Don’t You Dare Self-Publish That Book!

….before having a sales plan for it.

Ahhh…

Feel so relieved now.

I had this burden on my chest, listening to so many authors everyday telling me excitedly how they can see their book being the bestseller. Fast forward 3 or 12 months with the same once, starry-eyed-writers transforming into gloomy-voiced-authors, questioning themselves, what did they do wrong? Why did Life curse them this way that they had such little book sales?

I owe it to them, and to you, to let you know that yes, there was a mistake, not in the book, but how it was birthed prematurely, before its time; it needed a proper arrival with people waiting expectantly for it for weeks or even months before, you the proud parent, I mean, the writer revealed the name of your book.

One statistic says that an average author sells 250 copies of their book in their lifetime. That is not a lot of books. Do not be an average author.

So if you have another book lurking in your mind or soul, before you bring it into this world, please devote 6-9 months to diverse set of sales strategies.

Setting Up Book Sales Calendar to Get Sales Rolling In

Being an author is being an entrepreneur, and every business needs a continuous supply of customers to keep going. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the nitty gritty of getting and maintaining book sales.

When it comes to marketing a book, there are three phases that you need to focus on:

  1. Pre-publishing
  2. During publishing
  3. Post-publishing

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Pre-publishing phases includes strategies you need to set up before your book goes through book production process. This should be done at least 1-4 weeks before your books is ready to be published. If it is earlier, the better. These strategies are:

  1. Author website: Have one central point of online information about you as an author and your books. It can be a blog, but preferably a professional website. start with a super basic site, of 3-4 pages that has about you, events, books and contact pages. It is a very cost-effective strategy and should not cost more than $300-$500.

Some upgrades to consider:

  • SEO and Google Analytics integration
  • Blog
  • Book plugins
  • Selling your books directly from your site, along with Amazon

Action: Have a website ready by: Choose a date 4 weeks before the preferred publishing date.

2. Facebook and/or Instagram: social media can be a black hole of ineffectiveness. If you aren’t careful you’ll lose a lot of valuable book marketing time just because you think it should be part of your marketing.

One site that has been quite effective for many indie authors is Facebook. Initially, you will need to set up your fan page, then set up an advertising campaign.

Action: Have 10,000 book fans by: Choose a date 3 weeks before the preferred publishing date.

  1. Pre-sell: Once you have a website and Facebook page set up and have over 10,000 fans, you can pre-sell it: through your network of family and friends, Facebook, Amazon, church, etc.

Action: a date 2 weeks before the preferred publishing date.

  • presell to ______ by:
  • presell to ______ by:
  • presell to ______ by:
  • presell to ______ by:
  1. Book signing events and bookstore consignments: You will need 5 events in the first month of being launched to boost sales.

Action: a date 1 week before the preferred publishing date.

  • Have 1st book event set up by:
  • Have 2nd book event set up by:
  • Have 3rd book event set up by:
  • Have 5th book event set up by:

During publishing. The factors that influence your book’s accessibility and attraction to a new reader are:

  1. Title research: Choose a creative title, then choose a concise subtitle with SEO-effective keywords.Price: we saw this a lot in 2018 where authors were pricing books too high, this is especially true for eBooks. Never price your books in such a way that they are no longer competitive with their markets. If you want to sell more books, price them so the audience will buy.
  2. Book cover: This is a surprisingly big deal. But I saw it a lot in 2018 where covers weren’t quite what the genre demanded. genres generally demand a certain “look” and we know this because a thriller cover and a cover for a holiday romance are vastly different. The same is true for a text-book vs. a self-help book. Be aware that you need to “match” your genre, otherwise your book will seem like an odd-ball book. And readers do judge a book by its cover, so having something that mirrors others in the genre is not only helpful, it’s a must if you want to sell more books.
  3. Genre choice: Its going to be very important to pick a genre and cater to it. By “cater” to it I mean making sure your cover aligns with the genre, that your book speaks to that genre, and that you actually pick the right genre for your book. A lot of authors I speak to aren’t clear on their genre. You shouldn’t even be considering publishing unless you know, without question, what genre you’re in. Book sales only happen when your book is in a clearly defined market. Don’t make the reader try to guess what your book is about or where it belongs! Part of getting a clear picture of your genre also involves getting a really good understanding of your reader and what makes them tick, and more importantly, what makes them buy the books they choose.

Post-publishing marketing:

  1. Submission to literary awards:

Action: This should be in the first week of your book launch.

  • Have 1st award submission by:
  • Have 2nd award submission by:
  • Have 3rd award submission  by:
  • Have 5th award submission  by:

2. Book-to-movie option:

Action: Submission date. This should be in the first week of your book launch.

3.  Write more books: Why do you need more books? Because more books are actually, and surprisingly, easier to sell than just one.When you market one book (this is especially true for books in a series), you drive attention to all the books in your library, not just one – and this helps you sell more books. It’s sort of like having multiple storefronts, same theory, only with books. And if you plan your investment right, you don’t have to spend a ton of each book. Editing yes, excellent cover yes, but none of this has to cost you a fortune. Though remember, publishing is a business and as such, you should plan to make an investment before you see a return on this investment. Having multiple books will help you reach that book sales and book marketing goal much quicker.

4. Press release submissions:

Action: This should be in the first week of your book launch.

  • Have 1st submission by:
  • Have 2nd submission by:
  • Have 3rd submission  by:
  • Have 5th submission  by:

5. Build a system around your book: program, course, workshop, seminars, webinars, etc. Don’t just promote your book, promote you, your book and the whole system to leverage each other simultaneously.

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Author: Alex White

Marketing Director

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