Over the past few months, I’ve received plaintive messages from fiction authors: “why aren’t my novels selling?”
These authors have done everything right. They have professional covers, their novels have been edited by editors, and vetted by beta readers. The authors advertise.
Sadly however, selling their fiction is a constant struggle.
Today, there’s just more competition.
Fiction authors’ primary challenge: ever-growing competition
Writing and selling novels has changed over the past few years. Not so long ago, a rapid publishing program could kickstart an author’s career, and from then on, his novels sold consistently.
Unfortunately, the Kindle Store keeps growing. Hundreds of thousands of authors upload new novels. Gaining visibility is a struggle.
What worked yesterday doesn’t work today. Genres come into fashion, and go out of fashion.
Let’s look at some of the challenges of selling your fiction today, as well as hints on how to overcome these challenges.
1. You need visibility to stand out from the crowd
With millions of novels on the Kindle Store, one lone novel is… lonely. Today, you need to advertise, but unfortunately, advertising is expensive. You’re likely to spend more on advertising than you’ll recoup.
Spit on your hands (metaphorically.) Put your butt in a chair and start producing. Write your novels in series. Write serials. When you have two or more novels in a series, you can spend money on advertising and still make a profit.
2. Find your eager fans: target the right audiences for your novels
You can’t sell prime beef to vegetarians. Similarly, if you’re writing horror novels, readers of cozy mysteries will ignore them.
Luckily, Facebook is good at helping you to target your advertising. You’ll soon get a sense of who your readers are. Facebook “kickstart” advertising will stand you in good stead, going forward.
Big tip: maintain your Facebook page, and your mailing list, so that your readers remember who you are.
3. Promote consistently: advertising and promotion take time
One author complained that her one and only novel wasn’t selling. “I spent four thousand dollars on launching it,” she said.
She’d published the book last January, so I asked what promotions she’d done since. “Are you marketing at all?” I asked.
Short answer: no, not after the initial push.
I suggested that she get to work on the next novel, then budget for consistent promotions. Many companies spend around 20 per cent of their budget on advertising.
Just as other businesses do, you need to develop a consistent marketing program.
Writing fiction: write and promote — marketing is essential
Today, with ever-growing entertainment choices for readers: more books, more movies, more streaming services, promotion is vitally important.
Happy writing and promotion. 🙂
You can, when you discover the secrets of writing blurbs (book descriptions) which sell.
You can rescue books which aren't selling, and have confidence that your new books will have the best chance to find their audience.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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