Selling Books

The biggest, brashest and most successful authors are in the business of writing books, while their legacy publishers are in the business of selling books. If you're a self-published author, you're not only in the business of both but you also need to be able to sell yourself. I've learned a lot from my year and chance in self-publishing and selling books is one of the most difficult tasks I've ever taken on. While I'm fortunate enough to have sold over 6,000 copies of my books, I still cannot say with complete certainty if I know a formula for the selling books process.

When I was just starting out, I thought that the most important thing to do was to protect my book. If I ever even considered giving someone my book, even as a review copy, I asked him or her to sign a non-disclosure agreement. I was extremely afraid that someone would steal it. Now, of course, copyright theft can happen from time to time and it causes a select few people some major heartache. For the most part though, nobody is going to steal your book and giving away free copies for review is a big part of selling books. One of my biggest book sales days in the first couple of weeks was the day after a blogger reviewed the book. Even though it wasn't completely glowing, I sold over five in a day (which was huge for me at the time).

I then proceeded to freak out and try to get as many reviewers as possible. That's when I learned the second rule of selling books. Just because one method increases your sales once, does not mean that it will work every time. It's a strange game, book selling, and while a review may work one day, several other reviews may lead to no sales. My sales have even gone down some months after getting multiple 5-star reviews on Amazon. Why is that the case? I have no idea, but that's a good third ground rule: don't panic when your sales go down. There's little you can do to directly control sales on a day-to-day basis, what's important is the work that you put in to increase your sales in the long term.

There are many little things that you improve your goal of selling your books, such as posting on forums, keeping up a blog, writing guest posts, sending out digital copies and asking your friends to post about them on Facebook. There are several things in the middle you can do, such as doing a giveaway on Goodreads, doing a blog tour and sending promotional material to book stories. In addition, there are some huge things you can do like coming up with a giant advertising campaign or buying kindles to giveaway on your blog. Here's the thing about all of these activities. The most important aspect of selling books is to become profitable as soon as possible. A huge $500 advertising campaign might sell you 50 books or so, but if you're only getting $2 a book, that still puts you down $400.

Do as many free things as possible until you get into the black on your book. If things are going well, you could then considering testing the waters for advertising your book or spending money to give away a few copies. Selling copies of your book is great, but it's not great if you're actually losing money to sell additional copies.

Selling your books is by no means easy, but if you put in a little bit of work each day, you're bound to sell more than if you're sitting on your hands or refreshing your Amazon Kindle stats every few hours :).

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