5 Instant Cures for Slow Book Sales

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Sell your books

How authors boost book sales

a guest post by Dana Sitar

Sometimes you release your self-published book with a bang and sales start pouring in. But when your huge Launch Week efforts start to die down, sales may do the same. It can be disappointing and frustrating to watch things go silent after so much effort and so much success out of the gate, but lulls like this are natural. Know this, when you’re selling ebooks, time is on your side, be patient and keep working.

When sales slow down, here are a few things you can do to re-vamp your efforts and continue moving forward, even when your career as an author feels stagnant:

1. Give books away free. In an increasingly indie and online world, word-of-mouth advertising is your greatest asset. If people aren’t buying your book right now, it’s because they’re not hearing about how great it is. Get your book into the hands of the people who will tell them how great it is. With digital-focused publishing, giving away books is easy and costs you nothing. Don’t be stingy; this is your simplest and greatest marketing tool.

2. Talk to your readers. Follow up with readers who already bought your book or received review copies, and ask what they thought. Prompt them to write a review on their blog, on Goodreads, on Amazon, etc. if they liked it. And be honest — tell them you want to make the book the best it can be, and ask what they didn’t like about it. What might be keeping them from sharing your work?

Reach out, engage your readers who may not have purchased this particular title. Start conversations on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, related forums, and get to know your potential audience. Maybe you’re missing key points about your readers. Do they read books in the format in which you’ve published? Are you offering enough format choices? Are readers searching for new books via the platforms on which you’re advertising? Never be afraid to put yourself out there and ask questions.

3. Read your book. After a break from the manuscript, take a look at your book in its published format. Read it as a reader would — on your Kindle or Nook, not in MS Word. There are virtual readers online that allow you to see a piece as it will appear on Kindle or Nook. What do you see that maybe you missed in the initial production? Double and triple check your editing and formatting, and seriously consider contracting a professional editor or mentor to polish your book. Poor production is a total turn-off for reviewers and for readers, forcing them to keep quiet or to give you low ratings.

4. Talk to other writers. Use your downtime to build your network and learn from what others are doing. You can  pay attention to their techniques — by reading blogs, following them on Twitter, or taking their courses. Or you can reach out to writers with whom you’ve built a rapport. Invite them to read your book (for free, of course) and ask for their feedback, preferably in writing as a review.

5. Write your next book. Don’t stop producing! Keep writing. If sales are lagging and your marketing efforts seem fruitless, don’t get stuck trying to pimp the current book. Give it a rest and work on your next project. Keep moving forward so you don’t obsess or feel down over one book; often having more than one book for sale (especially on Amazon) will increase sales on all of them.

Working on a fresh project might reveal something you didn’t realize about your current book —maybe your writing style changed or improved significantly since you wrote that last one. Can you freshen up the old manuscript to make it fit the new brand you’re building? Writing is a process. Every piece of work you create is part of a body of work. Nothing stands alone, and you’ll feel more positive concentrating on the whole picture rather than getting stuck on a single title.

Self publishing Dana Sitar

Dana Sitar

About the Author
Dana Sitar is a freelance journalist and indie author. Her latest ebook, AWriters Bucket List, is a launching point for all of the possibilities of being a writer, a kick-in-the-butt for those who don’t know what to do next, and a simple guide to help writers forge their own unique career/life paths.

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5 Responses to “5 Instant Cures for Slow Book Sales”

  1. Dana’s here! Yey!

    Great post Dana. 🙂

    I don’t have any experience with launching a book but I do write short stories every now and then for some clients. That’s one of the things I can check off my Writer’s Bucket List. (We gotta start somewhere.)

    No. 5 is really important. I think you should maintain a momentum. And although I write short stories which take less time to complete, I find it difficult to get back up on the saddle when I stop writing them for a week or two.

  2. Congrats on crossing it off your Bucket List 🙂 Great place to start.

    Agreed about momentum — Especially when you’ve just finished a big project, it can be so tempting to take a BIG break. I think that makes it too difficult to keep moving forward.

  3. Do you have recommendations for the best places to offer freebies–both ebook and printed?

  4. Amazon for one, though the competition is tough. Read Dana Sitar’s post on our blog from January 29, I think – here’s the link. She has some cool suggestions.
    http://ontext.com/2013/01/30/publish-your-book-5-things-you-must-do/

    Try Scribd at http://www.scribd.com/

    or

    Globusz
    http://www.globusz.com/

    GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/783177-authors-list-your-free-e-books-here

    and here’s some info from GalleyCat
    http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/free-ebook-promotion_b52130

    Hope that helps! Thanks for coming by, browse this site and see what else we can help you with.

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