Sunday, February 2, 2014

Self Publishing 101 - Getting Your Book to Sell

You’ve written a wonderful novel, but it’s not selling.  Sound familiar? There are several things you can do to get your novel or novels to sell better.

Have you overpriced your ebook? There are several
schools of thought on this. One, you want to be taken as a professional, so you don’t want to give away your book, but until you have a name, you’re not going to sell very many $6.99 or $8.99 novels. The sweet spot for e-book prices seems to be $2.99.  This keeps your profits in the 70% range, but it’s easily affordable to readers.
Now you have several books for sale at $2.99, you know they’re good books, but they’re still not selling like they should.  First you’ll want to be sure to list all your books in the back of the books with links.  Make it easy for the reader to buy more of your books.  Now slash the price of one of those books to 99¢.  Yes, your profit will drop considerably per book, but you’re trying to drum up readers. At 35% profit at that price you may not make a lot on this book, but you will sell many more books.  If readers like your work, they will then start buying that $2.99 backstock. WF recently did this with Frank Roderus’ Leaving Kansas and the results have been fantastic. This week we’re adding Clay More’s Double Dealing at Dirtville to the 99 cent list. A great bargain for a fun western. If you want to be extra kind, give him a review when you finish. Authors need those reviews.

Okay, you tried the 99 cent trick, but you need more reviews and readers for your other books. There is one more price trick you can try. Make the book a Kindle Select, which means you won’t be able to sell it as an e-book anywhere else, but you can schedule it for free 5 days out of every 90 days.

Now you’ve done this and your sales have increased, and you even have 10 or more reviews. Things are looking pretty good. There is one more trick. There are several book promotional sites you can now use.  Some charge a flat fee while others charge according to how many books you sold. WF recently used EReader News Today which charges according to sales. We dropped the price to 99 cents on West of the Big River: The Artist by Jackson Lowry. When the book had 10 reviews, we put an ad here and sales jumped considerably. 

Right now we have Wind River by James Reasoner and Livia J. Washburn which picked up it’s 10+ reviews during its 99 cent level and is now an Amazon Select and free through February 4th.  We advertised Wind River at BookBub during this giveaway. BookBub charges a flat fee, but a friend recently gave away 19,000 copies of one of his books.  That increased the sales of his other books considerably. Go get your free copy of Wind River by following the link on the book title.

These are just a few tips for getting the word out that you have a novel you think readers would like.

What else can you do?  Get your name out there.  Facebook, blogs, guest blogs, giveaways, Twitter, Goodreads, Yahoo Groups, comment on others.  Get that name in the public eye.  You want reviews, review books yourself. If I read a book I really like, I try to give it a review.  Amazon won't always allow me to since I publish so many people, but I try.  And I'll talk about their books elsewhere.  Even if it's just a comment on Facebook.  Talk up others, and they'll be more likely to remember your name when they're looking for a new book to read.  Let's face it, some of the biggest readers are writers.  We love books.


  1. Terrific ideas. I wish I had known them long ago. Never too late, though. After all, copyright runs for our lifetimes plus 50 years...thank goodness.

  2. Thanks for the great advice. Everything you said makes great sense and should be tried.
    I plan to do just that.

  3. Frank these are just a few things that have worked for us. Your westerns have definitely been selling.

    Bonnie, authors have to try anything they can to get their books in front of readers. It's nice that there are ways of doing it that don't cost an arm and a leg. Thank you for coming by and commenting.

  4. I do presentations at libraries and always donate a copy of one of my books. That one free book get lots of publicity, plus the library readers then might buy copies of your other books for themselves. I'll also do fundraisers where a portion of the profits go to a charity. Again, gets your name out there, more publicity, and the people who buy a book at the fundraiser will often buy copies of your other books later

  5. Jim, those are great ideas. As you say, anything to get your name out there. Well, anything legal.

  6. Great post, Livia! These are some wonderful ideas. I like the idea Jim had about library presentations, but here it is so hard to be able to do that--lots of hoops to jump through, and then you get on the "maybe" list.

    Thanks, Livia, for so many great ideas.

  7. Cheryl, that's what's nice about having authors share what works for them. You get to pick and choose what will work for you. I hate to get in front of the public and do anything, so Jim's idea would terrify me. Probably the reason I never cared for book signings.

  8. Livia,

    As always, sounds like a lot of work for you!


  9. These are great ideas and avenues Livia. I have already done a few and intend to use your list to extinction. I give books away to not only friends and relatives but to others who have no computer or access to one, figuring word of mouth spreads. Also take a stack to the VA hospital when I do my annual visit.
    Thanks for the advice,

  10. Very interesting to learn about these things, Livia. Thanks you for adding Clay's book to the .99c list. I appreciate it.


  11. Some very good ideas, Livia. One more thing I've learned along the way: sometimes over promoting can be as bad as under promoting. When I see an author's promo in the groups every single day, I just go numb to them and stop paying attention. It's a fine line to walk. The first two weeks of promoting a new release seems to be about right. In that 2 weeks, give it all you've got.
    You are so right on about price being such an effective draw for sales. I'm not as savvy as I ought to be about price and depend on my publisher to guide me in the right direction on it.
    Great blog, Livia. Very helpful.

  12. Good tips! I get a good boost out of co-promoting, too.

  13. Livia,

    I always used to hate to get up and speak in public also, then I figured out how much fun it was to do a gunfight reenactment to get started. Once I got over my initial qualms I learned it's not so bad.

    Cheryl, it depends on the library. I go for small town ones, plus the free book opens doors. Biggest problem now is the PC crowd worrying about me showing up in character complete with my (replica, non-firing) Peacemaker and Winchester. That's kept me out of quite a few places.

  14. Charlie, that's what's great about some of this. Not a lot of extra work.

    Jerry, taking books to the VA hospital is a great idea.

    Keith, you are very welcome. I'm looking forward to seeing your books jump off the stands, or on the ereaders.

    Sarah, you are so right. Over promotion can be numbing. There are a lot of tricks to the trade, it's just a matter of finding what works.

    Jacquie, co-promoting is great and you do it well.

    Jim, I never thought about how gun control could put a dent in reenactors.

  15. Thanks for great information and the comments just added to it. Doris