One of the key concerns for self-published authors is how to maximise sales of their books. When you choose to self-publish your books independently of a traditional publishing house, you gain a lot of control over your work and the rights to that work.
However, you don’t have the benefit of a large marketing department, and the chances are that your book won’t magically climb onto the best-seller lists without a little help.
You’ve put in the hard work writing and publishing your book, and now you want to be able to help get it in front of as many readers as possible. Here are five tips to help you give your book sales a boost.
1. Using social media to drive book sales.
Most self-published authors will agree that having an active presence on social media is essential to building sales. The best way to use social media, however, is not to use it purely to sell your books. Simply creating profiles and posting regularly just about your books is not the best way to win sales.
Pick a couple of social media channels to use. Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads are great for authors, but don’t discount others like LinkedIn as they can be good platforms for authors.
Whichever platforms you use, seek out and follow people who like books similar to your own and engage with them.
Don’t tell them about your books straight away, just open friendly dialogue with them and the chances are they will check out your profile. Like their review of a similar book, if it’s one you’ve read and enjoyed, comment to say so.
Make sure your bios are optimized to show your books so people can see them if they look at your profile.
Post consistently, regularly, and at least 80% of it should be about something other than your own book promotions. Let people get to know you, share behind the scenes photos of your writing desk, share your (mild) frustrations and your day-to-day triumphs.
People love inspirational quotes, and you can also share quotes from your books without any apparent sales plugs.
Look out for mentions of your books, and comment/like/retweet every time if they are positive. Do not be tempted to defend your books by leaving defensive comments on bad reviews. Take a deep breath, don’t comment, and let it go.
2. Build an email list
Your email list is a golden opportunity to get your books in front of potential readers. Services like Mailchimp make this quite simple, and their free version allows for 2,000 email subscribers on your list.
Put links to your email list sign-up page at the back of your books, on your social media profiles, and on your blog if you have one.
Consider having a ‘lead magnet’ - perhaps a free short ‘prequel’ that you automatically send to readers who sign up to your email list as way of enticing them to sign up.
Once you have readers signed up, keep them engaged with regular newsletters. Make them consistent, whether it’s weekly or monthly keep up with your schedule.
The content can be reasonably short and snappy, and don’t make it only about pushing your books. Just like social media, it’s a chance to develop a relationship with readers that can enhance loyalty.
Build a relationship with your email audience by sharing insights and interesting stories or information that your target readers will relate to.
3. Maintain a blog
You hear this over and over again, but it’s true. A consistently maintained blog will help your search engine rankings and is another avenue to collect email sign-ups.
You can write about the process of writing and let readers know when new books are going to be released. Aim for at least one blog post a month and make sure it is relevant in some way to your target reader.
You can also write other articles that your target reader might enjoy. For romance authors, that might be a post on the best romantic movies of the year.
For non-fiction authors, you can choose related topics to your ebooks, so if you write books on fitness, you could post healthy recipes and fitness wearable reviews, among other things.
4. Reach out to influencers
Contact book bloggers and prolific reviewers of books in your genre to see if they would review your book. Do remember that many of these people do this for fun and are under no obligation to read your book.
They may receive dozens of these emails a day from indie authors, so make your email stand out by injecting your personality into it and keeping it short and to the point. Highlight what makes your self-published book unique in its genre.
You can also get in touch with book clubs, either locally or via the internet. You can find some book club groups on Goodreads and other social media sites.
There are also a number of review sites where you can submit your books to be reviewed. Some charge a fee, but others are entirely free and certainly worth a look. The more reviews that are about your book the better.
5. Increase your potential market by having translated versions of your books
Use a service like Babelcube to get your books translated without laying out additional costs. Book translation can be expensive, but with Babelcube there’s no upfront cost to you.
You simply upload your manuscript to Babelcube, where hundreds of freelance translators can request to translate your self-published book into the languages you have chosen.
When you have chosen a candidate for your book translation job, they will complete the translation and send it to you for approval. When you approve the translated version, Babelcube will then distribute your book in the right countries for you, and share with you a percentage of the royalties.
There’s minimal additional effort from you, no financial risk, and you gain the chance to sell many more books in new languages.
This will allow a larger group of people to read your books, and more than half of the worldwide ebook market is outside of English-speaking countries. Making your books available to readers in their native languages opens up sales opportunities that you would not get otherwise.
ConclusionThere are numerous ways to sell more of your self-published book, and this list is by no means exhaustive. The tips here are all robust ways of increasing your book sales, without laying out any additional costs for paid advertisements. Implementing these five tips will boost sales of your self-published books in no time, for free.
Written by Lisa Flynn. Lisa is a freelance writer, content marketer, and social media manager who developed a love of reading and writing from an early age. She has self published over eleven racy novels under several top-secret pen names and also ghostwrites in the romance and erotica genres.