What helped me to start selling more books?

Liz Broomfield print booksA little while ago, I promised to share what has helped me to up my book sales. I’m hoping that sharing my experience will help other authors to get some ideas, and also that you might share ideas that have worked for you in the comments. A couple of people did comment on the original post and other explorations I undertook via LinkedIn, etc., and I’m sharing their input below.

I’m primarily talking to fellow authors in this one;  if you’re interested in reading my books but not in how I spread the word about them, please do feel free to bail out at this point and pop over to my books page!

I have seen some increases in my book sales recently. While it’s not an exact science, and allowing for random chance, of course, I can put at least some of this down to these factors:

1. Looking at what some book marketing gurus who are also authors have done and emulating them / following their suggestions. Chief of these is Joanna Penn at thecreativepenn.com. While Joanna is a non-fiction editing and podcast transcription client of mine over in my day job, I do also pay great personal as well as professional attention to the information she puts out there. I have been exploring the ideas and services of some of her podcast interviewees, and she’s got a new book out, “Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur“, which is full of useful hints and tips which I duly noted down as I edited! (note: I was not asked or sponsored to include this, none of the links there are affiliate links). If you’re an author looking to increase your sales or become more business-orientated, I highly recommend Joanna’s resources. Things I’ve done include running low-price adverts on author sites, signing up for lists where reporters look for people to interview, and … well, see number 3 for the last one …

2. Being flexible and seeking second, third and fourth opinions / listening to the crowd – I changed the titles of three of my books following feedback from what one might loosely term my ‘tribe’ on Facebook (I wrote about it on one of my other blogs) and relaunched the titles with a bit of a fanfare. I have noted that I’ve had quite a few requests for mentoring from other newly self-employed editors and other self-employed people, so I’m planning a workbook to help people to mentor themselves and a new book designed just for editors and proofreaders (watch this space for more on that in a couple of months). I was told that people would like to see print versions of my business books, so I created low-risk Print on Demand versions that only cost me time and research and are being snapped up by people who prefer to read in print. I’ve listened to what people want and like, and I’ve adapted and grown the books I offer to match that.

3. Taking my books more seriously. All of the above really falls into this. I’ve created this website, I’ve joined LinkedIn groups for authors, I’ve signed up for a challenge-a-day book marketing blog programme (more on that at the end of the month if it works out). If I don’t commit to my books, and keep them sidelined on a side-page on my other websites, why should I expect other people to commit to them? I’ve shared about them regularly on social media and curated collections of photos and reviews to demonstrate readers’ interest in my books.

A few people kindly submitted their proven ideas for marketing their books. Tim Hildred suggested a Twitter hack conducted by a friend: he followed 100 people on Twitter per day, many of whom looked at his profile when they received the notification of his follow.  They clicked on the link in his Twitter profile to his free book, and he sold more copies of his following book. This is an interesting idea, although it would take a bit of work and you would need to make sure you weren’t being spammy.  Madi Preda who has written a book on book marketing (thus making us go all round in circles!) suggested a launch party on Facebook and also getting ARC copies out there and promoting on Goodreads.

So, are any of these tips useful for you? What have you done that has improved your book sales?

My own books are here. If you are an author-entrepreneur, you might find something of interest in this one and this one. Happy reading!

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