“Do you have a guess on how well my type of book would sell?”
– George H.
I receive this question almost daily from new authors and it’s virtually impossible to answer. It’s like asking how many bluebonnets will bloom in a field without knowing the time of year, the condition of the soil, the weather forecast, or even the location of that field. There could be a thousand bluebonnets…or there could be none. No two fields would yield the same because there are far too many other factors involved.
Some authors think if they publish a book in a specific genre that they can expect sales similar to other books in that genre. But, other authors also serving that genre may have a pre-existing fan base, and/or may work much harder or efficiently at promoting their brand and their book. They may get lucky, and get significant press while other authors in the same genre are ignored. Two books that compete directly with each other can range from thousands of dollars in sales each year to zero sales, despite the fact that both may have excellent writing, plot twists, etc.
Bill Henderson, the author of Cancer-Free: Your Guide to Gentle, Non-toxic Healing, distributed a weekly newsletter, had a weekly online radio show, and offered phone consultations on his book’s topic. Sadly, he passed last year but his wife and a colleague have kept up with the book’s promotional activities. He sold FAR more books than authors of other books on that topic because, unlike most authors, Bill treated book promotion as a full-times business. He didn’t stop promoting a new book after two or three months, and start writing a new one. He wrote one book for the same audience, and spent years promoting it, never letting up, and never getting bored since the sales continued to roll in. He did release new, updated editions over the years, as well as a Spanish-language edition.
Online book promotion can have a residual effect because anybody searching for information on that topic can find mentions of the book years later. As a result, Cancer-free has been one of BookLocker.com‘s bestsellers since the first edition was published more than a decade ago! As I’m writing this, it’s still the #1 best selling print book on the site.
Unfortunately, most authors do little to no promotion. They may come out of the gate like gangbusters in the beginning but, if they don’t see immediately sales (building a brand can take awhile!), they may get bored, and move on to writing the next book.
Some authors expect fame and fortune to fall in their laps by chance. That just doesn’t happen. Some authors think dumping their book on Amazon will mean instant sales. That’s also not going to happen. Amazon has millions of books for sale. If you don’t promote it, nobody will know it’s there. Period.
A book’s sales potential depends entirely on: 1. the book itself; and 2. the author’s marketing savvy and efforts. Listing a book on a particular large website won’t automatically generate sales. The author must promote the book in order for it to be successful. This is true for self-published and traditionally published titles. Traditional publishers do little to no promotion for unknown/new authors now. They take a gamble that a book may or may not take off. They run with the ones that do, and generally abandon the ones that don’t. Of course, the ones that do are by authors who are promoting them creatively and consistently.
Anyone can buy the book, of course, but BookLocker authors get a copy for free.
Many POD publishers upsell authors to the tune of thousands of dollars on products/services that will never result in enough book sales to pay for those products/services (which is why those publishers don’t offer those services for free). We call those POD publishers “author meat markets” – they suck as much money as they can out of an author’s wallet before moving on to the next author. BookLocker.com does not do business that way. We know what works and what doesn’t and we’re not going to sell marketing products and services that are proven to be a waste of time and money.
If you want to pay someone to promote your book, it’s a better idea to pay a book publicist directly than to hire a fee-based book publishing service to perform marketing duties. If you need a referral to a book publicist please let me know.
If you are self-publishing, find out how many copies of your book you’ll need to sell to break even RIGHT HERE.
Yes, online book promoting can be EASY and FUN! Let us show you how, from Day 1 through Day 90…and beyond!