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Best Book Sales Strategies

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Here are the most effective strategies for selling more books.

Here are the most effective strategies for selling more books.


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  • 1. Most Effective Strategies for High Book Sales Compiled by Ezra Barany
  • 2. The Respondents To discover the most effective strategies for self-published authors to sell more books, I addressed my questions to the following: •Representatives of Print-On-Demand (POD) companies •Representatives of self-publishing service providers •Successful authors* *To qualify as a successful author, the author had to have sold at least 1,000,000 books.
  • 3. Top Complaint – Responder A
  • 4. Top Complaint – Responder B
  • 5. Top Complaint – Responder C
  • 6. Top Complaint – Responder D
  • 7. Top Complaint – Responder E
  • 8. Top Complaint – Responder F
  • 9. Top Complaint – Responder G
  • 10. Top Complaint - Takeaway Most self-published authors are often surprised at how their books don’t sell well and they don’t know how to sell their books. The most effective ways to resolve the problem is to make the books visible. Have them stand out, whether by crafting prominent covers, by placing the book in appropriate environments, creating merchandise, promoting on blogs, etc.
  • 11. Number of Book Sales How many books can self-published authors expect to sell? A B There’s no “typical” range. Some have been monster hits (Amanda Hocking; EL James; Hugh Howey; Barbara Freethy; etc.) which sell millions; some don’t sell any copies at all. Since we work with so many independent authors as well as publishers and agents, the range will be all over the map. This is a hard question to answer because it all depends on the self published author and the amount of work they put behind their book. Marketing dollars help but wont guarantee sales. I have met authors that have sold 100’s of copies per month and others that struggle to get 10 sales. It all depends on the book, the author, the story behind the story, the attention the book is receiving, etc. There have been some very very successful self published authors, i.e. Hugh Howey, who have sold a large amount of copies.
  • 12. Number of Book Sales How many books can self-published authors expect to sell? C E Average sales depends on the quality of the book. Since most sales of self-published books are to people the author knows, the number of sales depends on how many people the author knows. Responders D, F, and G were not asked this question.
  • 13. Number of Book Sales - Takeaway Any self-published author who manages to sell 10 books a month is doing better than most self-published authors.
  • 14. Resources for Self-Published Authors What resources do you offer self-published authors? B C Informed publishing. Our platform provides every author with advanced analytics of their campaign so they can identify who exactly their audience is and the best way to connect with them. We offer website development, book videos, book tours, press releases, marketing planning with a marketing expert, bookmarks and business cards. We provide them with marketing techniques for successful crowdfunding that can easily carry over to book publishing. We try to teach authors what they can do to promote themselves and their book at minimal cost.
  • 15. Resources for Self-Published Authors What resources do you offer self-published authors? D E We offer post production marketing support. We've worked with some authors for years. We have a Facebook page with a community of authors. We design websites, book trailers, business cards, and other promotional materials. We have an online forum where the authors can chat, and online customer service. We coach authors how to leverage professional reviews. We also offer press releases and social media support. Responders A, F, and G were not asked this question.
  • 16. Resources - Takeaway Educating the authors is key to help them increase their sales. Provide them with their options and let them discover which marketing and sales strategies they feel most comfortable practicing. So many resources are available, it may be wise to prioritize which marketing and sales strategies tend to work best. That can give the author the ability to focus on effective marketing, and allow them to still have time for writing.
  • 17. SEO Title Analysis I help my clients by applying search engine optimization (SEO) to their titles so that targeted readers will stumble upon their books easily. In your opinion, is that a worthwhile strategy or am I barking up the wrong tree? A B C Yes. This can help, either with metadata, and title keyword optimization on Google and sites like Amazon. Also, cover design really matters in sales, and we can help with this as well. I believe a majority of book sales do not come from someone “stumbling upon” a book, but rather through word-of-mouth. So, although I’m sure this strategy may work at times, finding a way to create a buzz around a book is probably more of a worthwhile venture. Yes, SEO for the title is a good strategy. SEO in posts, as well.
  • 18. SEO Title Analysis I help my clients by applying search engine optimization (SEO) to their titles so that targeted readers will stumble upon their books easily. In your opinion, is that a worthwhile strategy or am I barking up the wrong tree? D E G Yes. Title analysis using SEO sounds like a good idea. Yes. A good title is vital. I've never used SEO to determine my book's title, however, I do check on Amazon if there are other books out there with the same title, and if yes, I generally change my title since I prefer to have a more unique, less used title. Responder F was not asked this question.
  • 19. SEO Title Analysis - Takeaway Since most book sales are via word-of-mouth, using SEO title analysis to help browsing readers stumble upon a book will not do much to improve sales. However, it can help with providing the traffic to the sales page, getting those initial readers to discover the book. Once the book is discovered by those few readers, word-of-mouth sales can follow.
  • 20. Effective Strategies and Advice What effective strategies would you suggest or advice would you give to authors? A B Writers workshops, and keeping writing. There’s no “magic bullet” for authors to get more sales, and there are many predatory companies which prey on the hopes and dreams of authors and sell them on marketing/PR packages costing thousands (or tens of thousands) of dollars, when either the author isn’t ready, or the title has too limited of a genre-audience. Best advice I can give is for authors to focus on the writing, improve and get feedback, create more content, network and promote within their chosen genre, and study success stories of similar authors. Authors, whether traditionally or selfpublished, are their own biggest advocates. It’s up to the authors to build their platform, market themselves, and build a buzz around their book. The biggest resource for authors is their own network and learning how to build, maintain and rally that network.
  • 21. Effective Strategies and Advice What effective strategies would you suggest or advice would you give to authors? E F Know your audience. Target to a specific niche, fill a need, and be one of the only books on the market to fill that need. It's best if you are a part of that market. Know where your audience shops. Keep publishing, and expect to see success after the tenth book is out. If writing is the author's best skill, they need to stick to that. Most of our successful authors spend under 5 hours a week marketing. Write books that people want to buy, not necessarily books that people want to read.
  • 22. Effective Strategies and Advice What effective strategies would you suggest or advice would you give to authors? G Make the first book in a series free. Offer giveaways of the book in exchange for posting the book's information on Facebook. Offer giveaways to get people to sign up for your newsletter (and then use that list to announce your new releases). Paid ads haven't been useful for me at all. Facebook and Google ads didn't seem to work. Be patient. It’s a long road to success. You’ll probably not make it on the first book. You might need five before you succeed. You might not make it in the market you’re targeting. A book might not sell very well in the US, but might take off in another country. For example, a contemporary romance I published in English in the US did ok, but didn’t sell hugely. I translated it into German and sold boatloads of copies! You just never know where and when you’ll hit it. Just stick with it. Responders C and D were not asked this question.
  • 23. Effective Strategies and Advice - Takeaway To make more book sales: • Discover what your readers desire, • Fill a need that has not yet been filled, • Write a series of books for that specific niche, • Make the first book free, • Offer the book series where your market shops, • And be sure the series stands out. The sweet spot seems to be a minimum of ten books in the series. In conclusion, spend less time marketing, and more time publishing books people want.
  • 24. Final Thoughts Since word-of-mouth is the major factor of sales, a good investment can be to find authors who plan to self-publish, and educate them on how to stimulate word-of-mouth sales. I help my clients become bestseller by teaching them the four aspects of a book that can generate word-of-mouth sales: 1.Controversy (The Da Vinci Code) 2.A major plot twist (The Sixth Sense) 3.Insight into celebrities and careers (JFK) 4.Inspiration (Life of Pi)
  • 25. About Ezra Barany Ezra Barany is a book mentor in Oakland, CA, and is the award-winning author of the bestselling thriller The Torah Codes. He has published a total of three novels and six short stories, many of which are published under a pen name and are also bestsellers. He is now seeking to work at a publishing company to help authors on a larger scale.

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