Wednesday, April 1, 2015

How to Sell Your Books Online, Old or New.

Selling books online doesn't have to be hard,

...but you have to know what to do when in order to be successful.

How to Sell Your Books Online, Old or New.
(Photo: RIAN archive) 
Just because your book never sold well doesn't' mean it can't. 

Just because most books don't sell well, doesn't mean it can't.

Just because you don't know how to get your book(s) to sell well, doesn't mean you can't.

Just because most authors (self-published or not) never cover their expenses from their books (and have to keep their day job) doesn't mean they can't.

What's possible is that any author can make a living writing, publishing, and selling their books.

While there is no guarantee that any book can or will become a bestseller, any author can get their books to sell decently, or even sell well.

And yes, this is even despite being poorly edited, with a poor cover, and lousy description.

I had to work this up recently, as I'm about to do the same for a number of my books which aren't selling well. 

The main idea for most authors is that when they publish their book, it should be a set-and-forget situation. What drives most authors bonkers is that this is also the idea that almost all the big publishers have (and all of the distributors who sponsor self-publishing.)

It's always been that the author has to do their own marketing.

But writers just want to write.

The trick is to learn what you need to do and then automate it as much as possible.

And we are talking about doing this online, not in person - since most writers don't know how to "sell" and don't want to learn. Writers want to write. That's what their whole life revolves around.

What the indie author needs to have in order to successfully sell books online.

  1. Books that are published online, or could be. (Yes, that's plural.)
  2. A mailing list for their audience.
  3. A blog. (On your own domain, not a freebie.)
  4. Someone to edit their book, someone to make great covers, someone to write classy descriptions.
  5. A daily schedule which allows you some time to manage your books daily, or weekly.
Once you have all these, you can follow the steps below to make your books sell well online.

Steps to get your books selling well online

(Disclaimer: While truly awful books are selling these days, it's also true that really good books aren't. Your mileage will vary depending on how well you implement what follows below. And you can see that I don't say how much you can make - or that you'll ever have a bestseller. You can get your books selling better, though. Rinse and repeat as often as necessary to get the results you want - and cleaner hair.)

We start with the fact that any author who has ever made real money online had two things:
  1. a schedule for daily writing, daily business maintenance (emails, etc.), daily inspiration (reading other bestsellers - in their chosen genre or not.)
  2. a backbench of books in series.

Those are undeniable, and are found with any bestseller, as well as those authors who simply make a quiet living from their books. Fact. I would be so bold to say that you can't find any author in history - who didn't die broke - that only had a single book which sold well. One-shot wonders, like the music industry, doesn't make for any continuing financial success.

Some other facts:
  • Any book can be re-launched and made to start profiting you.
  • Amazon needs reviews and sales. Everywhere else needs related books by the same author and/or series (and sales help.)
  • In getting a previously published book to start selling, you'll either be creating a new edition, or a sequel.
NOTE: The following steps are only broad strokes - this would be a massive book or course on it's own (and I'll get around to it sooner or later.)  While this is easier to consider from a non-fiction POV, it can easily be done with any fiction series.

NOTE2: Some of these linked tools are affiliate links. 

0. Make sure your book is ported everywhere else as well. 

(List: Lulu, iTunes, Nook, Google Play/Books, Kobo, Amazon, Scribd, Doc-Stoc, Espresso Network, Leanpub - you can use an aggregator, but you'll profit more if you DIY.)

1. Re-do your marketing research:

Audience demographics
Avatar/First Customer
Verify Keywords (Market Samurai)
Similar Books recommended by Amazon
Verify your tags
Verify your categories (BISAC) - Amazon long-tail niches

2. Creat an ethical bribe (ecourse) and start building a list

Requires an autoresponder (AWeber or similar)
Might need a membership backend (Rainmaker, or roll your own)
Update your ebook to have a link to this opt-in landing page

3. Start blogging daily about something related to the book

Needs a domain and webhost - don't use free sites any longer than you have to. 
Then export/import when you have your backend ready (Rainmaker, again.)
Have your opt-in script show up just below each post, as well as in the sidebar
SEO these posts as you build them (Rainmaker built-in plugin's help.)
Include images, embedded PDF's/Videos.
PDF's are also ported to major doc-sharing sites with links to that post as well as book distributor buy-links.
Promote these posts with Pinterest, G+, LinkedIn, Flipboard
Bookmark and Social News campaigns via Synnd.
Buy traffic via Stumbleupon (optional)

4. Get surveys filled out by your list on what they want, like, and have questions regarding your book.

5. Re-edit the book.

Get feedback from your list on the improvements/additions

6. Redesign the cover.

7. Rewrite the description.

8. Create a hardcopy version

Set this for Global Distribution, getting proof(s) approved, etc. (Use Lulu, not CreateSpace.)
Note: The PDFs you get from Lulu for interior and cover are then ported to Espresso Network for their use on that network.

9. Work out a release date and pre-sell the new edition/sequel

10. Get your audience (list) involved in the re-release. 

Gift them free copies (iTunes, Ganxy) or discount coupons - get them to review it on Goodreads, which can happen prior to it going "live" on Amazon.

11. Use the profits to re-invest in additional versions of the book

  • Audiobook
  • Hardback
  • Pocket Paperback

- - - -

Thanks for reading this far. You can see that this is just an overview - a set of points you should know if you want to move out of the $500 level of book payments annually.

I'll have another book coming out soon, once I do some additional testing and research. I'll flesh out all these steps when I do.

[Update: Been busy fleshing out these steps as part of a real-world case study. One point forgotten - make a BitTorrent bundle of promo clips for your book. Use IFTTT to update your social posts automatically. More later - stay tuned. With Twitter integrating back into Google, Synnd campaigns along this line become more key.]

So - subscribe above to make sure you keep in the loop. ;)

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