So you finally wrote your book. Your friends and writer friends helped edit and now you have a version of your story that you are happy to finally put out to the world for the first time. You made a Facebook page, invited all of your friends, and did a little victory dance for your 32 Likes out of the gate.
Before you send the book to Amazon, ready to make your millions, in increments of $2.17, there are a few things you must consider if you want to sell books.
Why am I writing this article? Because my first book sold less than twenty-five copies in its first year. I published it through Amazon Books, did the Facebook things, sent out a text message and email to every person I ever knew. The first month, 14 copies floated out the door. By the end of the year, only a few more copies were ordered and they all ended up being from friends who later revealed that they had read the first few pages, promising to finish the rest (which never happened.)
So take a look at some of these mistakes so you can avoid making them your own. Here are the mistakes I made.
1) Just because you built it doesn’t mean they’ll come
Amazon sends a monthly report and one thing that is included is your current rank as a best selling author on Amazon. In months that nothing sold, I was in the 260,000 range. In months that one book sold, I moved up to a whopping 160,000 (big money!)
It didn’t take long to realize that having a book on Amazon did not guarantee that people would be purchasing the book. It means that you have moved from the vast world of the unpublished to the slightly smaller ocean of self-published. Publishing is the first step of hundreds. Once you are here, you have only just begun.
2) There wasn’t a drip
In the business world, we have something called a drip campaign. It means making initial contact then periodically making a light touch of communication to them over a period of time. It gives the contact time to get familiar with you before you actually engage them about buying. A drip can be a periodic mailer, subscription to a newsletter or even something as simple as a text message every few months saying, “Hi, how are you? Have you seen the latest success of my book?”
A drip is easy, as long as you are remember to get everyone you talk to involved. If you are making casual conversation in line, have them pull up their smartphone and like your page. Take down their email address, get someone’s phone number, see if they want to buy one of the books you keep in your trunk! I sold a book once in the drive-thru to the bank teller.
3) There wasn’t a plan
My plan, in its entirety, was to get the book launched and then the rest would take care of itself, right? Wrong. You need a promotion plan. Media announcements are simple and we’ll cover getting them published later in this article. Spending an hour on Microsoft Publisher and some cheap stock photos can go a long way toward promoting your book. Besides, creating an artistic outlet helps you relive the creation process you enjoyed in the first place. This (and a little time on Google) can get you a great response on your book and plenty of loyal readers.
4) The media didn’t know a book had been released
No one published a single story about my book. They didn’t know that the greatest story of the modern era had been told. Why didn’t they write anything?
Here’s a big time secret about local media. They have only so many people writing stories and with the growth of the Internet, there is unlimited space to produce content. Old newspapers had so many pages to publish information, then there was a cap. So if someone submits a press release about an aspect of their book, it is likely that a media resource will publish your article for free. You can find plenty of local media agencies from a simple internet search. You can also find emails to submit content on their website.
Your single book can have an unlimited number of press releases. Release day? There’s a press release. Doing a book signing at a local bookstore? There’s another press release. How about an interview about your book? There’s a third press release. Catch my drift?
5) The plan wasn’t written down
The best goals, the best business plans, achieved goals, follow a similar structure. They are written down. After a few months, revisit your written plan and revise goals if they need to be revised.
It makes sense that your first plan won’t be perfect. That’s okay! There’s a saying that shows the importance of writing out your promotion plan for your book: “Always shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will be among the stars.” If you have a written plan before you begin, you have created the formula for success, even if you have to change it along the way.
Hopefully these are helpful for you. You can avoid making the same mistakes I did and sell a lot more copies of your book. Remember that 81% of Americans want to write a book according to the New York Times. 9% of those people actually publish books each year. You have already accomplished something spectacular by finishing the book and publishing it. Heed this article and make it successful! Literature On!