Whether you are self-published author or traditionally published, all authors want the same thing, even if we don’t say it out loud. We want people to read our books—and let’s be honest, we all want to earn money for our efforts. Here are five ways that authors can increase their book sales, with information on how to get started.
Create a killer website
Sometimes I talk to authors, and they shy away from having a website. It’s too scary for them to put themselves out there as an author.
But think about it. Would you go to a business meeting with a new contact without a business card? Send a letter without signing it?
And be honest—don’t you look at the websites of new and intriguing authors? Be one of them.
You can hire someone to create a website for you. If you’re technically inclined, you can buy a template and populate it yourself. Or you can use any one of the easy ‘drag and drop’ website builders. No matter which option you choose, include a newsletter sign up. You’ll be glad you did, because newsletters are the fastest and least expensive way to get the word about sales and new releases to your fans.
Once you’re established, you can add a store. You can fulfill orders yourself or contract with any number of print on demand houses that will manage your orders for you. You can even have print on demand merchandize like coffee mugs, t-shirts or tote bags.
Invest in advertising
I recommend starting with Amazon, because it’s simple, cost effective, and they have about a million hours of free online training. It used to be that traditionally published authors weren’t allowed to advertise on Amazon, but that changed a little over a year ago. Try it out. You can set a daily or monthly spend cap (even just a few dollars), and you can easily learn what keywords work for you.
Once you’re comfortable with Amazon, you can open up to whatever social media platforms you like. It’s a little harder to track the success of your ads on social media, so try out Amazon Attribution, which gives you a special link for each of your ads so it can track which of them result in the best sales.
Update your Amazon Author and Series Pages periodically
Always make sure you do everything you can to keep your Amazon (and other platforms) author pages up to date and engaging.
Connect with special interest organizations
My books feature a scuba diver, so I maintain close relationships with scuba related organizations and other authors who write scuba focused books. (Check out TropicalAuthors.com. Everyone there writes books set on, near or under water.)
Create short fiction/serials set in your book’s world
Write a short story you can use as bait to get website visitors to sign up for your newsletter. Or try to get it published in an anthology or periodical.
Swap guest blogs with friends
And attend other author’s events. Be sure to introduce yourself. Maybe they’ll return the favor when you have an event.
Extra credit for self-published authors
- Analyze and if necessary, adjust your categories quarterly
- Run Amazon Promos & Countdown deals
- Update your Cover, Title, Book Description and/or Keywords
- Use Promotion Sites ( I stopped doing this, because they generally try to push free or 99 cent books.)
- Use Data Analytics These reports are easy to purchase but can be expensive. To hold down costs, haunt author focused sites like the Author’s Guild, Alli, or some of the book promo sites. They often do research studies and publish the results in their blogs. Helps you to know where the market is going.
About Sharon Ward
Sharon Ward is the author of the Fin Fleming Scuba Diving Mystery Series, which includes In Deep, Sunken Death, Dark Tide, Killer Storm, Hidden Depths, and Sea Stars. Rip Current, the seventh book, will be released in early 2024. Now available in audiobooks, ebooks and print.
Sharon was a marketing executive before becoming a novelist. She was a PADI certified divemaster who has hundreds of dives under her weight belt. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, MWA, ITW, and several other writing organizations. She lives near Cape Cod with her husband Jack and their miniature long-haired dachshund Molly, the actual head of the Ward household.