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Questions Authors Ask: How can I Sell My Books?

 

How can I sell my books is one question all authors ask, and for good reason; we all want to sell our books and become successful authors, whether we’re traditionally or indie-published. I ask myself the same question, especially after slow sales after writing our first book.

Now, if you wrote your first book and saw great sales, then you did everything right in the preplanning phase.

However, most of us are going to utilize trial and error continually until we find something that clicks.

Unfortunately, there is no one-size, fits all solution. There never is. What works well for one business might not work well for another.

For instance, discounted books may work in one genre, but might come of as cheap to readers in another and will cause people to shy away from the book.

So, if you want to sell books, read further, but please note, this isn’t a get-rich-quick-scheme nor is it something you will see success in overnight.

Know how long it takes most businesses to profit?

About two years, some might profit in three.

Even if you saw immediate sales in your first book, it may be because you wrote something nonfiction that you were already a well-known expert in, in which you paid your dues while becoming an expert, which took time.

Perhaps you spent three years building an author platform and fanbase. It still took you the same amount of time, you just decided to sell your first book after building an email list and fanbase, which is a bright move.

But many of us might have a book on sale at Amazon that hasn’t seen much, if any action, and that’s okay.

Why?

Because your book is new to people who come across it, meaning your book could be at the online store for two years before you finally gained enough credibility to readers who eventually bought your book.

For that, your book, or books, are new.

But what are other ways to help boost your book sales?

Read on to find out.

Raise the Price

This worked for me. I started selling Northern Knights at $2.99, saw no action, so I decided to lower the price to $1.99 and finally, .99 cents.

How many sales did I get?

Zilch.

I raised my price to $3.99.

Nothing.

$4.99.

Nothing.

$5.99.

Something.

Sometimes, readers of a specific genre might expect to pay five, six, or seven dollars for an e-book in a genre they read in so if they see a book that might look compelling but is selling at $2.99, they might expect your book to be watered down despite a killer cover and description.

 

Speaking of Covers and Descriptions

Does your cover match that of your genre?

Mine was tricky, but as you can see below, is definitely something seen in the urban fantasy genre. There’s fire, and my main character is cloaked, which gives it a fantasy feel. Urban fantasy is fantasy in modern day, typically in an urban setting, hence the genre, yet there are fantasy elements all over the place.

Make sure your cover matches the genre and don’t be cheap, either. Pay someone to design a cover. Covers designed by authors themselves are great for free e-books, like my Neo Skyehawk Series, as you can see here.

So, don’t create free covers unless you’re giving away a book.

Regarding descriptions, make sure your book’s keywords (you did use your keywords, right?) should ring throughout your description.

The one thing authors tell you is to NEVER follow Amazon’s advice and use keywords based on your plot.

Use keywords that fit your genre and even book matter. For instance, my subtitle is New Adult Urban Fantasy, so I used this as a keyword in my description and guess what? Sales!

Also, be sure to make your description long, some authors recommend using every single allowed character and if you can describe your book without giving away too much information, by all means write that description!

Again, use as many keywords in your description as you can, repeat if needed but don’t go crazy as you’ll get flagged for keyword stuffing.

For instance, don’t stuff all seven keywords into your subtitle; one will suffice, as I have.

Oh, and keywords can be three or four words long, known as long-tail keywords.

 

Invest in Promotion

Good businesspeople invest, and you should, too.Invest in a good book cover. If you can’t afford a custom cover, which can cost up to $500, depending on the artist and genre, you can always get one predesigned as I have, which cost me $80.

I’m eyeing up my second cover for Swords of Destiny, which is also premade, which will cost $95.

Invest in paid promotion, too, such as Freebooksy if you’re in KDP Select and utilize your five free days—another reason it’s a good idea to raise your book price, as deal seekers will see a steal here.

Or, discounted ones like Books Butterfly or Book Bub, if you’re lucky to get into it. The latter only accepts 10% of all books submitted. I haven’t submitted to Book Bub yet, but I have read and followed their guidelines which will increase chances of getting selected.

I’d invest in promotion for both free days, where you’ll operate at a loss but at the same time will likely get your book into a couple thousand hands, which means reviews, which means algorithms, which means sales.

Also, I’ve heard rumblings Amazon’s running a pay-for-play scheme, much like Facebook and Twitter.

It works the same, where if you post and want eyes on it you need to pay to give it a boost.

This isn’t a bad thing at all, as Amazon and Facebook both only charge you if someone clicks on your ad if paying for advertisement.

So, instead of using paid promotion services, set a budget and use Amazon to advertise your books.

Again, while a lot of indies will rumble about this, they’re the ones who want to succeed without investing a penny. We live in a world of self-entitled people so ignore those rumblings.

Let me ask you a question: If you owned a bookstore, are you going to put a book at the front of your store because they told you to?

Or, if you’re a true businessman, are you going to charge a little for exposure.

You’re running a business, not a charity, and Amazon’s a business, not a charity.

Look, Amazon doesn’t give a damn whether you’re traditionally or indie-published.

They only care about who makes them money. If you’re making them money, they’re going to make you money, so pay to play.

If the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball ever found this out, they might’ve made the playoffs a few more times over the past twenty-five seasons, but owner Bob Nutting refuses to spend money on big name players.

Or, let’s take a team like the Cleveland Indians who are also in a small market, but will maximize their budget on signing players to put fans in seats and bring them through to the postseason, raising fan interest and in turn, creating revenue.

 

Action Time!

Okay, now it’s your turn to go ahead and take action. Go ahead and manipulate your book price first and see where the sweet spot is. Maybe look at other books in your genre and see where the best-selling books fall.

Work on your cover and description. Make sure the cover matches those in your genre. Make sure the description is keyword-rich. And as always, use your primary keywords in your description.

Invest in paid promotion, as it will get your book in readers’ hands. Even if you have to invest in promotion on your free days, as it will give your book exposure and reviews, which all writers need.

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