Selling books. Making money. Being a full-time author. Pretty much the dream writing life for most writers.
And yet, so many authors aren’t having this experience. So many are feeling frustrated and like they’re wasting their time because it’s never going to happen.
Maybe you’ve felt (or feel) this way?
I know I have. Back before I decided to take control of my writing destiny, I used to feel that way all the time. Like, what’s the point? I have these great books out there and barely anyone is reading them.
This year, I had a breakthrough. I finally stepped up my productivity, my writing habits and, most importantly, got my mind in the game. And now that I’ve done those things, I’m selling an average of 1,000+ books a month, pretty much without even trying. (That’s not to say I didn’t ever have to try. Of course I did, it’s just now I have momentum. More on that below.)
But I had one month this year that was bigger than all the other months (at least, so far). In July, I sold 2,312 books (and made a little over $800)!! Not bad for 31 days.
I recently did a breakdown to see what exactly went into selling that many books, and now averaging 1,000+ sales a month. And here’s what I came out with:
1. Get Into Alignment
For the first time ever, I’m finally in full alignment with the writing goals I have and the writing career that I want. I’m no longer fighting it. I’m not playing small or acting like it doesn’t really matter to me. I’m setting an intention for exactly what I want to create and I’m taking actions every day to move in that general direction.
That’s what alignment is. It means that your thoughts, beliefs, words and actions are all working in harmony and moving in the same direction.
Being in alignment has helped me to start writing, publishing and selling more books.
2. Have An “I Sell Books” Mindset
Believe it or not, your mind is the source of everything you currently see in your reality (whether you like it or not). Hard to accept, I know, because then you have to take responsibility for the fact that you believe shitty things that are holding you back and you have negative thoughts that are limiting your success.
But when you can just accept where you are–and accept all that you’ve created up to this point–you can start to create something new.
In February of this year, I amped up the mindset work I started doing back in August 2015 and began a daily practice of writing intentions in my journal. One of those daily intentions was, “I am a bestselling author.” Another was, “I sell thousands of books every month.”
I still write intentions like that every single day. Because out of everything I’ve done in my writing career, the best thing I ever did for myself was start a daily mindset practice. It has hands-down changed everything for me.
When you have an “I sell books” mindset, as opposed to an “it’s hard to sell books” mindset or an “I wish I knew how to sell more books” mindset, it really can be the difference between making sales and not making sales. Because you create in your reality what you believe in your mind. And if you believe that it’s hard to sell books or that you don’t know how to sell books, that’s exactly what you will experience.
Decide right now that you’re going to create an “I sell books” mindset and don’t ever look back.
3. Publish Multiple Books
I see so many authors spending time on marketing when all they have is one book. And while, yes, you do have to do some marketing for that book, you also want to make it a priority to write and publish the next book. Because what happens if someone buys your book, loves it and then there’s nothing else for them to buy?
You got it–they go elsewhere.
So if you don’t have at least 2 books published, it’s time to get to work. I started selling 1,000+ books a month when I had 6 books published. Now that I’ve got 8 (with more in the works), I know my book sales numbers will keep growing.
The best way to sell a book is with another book.
4. Build Relationships–With Readers and People In Your Industry/Genre
After a year of blogging, I decided to branch out and start guest posting (where you publish your articles on someone else’s blog). Doing that helped me to connect with editors in the writing industry (on blogs where my target readers are), and from those connections came other opportunities.
For example, in July, I was invited to participate in a one-day, 99 cent eBook promo along with 8 other authors. The other authors were all well-known writers who have big communities of writers and authors. So by having a connection with the person running the promotion, I was not only invited to participate, but I got my book in front of 8 new audiences. I also made connections with the other authors who were part of the promo.
And, of course, I had my biggest book sales month ever.
Relationships are everything when it comes to online marketing. So if you’re not already making connections and building relationships with potential promo partners and potential readers, now’s the time to start.
5. Launch A New Book
In the month of July, I launched my eBook, The 15-Minute Writer: How To Write Your Book In Only 15 Minutes A Day. This was a brand new book, which means every single person who saw it or checked it out was new to it. It was something that even my repeat readers could buy.
Having a new book can make it easier to get sales, especially if you’ve already got a few books out there that people have bought.
This goes back to what I said about having multiple books. And what’s cool about Amazon (and other sites) is once you’ve got a few books out and enough reviews, it will start suggesting your book to people who look at related books.
6. Charge 99 cents
I’ve been testing out pricing this year, to see if it makes a difference. When all of my books are 99 cents, I sell a lot more of them than when I charge more.
I know that sounds crazy–all that hard work and then you only get a 35% royalty from Amazon! (I do have a couple books that cost $2.99 as well.)
But when your book is 99 cents, people are more willing to give it a try. Everyone has wasted a dollar at some point in their life, so 99 cents is less of a risk than a book that costs more.
If you’re just starting out or are a new author, I highly recommend trying a 99 cent pricing strategy. It may just be the difference between making sales or not.
As you grow, get more known and have more books available, then you can have a mix of prices and increase your overall profit.
7. Build Momentum
I’ve been online since 2008 and building my following ever since. Which means I’ve had 8+ years of connecting, building relationships, and growing a readership. I have momentum.
You can create momentum too, and it doesn’t have to take 8 years. If you focus on what’s really important about book marketing (hint: it’s not about selling books), you can make it happen a lot faster.
Once you’ve got momentum, your books can almost sell themselves. That’s not to say I’m not still doing marketing, but I don’t put a ton of energy into marketing my books at the moment, and I’m still selling 1,000+ a month.
Book marketing is like a roller coaster–at first it’s a slow climb, but when you hit the tipping point, it’s all momentum from there.
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What’s one thing you can do today to start selling more books? Share in the comments.
Are you ready to make more sales and learn the right way to market your books? Then check out my upcoming masterclass: Sell More Books. I’m teaching you everything you need to know to kick-ass in your online book marketing, and then some. Full details here.
If you’ve ever published a book, or are in the process of writing and publishing one, you’ve likely thought about marketing and what you’ll need to do to make book sales. Because that’s what it’s all about, right? Selling books.
And while that’s not totally wrong, it’s also not totally right.
Selling books is the goal, yes. But it’s not what the focus of your book marketing should be.
That’s where I see so many authors getting it wrong.
And that’s why when you go into writing groups on Facebook or Google+, a lot of times it’s just a promo fest of people drive-by sharing links to their books. Or you see people’s social media accounts just covered in promos, but without any real value to be found.
Totally worthless and the worst way to try and make a book sale.
Why? Because of two reasons:
- People aren’t on social media to buy stuff–social media is supposed to be for being social, so people aren’t reading stuff or watching stuff and thinking, “I need to buy that right now.” They’re there to engage and connect with other humans, and also to be entertained.
- There’s not enough value in a book promo on social media to get someone to open their wallet–and on the off-chance that someone does buy directly via social media, it’s because the value being presented in the post (written, video, etc) is so awesome that they can’t not buy.
So, if you’ve been trying to sell your book by posting promos on social media (or in Facebook groups) and it hasn’t worked, it’s time for a new strategy.
What Actually Sells Books
When it comes down to the core of what online marketing is, you’ll find two things:
1. Relationships–online marketing is all about building relationships and making connections with other people, both potential readers and industry-related.
2. Valuable content–at the core of online marketing is content. Content is what helps you make the connections and build the relationships that will earn you a readership. Now ‘value’ will be defined by you and the type of book that you’re marketing.
For example, if your book is a humorous novel, creating content aligned with that makes the most sense for adding value. So sharing things that make people laugh is a good way for you to connect with your readership and get them interested in your novel.
And these two things–when combined–are what sells books.
The worst book marketing myth is that it’s all about selling books. It’s not. And believing that is what’s keeping you from selling books.
Especially if you’re trying to market your books online (which most authors these days are).
People go online for one of three reasons:
- To learn something
- To be entertained
And that’s what you need to be thinking about when you do your book marketing.
Book marketing is not about selling books. It’s about being an interesting author (with an impactful message) who teaches potential readers something, entertains them or both, and because of that connection and that relationship with the potential reader, they will buy a book from you.
Your New Book Marketing Strategy
From here on out, you’re no longer allowed to do drive-by book promos on social media. (And I know YOU wouldn’t be doing that anyhow, because that’s not how a pro writer thinks or acts, right?) You’re no longer allowed to only post things that just promo your book.
From here on out, your marketing strategy is the following:
- Build connections with readers and with industry/genre-related people
- Create valuable content that your ideal reader wants and needs
- Share your author message, in whatever way makes sense for you
There’s a lot more to it than that, but these are the foundational pieces of being a success author and successfully marketing your book online.
I got where I am right now with my publishing career because I spent 8+ years of my life building a following, connecting with others in my industry and delivering valuable, kick-ass content (on a consistent basis) that my ideal readers want. I’m now living my dream writing life, and it just gets better and better every day.
If you want to create your dream writing life, where you can write and publish books and actually sell them and make money, you’ve gotta be in it for the long-haul. And this is a long-haul book marketing strategy.
No, it won’t make you sales immediately overnight (unless you’ve already got a bit of a following), but it will help you build an author brand that will make sales–and, eventually, enough sales to support you in being the full-time author you’ve always dreamed of being.
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How do you get the word out about your books?
Are you ready to sell more books?? Doors to my upcoming live-virtual “Sell More Books” workshop will be opening soon! Join the waitlist to be the first to know when the doors are open.
Dave Chesson is an 11-year veteran of the Navy and the founder of Kindlepreneur.com, a site that provides Kindle authors with the tools they need to help more readers find their books.
I met Dave at Jeff Goins’ TRIBE Writers Conference, and right away knew he was someone I needed to talk to for this podcast. He not only runs a popular website that helps Kindle authors find more readers, but he’s also a best selling author himself, and has created a successful business where he now gets to work at home and hang with his kids.
In other words, he’s freaking awesome.
Here are some of my takeaways from the interview:
- Amazon keywords don’t just work for nonfiction books–fiction authors can also take advantage of keywords to help more readers find their books
- When you search for keywords on Amazon, you should use “incognito mode” on the Chrome browser, so Amazon doesn’t know it’s you searching (apparently if Amazon knows it’s you, it skews the search results and shows you different stuff than if it’s someone else searching)
- You can use the same keywords from Amazon to create your Facebook ad copy, which can help you convert readers into book buyers
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What’s your biggest takeaway? Share in the comments.