9-ways-to-increase-book-saesIt’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. (No surprise; it’s also the foundation on which we’ve built Where Writers Win and our Winner Circle.)

NOTE: The first several items can all be launched and promoted prior to your book being published, or in that downtime when you’re chomping at the bit, waiting for your book release!

1. Author Website – It starts here, authors! You need a presence on the internet that YOU control. 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.

2. Social Media – Be there or be square! But 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.

3. Writing Competitions – Not all competitions are created equal (and why we vet them and list the most profitable/most publishing potential in our Winner Circle). But the right competition can:

  • Put a few bucks in your bank account (use it towards your book promotion or that new outfit for a booksigning!)
  • Put you in touch with a great agent or editor who may want to represent your work
  • Get you a publishing deal!
  • Lend credibility to your work among readers overwhelmed by so many choices

4. Book Reviews – Book reviewers are INFLUENCERS. Meaning, 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. Our Winner Circle features only the best of the thousands of review sites out there, rated by traffic and following, and pre-sorted into genres so you don’t have to spend hours searching what may or may not work best for YOUR book. As our team says, it’s our way of “shrinking the web” down to just what you need as an author.

5. Major Media – Start local, build from there. Your book release IS news, especially in your hometown and/or where your story takes place. Our Winner Circle features sample book press releases and 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 (start early as these usually have a two or three month lead time).

Most important, when you DO get press – put the link or video or clipping up on your website and share on your social media outlets. This helps establish your credibility as an author AND makes it easier for you to pitch the next market.

6. 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!

Our Winner Circle calendar features all the upcoming festivals with site contact info, and we continually circle back to festivals that have already occurred to learn their dates for next year so you can get a jump on the competition.

7. 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? Our Winner Circle calendar lists these, too, of course.

And if you’re a self-published author, you may actually have an advantage, as nearly every conference lineup we’re seeing in our research has a panel or two dedicated to the topic of self-publishing and self-promotion!

8. 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! Our Winner Circle offers a great map of Indie bookstores, and WWW is a proud supporting member of the American Booksellers Association.

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!

9. 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…

We’re up to nearly 200 live book clubs in our Winner Circle. More are added each week. In addition, we’re adding some innovative online clubs that are sprouting up virtually (pardon the pun) everywhere, many outside of traditional channels such as Facebook and Goodreads. Oh, and if you know of a book club in your area, please tell us about them in this quick survey so we can add them to our exclusive list.

Ready, set, go: Print this list, memorize it, and sell more books!

Have a story to share with fellow authors about how you’ve attacked one or more of these target areas? Please share it with us! Graphic courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

11 thoughts on “Nine Biggest Ways to Increase Book Sales

  • September 14, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    I tried submitting a book to Armchairinterviews, and twice I got an error message when I got all the way to the end of the process. Frustrating! And their “contact us” link seemed broken.

    • September 15, 2013 at 12:05 am

      Hi Jo Anne – Thanks for letting us know – I visited the “About” page for site and used email there to make contact and ask if co. was still viable for authors wanting to list books – copied you on that email so hopefully we’ll get some good news from them or if not, we’ll delete them from our rosters…

  • September 5, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    These top tips are useful if not surprising. Perhaps the only surprise is the order you put them in. Taleist did a vert large survey of over 1000 authors in 2012 asking what were the most important factors in their view to help book sales. First came having a book cover, and second was have a good spattering of reviews. The latter is confirmed by articles I found on www.kindlebookreview.net
    So I was surprised you totally ignored the important of book covers and that you did not include book reviews in he top 3. Would you agree?

    • September 5, 2013 at 4:19 pm

      Interesting Jan and yes, book covers are critical but we took this “as read” assuming book was already with the publisher… So the first three items are more for while you’re twiddling your thumbs waiting for the book, followed by hitting those reviewers as soon as those ARCs are available, and good to have the infrastructure built when you do start soliciting reviews. You bring up a great point though and one that deserves a separate blog from a book cover designer, so stay tuned! Thanks for the insights 🙂

  • September 1, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Excellent article. I definitely appreciate this website.

  • September 1, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Spot on, Shari! It may seem counterintuitive
    but any place OTHER THAN a bookstore
    is a gold mine. If it ties in with your book’s title or theme.
    You won’t have competition with oodles of other
    books at a bookstore. You will stand out. Ex:
    Ken Burger, author of ‘Salkehatchie Soup’ sold
    his book in the soup aisle at a local grocery store!
    The book is not a cookbook , however the title was
    perfect for the venue.

    • September 1, 2013 at 10:59 am

      Clever, clever!

  • August 31, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Great tips. I’ve done everything on this list and they all have contributed to the success of my books, especially book clubs, reviews, and engagement on social media.

    • August 31, 2013 at 4:07 pm

      Thanks for weighing in and continued success with your books!

  • August 31, 2013 at 9:43 am

    I tried something non-traditional with my memoir “My Germany,” which is about growing up the son of Holocaust survivors and how my feelings towards Germany changed dramatically. I researched German Studies and Jewish Studies programs here and in Canada and contacted professors at them individually after studying their profiles. My amazing trade publisher University of Wisconsin Press sent copies to anyone who was interested and in the course of several years I did around 60 talks and readings. Best of all, one talk at a German cultural institute in D.C. ended up landing me two paid book tours in Germany.

    • August 31, 2013 at 9:46 am

      That’s fantastic Lev and thanks for sharing another GREAT way to land potential speaking gigs. Were you able to see increases in sales following the talks as a direct correlation – or were you able to do “back of the room” sales for your books?

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