Selling Books

I read a blog this morning that talked about book sales numbers, and what was needed for a traditional publisher to even take a second look. That number was 20K. Twenty thousand books sold, for a self-pubbed book, in order to be noticed. That’s a lot of books.

To date, I’ve sold over 100 copies of REDUCED; that’s in about six weeks’ time. Yes, I own a bookstore, and that certainly helps, but books have also been sold through Amazon. That’s not counting E-books – I’m estimating around 50 of those, plus the freebies/promos at around 700.

The average self-pubbed book sells maybe 100 copies. Total. Over months, or years.

Why? Because authors are, typically, bad at selling. As a self-pubbed author, you have to sell yourself, your image, your persona, AND your book. It takes time. Having industry connections doesn’t hurt either. And yes, I have a few. Not many, but a few. However, those 100 copies have been sold through ONE bookstore.

So how do you sell books? Let alone 20K of them?

Maybe, in the future, I’ll be able to answer that specific question, but for now, here are some ideas/tips on how to sell your book:

Create yourself

Start at the beginning. Introduce yourself online. It’s the easiest and cheapest way to connect to people, to potential readers. Blog, use Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, LibraryThing, whatever is cheap and easy. Have a website – an author website, at least, where you can showcase your work, link your blog, put up pictures, and SELL YOUR BOOKS! It’s simple to set up a PayPal account to accept payments, right there on your website.

Ask for interviews, send press releases. SOMEone is going to take you up on it, SOMEone is going to help you get the word out. You may not see results right away, you may not see them at all – but SOMEone is going to hear about your book, and tell someone else, and people are going to buy your book. Then read it. Then review it.

Speaking of, ask for reviews too! Use them on your website, ask that readers post to your venue of choice: Goodreads, LibraryThing, Amazon, etc.

Be consistent – with blurbs, author photos, taglines, usernames. Readers will connect those dots. Brand yourself, and your book.


Bookstores are difficult to break into. Most want established, or famous, authors on their shelves. It helps if you know some bookstore owners, but it’s no guarantee. I know a dozen of them – yet only 2-3 have invited me to sign. For now.

Send a review copy to your local stores. If they see it, in their hands, and look at it, they might take a chance on you. You could have a signing and sell a few books – or a dozen. Or none. But at least you’re out there, getting known, spreading the word.

Join groups

Meetups, writers’ groups, book clubs, volunteer organizations. All of these are places to meet people, talk to people, and mention your book. Be creative, and always carry your card. Oh, and a box of books! You can even get a nifty credit card reader for your phone.

I’m sure there are more ways to sell books – again, be creative! What are some ways that YOU have found effective?



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