Monday, September 6, 2010

How Do You Make People Buy Your Books?

"Hey fella, how's about buying my book?"

I just received a rather desperate email from a friend of mine whose novel was published by a small press last year:

Vince, I'm experiencing horrible time selling. I am on a number of sites but it's impossible to blog each day on all of them. my sales bottomed. I am trying to get another publisher and also trying to get someone to help me get a publisher and advertise as well, but that's expensive.
tell me what to do. I'm lost. have two five star novels and no sales.

Dear (Let's call him Sam):

First off, stop crying. Don't get sad. Get mad!!!!

Ok, now that I've sufficiently pissed you off, tell what you're gonna do.

Take a gander at these five suggestions that you can tackle immediately for ZERO cost. (But keep in mind, Sam, there's no textbook or college 101 course on how to do this stuff. The new indie publishing revolution is just too new. So, as for me, I'm pretty much making it up as I go.)

1. Make time. Pushing your books via your own marketing efforts is like exercise. Those who say they don't have time are lying to themselves. Even a half hour of vigorous exercise a day can mean the difference between living or dying past the age of 45. Same holds true for your book. Take at least a half hour per day to promote your book. That thirty minutes will pay off in sales later on.

2. Utilize your social networks. If you're on Facebook or Goodreads or whatever to make friends and share the latest Rachael "gag" Ray 30 minute meal or to brag about what color your new Beemer is to your old high school love interests, well, good for you. But these sights are also great networking tools, and networking means sales opportunities, chances for reviews, for guest blogging, for radio spots, for meeting writers and readers just like yourself. But, and this is a big BUT: don't pretend to be asking someone to be your friend when really what you want is a sale. Let people know you are a member of the network in order to make your work available to them in a public social forum and they will respect you for your honesty. Give back to them by responding personally as often as possible.

3. You don't have time to blog right? BS....Blogs are the best way to spread the word about your books and to contribute to the topic of books, publishing, marketing, writing, and just about anything people want to read. We're not talking Shakespeare here. Just jot down your thoughts in as clear and concise a manner as possible and get it out there. You should be able to post a blog every three days or so. Just check out JA Konrath and Aaron Peterson (Peterson is not only an author but he runs a publishing empire!). No one is busier than those bestsellers and they still manage to blog at least two to three times per week.

4. Use your Google tool. Investigate Kindle clubs, books clubs, book expos, writing seminars, etc. you can also get involved in the writing retreat circuit and become a sort of literary rock star. I actually fail at this because I don't spend enough time doing it. but I'm working on it. This year I will attend at least three major conferences and speak at all of them.

5. Be aggressive in your efforts. Create events on FB and Goodreads that allows you to "invite" friends personally. There's no better way to get the word out about your books since this is the electronic version of direct mail. Is this spam? Yah, sure, it's spam. But done respectfully and only occasionally, it can be a great tool.

Ok, that's just five suggestions that should get the ball rolling for you, Sam. And the good thing about the E-Book and Kindle publishing model? It's never too late to make you books bestsellers. As for the old traditional model, if your book isn't selling after 6 weeks, you're already remaindered and done for good.

So no more tears. Get out there and sell, sell, sell!
Vincent Zandri
To Order The Remains, that hot new bestselling release, click on the word ME!


  1. As usual, Vin, nice tips. It's really all about the energy isn't? There's a certain degree of knowing where to market and which platforms to use, but it's about consistency and taking action every day on whichever platforms you're using. I hear a lot of complaints that using the web to market your creative work is really hard because there are so many channels (Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc.) but, in truth, the web is a great tool to connect people to your work. And there's a level of permanence to it. A potential reader who is exposed to your name or the name of your work in multiple channels is more likely to recall it or click on it than someone who only sees a poster at a book store or hears a reading at a library a single time. Though, of course, those things can work in tandem.

    Like investing your money, you want to have your eggs in as many baskets as possible to spread yourself across a constantly shifting market. The web is a good, broad place to do much of that.

    j. //

    Jason McIntyre is the author of the acclaimed novella "Shed" and "On The Gathering Storm", the number one bestselling novel at Smashwords!

  2. Those tips got my to buy your book, Vince (and I never buy books) so I know you practice what you preach. I already do the above things so that affirms it for me, too. I do sell my books. Maybe not to best seller status, but they sell...sometimes slowly but always steadily.

  3. I meant got ME to buy your book. Sheesh.