When the magic isn’t happening, it feels daunting but read this before you give up all hope.
I’m well into my 4th year of being a published author and In April 2018 I released the box set of my epic fantasy series. It did 1,000 sales in 6 days. But, it was my 4th year as a published author, I’d already released 4 books and I worked consistently at building my list.
The biggest question people asked was: How did you do it?
1. Make a book marketing budget.
As an indie author, it is key for me to make a positive return on investment (ROI). If I’m not making money as an author, I just have a very expensive hobby. Each month I make a budget and track where the money is going. My budget usually can be broken down into book covers, editing and advertising. While I’m comfortable being in the red (especially during a book release) long term my books need to pay for themselves. I came up with a number I’m comfortable spending every month and use reports to ensure I’m on target. If my output is higher than my input, it’s time to tweak something and optimize for ROI.
If you need help tracking your book marketing budget, use these tools:
2. Grow your email list.
Email lists truly do stand the test of time. It’s important to grow a list of fans who will be ready to purchase your books when they come out. In 2017 I spent a year focusing on list building. On average I spent between $20-$60 a month growing my email list and my messenger bot on Facebook. (Messenger Bots have since been limited by Facebook). Between the two I gained over 12,000 subscribers. While 100% of the subscribers aren’t active, a good percentage of them click and buy whenever I have a new release.
3. Make friends with authors in your genre.
Newsletter swaps are powerful, especially if you develop relationships with popular authors in your genre. You don’t have to make friends to get newsletter swaps but it’s a massive help when you have others cheering you on. Whether it’s a mastermind or small author group, it’s important to find people you can rely on. Book marketing is a huge task and if you can chat strategy with others, it will help you become more successful.
4. Focus on your personal development.
The more I learn and grow the more I realize I know nothing.
The industry is constantly changing and the best way to stay ahead of the curve is to learn and be open to new opportunities.
One thing I knew would make a difference is running Facebook Ads. In the fall of 2017 I enrolled in Mark Dawson’s Ads for Authors course and spent 6 months testing out ads and audiences. It ended up being a fantastic investment and I’d recommend it for all authors. Not only is the course created by an indie author who is in the trenches with us, but it is also updated yearly. As advertising changes, the course is continually updated to give indie authors the edge on successfully advertising their books.
Derek Murphy has a course called Guerrilla Publishing. It is about focusing on sales, not all the things that can distract and keep us from making a profit. Following Derek’s advice helped me grow my email list and understand how to position myself on Amazon.
Finally, I just enrolled in a writing course. I am a good writer but there’s a thing or two I could learn from taking an in depth course. I read several books on the craft of writing and honed in on discovering my weaknesses and improving my craft.
5. Be willing to take a risk.
Big things happen when you step outside your comfort zone and do things that make your feel uncomfortable. Doing what you’ve always done or having resistance to change will not work out in the long-run. I had to overcome some of my own barriers to success and be willing to take a risk. It’s important to remember there’s no such thing as failure. When we fail, we learn from our mistakes and it helps us improve in the long run. Failure means you’re moving forward!
6. Ask for help.
When it comes down to it, I don’t know what I don’t know. I’ve always been the kind of person who can do it all myself and I hate asking for help. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help, and in fact, you can get ahead faster when you reach out and ask others to assist you in your journey. That’s one of my barriers to success I’m still working on overcoming.
There you have it, lessons learned from selling 1,000 books in 6 days.
What lessons have you learned from writing, publishing and marketing your books? Share in the comments below.