“How can I sell more books?” If you’re self-publishing, this is a constant concern. Chances are however, that you’re missing out on a lot of sales, many of which are hiding in your publishing catalogue.
That was brought home to me again recently when I studied an indie author’s back catalogue. The author’s been writing and publishing since 2016. Let’s call her “Jenny” (not her real name, nor her pen name.)
Jenny’s published 14 books, and wanted the answer to a conundrum: “My sales have plateaued. I thought that my sales would go up with every book?”
She’s tumbled into a common indie author pitfall.
When self-publishing, check your sales each quarter: do more with what’s selling
We’re writers, so we’re all about what we’re writing today, and our next brilliant idea. If we give a thought to already-published books, it’s to line up a marketing schedule for them.
Sadly, this means that we’re missing out on sales.
After you’ve published a few books, you become aware that some books out-sell others by a wide margin. When this happens, it’s time to capitalize on it. I recommended to Jenny that she watch her sales, and study them carefully each quarter to find the gold.
Let’s look at some tips for mining the gold in your self-publishing catalogue.
1. Series novels sell, so turn your top-selling books into series
Jenny’s publishing catalogue is packed with standalone novels, in several genres. That’s fine, when you’re starting out. Unfortunately it means that it’s hard to build a readership.
Readers who read your dystopian urban fantasy may read your humorous romance novel, and your psychological thriller, but by and large, these genres attract different readers.
I suggested to Jenny that if she wants to test a genre, she consider publishing a novella, rather than a full-length novel. And rather than thinking up ideas for standalones, she think in terms of series fiction.
2. Exploit free ads: revise the back matter in your top sellers
How often do you revise the back matter in your published novels? Your back matter is free advertising. Moreover, it’s high-impact advertising, because you’re promoting to buyers of your work.
Take advantage of your back matter, and revise your previously published books often, whenever you bring out a new release — or when one of your books out-sells the others.
3. Self-Publishing fiction? One word: serials
Since Jenny’s top-selling novel is her dystopian urban fantasy, I suggested that she write a serial set in that world. She knows that readers enjoy the world, so why not mine the gold that’s hiding there?
Do what works for YOU in your self-publishing business
It’s tempting to look at trends, and “write to market”. This can work, and there’s nothing wrong with doing that, but do remember your published books, and do more with them. Chances are that you’ll find that there’s a lot of gold hiding in plain sight.
Do you enjoy writing and publishing your books, but find that marketing them is a challenge? You're not sure what works, so your efforts are muddled, half-hearted, and inconsistent.
What if you could market in just 15 minutes daily?More info →
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 →
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