03 Aug 2016

You want to sell your books? Learn to Market!


Make a Living as a Professional Self-Published AuthorI am a member of quite a few writing groups on Facebook, LinkedIn or elsewhere, plus a few critique groups in the local area. The writers in these groups are at all experience levels, from the beginner who is struggling through his first chapter of his first book to the seasoned author who is about to publish her third historical novel. A few, a dozen out of several hundred authors, have published at least one book through a traditional publishing house, but that avenue is a difficult road.

A few authors have gotten caught up with a “pay to publish” publishing house, at prices which generally start at a thousand dollars and rapidly go up from there. Without fail, every single writer who has paid for publishing, at least to my knowledge, comes away with a sour taste in their mouth about the whole experience. Generally, the publishing part of these programs goes very well, but the marketing portion is more or less a failure.

The vast majority of writers these days are going the self-publishing route for getting their books available to the public. Amazon and other companies allow anyone to publish at no charge (or in the came of IngramSpark, for a small fee.) Mastering the steps to self-publishing can be challenging, but once you’ve gone through it once or twice, it becomes second nature.

It is at this point, when a writer becomes a publisher and pushes the “publish it!” button, is when the self-publishing process falls apart. By the time, an author has, at the very least, written a book and worked it through the publishing process. That is quite an accomplishment and anyone who makes it this far should feel good about themselves.

At this point, the book needs to be sold, and a whole new dynamic called “marketing takes over. For most writers, the efforts to market their books are much like climbing Mount Everest, because marketing and selling requires a whole different skill set than writing and publishing.

Because of this fact, most authors can expect to sell less than a hundred copies, and, sadly, the vast majority of those sales will be to family and friends.

When I first began my writing journey, I was caught up in this same conundrum. I can write and publish a good-sized Kindle book every single week, but market that book? I didn’t have that skillset at all. I had no idea how to get my books to sell.

This is a problem which I had no choice about resolving. It was either figure out how to make my books sell or go back to a “real job”, you know, one of those 9 to 5 things.

Like many authors, I spent countless hours searching the web for articles and courses to become knowledgeable about this subject. I took over a hundred courses, attended almost two hundred webinars, read dozens of books and bought countless fad or even scam products in the attempt to make sales happen.

In other to make a living while I worked on selling my books, I became a freelance writer, and soon was earning enough income to pay the bills and live a good life. However, freelancing is hard work and it tend to be “feast or famine”; in other words, getting that check or paycheck it can be stressful at times.

I’ve learned a few things about marketing books, and I’m gaining more knowledge very day. So far, I’ve got 32 books for sale on Amazon, and half a dozen are selling regularly. One of the books, Focus on LinkedIn, became an Amazon bestseller, and I’m working a few other of my books through the process.

This series of articles, of which this is the first, will relate my journey through this jungle called “marketing”. In future posts, I’ll share some of my successes, and how I made them happen, as well as some of the failures so you can know what to avoid. You can expect to see at least one of these posts every week.

I hope you learn from my journey and are able to create your own bestseller.

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The publishing process has become much easier than it was even a year or two ago; it’s the marketing side of the business that eludes most authors.


I am looking forward to learning more about marketing!

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