MA Book Marketing Series #1 – The Five Fierce Facts

MA Book Marketing series #1 The Five Fierce Facts to Selling 1000's of Books

This is the true, unshackled reality of Book Marketing – and what to do about it. If you can stomach the facts and implement the advice, you can make a career as an author.


 

So you’ve completed your first book – congratulations! It’s no easy task, you are to be commended, and that’s sincere – I’ve done it, I know what you’ve been through.

It’s probably in Word, or Scrivener, or maybe some other word processor. Perhaps you’ve done battle with Amazon’s comprehensive instructions, and uploaded it, it’s been processed and viola! –  your book’s for sale as a Kindle download, or maybe a paperback using their CreateSpace offering.

You’ve sat and waited for the sales counter to tick up.

Nothing (or maybe a few to friends and family).

A week later, no more sales. Many people who said they’d buy the book, haven’t, and don’t.

A month passes – more nothing…

How to sell 1000’s of Books – Mindset

In this series, I’ll be covering what Book Marketing really works for authors who want to sell books in the 1000’s to make a full or part-time living.

Some of it is painful reading, as I bring your mindset into tune with reality – which I must. If you can accept what I proffer, then the rest will transform your book sales – if you’re ready to do some hard work – which you must.

So let’s do some groundwork and set the scene. Then, throughout the series, I’ll attack each issue with detailed help to overcome each one. Some of you at this point will be tempted to skip to specific lessons, to get to the nitty-gritty. I get that – I tend to do it myself – we’re busy people, and there’s a lot of other advice out there you’ve possibly read. You just want anything that might supplement what you’ve already found. All I can tell you is: I don’t do packing or page filling. I only write what’s required. If you skip, you’ll miss something, and at some point later, misunderstand the importance, or misinterpret an application of information. Everything before builds on everything after. I ask you to trust me – and read it all – in order…


The Five Fierce Facts
(to selling 1000’s of books)

FACT #1 – BOOKS DON’T SELL THEMSELVES

If you told NO ONE about your book, did no Book Marketing, and uploaded it to Amazon. After a year you will have sold zero copies.

It’s not a reflection of your skill as a writer. It’s because, in the last 30 days,  231,000 new books were added to Amazon (figure at time of writing, and it’s growing by 10,000 a month).

Not all are in your genre, of course, but for a popular genre, such as Crime, Thrillers and Mystery the hard reality is: the day you publish your book, you’ll be competing with 228 other authors publishing that day in your genre. By tomorrow there will be another 228 competing books published! By the end of the week, you’re just one of nearly 1,600 new books in your genre. You’re old news.

Most authors fiddle around with a bit of Book Marketing, selling less than 50 books. Many sell only 10-20 to friends and family.

FACT #2 – You need to put in a lot of effort over a long period of time

For authors that come to me, this is the single largest factor that convinces them not to write a book for an income. “I’ll just try one first. See how it goes,” they say. I tell them the reality of their plan. A few choose to go ahead anyway, without strong Book Marketing, believing their book is going to be different. It always ends in disappointment.

So, how long?

Three to five years. Yes, I know, that’s disappointing, and some of you will leave now and not read on. The reason for the length of time is two-fold. First, it takes time for people to learn you exist and like your writing, and build your fan base. And second, is FACT #3.

FACT #3 – You have to publish a lot of books

Sure, you can sell thousands of your first book, maybe even financially break even if you work really, really hard. But you’re not going make a living from it to fund you while writing book two. One book isn’t going to cut it. Two books, won’t either. Three, and especially as a series, you will see some traction, and maybe pay for itself with a little left over, but not enough to live off. Book four is normally the breakpoint. If your Book Marketing is appropriate, you’ll have a good number of followers by then, and you can use them as meat into the grinder that is Amazon’s chart algorithm (more on this later). After that, things will take off, and residual sales, plus sales of your new books, will sustain you.

FACT #4 – The Product has to be good

As much as you don’t want to hear it, your book is nothing more than a product, like in any other business. Clients (readers) have to know it exists, they have to be wooed into trying it out, and they have to like it if they’re to buy from The Company (you) again. And there’s a LOT of competition, as we’ve said.

What does this mean, exactly? It means your writing has to be sharp, your stories intriguing, your book well produced: a great cover, quality materials, professional formatting, well edited, and proof checked. Weakness in any of these areas and your books will not compete. There are plenty of good authors throughout history who disappeared due to one bad apple in the book cart. As a society, we place our heroes on pedestals. We expect them to be perfect. One slip can have a catastrophic affect on their popularity, causing eventual demise. And getting followers as authors is hard enough as it is.

FACT #5 – The 90% Amazon factor

Like it or not, if you want to sell 1000’s of books and have a career, Amazon is going to be 90% of your book sales. You will need to understand how their secret algorithms work and keep pace with the constant tweaks. You’ll need tools to do this – and they’re out there. Keep it up, and at some point, your book sales will start to take care of themselves – mostly. This is the happy ending to your long, dedicated, slog. This is the gravy train. You’re now a successful career author.

Headrush

If you’re still with me – good for you! That wasn’t an easy pill to swallow, but you’re still here and not put off. So let’s get into the details of how you go about taking the Five Fierce Facts head on and breaking out the other side.

 

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Back to the first article


Miles Allen Author picture

About Miles Allen

Miles changed careers in 2008 from Senior Systems Designer in Aviation to become a fantasy author. His first book hit No1 on Amazon for Epic Fantasy and knocked The Hunger Games from the top slot in Waterstones. In 2010 he started a self-publishing business, and began creative writing meet-ups in Kent called NAGwhich have been running bi-weekly for four years.

He now writes, runs NAGS, and teaches a range of frank and honest courses for new authors on creative writing, self-publishing and book marketing across the Southeast (including at the Canterbury Christchurch University and North Kent College).

 

“It was great having Miles teaching to us today.
It’s given me some fantastic things to
think about – a very inspiring speaker,
thank you for a brilliant session.”

Emily Dorsett Beard


 

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www.thewalkersoflegend.co.uk
Miles Allen - Book Marketing series cover article

Why are my books not selling?

Miles Allen - Book Marketing series cover article

Book Marketing is the single greatest killer problem for new authors. You spend all that time on your book and believe the hard part’s done.

Plenty of online sources will claim quick fixes and miracle Book Marketing tricks, but in the end they’re either fake solutions, or you need to put a great deal of effort to make them work anyway, on top of paying somebody for their approach.

Painful Learning Curve

Seven years ago my first book shifted 75 copies in the first month to friends and family. The feedback was good.

This is it,‘ I thought. ‘Now it will take off!

Month two, sales were seven.

Sound familiar?

I bit the bitter bullet – books don’t go viral on places like Amazon, Smashwords, or get snapped up by bookstore chains, even if you’re on facebook, twitter, google+, linkedin, goodreads, and have a personal and comprehensive book website.

A year later, I’d learnt a lot. Thousands of copies were uploaded from Amazon, or sold direct as paperbacks at book signings, fairs, coffee shops, shopping malls, business networking – anywhere I could think I could get face-to-face.

What works…

I’ve put together a series, providing you with solid ways to market and sell your book. It involves no miracles, quick fixes, or silver bullets. The fact is, if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, it will guide you to a successful campaign, avoiding costly mistakes.

I wish you all the best with your book, and remember:

The harder you work
informed and smart
the luckier you get…

 

MA Marketing series #1 The Five Fierce Facts to Selling 1000's of Books

PART #1 – THE FIVE FIERCE FACTS (to selling 1000’s of books)

 


Miles Allen Author picture

About Miles Allen

Miles changed careers in 2008 from Senior Systems Designer in Aviation to become a fantasy author. His first book hit No1 on Amazon for Epic Fantasy and knocked The Hunger Games from the top slot in Waterstones. In 2010 he started a self-publishing business, and began creative writing meet-ups in Kent called NAGwhich have been running bi-weekly for four years.

He now writes, runs NAGS, and teaches a range of frank and honest courses for new authors on creative writing, self-publishing and book marketing across the Southeast (including at the Canterbury Christchurch University and North Kent College).

 

“It was great having Miles teaching to us today.
It’s given me some fantastic things to
think about – a very inspiring speaker,
thank you for a brilliant session.”

Emily Dorsett Beard


 

 SIGN UP NOW for Miles’ FREE Newsletter
For best practice, useful tips, interviews and news about writing and self-publishing sent straight to your inbox.

Join his FREE NAGS (New Author Group) Facebook Community page

www.facebook.com/MilesAllenAuthor

http://twitter.com/MilesAllen1
http://plus.google.com/105619133539684402762
www.thewalkersoflegend.co.uk
Red light zone for writers - what do you do.

Red Light Zone for Writers

Red light zone for writers - what do you do.

The Struggle to Find Somewhere to Write

Now don’t get me wrong, I love my family to bits, but writers have to go to a creative place inside their heads requiring isolation from distractions. And no matter how many times I try to explain why I turn into a deranged psycho when interrupted, they still have a hard time of it and think I’m being mean. Is this ringing any bells?

Now I’ve tried all sorts of remedies, most of which involve writing when they’re either asleep or out. But even then I only need the sound of a key in the door or the upstairs floorboards creaking, to make me cringe and break out of the zone. In fact, sometimes just the thought of them maybe waking up or coming home any minute keeps me on edge.

Outdoors

And I hear you say, ‘Just go out, Miles, and switch off the phone.’ And of course you’re right, there’s always that. But then you have to spend time travelling, finding a place just right, perhaps a park, or pub, or cafe. Living in England though, we have that pesky weather thing spoiling the outdoors. And using inside venues, you have to pay for the privilege of spending a day in a pub consuming at least polite amounts of coffee and probably a lunch. This, done daily, literally eats away your future royalties. And there’s only so much the tax man will swallow as expenses, and it’s a lot less than you do.

Indoors

At home I’ve tried those ear defenders workman use on building sites, they’re pretty good, and also tell the family ‘not now!’ which sometimes works; and other times I play music using in-ear earphones, which cut out the world nicely. On rare occasions, I’ve even put up with the discomfort of both together, but it makes my ears ache from the pressure of squeezing the plugs in under the defenders. Even then there’s always that little tap on the shoulder creating a cast to the sky with my eyes. And doesn’t it always happen right at the bit where you’re holding a dozen facts over four threads, and projecting into future books in the series the consequences of the actions taking place? And trust me, doing things like raising your hand in polite gesture to say, ‘I acknowledge you’re there, but this is a really bad time, please go away unless the cat’s in the dog’s jaws, or one of you is bleeding (and I mean profusely), doesn’t cut it.

Press to Kill

So my next idea to venture into distraction-free writing is the use of a red light – you know, like in recording studios. I’ll put it on view near my desk, visible to the rest of the downstairs (My first scheme of hooking up some eye-self-targeting laser pens was a no-go as such affordable technology isn’t quite here yet. Maybe a red button on my desk, one with a satisfying ‘click’ and the words ‘KILL’ written on it, would complete the ensemble when available).

I can already tell though, knowing that the other three occupants are my wife and two girls, that none of these will work, and will be seen as some draconian gender control device.

I think I’ll go reread The Leadership Secrets of Genghis Khan and the Venus and Mars book one more time in hope of inspiration.

I’ll let you know how it goes…

If you have a solution that works for you, please put me out of my misery.

Miles Allen