I’ve had several authors who are self-publishing asking how to get more sales. So, let’s look at this today.
Before we start, please consider that the self-publishing environment is constantly changing, so avoid magical thinking. There’s no magic bullet for “instant” sales.
If anything you’re offered sounds dubious, it may well be. Always do your due diligence. Google is your friend, as are author groups: ask questions before you sign up for anything.
Self-publishing: publish more, sell more
An important point. Over the past year, the self-publishing environment has become commercial. When self-published authors make millions, that was always going to happen.
Authors and publishers with deep pockets spend many thousands of dollars pushing their books. That doesn’t mean that you can’t sell more books, it simply means that the environment is noisier.
A one-word solution: hustle. Do stuff, and keep doing stuff, and keep writing. 🙂
1. Devote time to planning: write and publish after planning
Some authors kill themselves publishing a book a month, and that’s laudable, but as a solution, authors are finding that they’re making less money than they were a year ago.
One theory is that readers get tired. When authors have several series of ten and 20 books, readers jump ship. There are too many books in every category for readers to give you a read-through of a never-ending series. Some will read each book, but a lot just won’t.
This means, you need to be more strategic than you were a year ago.
When you’re launching a new series or a new pen name, by all means write until your fingers ache: a book a month if you can manage it. But consider advertising too.
2. Advertising: start today (use free options if you’re broke)
Advertising — paid if you can manage it — isn’t optional today. An endless stream of books is published every month. Self-publishing authors need to build their name, by becoming visible.
If you can’t afford AMS, Pinterest, or Facebook advertising, consider newsletter swaps with other authors, and joining authors in bundles. Check out Dave Chesson’s excellent list of free and paid book promotion websites too.
3. Write serials: an episode is a book (many readers love serials)
I know, I know… I keep harping on about serials — but serials work. Try a short serial to get your feel wet, and check out our new Plan, Write, And Publish Serial Fiction In Four Weeks book.
One point, remember that your serial needs an over-arching plot:
When readers hear “serial” they expect that you’ll write a long story, which hangs together, and has a major plot. If there’s no over-arching plot, which extends from the first episode through to the final one, you’re writing a series, not a serial.
4. Stop over-thinking: you can’t make a mistake as long as you keep writing
One of the biggest challenges for authors (me included) is over-thinking. We hesitate, because we don’t want to “waste time”, but if I’ve learned anything, it’s that nothing you write is ever wasted.
You may try a strategy, and fail. However, I guarantee you that even if you fail, the lessons that you learn will be indispensable to your future success. And who knows, you might be successful immediately. Stop over-thinking — start doing.
5. Dig in on social media: get yourself established, and make friends
If you’ve been avoiding social media, stop that. You need to be on social media because readers expect it. Of course you don’t want to waste time, but how long does it take to pin something to Pinterest, or write a tweet? Seconds, yes?
The time you spend on social media shouldn’t be 100 per cent promotion. Aim for a split: 80 per cent promoting others and having fun, and 20 per cent on promotion.
Social media (and blogging) is free, mostly. So it’s a MAJOR avenue to explore to win readers and fans, and sell more books.
Why write serial fiction?
Everyone's busy today. A serial is by its nature, faster to write, and publish, than a novel.
It's a quicker read too, and many readers appreciate this. While a reader may hesitate before committing hours to a novel, he can read an episode of your serial in minutes.More info →
Publicity And Marketing Magic For Writers: How To Build Your Writing Platform And Sell More Every Day
Write, and publish, and promote your writing... You can change your life as a writer in an hour, when you discover the art of publicity and platform.More info →
You're a busy author -- you don't have time to market your books, because you're busy writing.
Here's a cruel fact: unless you make time to market your books, you'll have minimal sales. Perhaps zero sales.More info →
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