The Cover. The cover is one of the most important selling points for a book and yet it’s often underrated. It’s the first impression the book offers. It has to express what your book is about, if not specifically, then in a subtle way. For example, it should show what genre the book belongs to, it should have recognizable elements, including a readable title, and it should look professional.
The Title. If a reader buys your book with a false expectation born from the title of your book, they’ll end up returning it and won’t buy any more of your titles. The title doesn’t necessarily have to be short, but it does have to give the right impression for the book. For example, a book titled Dead Man Walking will give you an impression that it’s fiction and might belong to crime, paranormal or horror. You’d be pretty certain it wouldn’t belong to romance. If your book is non-fiction, then it needs to be a lot more specific to hook any potential readers.
The Editing. Don’t underestimate the importance of professional editing. A book with many typos and grammar mistakes will pull a reader from the story. Not only that, but the author will lose credibility. The reader will be less likely to buy any more of your books.
The Hook. Because of the vast array of choice readers now have, it’s important to hook them early. If your beginning pages drag on, few people will be willing to read further. It’s an unfortunate fact of publishing. So give them a hook—a promise of great things to come--make it early, and deliver that promise in the continuing pages.
The Target. Sometimes a story has a way of writing itself. The author will get caught up and carried away. It’s a wonderful phenomenon when it happens, but there is a danger that the target audience is forgotten, or misinterpreted. For example, if you’ve written a story you want to target to teens, then you shouldn’t make the protagonist a forty-year-old woman. If you are writing the story for the wrong audience, then your book won’t sell.
The Marketing. Oodles of information is around to learn more about marketing--just check out the tabs here at our IWSG website--but to break it down to its simplest form: Know your market. If you aren’t marketing toward your audience, then you’re missing an opportunity. Also, you can’t always expect your readers to come to you. You’ll need to find out where they are and spend time in those places.
The Spam. While this point belongs in marketing, it’s so crucial it stands on its own. If you are spamming everyone and their dog about your book, then you will guarantee yourself a lost readership. Avoid the spam at all costs.
The Reality. Every writer who wants to sell a book needs a realistic idea of how many books they should be selling. Not everyone can be a J K Rowling. Also, for self-publishers in particular, it takes time to pick up momentum when you’ve released your first book. Don’t expect to sell thousands in the first month. On top of that, if you’ve only written one book, then sales won’t be as great as having a collection of books available. If readers like your first book, then they will be more likely to read your second, and so forth.
What are some tips and tricks you’ve found works best for selling your book/s? What are some other factors that may influence higher or lower sales?
Lynda R. Young found success as a digital artist and an animator for many years, and now as a writer of speculative short stories. Her work is published in a number of anthologies and online. She is currently writing novels for young adults. In her spare time she also dabbles in photography and all things creative. You can find her here: Blog, Twitter, Facebook