With every blog post I write, it’s my goal to offer ideas for indie authors to work smarter, be more successful, and ultimately sell more books. So, with 2017 right around the corner, I have been heavily considering how I can help you get ready to kick off the New Year with a bang. Book marketing, as you know by now, is not an exact science, but rather a combination of a wide variety of efforts that each play a role in an indie author’s success. With that in mind, I’ve pulled together 17 ways that you can sell more books in 2017. And this will kick off a variety of posts over the coming months that feature the number 17, all with you—and your success—in mind.
- Be consistent: First and foremost, it’s important that whatever you do, you do consistently. So often indie authors try to do more than their time and bandwidth allow. Fix this by picking the things you know you can do consistently and forgetting the rest. Trust me, you will make greater strides and sell more books if you remain consistent in your efforts.
- Smart book pricing: I’ve written a lot about reasons books may not sell, and one of the biggest reasons a book isn’t selling is how it’s priced. If you have some spare time during the holiday lull, spend some time on Amazon and compare your book and its pricing to similar books. How does yours stack up? Need more information? Follow the tips this post to learn how to price your book for optimal success; you may just sell more books as a result.
- Refine your social media: And by refine, I mean figure out what’s working and punt the rest. Seriously. There’s no sense in being everywhere – just be everywhere that matters.
- Refresh older books: So now that another year has passed and your books continue to age, it might not be a bad time to consider refreshing your bookshelf by re-releasing older books, or even breaking older books into smaller ones and creating a new bundle.
- Get creative: Now more than ever, we need to get creative with our book marketing efforts. One way of doing this is using any and all book tie ins, even if it’s out of the box—locations where your book is set, national or regional media tie ins, etc. One example that I’ve used before is how I used a presidential election to make a romance novel into a bestseller. (Read about it here.)
- Update your email signature to include a link to your book. Hint: you can get a free signature on Wisestamp! A book link in every email is a must for any author wanting to gain more attention for this book. While you’re at it, remember to include your website and one or two social media sites as well. Good information is helpful, but don’t overwhelm especially in your signature line. Keep it simple, and make it easy for people to find you and your book.
- Do more videos: Let’s face it, video is big and only going to get bigger in the new year. Consider doing a Facebook Live video, or download the Periscope app and consider capturing some short footage from your next book promotion event or author gathering. If you don’t have a YouTube channel you may want to grab one and repurpose any of your Facebook or Periscope videos and put them on YouTube! Here are some tips on using video to sell more books!
- Lower-Priced Books: In a sea of options, it’s a good idea to give new readers inexpensive choices so they can get to know you. I suggest creating some (quality) $.99 books that you can sell right alongside your regularly priced ones. The other benefit to this is that by offering one or more lower-priced options, you won’t feel pressured to discount your existing, longer books. Although discounting existing books can be a great strategy, a lot of authors I speak to have an aversion to this.
- Create a VIP reader group on Facebook: One of the best ways to grow fans is to make them feel special. Creating an exclusive invitation-only group is a great way to accomplish this. Fans love these groups, especially when you give them early access to books, gift card promos ($5 on Amazon), contests, and exclusive content.
- Excerpt your book on Wattpad: This is a great place to build readership and serialize your book to readers. Excerpting a chapter at a time is a great way to bring readers into your story. You can also use images and share these on Instagram, which is a fantastic tie-in!
- Don’t have an email list yet? Now is a good time to start one. Seriously. It’s a great way to stay in front of fans and on their radar. If you aren’t sure how to start one, consider including a letter in the back of your book inviting folks to join. Or, if you have a free book, pop it up on Bookfunnel and run ads on Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook inviting readers to download a free copy. It’s a great way to build your email list!
- What’s your back matter? I often suggest that authors include a letter in the back of their books. This is a wildly effective marketing tactic and I’m actually surprised more people aren’t doing it. If you haven’t jumped on this book marketing strategy, now is the time. You only need to do this with your eBook, since live links are most effective in an electronic format, although you can also include one with your print book, too. So what would the live link lead to? Well it could be to your website, a bonus content you are offering, or you might invite readers to sign up for your newsletter and ask for an honest review on Amazon.
- Give away portions of your book – or your entire book (for a limited time) via BookFunnel. If you aren’t keen on running ads (or aren’t sure how) you can still pop book excerpts, or your permafree title up on Bookfunnel and use it to build more readers and grow your fan base.
- Don’t chase shiny objects: This isn’t so much a book marketing action item as it is a non-action Throughout the year lots of new stuff pops up, new social media sites, new places for authors to promote and if you’re anything like me – it’s often hard to resist these shiny new opportunities. The thing is, you should be very stingy with your time—there’s only so much of it and if you keep chasing new ideas and new shiny objects, it will prevent you from doing the real work that will help you sell books. This doesn’t mean you can’t try new things to help sell more books, just be cautious of getting pulled into too many directions.
- Network with other authors: This is always, always a great idea. Join online groups, go to writer events, or join local author groups. Networking with other, similar authors is not just good business, but can help you brainstorm new ideas. Plus, you’ll get a chance to see what others are doing that’s working (and what’s not working), and most likely expand your knowledge!
- Do a talk at your local library: We often talk about bookstore events and while those are great, libraries are often big, missed opportunities. Speaking at your local library will help you connect with really serious readers – because we all know that libraries pull in lots and lots of new readers every month.
- Do an eBook promotion: Most authors don’t do enough of these. Now I don’t mean that you need to do freebies all the time, you can also just discount a book – even $1 off can make a huge difference. Need some tips for successful eBook promotions? Read this article.
So, although 2017 hasn’t yet begin, you can already start planning your 2017 book marketing efforts. Look over these ideas and create a road map—and possibly even a book marketing calendar to plan which strategies you wish to take advantage of to sell more books, what you’ll need to do to accomplish each task, and when each step should happen. Start gathering the information now, so you can hit the ground running January 1, and maybe just maybe you’ll have the next bestseller!