wonder why one book becomes famous or successful while their book languishes,
unable to surge beyond a level of stunted growth. They will quickly assume that
these best-sellers got there because the authors are famous or knew someone who
could pull strings and favors. They will believe those publishers poured time
and money into selling the book. They even believe the books that sell well are
actually great books. None of the above is necessarily true, meaning there are
plenty of reasons behind why a book sells — and doesn’t.
Here are 60 factors that you should let marinate on your brain. Be aware of the proven elements that dictate sales and use this checklist to realistically explore what you can -- and are willing to -- do to drum up sales of your book.
1. Price – Is it priced to sell? Too high, and some people can’t afford it. Too low, and people don’t value it.
2. Format – Is it available in multiple formats – audio, e-book, paperback, hardcover? Make content available in as many convenient forms as possible.
3. Title – Is it catchy or dumb; hard to spell or easy to remember?
Does it -- or the sub-title, at least say what it is? Are their searchable SEO
words in the title?
4. Cover – Looks count – does it draw us to it or away from it? Look
at the typeface, font, colors, and images used.
5. Layout/Packaging – Is the font size, page quality, typeface, interior
layout, and flow of the book smooth? If it looks unappealing it becomes
unreadable -- and unsellable.
6. Content Subject
Matter – Is it niche
or popular – do you have a big pool of readers to solicit? If your book only
serves the needs and interests of a very narrow group, sales efforts must be
specifically targeted to such readers.
7. Writing Style – Yes, words matter. Are you luring people in with the way
you say things? Is the vocabulary level suitable? Do you speak the lingo of
8, Editing – People will not buy a book that has misspellings or
poorly edited text.
9. Competition – Your book does not exist in isolation. Are you better
than competing books on your topic – and perceived to be more valuable than all
other content sources, free or paid?
10. Timing – Is your book timely and relevant to today’s world, news
cycles, holidays, anniversaries, seasons, and mindset?
need to be able to buy your book, not just on amazon, so make sure it is
available through various distribution channels, stores, and sites.
12. News Media
– Are you
getting exposure for your book on TV, radio, podcasts, blogs, magazines,
newspapers, and websites? If not, start chirping it up.
– You have
free and paid opportunities to sell your book, from webinars and seminars, to
appearances at book stores, libraries, conferences, campuses, churches, associations,
businesses, non-profits, and wherever people gather. These events can sell
books like crazy.
14. Social Media – Are you actively pursuing a build-up of new connections
on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, LinkedIn, Instagram, or Pinterest? The more people you know, the more likely your
posts will circulate and influence sales.
15. Your Content:
Blog, Podcast, Video – Are you
posting content often and regularly – and leading people back to your book? It
is a numbers game. Content goes out, sales come in.
16. Web Site – Is your site in good shape? Does it offer your book for
sale – with incentives to buy it? Is it easy to read and navigate? Do you have
the right mix of SEO terms sprinkled across the site? Is it up-to-date?
–Do you have
a publisher who actively sells and promotes your book? Lean on them and
collaborate – but don’t rely on them.
18, POD – Is your book only print-on-demand? That can hurt your
chances of getting into bookstores. Switch publishers if that is the case. Or
consider printing up 500, or 1000 or more books that can be sent to stores and
available for returns, which is what stores need.
qualified people singing your praises? Is it posted in your book, on your site,
in your press release, and on your social media? Brag! Third-party validation
20. Your Voice/Looks – Yes, how you sound and appear can influence book sales,
so seize control of what you can and make the most of what you’ve got. Look at
your style of dress, hair, jewelry, mannerisms, accent, level of vocabulary,
21. Your Energy/Passion/Persona – People buy on personality and enthusiasm – so show some.
Sound excited, enthusiastic, and optimistic. Present a personality they can
22. Your Qualifications/Experiences – What you say is important – and so is who says it – so highlight why you are well positioned to be the best person to write your book.
23. Education – How well do you know book marketing tactics? Enroll in a course, read a book/blog/magazine that counsels on book promotions, and pursue new ways and best practices.
24. Experiment – Try new ways and take some risks to break through book sales barriers.
25. Creative – Use that savvy side of yours to exploit your creative ways to sell books.
26. Confidence – Believe in yourself and project 100% confidence in your writings so that people get the right vibe from you.
Mindset – Open your eyes. There is opportunity all around you. Look at
everyone you know, every place you go, and every activity as one who may be
able to help you. All you need to do is be aware and ask for help or
– Make a trade. Everyone perceives value differently. Think of who can do
something for you and offer to trade something that you can do for them that
doesn’t cost you much by way of time or money.
– Call in favors from anyone you know. Explore what they can do to help – and
ask them to do so.
–You can recruit more sales by getting other people to sell your book – and
they earn a commission. See the attached list, for example: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/best-affiliate-programs
– Reach out to places where you have a connection and pursue sales with Alumni
Association, your church, your hobby, work colleagues or business customers, a
charity that you are active in, family, friends, neighbors, and casual
– Once you hit a best-seller list, it becomes even easier to get sales because
sales beget sales. Your fame becomes a credential.
33. Bundling – You can sell your book with other things that you offer – a webinar, another book, a course, or some other product. You can also team with another author and sell your books as a package deal.
34. E-mail Blasts – The name of the game is to build up your list of contacts and email them a book sale offer. Even better, get those you email to also email your offer to their lists.
35. Courses – If you create an online course, you can sell extras, such as your book
36. Fliers – Go old school and pay a teen ten bucks an hour off the book to hawk your tome – or set up a lemonade stand for your book
37. Write Articles For Local Rags, Websites, or Trade Publications – Pen free articles with anyone who will accept them – and build your media resume while mentioning your book..
38. Paid For Radio Show – Want to buy cheap air time on a local radio station and turn it into an infomercial or radio show to promote your brand and book?
39. Paid Book Reviews – Some publications and websites allow you to pay for an interview to be posted. These can give the public the perception your book has a following and serve to legitimize your book.
40. Giveaways – Free is a strategy. Give books away in hopes of getting
word-of-mouth and positive reviews, leading to the seduction of buyers. Another
strategy? Create a free item that advertises your book. For instance, create a
30-page e-booklet and share online for free… and let it reference your book for
purchase on numerous occasions.
41. Discounts – There are dozens of good discount sites that allow you to
temporarily drop the price of your e-book
to 99 cents or a buck ninety-nine and they promote it for a few days to generate
hundreds of sales – sometimes thousands.
42. Other Books – If you have other books or products, you can use them to
advertise your latest book.
43. Bulk Sales – Why sell a single copy when you can sell 10, 100 or 1,000
at a time? Locate groups, organizations, businesses, schools, churches, etc
that could buy, at a discount, massive amounts of books.
– America is
a huge marketplace, but the world is even bigger, so explore how to sell beyond
45. Gift Worthy/Gift
Guides –Is your
book presented as a gift or packaged like one? Many gift guides will recommend
books as gifts for the holiday season or Father’s/Mother’s Day – so go pursue
them. Also, approach gift shops to sell your book.
Reviews – Are
people posting positive reviews to places like Amazon. You need dozens of these
to make an impression.
47. Other Authors -- Team up, trade info, or share costs on ads/lists. Authors, though they are technically competitors with each other, can be allies and collaborators.
48. Ads – Are you placing ads on Amazon, Facebook, Google, and other platforms? How about ads in book industry pubs like Publishers Weekly or targeted publications?
49. Awards – Did you apply for awards that are achievable? If you win
or place high, share that with others.
50. Charities – Donate some proceeds to a charity and highlight this relationship in your marketing materials. It makes consumers feel good, like they are contributing something. Also, consider giving your book away to some charities – and hopefully they will promote the book as a result.
51. Fundraiser – Use your book as a fundraiser for organizations – they can buy it from you at a discount and resell at a profit to fund their group.
52. Brainstorm – Better sales ideas will occur to you if you set aside time to brainstorm, on your own or with others. Ask people for ideas or for feedback on your ideas.
53. Research – Google knows all. Find out how other authors and
publishers sell books. Go do some research and develop ideas, lists, and models
for sales success.
54. Be Bold, Not Desperate. – Act out of conviction. Reach for the stars, but also go after the low-hanging fruit. No reason to settle for scraps – get out there and ask for a sale and demand they pay full price.
55. Set Goals – To achieve greater sales, set goals and benchmarks. Plan
for how you will reach them. Then crush them and re-set them. Always strive for
56. Follow-Up – Reaching out once or sending an email is a start. Following up and being relentless is what nets you the sales.
a brand – who you are and what you stand for. Build it, and use it to sell your
books. Own your origin story and be on a mission that people want to serve.
58. Rinse And Repeat – Whatever works, keep doing it. What doesn’t discard or change it.
A Pro – Want to learn how to do something? Consult a pro to show you how to
become self-sufficient. No time, knowledge, desire, or ability to do something?
Hire a pro to market, sell, and promote for you.
**Chalk up your poor book sales to bad luck.
**Let a missed opportunity forever doom you.
**Say you lack any funds to advance your book sales.
**Claim you completely lack time to sell your book.
**Feel defeated by a momentary setback.
**Have book envy and be content to whine rather than act.
So to recap: you have many options to execute a successful book marketing campaign. There is no room for self-pity, complaining, or claims you don’t know better. Get off the couch, rise up, and take smart action every day from this point on. The secret sauce to book sales was never a secret — and the real secret is that it is less about what you think or create, but more about how you feel and act.
If you feel defeated and deflated and are mentally incapacitated, you will only get better once you take a self-empowering step towards book marketing success. You can do it. I believe in you. Do you?
Learn, Grow, Succeed!!
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Brian Feinblum, the founder of BookMarketingBuzzBlog, can be reached at email@example.com. His insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are the product of his genius. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2020. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent. This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby
http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.