Once upon a time, publishers curated the best books and chose what got published.
The only books published were pretty damn good, finely designed, and released with fanfare including newspaper reviews, media interviews, and publicity events.
These days, there’s a new book published every five minutes.
And most of them will fail
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Not necessarily due to poor quality, although that’s certainly one reason.
But the main reason most books will fail is that not enough people will ever read them.
The book, the content, is important – that’s the thing that will make or break a book.
But to get readers to actually read your book is a huge task.
First it has to show up in front of them somehow. With the millions of things to look out on the web, getting your name or your book in front of your target readers is a challenge.
Then they have to click on it, like the cover enough to read the description, like the description enough to read the reviews, and then maybe they’ll click inside and check out the writing. And if they like that – then they may buy the book.
Most authors are losing readers in droves because they simply haven’t set their book up right.
But let’s assume your cover is great and your Amazon page is well done.
Let’s say you’re ready to start “book marketing.”
What does that even mean?
It’s actually simple, and it’s pretty easy.
What you don’t want to do is get on the biggest platform you possibly can and announce your book to everybody.
You can’t please everyone. And it will take much more effort.
Instead, find your target readers. Find out where they are, what they like, where they spend their time.
Once you know exactly who your readers are, it’s pretty easy to reach them.
You can contact the main blogs or websites they spend time on, for a review or a guest post. Or you can just place an ad directly on the sidebar. You can use Facebook ads to target people who have liked similar books – books in the same genre by well known authors (make sure yours is really as good, or you’ll get disappointed reviews.)
If you know what your readers are searching for or interested in, start writing articles just for them – to entertain, teach or inspire.
In the beginning, if they don’t know who you are, you’ll need to make it even easier to buy.
You can do this by reducing the price – 99cents or free – but that alone won’t convince anyone to buy the book (they have to be interested in the book before they consider pricing).
A more effective method is using trust transfer; find someone they know, like and respect, and get them to review your book. Or, though this is a little shady, you can take a great quote from that person that’s relevant, or that you used in the book, and add it to your website. (Even though they aren’t really recommending your book, the fact that you refer or quote them may win over their fans).
You can also bolster up your author bio, or include writing samples on your site, so they trust that you are a high quality, professional author.
Success begets success
An easy way to sell more books is simply to show up in the top of Amazon’s categories as a bestseller. It doesn’t take much – you just need to focus all your sales in a short period of time (one day). After you hit the top, people will assume your book is amazing because it will be up there with traditionally published bestsellers. Hence the importance of a powerful launch campaign, to get your sales rank up as high as possible.
The other 95%
There’s a whole bunch of other things that other people usually recommend, but they take a lot of work and won’t sell more books. Focus on what works, sell the books, get the reviews – you can do those other things later, if you want… though you’ll never need to.