If you regularly publish three or more works of series, genre fiction every year, you probably have a system that makes money for you. Things like changing covers, timing releases and re-releases, box sets and Kindle Unlimited likely contribute to a fairly consistent revenue stream.
For those of us who don’t put out huge numbers of serial, genre fiction books, these same strategies may not work quite as well. They’re not designed to. This does not mean other fiction authors can’t be successful. We just have to do things a bit differently.
What’s the secret to selling books produced for more general audiences and at a much less prolific rate? Frankly, it depends, and on too many things to even begin to list here. There are, however, a few – let’s say, common mistakes – which, if avoided, may help give your sales a fighting chance.
Here, in no particular order, are some indie pitfalls to steer clear of.
1. Limiting promotion to only one country. If you write in English, your books should be available everywhere English is spoken. You should solicit bloggers and reviewers in each ofthose countries, and ask that their reviews get posted to bookseller sites catering to readers there.
2. Overpricing print books. If, like most indie authors, your hard copies are printed POD, those books will generally be more expensive than those produced through regular print runs. But how much more expensive differs depending on who’s doing the printing. Let’s say you are competing with paperbacks priced at $8.95, and your POD source wants to price your paperback at $15.95. They are effectively eliminating a viable product line, since buyers will be hesitant to overpay by so much. If you can’t negotiate down the purchase price, shop around for POD printers who can price your book more competitively.
3. Not advertising. If you plan to sell books, you have to advertise. That’s just the way it is. Knowing where and how to advertise to maximize return-on-investment is part art and part science, but you must do it. Popular sites are Amazon and Facebook; I would challenge you to be a little more creative, if possible.
4. Using social media just to push your books. You have to engage people in groups in ways that are important to them, before you can even begin to talk about your product.
5. Listing books in the wrong categories. Pay attention to how similar books that are selling are categorized, as well as looking for categories where your book might stand out.
6. Failing to launch. Just releasing a new book isn’t enough. You have to really launch it to get the word out and generate buzz.
7. Not following up with another book. Pretty Self-explanatory!
Joel Bresler is the author of Letters to be Read in a Heavily British Accent, Sunderwynde Revisited, Sunderwynde Revisited Again and The Moskowitz Code. His latest humorous novel Bottomless Cups is scheduled for release February 27, 2020.