You got through the hard part of writing the book and you’ve either published or are looking to publish…and you want to make money and/or increase sales. So, what do you do? That fact is in today’s market, whether you go through the traditional route or you decide to go indie, you’ll need to be proactive with your marketing. It’s absolutely necessary but have you considered if this means spending a fortune on advertisement and/or hiring a top-notch publicist?
Of course, you could consider doing that but there are strategies that will cost a lot less and give you a higher success rate. According to Apex-Writers’ recent presenter, CEO and Founder Lawrence Knorr of Sunbury Press, one of these ways is by growing your email list.
Why Email? Isn’t Social Media More Immediate and Now-Based?
There are of course, wonderful things you can do with social media, including getting engagement and notice by potential readers. However, considering that you do not own this list of contacts on any social media platform, it supplies an area of uncertainty. Basically, at the end of the day, if Facebook, X (formerly known as Twitter), Instagram or any other social media of choice disappears, then your list of followers vanishes too.
Can you imagine that sick feeling at the pit of your stomach, particularly if you lost a sizable list of followers? It still wouldn’t be fun even if you had just started and you had 5 fans. No matter how small or large that list had been, you would be starting over or quitting. (Hopefully not quitting)
Your email list, however, is totally your own. It’s your direct contact with your subscribers. These people are your inner circle. These are the ones who have signed up to hear your news about what books of yours are coming out, along with anything else you decide to share and “nerd out” over. Plus, you can track your conversion rate (the percentage of people who buy your book).
Yes, it may take you awhile to accumulate a decent-sized email list but there are strategies and places where you can accrue more subscribers, such as Bookfunnel, and a plethora of other ideas. Quite a few strategies have been discussed at Apex-writers by industry leaders, New York Times bestsellers, literary agents, editors, Hollywood producers, etc. And its four year library of replays, is a treasure of information.
Positive Reviews Are Powerful Tools for Selling Books.
Everyone wants to hear good things about themselves, right? But good reviews do far more than make you feel good. They help with sales by helping you rise in the search rankings, which makes your book more easily searchable, which increases your page traffic… and relates to more sales. To give you an idea, a book with one good review gets twice as many sales as a book with no reviews.
Reviews help with building your brand, engaging readers, and encouraging potential buyers to hit the “buy” button. It also helps your future books by helping you identify what readers especially liked in your work, what things they connect with most, and you can choose to tailor your future works to provide greater appeal to more readers.
So how to get more reviews? Some strategies include giving out advance review copies (ARCs) to generate early reviews and to help build anticipation. And you can reach out to book bloggers and reviewers who specialize in your genre.
Yes, Books are Judged by their Covers
Your cover will be your first hook to your potential readers. Yes, a lot of book shopping happens online these days but we shop online like we do at a brick and mortar bookstore by “leafing” through books until we find one with a cool cover.
It’s important to know that you can easily find an indie book on sale standing beside a traditional bestseller and if that happens which book do you think the potential reader will look at first? Answer – the one that has the cover which draws them. And if you’re wondering, Knorr, listed good covers as #2 on his Top Ten Ways for Selling More Books.
Collaborating With Other Authors Can Be a Win-Win
This approach can help all parties increase their exposure to existing fan bases and to reach broader audiences, increase your writing credibility, and increase channels of distribution.
Collaboration can even include learning and growing inside a supportive community where authors share resources and knowledge. For example, Apex-Writers provides this kind of community. Its discussion groups include talking about common challenges and sharing successful strategies, plus its courses and lectures such as David Farland’s Kickstaring your Career, How to Sell a Book Big, and Advertising as an Author provide insight from one of the industry’s king-makers.
It’s a helpful thing to connect with quality authoring colleagues and participate in writer rings, whether it’s with Apex or another group, for both the strategic element and also because writers tend to understand other writers.
Independent Book Stores
Back to Knorr and his Top Ten Ways to Sell More Books presentation, independent book stores is another great place to increase your book sales. Allying yourself to local independent bookstores is good for the community and good for you because nothing beats Word of Mouth advertising AND nothing builds super fans more than having face-to-face relationships with readers.
There’s other perks as well: shelf placement, hand selling, events and promotions, local book clubs, networking opportunities, cross-promotion, etc.
Also know, particularly if you’re Indie published that independent bookstores are champions of independent publishing. That means they are more likely to stock and promote your books. But of course, you do need to know that you must allow returns.
Speaking of working with independent book stores, we have NYT Bestseller Maria V. Snyder, author of Poison Study, giving Apex-Writers a “behind-the-scenes” dive into the operation of an independent bookstore with her presentation, Behind the Curtains.
This presentation includes how they order books, set up events, and hand-sell titles. Also included is how authors can approach and work well with indie stores and how to avoid various faux pas like giving away an Amazon gift card during your signing.
Click here for more information