Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Can You Sell 5,000 Books?

Many authors NEVER sell 5,000 copies of a book in their lifetime. But they should and could. So, will you? 

5,000 may sound like a million to most authors who struggle to sell more than a few hundred copies of their book. But it is a feasible number to achieve — unless your book is not very good, you don’t want to market it, the cover is ugly, the title’s weak, and it is priced too high. So, don’t sell crap in a weak way and expect good results. 

Assuming there are no obvious deficiencies with your product and you are willing to do what it takes to sell your book, this goal is achievable. Stop reading now if you feel in your heart your book is not good enough to sell more than a few dozen copies to friends and family. 

Setting specific goals is the first step to success. If you don’t plan, you just respond to random winds that tug your boat in any number of directions. Say it with me now: I will sell 5,000 copies. Say it again. And again. Aloud. Loudly. 

Next, set a timeline for that goal. How is 18 months? At that rate you would need to sell fewer than 300 per month or 75 per week or 10 per day. Make it longer or shorter, but set a date. What gets measured gets improved, so track your sales on a regular basis. 

Alright, anyone can set goals. Why not write down you will sell 50,000 books by next week? Because we have to inject some realism into this process — while still remaining ambitious, hopeful, and optimistic. Don’t try to do too much, too soon, but don’t just act as if you can’t directly influence your success. 

Ok, so you resurrected some belief in your book and yourself. You set a goal and timeline. Let’s see, what is missing? Oh yeah, the how! 

The principles of marketing call for you to commit resources to this endeavor.  

What can you offer or lean on? 

* Creativity

* Heart

* Hustle

* Time

* Mindshare

* Money

* Connections

* Experiences

* Knowledge

* Skills 

Courage, confidence, resilience, and a sense of humor will also be helpful to fulfilling your mission. 

What assets can you create or do to help you? 

* Design a web site

* Print a business card

* Craft a book trailer

* Make swag to hand out free or sell

* Open social media accounts

* Join author associations and trade groups

* Design marketing materials: printed fliers, postcards, or digital pieces

* Come up with a catchy slogan or memorable mantra; a nice logo, and a 30-second elevator speech 

Can you beg, trade, borrow, push, pay, or work your way to your goal? Absolutely.  

Do not try something and just meekly give up at the first sign of rejection. Try again. Try harder. Try differently. Expect to be ignored or turned down. Keep trying for the yesses. If all else fails, move on to another marketing bucket. 

Yes, you have buckets. These are the big streams that could lead to book sales. Explore and pursue as many of them as you can. 

The buckets are: 

* News Media Coverage: get others to write about you or interview you or allow you to write by-line articles

* Book Reviews: paid, free, and consumer

* Social media that you post on your platforms

* Social media exposure from others on their platforms, such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok, blogs, podcasts, or a YouTube channel

* Advertising: digital mainly, and some print

* Speaking: at bookstores, libraries, events, schools, temples, businesses, non-profits, and government agencies 

* Book Awards and Writing Contests: enter as many as you can

* Exhibitions: display or speak at book fairs, trade shows, author events

* Testimonials: get a quantity of quality/qualified people to blurb your book

* Book giveaways: freebies help garner reviews, traffic to your site, and sales of your other books 

* Networking: who you know can help you

* Affiliate Sales: others sell your book for a commission

* Bulk Sales: selling boxes of books to groups, organizations, businesses, schools, churches, and government agencies

* Bundling: sell your book with other books, products, services at a discount

* Cross-Promoting: offer to sell the books, products, and services of others in exchange for the same  

If you stink at a bucket or hate doing something or don’t know what to do with a bucket, you have options.  

They are: 

* Ignore one or more buckets, but realize it puts more pressure on you to greatly excel in the other buckets.

* Outsource what you psychologically can’t do, don’t know how to, or don’t have time to do.

* Toughen up and suck it up — do each bucket and stop your whining.

* Come up with new buckets to exploit. 

Of course, there are many strategies to all of this — and you will run into obstacles and challenges — but none of that matters until you truly commit to selling 5,000 books by a deadline. You will find a way as long as the will is there. Believe in your book and yourself — and commit to taking action — and you will have taken the biggest and hardest step there is. 

Please Contact Me For Book PR Help

Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, can be reached at brianfeinblum@gmail.com He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand. He has over 30 years of experience in successfully helping thousands of authors in all genres.


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About Brian Feinblum

Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2022. 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 award-winning blog has generated over 3.2 million pageviews. With 4,400+ posts over the past decade, it 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 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 years as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Susan RoAne, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, IBPA, Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, NewsdayThe Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult: linkedin.com/in/brianfeinblum


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