For the past 6 months I’ve been sending out review copies of Harry Potter Jesus Christ and got enough positive reviews that it can now pretty much hold its own online. I’m not too worried about THIS book being a bestseller, because I’ve got several more in the works and I know that success comes with repetition. Right now I’m selling about 100 books a month – which is not enough to live on. But when I have 5 books out there, at 500 a month I’d be making good money. If I reach 10 books (as I plan to within 5 years) I could pretty much be a full-time writer.
So first of all, if you’re trying desperately to promote ONE book and have no plans for more, reconsider your future strategy.
That said, as my first book I’ve got a lot invested in this one and want to see it grow. How can I SELL MORE BOOKS? Advertising is expensive but it works. Here’s a little strategy I’ve used playing casino blackjack that may work for you.
It’s simple: spend all of your income on advertising.
Don’t jump into advertising by plunking down a ton of money on a marketer or book expert who says they can help you. First off, go to fiverr.com and pay 5 bucks for a few people to review your website, or edit your sales material. For $50 you can get 10 random people’s opinions and advice on how to clean up your sales page and information, which is vital to actually selling the book.
I’m not going to tell you what to do if your book sucks. If it’s a bad story, poorly written or poorly edited, OR if it has an ugly, home-made book cover, then advertising won’t help. (An easy test: try advertising $50. If it DOESN’T increase your sales, you may need to work on your core product. But hopefully it should increase your sales a tiny bit. Hone your pitch by linking your product to relevant current events and blogging about them. OK – so now your product is pretty good, it’s WORKING, it’s SELLING – you just need more traffic.
Writing blog posts, social media etc can all help with this. But advertising is easier and also can be effective. However you don’t want to throw your money away, so here’s the blackjack advertising strategy:
When you play black jack, the trick is ALWAYS DOUBLE YOUR BET. Let’s say you lose 4 out of 5 times. The first time you lose 10, then 20, then 40, then 80… but on that last hand you win 160 – winning back all you lost, with an extra 10. No matter when you lose, if you keep doubling your bets, you will always win all your money back. (This is infallible: unless you run out of money before you re-win your bets…which I’ve done before).
You can use a similar strategy when advertising your book:
1). Start with $100 (If that’s already too much, start with $50, or $20…) Spread it between Google Advertising and Project Wonderful.
Google Adwords: rather than allowing google adwords to advertise anywhere, in the beginning it’s a good idea to focus on sites that have readers that might be interested in your book. (If your book is about horses, google adwords will take the keyword ‘horse’ and advertise on a site for horse-racing or horse-meat). You can use the “networks” panel under your campaign settings to enter in the url’s of sites that you think would be a good fit. Choose about 10 sites and plug them in; now your ads should be displaying ONLY on those sites you’ve chosen. This will give you better success rates on people actually buying your book.
Project Wonderful Project Wonderful lets you pick websites or blogs individually.
Spend $50 on each and experiment for a month, or two, until you feel you’re getting the best value for your money.
Your GOAL is to be selling enough books to pay for this advertising: if you make $3 per book, you need to sell about 33 books to make $100 – then you can spend the $100 again the next month. IDEALLY, however, $100 will let you sell more than 33 books.
2). Let’s say you sell 100 books. Now, you should make about $300 – if you spend all that on advertising, (and you’ve already done your advertising research), you should sell about 3 times as many books (although actually it will probably be more like half, because some sales aren’t coming from the advertising).
3). So this time, you might sell 200 books. You should make, and spend, $600 on advertising. Next time you might sell 400 books and spend $1200 on advertising. Get it?
a) Don’t think about it as money yet – think about reinvesting your dividends until you push it into the bestseller range.
b) Don’t raise your advertising budget if you’ve had a slow month. Don’t be tempted to take out loans or use credits cards – if sales are down, use other, free book promotion tactics. Just try to invest all your sales profits back into your book.
Eventually – when you hit a goal you’re happy with (I’m shooting for 1000books a month) you could stop advertising (although – if it’s working, why would you?)
Other advertising things to consider:
a) When your budget grows, you should think about using blogads.com or other blog advertising programs. Although more expensive, you can put your ad on select websites.
b) contact related blogs directly – sometimes ads on blogs can be very cheap!
c) Get your ads designed professionally. Picture ads work better than text ads.
Like I said, I’m currently on this path: current budget is $200, goal is to sell 100 books; then $300 next month.
Try it out, and let me know if it’s working for you!