Selling a book is hard. As is widely accepted, it is a tiring and time consuming process that has no clear works-for-all set of guidelines. The more you experiment, the more successes that come your way—and the more mistakes you make! Often, you don’t even know what your mistakes are until your book sales start plummeting.
In this article, we’re bringing to light 4 such mistakes indie authors make before and during their book launch that could seriously affect future book sales.
1. Not having a proper pre-sale plan
While you may easily get caught up in organizing your actual book launch event (it’s never easy for most authors who prefer speaking on paper than on-screen), having a proper pre-book launch plan is vital to ensure book sales. Because when you put in effort during your pre-sale period, you’re securing a spot on Google’s search results, and social media algorithms will be able to find your book easily. A typical pre-sale period lasts for about three to six months, although this might vary depending on your book’s genre and your long-term goals.
2. Not taking part in events
There is no easier way to find an audience than by signing up for, and organizing, events. While talking to and interacting with a live audience might not be your cup of tea, it’s an essential part of being an author.
Try hosting book signing events in your neighborhood and book reading sessions in libraries. If you prefer to work from home, be a guest on podcasts or YouTube Live events of book influencers. You can also go on book tours (yay road trip!), or host your own livestream on Instagram and Facebook for book discussions with avid readers with surprise announcements (like discounts and giveaways). There are so many different ways you can engage with your readers and increase your book sales!
3. Talking too little or too much about your book
As mistakes #1 & #2 were about not talking about your book enough, hence risking its disappearance. But there’s also the opposite of it—talking too much about your book! This can be quite as bad as (if not worse than) not talking about your book at all.
No reader is going to purchase the book of an author who comes off as self-obsessed and narcissistic. Of course, nobody wants to advertise themselves too much on purpose, so the best way to avoid doing so by mistake is by following the 5-3-2 rule of posting on social media. For every ten posts you publish, 5 posts should be content from other sources which are relevant to your audience (your genre, books by other upcoming authors, writing tips, etc.). 3 should be content about your book (cover reveal, sneak peaks, etc.). And 2 should be personal and fun content that gives a human touch to your feed so your audience can relate to you (pictures/videos of your pets, etc.).
4. Not exploring other book publishing formats
Another major reason your book might not sell as much as you expected is if you don’t explore other book publishing formats like eBooks and Audiobooks. Every reader has their own preferences when it comes to media consumption.
While some may prefer the comforting weight of a hardcover in their hands, still others may prefer the weightlessness of a paperback—or an eBook, which they can read at any time, anywhere, without having to carry it around. There are also an increasing number of readers who now prefer Audiobooks, since it gives them the freedom to engage in other tasks while reading. The more formats your book is available in, the more sales you acquire.
Sharika Hafeez is a nerd, and she’s proud of it. Growing up, she fell in love with books and writing, and is currently following her undergraduate degree (for some mysterious reasons) in Physics. She likes procrastinating by watching the stars with a steaming cup of tea, composing poetry in her head.
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