Sell More Books

Fourth Quarter Pic

How to Sell Books

Perception marketing: A great book doesn’t just appeal to the target audience, but attracts the target audience.

  • A fantastic cover that the target audience loves. “Wow, look at that!” “That looks like a great read.”
  • A title that creates interest, is easy to remember, and indicates what to expect. Three words or less for fiction, but informative and including keywords for nonfiction.
  • A killer blurb that creates interest, flows well, has the right vocabulary and writing style for the target audience, and clearly shows what to expect, but doesn’t give away too much. Concise for fiction, separated into bullet points for nonfiction.
  • A look inside that looks professional, catches interest immediately and engages it throughout, and delivers on the expectations created in the blurb.

Delivering on the promise:

  • A great book that engages the reader’s interest throughout and exceeds the expectations created in the blurb and look inside.
  • A story that generates strong emotions, balances opposite emotions, and pleases the reader so much that the reader craves more. Nonfiction that provides excellent content and presents it at the right level for the target audience.
  • A book that goes beyond expectations so that it generates many word-of-mouth sales.

Word-of-mouth sales are critical toward building strong and lasting book sales.

Change Your Perception

You want to create a fantastic perception for your book. Start with the perception that you have when you are developing the concept, choosing the title, writing the book, editing, formatting, designing the cover, writing the blurb, perfecting the look inside, and marketing:

  • Don’t think: “I’ve seen books with worse covers sell,” or, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Think: “I want the target audience to drool when they see this cover.” Do: Spend time on your cover, tap into available resources, get feedback, get help if necessary.
  • Don’t think: “I’ll just get this book out there and see what people think.” Think: “I want to know that the target audience will love this book.” Do: Get feedback before you publish. Do you really want to risk selling just a few books after all your hard work? Isn’t worth the extra effort—whatever it takes—to ensure a positive, lasting success?
  • Don’t think: “I want everyone to see my book.” Think: “How do I find and interact with my target audience?” Do: Learn effective marketing techniques.
  • Don’t think: “I need to scream loudest to get my book discovered.” Think: “How can I get my target audience to discover my book?” Do: Build a content-rich website with content that will interest your target audience, and write more quality books.
  • Don’t think: “I don’t know if it’s worth investing in editing, formatting, or cover design because I might not even sell 100 books.” Think: “I want to write a book that people will love, which has a significant audience (it’s okay if it’s a niche audience; in fact, that may be a plus), which will sell enough to make an initial investment worthwhile.” Do: Your research on top-selling, self-published books similar to yours. Study covers, blurbs, titles, look insides, copyright pages, title pages, first pages, author pages, blogs, and marketing tactics.
  • Don’t think: “That reviewer is personally attacking me.” Think: “My book evoked a strong opinion,” and, “Is there anything useful I can take from this review?” Do: Focus on writing more books and marketing effectively. New sales will help to generate more reviews. Quality content will help achieve valuable word-of-mouth sales, which will help to offset any negative reviews.
  • Don’t think: “Let me try to summarize my book.” Think: “My blurb needs to generate interest, engage the reader, and make the reader curious.” Do: Study effective blurbs of similar books, especially top-selling self-published books.
  • Don’t think: “___ doesn’t matter as much as ___.” (Fill in the blanks as you please.) Think: “Let me excel at my strengths, shore up my weaknesses, and achieve good balance,” and, “Let me get it all right, not just part of the book.” Do: Assess your strengths and weaknesses, and strive to improve.
  • Don’t think: “This will do.” Think: “I want my book to be fantastic.” Do: Your best to make that happen.

Visualize an amazing book from cover to cover, and the packaging and marketing, too. Work hard to make your vision a reality.

Don’t settle. Put in the time, effort, and research to achieve a wow-factor.

Chris McMullen

Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.


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