Whether you are in the infancy of your self publishing journey, or published a book a while ago, eventually you are going to be asking yourself: “how can I sell more books?”
You probably did all the right things during the publishing process including designing a great book cover, hiring a copy editor, and even setting up an author website to build your platform. But if your book still isn’t moving like you want it to, try some of these ideas to sell more books.
How To Sell More Books:
Beef up your Book Description
One of the first things people will read about your book is the book description on your Amazon book page. If you opted to just use the back cover copy, or included an excerpt from the book, you may want to rethink this approach- especially if your books aren’t selling.
Your book description is really marketing copy. It should draw your reader in, give them a sense of what your book is about without giving away the secret sauce, and build anticipation so that they want to press the “buy now” button.
If your books aren’t selling, start by taking a look at your book description. Could it use a second pass to make it more intriguing? If so, give it another go. And be sure to follow our formula for writing a catchy book description.
Get your Book in the Right Categories
When you publish with Amazon KDP you can select up to three categories for your paperback and ebook. Some authors pick one and then move on to the next part of the process. Go back and make sure your book is listed in three strategic categories.
Amazon has made it easier than ever to narrow your category selection down to the most relevant sub category for your book. If you still aren’t sure which categories to pick, go over to Amazon and search for that book category. Look at the list of best sellers in that category and ask yourself “would my book belong on this shelf with these other books?” If it feels like a good fit, add it to my list of potential categories.
If you see another book on this list that looks similar to yours, click on it and go to the product details page to see which categories they’ve listed. Click on those categories and follow the same steps as above. It can feel a bit “rabbit trail-y” but actually it is an effective way to find those smaller subcategories for your book.
Expand your Book’s Distribution
Another way to ensure your book’s success is by expanding its distribution beyond Amazon KDP. We like to do this by uploading a second version of the book through IngramSpark.
Technically you could opt into Amazon’s expanded distribution service, but you will get a wider reach and more bang for your buck if you just upload your book to IngramSpark so that you can reach shoppers on Bookshop.org, BarnesandNoble.com, Target.com and hundreds of other online retailer sites.
We’ve mapped out our exact self-publishing formula to show you just how to take full advantage of both of these publishing platforms, and get more people to buy your book.
Get Customer Reviews
Nearly every book on Amazon is going to sell better if it has customer reviews. While one or two reviews is better than none, you should be after 30 or 40 at a minimum.
Asking people to review your book is tiresome and few people will follow through, but keep pestering them. Offer to send them a free book for a review. You might consider running a free promotion and giving your ebook away for free for five days to try and rack up some customer reviews.
Record an Audiobook
When you self-publish a book you want to offer it in as many formats as possible. That means having an ebook, paperback and an audiobook version available on your book page. You never know what someone’s preference is and you might miss out on sales if they get to your page and see you don’t have an audiobook.
Recording an audiobook sounds intimidating, but with some basic equipment and free audio software you can record a professionally-sounding audiobook yourself. Then, upload your files to ACX and once it passes inspection it will automatically link to your Amazon book page.
Consider a Blog Tour
Blog tours are a fantastic way to get your book in front of more readers. Most book bloggers have an active following who looks to them for regular recommendations and inspiration. While bloggers can’t guarantee their recommendation will be positive, a blog tour can put your book in front of readers that you might have missed out on before.
If you can’t get on a blog tour you could consider reaching out individually to bloggers asking for a review in exchange for a free book. I would look for bloggers who tend to read and review books in your genre, and just remember they are very busy people and might not have the time to get back to you right away.
When you do get a positive review, be sure to thank the blogger who took the time to read and review your book.
Try a Virtual Book Launch
If you have an active following and engaged author platform, a virtual book launch can be an effective way to boost your book sales. Make sure to give your audience plenty of time to RSVP to your event, which you could hold via Facebook Live or Instagram Live. Send out regular reminders via your newsletter subscriber list, and through your social media to join you for a virtual book launch.
You might consider some sort of giveaway (or giveaways) to entice more viewers to participate. You could bring in other authors or experts to interview. If you shared true stories in your book you might consider inviting those folks to your book launch for a conversation. And of course, you can – and should – do a reading of your book.
Another idea is to significantly discount the cost of your ebook during the launch to encourage people to purchase a copy during your event. With enough participation, this can even launch you unto some Amazon category best seller lists if you’ve taken the time to optimize your book categories.
Make sure you thank everyone who is in attendance.
Write More Books
This is especially true for fiction books. Fiction readers are voracious readers and are always looking for their next good read. Chances are if they’ve read a book by you that they liked they are willing to read another one. Maybe turn your first book into a series and continue to write more stories with the same characters.
This strategy isn’t just for fiction books; if you’ve written a book on balancing female hormones, writing another book that dives deeper into some of the main issues might increase your book sales.
So one marketing tactic that can’t be overlooked is just writing more books and increasing your digital bookshelf.
Utilize your Local Network
If you have access to a library nearby, reach out and ask about setting up an author reading and book signing. If there is an independent local bookstore in your area they might also be willing to host an event, or at the very least carry your book in their store.
If you’ve written is a children’s book, or your book has an educational component, you can contact your local schools and see about doing a reading or being a guest speaker.
Consider submitting a press release to your local media about your book. Find your local book clubs and ask them to consider reading and discussing your book.
Some authors even table at their local farmers market, or other craft festivals. See what is out there that you could participate in and bring books to sale. It’s a great way to connect one on one with your potential readers.
Try some of these other book marketing strategies to sell more books:
If you’d like more book marketing tips for authors, just check out an article we wrote on 10 Book Marketing Ideas for First-Time Authors.