Let me start by saying that when it comes to self-publishing a book and getting readers to buy it, there is no fancy marketing that will convince readers to buy something that isn’t right for them or isn’t appealing. In the end, it’s up to your book to make the sale.
Too many authors sabotage their success and waste valuable time by not understanding the difference between marketing and sales, so let me present an analogy.
Book marketing is about creating awareness with the right people, like sending potential buyers to an open house. But in the end, the book – or in this case – the house, makes the final sale.
For an author who is, let’s say, running Facebook ads with lots of clicks to the Amazon book page, but very few sales of the book – that’s a sign that the book page isn’t converting, and there could be a few reasons why. Maybe the traffic you’re sending isn’t the right market for your book, or perhaps your book isn’t appealing to them.
This is super important for authors who chose to self-publish a book. So let’s dig in and find out what really matters:
Know Who’s in Your Buyer Market
The first secret to generating sales when self-publishing a book, is knowing your buyer market. Everything you do should be strategic with a solid understanding of who your reader is. And you may think you know, but if a lot of what you’re doing in your book marketing is failing, this could be the reason. You can’t sell a puppy to a cat person. Book marketing works the same way.
Have a Strong Amazon Book Page
Make sure your Amazon book page is solid. I mention this a lot for a reason: it absolutely matters. So many times, I see authors who don’t have good book descriptions, or don’t have an author bio and author picture and instead have a faceless box. Don’t be a grey box on Amazon! I have a bunch of blog posts on this, and I’ll link the most recent one in the resources section below.
I know this sounds awful. Why would I mention the “f” work in a positive article on book marketing? Well, for this reason: we all fail. At some point, hopefully, earlier rather than later, we all fail. We put out a book cover that isn’t quite right, or we push our book to the wrong market, or the book isn’t very good. Whatever the reason, don’t hang onto the idea of your book if it’s not selling. Find out what’s wrong and fix it. Maybe it’s a new book cover, or maybe it’s another edit. Whatever it is, a lack of sales often means there’s something that needs fixing.
Know the Difference Between Book Marketing and Book Sales
I alluded to this earlier, but it’s worth mentioning again: book marketing and book sales are not one and the same. Raising awareness takes time, and most books can take a while to show signs of life. It’s like when you’re in a plane that’s getting ready to take off. First, they charge the runway, and then the plane can fly. The runway is your marketing, yes, but it’s also your brand and platform. So the longer you’ve been writing and publishing books, the shorter (in theory) your runway needs to be.
Be Smart About What You Do to Market Your Book
Make sure you’re doing all the right things, especially if it’s your first-time self-publishing a book. I know this sounds simple, but one of the biggest issues many authors face is picking the wrong book marketing. Some marketing programs and ideas seem really alluring, easy, and fun, but if it doesn’t resonate with your target audience (are you sure your readers are on TikTok?). Smart marketing gets you in front of the right people, and in the end, that’s the only bottom line that’s worth targeting.
When self-publishing a book, your book makes the sale. And if you’re disappointed by what’s happened since your book launch, maybe it’s time to ask yourself some hard questions. Don’t accept disappointment, and don’t be one of those authors who just assume it’s all too hard. The more you’re willing to dig in, the more likely you are to be successful.
Resources and Free Downloads
Optimizing Your Amazon Book Page to Sell More Books: Book Marketing Podcast Recap
Why Self-Publishing a Book Makes You a Marketer
Master Amazon & Sell More Books Video Series
Spot on, Penny, spot on.
Plain old common sense goes a long way when you are marketing any product. Make your headline appealing to the right audience and give them what they want to read after they got caught in your hypnotic headline.
It’s a big learning process, finding the right readers and promoting in a way that attracts them. One advantage of self-publishing is that there is time. I released my book knowing I would keep learning and keep building and it’s working. It’s a slow and steady approach (not everyone is happy to do it that way, I know) but I know I’ve discovered ‘new’ writers to me whose books have been published for a while. I’m keen to keep building my list of books and growing my readership with it. Thanks for your helpful articles.
what is the best way to find solid and reliable data on who is in your buyer market?
I just wanted to know if like the political world is similar to books. You always
hear about Mr. Jones running for senate/governor etc.. and he has millions of dollars
to spend. Is it the same where a self publishing author has to spend thousands of dollars to see any results?
PS. I have two books out right now, Life of a Roadie, the Gypsy in Me (memoir)
and my second book, Walk A Mile In My Shoes. (more of a philosophical)
Note: I was always wondering (in theory) if my book was placed on the New York Times best Selling list, would sales soar?
Ronnie it doesn’t necessarily take thousands, but there are right and wrong things to focus on depending on what you’re bringing to the table, who your audience is, etc. And there’s no single key to success, we’ve had clients hit bestseller lists, get big coverage in magazines, with very little change in sales numbers. Then we’ve had other clients who don’t necessarily get any “flashy” accolades but their book appeals to readers and they end up selling really consistently. We recommend focusing on the right things, and staying consistent, that’s the only sure path to success!