You’re a self-publishing author. You have a blog. You wonder why your blog isn’t helping you to sell more books. You’re starting to think that blogging is a colossal waste of your time and energy.
It’s not, I promise you. Blogging can help you to sell more books, more consistently.
The self-publishing author has one concern: sell more books
“I want to sell more books!” I hear this plaintive wail over and over again. Not only from my writing students, but also from blog readers.
However, when I click over to the author’s blog, nine times out of ten my immediate reaction is… You could have fooled me.
Yes, there are a couple of books in the blog’s sidebar, but little else. Often these books aren’t even linked to the product page on Amazon, or anywhere else.
- Your sidebar;
- Your blog’s footer;
- Pages on your blog;
- If you have a self-hosted WordPress blog, install MyBookTable.
You need to ensure that your blog’s real estate offers lots of opportunities for you to promote your books, AND for readers to EASILY BUY THEM. Getting a visitor to your blog is a huge accomplishment, please don’t waste website visits.
Now let’s look at some tips.
1. Create campaigns for each of your books: and target specifically
A huge challenge authors have when they want to sell more books is a lack of understanding of their book’s audiences.
Each of your books (ebooks too, of course), whether nonfiction or fiction has a specific audience. Often, there’ll be more than one audience. To sell more books, you’ll need to create a marketing campaign for each book, and for each of the audiences for that book.
For example, here’s one of my books, the Easy Write Process.
Let’s say I wanted to create a campaign to sell more copies.
I’d start by thinking about the audiences for that book, by listing possibilities. Audiences might include:
- Bloggers, who need to write a lot;
- Social media marketers, ditto;
- New writers of both fiction and nonfiction;
- Established writers of fiction, and nonfiction…
Without breaking your brain, I’m SURE that YOU could come up with at least two audiences for your book.
Your next step is to choose ONE of those audiences, and create a mini marketing campaign. Just a small one, so that you get an understanding of the marketing process.
Your campaign could include:
- Ten blog posts;
- 30 social media mentions over the next month;
- Two online press releases;
- 20 blog comments over the next month…
Your campaign can include anything you like. What you include is completely up to you. It’s vital however that you do know what your campaign will entail, how much time it will take you, and that you schedule your time.
If you’re already selling books, you can hire someone to do some of this work for you. That said, you can’t just toss all this into someone’s lap — YOU need to know, and create, a specific brief for each promotional venue.
You’re thinking that this will take time?
Yes, indeed it will. Looking on the bright side — each blog post you write increase your reach, so it’s well worth doing. Today, there’s a lot of competition for attention online, so to sell more books, you need to plan, and act.
2. Discover the power of social media (it’s not an instant fix)
Social media — Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest et al — is a big challenge for authors. Not because social media is hard, or boring, but because authors imagine that there’s an instant fix. Craft ten tweets, sell ten books.
It doesn’t exactly work that way… 😉
On social media, you need to build followers, as well as promote. That means that you can’t just promote your own stuff. You need to engage, and post others’ stuff as well as your own.
I suggest to my students that they schedule a few minutes every day, to post on ONE social media network, just to build awareness and build followers. Then your social media account is primed and ready for you use in your campaigns (see our first tip.)
3. Use social media to make more contacts: use other people’s audiences
You have a bunch of followers on social media.
Now it’s time to expand your reach, by using other people’s audiences.
Start by promoting the content of the people into whose audiences you’d like to tap. Comment on their blog posts. Mention them in your own blog posts.
Then, when you’ve done that for a while, suggest a collaboration.
This takes time. You won’t be able to do it in your first few campaigns. Much depends your audience — grow it, so that it’s appealing to others.
4. Be prepared to make an effort: WRITE and sell
This is a huge challenge for many authors. It’s hard to keep writing your books, AND to market them at the same time. It’s a challenge for everyone, but if you want to sell more books, you’ll need to do it.
Create campaigns, and follow your campaigns.
5. Set ONE major goal: build your mailing list
The bigger your mailing list, the more books you will sell.
Building that list however, takes time.
Expect that it will take time, and that you’ll need to build your mailing list one reader at a time.
When an author tells me: “yes, but I only have five people on my list”, I congratulate them, because:
- They have a mailing list;
- They know it’s important; and…
- They can grow their list to ten people, then 100, then 500 and then 5,000.
The more people you have on your list, the easier it is to grow that list — and “the more people” proviso applies to everything.
The more readers you have, the more books you will sell
All of the above tips will help you to get readers, and sell more books.
The more readers you have, the more you will get. Success breeds success.
Everyone starts at zero. I often suggest to authors that your first five followers on your blog, or on a social media account, or on your mailing list, are the hardest. It gets easier. 🙂
If you’ve read this far, please take the next step: spend five minutes creating a campaign, and start selling more books. You can do it. 🙂
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