Recently, I read a blog post by an Author who was having a difficult time selling her books. She blamed everything from the glacial pace of book reviewers, suggesting some take books and don’t leave a review at all, to not feeling comfortable “spamming” her family and friends on social media with links to buy to her book.
To say that my eyes glazed over while reading her post is an understatement. And for the record, I haven’t worked with this Author before.
First, I would like to defend book reviewers as a whole. Book bloggers like me are inundated with books EVERY SINGLE DAY. We have MASSIVE to-be-read lists. I am right now at a one year waiting list, (but I do offer an expedited service, where for a fair price, I can offer a review within seven days). We are not taking books and not leaving reviews… that is borderline hysterical! Book blogging isn’t a large scam to receive books and not leave reviews.
I’m not sure if this Author is doing anything productive to sell her books, if her only means of doing so is by periodic shout-outs, and waiting for “slow” reviewers. I asked, but didn’t get an answer, “Have you participated in any blog tours? Are you networking with other authors? Have you had any book release parties, on social media or otherwise? Are you alive?”
Ok, so I didn’t ask if she was alive, but it’s clear to me her book sales have flat lined if she is writing a piece that blames everyone but herself. And since I know a couple of things about selling books, here is my encouraging, and supportive letter to Authors, on how to sell books:
I know you have worked super hard on writing your book. You poured your heart and soul into into, had it revised/edited/formatted, and published. Now you want to sell it, but maybe it isn’t being noticed as you would like it to be.
You need book reviews. Word of mouth is your best bet. Anything from two line praises, to professional reviews will do. You need to spend money to make money. Go with a professional book blog tour company, booked months in advance, to have book reviews/interviews/book release parties scheduled. Email book bloggers and request reviews; even if the reviews come out a year from now, it will keep the word of mouth coming.
What does your Amazon book page look like? Does it feature your reviews? Is your book blurb catchy? Is your book listed under the correct genre(s)? Is your book available as an e-book? Is it priced fairly?
What does your book look like? Does it have a attractive font and cover? I read a M/M romance book for review once that had a male and female couple dancing on the cover… This was a gross misrepresentation of the novel. Does your book cover jibe with the contents of your novel?
Does your book read well? Have you enlisted the help of several beta readers to critique your book honestly? And please, for the love of all that is holy, do not enlist your best friend or Mother for this task. I now offer a professional beta reading service, so if you would like my help, please check out my policy, here.
Does the beginning of your novel have a good hook? A large proportion of readers will abandon a book if they don’t like the first chapter. According to a Goodreads Poll, titled The Psychology of Abandonment, readers will discontinue reading a book for the following reasons:
1.) “I don’t like the main character.”
2.) “Weak writing.”
3.) “Slow, boring.” –Make sure your book has an interesting opening!
4.) “Ridiculous, or non-existent plot.”
5.) “Bad editing.” –Seriously, hire a professional editor.
6.) “Inappropriate, makes me uncomfortable.”
And finally, in regards to “spamming your family and friends” with buy links, oh pllllease! Unless you are literally saying, “BUY MY BOOK!”, I don’t see how this is spamming. There are many creative ways to market your book on social media. For instance, if you have a Pinterest board related to your novel, consider using images from your board, and a popular quote that will entice readers. Under your quote, sneak in your Amazon buy link, so readers can find this enticing book of yours. Above all, be present on social media. Have a Facebook and Twitter account as an Author. Share and retweet posts from other authors and bloggers and they may return the favor for you!
I hope you found this post encouraging and helpful. Please check out my Requests page if you are interested in utilizing any of the Author services I offer. 🙂 I am happy to assist you in selling your books.
April Wood, Blogger for A Well Read Woman