It’s that time of year when I hope many of you are looking ahead and figuring out how to sell more books in 2022.
And the number one tip I want to give you for reaching those sales goals: planning!
Not the top-secret answer you were hoping for? Hear me out.
Planning drives purpose and grounds you in a way that no free-floating marketing ideas ever will. I love brainstorming and letting the creativity fly, but you won’t stay on track if you don’t pave the runway.
So, I’m going to cover how planning supports not just goal setting but goal achieving. I will also outline some tips and recommendations for how planning plays into your success depending on your publishing schedule for 2022.
Know the Difference Between Goals and Action
Step one for figuring out how to sell more books is identifying your goals.
And I need everyone to get away from confusing big flashy goals with actual action items. Examples of flashy goals are: I want to sell 10,000 books, I want a Netflix movie, I want to be on national television.
Because while there’s nothing wrong with wanting these things for yourself and your work, they leave little to be desired when it comes to a game plan. How do you get from your newly released title to a movie deal? Believe me – there’s a lot to accomplish along the way.
And if you don’t stay focused on the game plan, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
Let’s use reviews as an example because I think that’s a goal we can all get on board with, no matter our genre or how long we’ve been publishing. We all want reviews.
So if you’re releasing a book this year and you want to get 100 new reviews within the first 90-days, what will you do to get there?
Make sure you have a clean website and newsletter to build that dedicated fan base. Your fan base will be made up of people you can tap into for important things like reviews.
So your end goal of 100 reviews now has an outline with a checklist and action items: build a website, add a newsletter, add an ethical bride for signing up, send traffic to your site.
And within each of those action items are micro-steps that you’ll need to implement.
For example, deciding on your ethical bribe and getting on social media to send people to your website to begin engaging with you.
So now you should have a solid understanding of the difference between goals and action – and the order in which things need to happen to get you the results you’re looking for.
Now let’s look at some individual publishing situations and their accompanying plans!
Considering Publishing in 2022
Now is a great time to lay the foundation for your success.
While you’re finishing that book, start to outline what your brand will be. How will you show up in the world? What’s your promise to readers?
Your brand should be consistent across everything you put out there – including your website, covers, and social media presence. It all matters.
For example, if you’ve written a historical book, readers are accustomed to websites with lots of content, background on the research, additional insight into characters, etc. If you’re a non-fiction author, you’ll need a blog for sure and engaging social media because both of these elements help prove your thought leader potential.
You’ll also want to start planning out your budget—quality matters. If your only goal is to save money now, you’ll end up with a product that likely won’t make you much money later.
A good editor, cover designer, publishing plan, and marketing plan cost money. Not make you go broke money, but the earlier you start planning, the less intense the investment to get your book out there should feel.
And here’s a final tip: take some classes.
Start attending writing and publishing events, virtually or in-person, depending on what’s available to you. Knowledge is power, so even if you plan on hiring a team to support your future release, a basic understanding of the foundational elements that will support you long term will just make you a stronger author all around – and you’re more likely to make smart decisions about who you hire!
Publishing Your Debut Title in 2022
Hopefully you have your website and brand focused on your market, and you’re in a pretty solid place to release a book.
If not, it’s never too late, even if your book releases in Q1. Continuity is key, so clean and straightforward but with solid attention to detail can be your brand to start, and it can evolve from there.
Your goal should be to hit the ground running about 30 days before your book comes out. I’ve done a podcast on the first 30 days of your book’s life that can give you a lot of additional insight into this important lead-up window and why it matters!
Plus, if you’re hiring a book promotion company to help you, it helps to get a plan in place during this window as well.
I recommend creating a book marketing plan that includes what you want to do on your own and what you’d like to hire out. Get more creative than “I’ll run some Facebook ads,” though because I hear that a lot from authors. And while it works for some, those authors are never doing just ads, and that’s how focusing too much on a single strategy can be misguided.
Be mindful of what works for your topic or genre. Who is succeeding? Not sure? Then it’s time to start researching your marketplace for best practices. Success leaves clues.
And what about reviews? This is where your planning really starts to pay off. Authors with a website, a newsletter, and active social media, have networks to tap into to start requesting reviews or posting review reminders.
Here are some other things to consider when figuring out how to sell more books this coming year:
- Can you plan and support a 14 to 30-day pre-order campaign to push early sales?
- Have you scheduled some limited time discount promotions?
- Do you have a list of media or thought leaders you’re going to pitch?
- Do you know who you can pitch locally to get some close-to-home coverage?
- Are you tracking how local events are being handled, could you potentially host one?
I could go on for quite awhile listing ideas, but I think I’ve made the point that there’s a lot to do that can be planned for in advance. All of these smaller action items lead to achieving bigger goals.
So that interview you want on a morning talk show?
It’ll require the list above times 20!
I’m not trying to discourage you, but there are no shortcuts to major success. Start planning and outlining the steps you need to take to get there.
Veteran Author with No Plans to Publish in 2022
This is no time to ride on your success. You must stay top of mind in between releases.
If you have some books out and want to keep writing and driving attention to your work, then you’ll want to plan out things that keep your already released titles in front of new, potential buyers.
Download our Monthly Book Marketing Planner, print off three months at a time, and start filling it in. Having a plan outlined will allow you the time to write that you’re probably looking for!
Strategies like BookBub ads, limited time eBook discounts, Goodreads giveaways, special promotions like BOGOs, and outlining themes you can follow on social to ensure you’re putting out content with minimal chaos – all add up to a lot of new reader impressions month after month that will absolutely help drive traffic and sales conversions.
Veteran Author Publishing Again in 2022
Now is the time to make all your other books work for the new one.
I love working with veteran authors because you can use the prior books to pivot attention to the new one, and the new one always helps to drive attention to your backlist too.
Momentum is key, and authors in your position potentially have this in spades with some strategic planning and consistent marketing.
So as you consider how to sell more books in 2022, think about the tools you might already have in your toolbox, and how you can maximize them for a greater reward.
You should already have a website and newsletter, so use those to highlight your upcoming title or titles. Consider doing an ARC offer for early reviews to your subscribers.
Maybe now is the time to do some updates to your covers so they all look like they come from the same brand. Because the visuals matter, and the human brain gravitates toward consistency, and covers that all complement each other, even when they’re not part of a series, make you look more professional – which makes people more willing to spend their money.
Use BookBub ads to send traffic to your previous, successful titles to get your name out there again so when the new book releases, people have your name top of mind.
If you or your previous titles were reviewed or featured by the media or genre thought leaders, get back in touch. Let them know you have another title coming up and ask if you can send them an early copy or if there’s another way you can help contribute to their site.
No matter what you have available to you, now is the time to take all of it up to a new level.
If you haven’t picked up a copy of From Book to Bestseller, you’re my target audience, so I encourage you to use it to find other ways to take things up a level.
Why Planning Helps How to Sell More Books
Goals are achieved by a series of action items. Planning helps you create an outline you can follow to actually to start making strides toward your goals. Even the flashy ones!
Planning also helps you establish a budget you can work with and maximize on. Doing everything last minute will almost always create a lesser quality product or cost you more than it should – or both.
Planning out how to sell more books also makes the marketing and promotion less chaotic.
Most of us have probably stared at our computer and said, “Now what?” because we just lost our way or lost steam. It’s unfortunately common for many authors, so you’re not alone, but planning can combat this.
Be sure to track your success. I can’t emphasize this enough. Keep track of everything you’re doing AND all your wins. It won’t be a direct tit for tat of effort to results because effort is cumulative, but it’s easy to forget how many times we win along the way if we don’t dedicate time to appreciate what we’ve accomplished. So document and celebrate once you’ve hit ten reviews. Or once you hit those first 100 sales. And then you can look forward to celebrating the first 1000 sales!
Don’t forget that your readers matter. I’ve mentioned readers throughout, either engaging with them or growing their numbers. Regardless of what your publishing plans are for this year, one of your main goals should be to build your reader base – both current readers and potential readers.
So as you consider how to sell more books in 2022, remember: PLANNING is key.
If you need some help, don’t hesitate to get in touch!