuckle down and do something about your lack of sales.

  • Brambles, we go along opposite lanes of philosophy.  Smiley Wink

  • Excellent advice.

     

    One more point which I stole from Paulo Coelho: Don't give up. It takes two years longer to achieve anything than you thought it would. Keep going.

     

    Also, imagine your friends seeing your cover, reading the text and looking at the formatting. If you feel slightly hesitant and embarrassed, it's not good enough. Make it better. It has to be better than what's out there. Better than the books of traditional publishers. Yes, it's possible. Yours has to be the best on the page. The best book on all of Amazon. Seduce the buyer with your cover, your blurb, and make sure they get their money's worth. They are spending and they will be angry of you cheated them.

     

    And, don't be afraid of success. If someone tells you to hustle and write some emails, just do it. Succeed.

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    Brambles wrote:

    What should you do if your books aren't selling?

    Figure out what the issue is by examining the factors going into sales numbers; yours versus theirs.

     

    The first thing to do is get angry. Get really, really angry. Ask yourself why others are selling and you aren't. Get yourself into the zone where you are prepared to do anything, and everything, to start selling books.

    Be prepared to do anything and everything to sell books? Does this include felonious activity? Some extremely angry people might take your wording to mean anything (no matter how illegal) goes.

     

    Next, look at what kinds of books are selling. You have to write what people want to read. If you are writing for pleasure then yes, you can write whatever you want to. But if you want to sell you have to write what people are prepared to pay to read. This might seem like selling out, but sometimes that is what you have to do to sell.

    The kinds of books selling (if there are no obvious quality issues) usually depends on marketing, advertising, and promotion. You don't have to sell out to have sales, but a budget for marketing, advertising, and promotion works wonders. Somewhere in a box I have a romance I bought about a single female vampire who winds up being adopted by a flatulant ghost and her weak-bladdered ghost-cat. Point being some books sell because they're fairly original while others sell because the author has a good track record. Which ties back to that marketing thing.

     

    Next, is your cover the best it can be? Sadly, people do judge a book by its cover and you have about two seconds to make an impression on a potential buyer. There is no point splashing out hundreds of dollars if your book will only sell a few dozen, but there are many options. You could try getting a cover made on Fiverr. Or you can purchase the right to use a stock photography image and make your own cover. Whatever you do, keep it real. Don't pour money down the drain by using a professional cover on a poorly written book that is full of errors.

    Agreed.

     

    Is your writing as good as it can be? Ideally you need to find your own voice. If your way of expressing yourself is sufficiently different from other people, and you can write to excite, you are well on your way to finding readers. You need to have something valid to say - even if it is something as simple as I love being in love - and you need to be able to communicate your ideas clearly If a reader scratches his head when he finishes reading your book then you have not done your job properly.

    Agreed.

     

    Spelling and grammar are still important. Make sure that you know the rules. You don't have to be an absolute pro but there is a tipping point; too many mistakes in a sentence will take your book to the bottom of the lake.

    You should strive to be an absolute pro as this helps you avoid some readers tipping point which can be remarkably low; try two obvious mistakes low and they're done.

     

    Niche is important, especially for ebooks. The more specialized your niche - within the confines of what people are willing to buy - the better are your chances of finding readers. Firstly, the niche helps them find your books, and if they like what you write they will come back for more, especially if there are not many people writing in that niche. You could try creating your own niche but that is a more risky strategy; get it wrong and your books will tank, get it right and you might be smiling all the way to the bank.

     

    Keywords are also important. Choose ones that will help readers find your books. For example, using romance as a key word is like throwing a cup of water into the ocean and hoping that someone will find your cup of water. Christian Pirate Romance (if indeed that was what your book was about) will be a much better choice.

     

    Blurbs are extremely important. Once someone has paused long enough to look at your cover they will read the blurb to find out what your book is about. One line is not going to do it. There is no point saying 'this is a book for readers of all ages and it is filled with mystery and adventure'. You need to be more specific, without giving the entire plot away. If you do that, the person reading the blurb will no longer have any interest in reading the book. What you want to do is tease. Reveal just enough to tease without displaying everything. Ask questions that will draw the potential buyer in. Humans are curious; they like to know the answers to questions that have been asked. If you say 'will she get her tattoos removed, and shave off her moustache, to keep the man she loves?' you have already whetted the potential buyer's appetite to know more about this intriguing person.

    Agreed.

     

    Marketing and advertising are important, so I'm told, but who has time for that? Just keep on writing, and developing your craft, and one day that sales graph will start to rise. It is starting to work for me, though sadly so far only on Amazon. Perhaps one day I'll get lucky here too. Good luck!


     

  • One thing I have found useful is putting keywords in the title or subtitle. Then in the key search tags I choose on Amazon I use something to refer to them. I know that might not be possible depending on what your book is about but that is why I use subtitles on my books, for that very reason. Nice job Brambles, that is exactly what is needed to sell other than get people to your books. The one book I wanted to sell only sells 2 a month if I'm lucky. The one I took maybe a few hours to write outsells everything I have. Go figure. I think my books are niche books as some have said and won't sell like fiction or how to books. Finding what people are reading and buying is the best way I think if you write that type of book.

  • When I was in school many years ago, there was a practical joke we would play with our friends.

     

    You turn to a friend and say, "Do you know how to sell a chicken to a deaf man?"

     

    When the friend says that he does not, you turn to him and shout, as loudly as you can, "HEY MISTER! WANT TO BUY A CHICKEN??"

     

    The joke would probably work with books as well.

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