Many people dream of writing a book. Some actually take the steps required to write it and get it into print, either through traditional publishers or through self-publishing. But only a very small number are able to make any money selling books. The sad reality is that the hard work of writing and publishing a book is only about 10% of what it takes to be a successful author. At least 90% of the process involves selling your book.
Today’s Kryptonite: Marketing and Selling!
Today’s show is sponsored by Free Agent Press.
Free Agent Press specializes in Do It For You Self-Publishing.
You write, and they help you get it out there. Visit FreeAgentPress.com to learn more!
Why does my art need to be sold?:
- It doesn’t have to be sold. You can write your book, print one copy, give it to your mom, and make her happy. That’s perfectly fine. But if you want to share your message with the world, it’s going to take more work.
- This isn’t just about money. It’s about providing value and sharing your message as widely as possible.
- People don’t always value what is free
- If they pay for it, they’ll value it and are more likely to read it
- We are capitalists and this is a business podcast, so let’s talk about making money from your books.
- The truth is, recouping your costs and making a profit is going to take a lot of work.
- If you want to be compensated for the time you invested in creating your masterpiece, get ready to work even harder.
What do I have to do to get sales?:
- Just like any product or service, you need to have a marketing plan for your book. It doesn’t have to be fancy, and will vary depending on your sales goals. But don’t expect to put it on Amazon and become an instant bestseller.
- Your marketing plan should generally consider three phases of time: pre-launch, launch, and post-launch
- This is the time when you’re still working on finishing up the book and getting ready to release it to the world.
- Just like movies have trailers months in advance of a release date, you need to do what you can to generate buzz about your book before it is released.
- One great way to do that is through the formation of a book launch team. Aim to get 50-100 people from your inner circle excited to help with the book launch. They serve as your advisors and evangelists.
- Give them special early access to the book. Let them help with things like deciding cover design options or even the book’s title. They get to read it first and fall in love with it, then spread the word about the book when it launches. They will also provide book endorsements and early reviews online.
- Pre-sales with lots of bonus offers can also help sales and attention just before you launch. You may also consider crowdfunding your book, which can help defray publication costs.
- Check out the website for James’ new book, ChallengeAccepted.info, where you can see examples of this process in work.
- Your launch should be as carefully coordinated as you can manage. Big books have big launches with the hopes of selling enough copies the first week to make the bestseller lists (which are not an indication of quality, but large, short-term sales).
- If you aren’t that big, you can still work with your launch team to have a good start. Make it a celebration, but make it easy for them to share information about the book.
- Create graphics and links that can be shared. Have excerpts of the book or chapter one available for anyone to preview. Create as much buzz as you can.
- Get booked on podcasts and any media outlets possible.
- Think like a marketer…how can you get positive attention online and in the media for your book?
- Eventually the circus of attention for your book launch will die down and sales will slow.
- But that doesn’t mean you stop promoting the book. Continue to do interviews and seek reviews. Take on speaking opportunities, which are great venues to sell books (if you’re in the right audience and a decent speaker).
- The great part about a book is that once it’s produced, it can continue to sell for a long time and bring in passive income. But actively working to sell your book will push the sales cycle and keep the book alive in the market.
How do I set my sales expectations?:
- Sales expectations are a lot like goal setting. Be ambitious but realistic. Having a good number of Facebook friends or likes will help, but that alone won’t make your book a bestseller.
- Most self-published books won’t sell more than 100 copies, and traditionally published books are successful with just a few thousand sold. Expecting to sell millions of books is probably unrealistic, especially for a first book.
- Assess the quality and size of your platform, as well as the market for your book.
- Set an aggressive goal and determine how hard you are going to work to make it happen. Too many writers are focused exclusively on writing. That’s okay, but they won’t sell a lot of books unless someone else is selling it (which almost never happens).
- This is important, especially when considering how many of your books to order for yourself. If you order 5000 books, you’ll have a full garage and angry spouse unless you know you can sell every last one.
- Print on demand and self-publishing gives you flexibility. You can test the market and order smaller quantities. Each book will cost a bit more, but you can lower your overall investment and risk while you grow an audience.
- Online sales are great, because you don’t have to do anything. But when orders come into your website, you have to fulfill the orders. Don’t ignore the time it takes or the cost of packaging and shipping.
- The idea of being a writer is still a romantic vocation. The realities are much different for more than 99.9% of writers. It’s a business, it’s a job, and it takes hard work. But it’s a lot of fun, especially when someone reads your book and it changes their life. Even if it doesn’t pay off financially, that makes it all worth the effort, whether you sold one copy or one million.
- Make a conscious decision that your books are for sale or just a fun project.
- If it’s for sale, create a suitable marketing plan and recruit a launch team.
- Set ambitious but realistic sales goals, then do the work to hit those goals!