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Books, dreams, and stories

The Challenge of Selling Books

The Challenge of Selling Books

I’m writing and promoting my new book at the same time — which is how it should be done if one wants to sell anything at all, but it’s also time consuming and exhausting. Writing books is hard and selling them is, in all honesty, even harder. This is my third book and with that the third part of my book promotion experiment. The time to compare the results has come!

I haven’t promoted my first book, The Story of the Fox and White Rabbit (not your ordinary fable), in any other way but by writing a couple of blog posts and stories on Medium. For the second and third books, though, I started using paid promotion to be able to compare the results.

My posts and stories were doing quite well on Medium when I first self-published and my following was growing fast. I had absolutely no idea what to expect in terms of book sales, though. And I wasn’t pushing the book too much either — there is just so many posts one can write about a story that is not your ordinary fable.

I’ve sold about 130 copies of my first book so far. Since I self-published it as an unknown author in a not exactly popular genre with close to no paid promotion (I invested literally a couple bucks in it), I’m quite happy with what I achieved solely through my blogging on Medium.

Mind you, I also launched the first book with no reviews or any other book prior to it, so it was much harder to sell for that reason too.

The second book, ‘How to Self-Publish Your Book: The Fast, Free & Easy Way,’ was a different story altogether — to begin with, it’s non-fiction, it was available for preorder (I recommend doing that if you are able to stick to the deadlines), and I ran a promotion campaign that included blogging, publishing in popular publications on Medium, paid ads, and paid newsletters through book promotion sites.

Still, I only invested a couple hundred dollars in it, which is about the amount Mark Dawson spends on ads per day.

By the time of my third book, ‘You Self-Publish, Now What? How to Promote Your Book’ (the one I’m currently writing and is available for preorder), both of my first two books received good reviews. The second also got to the first place in its category on Amazon. Over 1,000 copies were sold or given away during the free promotion weeks and its free peak rank was #1,090 among all Kindle books on Amazon.

Publishing books on self-publishing, by the way, was never my intention. It just happened after I started to self-publish and couldn’t find and easy-to-follow manual that would help me do that on a non-existent budget. That’s how I ended up wring one myself.

I’m publishing the second book in the Self-Publishing Made Easy series for the same reason - to help other writers like me who cannot afford to take expensive courses that cost hundreds of dollars and invest in promotion on the top of that!

Also, I have years of experience in marketing and the media, so it was a bit easier for me to start and figure out how this works. Like my second book, I’m also promoting this new release   using paid promotion options.

This time I managed to get it to #1 New Release in several categories on Amazon as soon as I launched. I promoted it with fewer blog posts, though, since the situation and algorithm on Medium have changed. While my posts still get about 16,000 monthly views, the platform keeps pushing random older ones at the expense of the new posts and that’s of no use.

I thus had to change the strategy that worked for my second book and am now focused more on guest blogging and press opportunities rather than publishing on Medium. I also spent more time on polishing the new book’s cover and have finally launched my author website too (after two books, it was about time!).

Now take a look at the results of the three books launches — I was able to create this chart using the ‘Get Book Report’ app (I can recommend it). It will only show the sales on Amazon, though, but since that’s where most books sell, it will do. What you see is an overall Kindle rank for each book on day 3 of the launch — the red line stands for the sales my first book, the yellow one for my second, and the green one for my latest book:

Launch comparison - Book Report.png

All this was achieved using highly affordable approaches and certainly didn't cost a fortune. But it did take quite a lot of time and persistent effort.

To master the basics of book promotion, get You Self-Published, Now What? How to Promote Your Book (preorder price $0.99).

Cover picture: Kopi (Pixabay)

What It Means to Be a Writer on a Budget

What It Means to Be a Writer on a Budget

How My Book Became #1 New Release

How My Book Became #1 New Release