I hate receiving messages like: “My book isn’t selling, what do I do now?” Writing a book is hard, self-publishing is hard too. The fact that you’ve written a book wins you huge kudos — good for you. Now it’s time to buckle yourself in, and look on self-publishing as a business.
Here’s the good news. Just because your book isn’t selling right now, it doesn’t mean that it will never sell. In traditional publishing, if your book doesn’t sell, in three months it gets pulped. In self-publishing, your book is available forever.
The self-publishing competition is heating up: accept it (this is good news)
Well over 100,000 new ebooks hit the Kindle Store every month. I just checked, and in the past 30 days, 107,691 new titles have been added to the Kindle Store.
So, if you’re just hitting the Publish button, and are then sitting back waiting for sales, you need to be aware of the huge competition, and do a little more.
I talked about slumping book sales in this post, and advised:
You can start with doing more marketing, yes. However, that’s a slippery slope. You can spend too much on advertising, more than you’re likely to recoup in sales. My advice to “help! my sales are dropping” calls from self-publishers starts with advising them to go back to basics.
That post has never been more relevant. It’s no longer enough to publish, now you need to actively promote your books — and sometimes even that won’t help. Authors are reporting that their sales from Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) ads and Facebook ads are woeful.
What’s an author to do?
- Don’t panic — business operates in cycles;
- Get busy: be ready for the cycle to move upward.
1. Understand business cycles: you’re self-publishing, so you’re a PUBLISHER
Here’s the thing. Amazon’s Kindle set off a gold rush. Check the freelance marketplaces. You’ll find many “writer wanted” projects there.
Buyers are willing to hire writers to write books. They’re investing a few hundred dollars in each book,and are then publishing the ebooks on Amazon. They wouldn’t be doing that if they weren’t making money.
Please stop thinking of yourself as an “author”. Ditch your ego. Stop panicking and start thinking like a publisher.
Here’s how publishers think: they expect to publish duds, because no one knows what will sell. No one. As a rule of thumb, out of every ten books published, most will sell few copies. One or two might make reasonable sales. Out of a few thousand books published, one will be bestseller.
Not so. Self-publishing is a HUGE opportunity.
2. Get busy: self-publishing CAN be a gold mine
Look at it this way. Many thousands of authors are making great money on Amazon, because they’re writing good books, and are doing their best to promote those books. A few authors are making thousands of dollars a day; most are making nowhere near that.
However, when I see buyers hunting for people to write their books on the outsourcing sites, I know that opportunities exist.
So get busy: produce more good books.
Recall that you’re a publisher, and publishers publish more than one book a year, or one book a quarter. They publish as many books as they can.
Please realize that I’m not suggesting that you dump a lot of junk on the online book retailers. That helps no one. You’re wasting your own time. Write the best books you can, and keep self-publishing.
One dud book is nothing, and as we’ve suggested, it may take off next month or next year.
In the meantime…
I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly.More info →
Write Fast, Write Well: How To Be Prolific, and Sell – Powerful tips to increase your writing income
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