“How many copies of my book can I expect to sell?”

“How many copies of my book can I expect to sell?”

Q. –

“Do you have a guess on how well my type of book would sell?”

– George H.

A. –

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.

Every Booklocker.com author receives a free copy of our book, 90+ Days of Promoting Your Book Online.

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.


Is Amazon REALLY Giving Authors Accurate Sales Numbers?? Read This!

There Are Really Only 2 Ways To Accurately Estimate Your Book Sales

Don’t Give Amazon (or anyone else) the Power to Put You Out of Business!

90+ DAYS OF PROMOTING YOUR BOOK ONLINE: Your Book’s Daily Marketing Plan

Don’t Fool Yourself About Poor Book Sales

The Do-It-Yourselfer’s Guide to Self-Syndication

90+ DAYS OF PROMOTING YOUR BOOK ONLINE: Your Book's Daily Marketing Plan by Angela Hoy and Richard Hoy

Promoting your book online should be considered at least a part-time job. Highly successful authors spend more time promoting a book than they do writing it - a lot more.

We know what you're thinking. You're an author, not a marketer. Not to worry! We have more than a decade of successful online book selling experience under our belts and we're going to teach you how to promote your book effectively online...and almost all of our techniques are FREE!

Online book promotion is not only simple but, if you have a step-by-step, day-to-day marketing plan (this book!), it can also be a very artistic endeavor, which makes it fun for creative folks like you!

Yes, online book promoting can be EASY and FUN! Let us show you how, from Day 1 through Day 90...and beyond!


BOOK PROPOSALS THAT WORKED! Real Book Proposals That Landed $10K - $100K Publishing Contracts - by Angela Hoy

Peek over the shoulders of highly successful, published authors to see how they landed publishing contracts worth $10,000 to $100,000! An enticing yet professional book proposal is the key!

BONUS! Successful ghostwriter, Anton Marco, shares his secret for landing ghostwriting clients. Don’t miss Anton’s real ghostwriting contract at the end of this book! It provides an example of what he charges and the payment terms he requires from each client.

3 Responses to "“How many copies of my book can I expect to sell?”"

  1. Pingback: Letters and Comments for 04/19/2017 | WritersWeekly.com

  2. pamelaallegretto  April 14, 2017 at 11:40 am

    “90 Days of Promoting Your Book Online” is the indie-authors’ bible. Read it and reread it. No, I don’t get any kick-back for saying so.

  3. joe sixpak  April 13, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    a priori i would say six print copies and
    with kindle possibly 30 counting free ones used to introduce the book

    if you were rowling or patterson you would sell millions
    but the average new writer will have a hard time selling any at all.

    this is a VERY long tailed phenomenon now
    a handful of writers make millions
    a few might make min wage or pay for their expenses
    but most authors will never net a profit thanks to digital and the internet that lets everybody be an ‘author’
    and clutter up the lists with stuff nobody will ever find let alone want to read