It’s great to get known as an author and make new connections. It’s better still to sell more books because you’ve made those connections! Here, in a nutshell, are the nine biggest ways authors can increase book sales, laid out in order of timing/priority.
- Author Website – It starts here, authors! Your author website is the place where you can solicit subscribers, blog to your heart’s content, link to social media, offer unlimited info on yourself and your books, tell people where you’ll be next, post news and reviews, and let readers know where you’re running special promotions or giveaways, etc.
- Social Media – Recognize that social media IS a way to get folks back to your author website as well, where you can tell them your bigger story. You don’t have to engage in every channel, but pick a few where your readers are most likely to congregate. Be diligent about posting info and answering readers who post to you; ignoring them will send them off looking for other entertainment.
- Writing Competitions – Not all competitions are created equal. However, the right competition can put a few bucks in your bank account, put you in touch with a great agent who may want to represent your work, and lend credibility to your work among readers overwhelmed by so many choices
- Book Reviews – Book reviewers are INFLUENCERS. They can have a direct impact on sales to larger clusters of readers, as opposed to finding one good reader at a time. Of course, like competitions, not all book reviews are created equal.
- Major Media – Start local, build from there. Your book release IS news, especially in your hometown and/or where your story takes place. We encourage you to reach out to local TV and radio (morning shows are a good bet), newspapers (Art, Lifestyle, Local are best departments) and even local flavor magazines. Most important, when you DO get press, put the link or video or clipping up on your website, share on your social media outlets and let your publisher know. This helps establish your credibility as an author AND makes it easier for you to pitch the next market.
- Book Festivals – Readers who frequent book festivals are there to discover new authors and buy books. And festivals, because they’re typically free and open to the public, attract not dozens or hundreds but THOUSANDS of attendees. Book festival promoters spend months seeking authors to speak and sign at their events. And they typically happen annually so if you missed this year’s, get in for the next one
- Writers Conferences – You may have attended them as an unpublished author (and if not, you should for the contacts alone), but after you’re published it’s just as important to reach out to writers conferences. They, like book festivals, are seeking published authors to speak on topics that delve into both the craft and business of publishing. Who better to do that than a battle-tested author?
- Indie Bookstores – We love independent bookstores because, like indie authors, they’re innovative, clever and eager to think outside the box when it comes to attracting a “Cheers” crowd of regular customers. It’s no wonder some chain stores are closing while new indies are opening! Start with indie bookstores in your own neighborhood and slowly fan your way out from there. Let them know you’re available for signings, readings, speaking to their in-house book clubs, author teas, or whatever your collaborative imaginations can conjure together!
- Book Clubs – Last but definitely not least, book clubs. Their influence cannot be overstated; they can collectively turn a small publisher, short run title into a runaway best seller (Water for Elephants is a classic example). Book clubs talk about books; then they talk about them with other friends, and online, and so on and so on… Ready, set, go: Print this list, memorize it, and sell more books!