Many writers fail to understand that writing is the easiest part of the profession. If you enjoy the process and like what you’re writing about, you can produce volumes and volumes of content with little difficulty. However, getting your works published is another thing.
You have to jump through all sorts of hoops and deal with literary agents and editors. And even if you do get an established publisher like Simon & Schuster or HarperCollins to read your manuscript, there’s no assurance that they’re going to publish it. Even getting a small press to notice you is difficult. That’s why more and more writers are self-publishing their works.
Let’s say you decide to go down this road. You’ve shelled out some cash and now you have a room full of boxes of your books. Now what? How do you recoup your investment? Can you even compete with traditional publishers? The selling part is where most writers fall short. Writing is a labor of love, but book-selling is a serious business.
You’re here because you need to sell your books. Whether you’re self-publishing children’s picture books or romance novels, here are a few tips that will help you turn your book from a bomb to a bestseller.
1. Start a website
Unless you’re an internet celebrity or an established writer, you’re not going to sell any books until you make a name for yourself. One of the best ways to connect with the worldwide community of readers is to establish an online presence, including starting a website. Having a website allows you to promote your works online and create a subscription list for future campaigns. It can take a few weeks or even months for your website to generate buzz, but traffic will slowly increase if you invest in marketing.
A well-designed website is an absolute must. Most consumers use the internet to research and shop, so you want to make sure that your website is accessible and easy to use. Website visitors should be able to easily find all the information they need. The best thing about creating a site is you have complete control over your platform. You get to dictate the visuals, content, and marketing strategy.
2. Choose a great title
Many consumers make their buying decision based on the title. The goal is to get your works noticed. Whether it’s for a film, an online article, or a book, the right title can hook people in to give your work the exposure it desperately needs. The title should be interesting enough to pique the reader’s attention and give them an idea of what the book is about.
Titling strategies differ from genre to genre. Books geared towards a younger audience often have a straightforward but fanciful title (think The Very Hungry Caterpillar or Green Eggs and Ham). Meanwhile, romance novels have simple but evocative titles such as After Forever Ends or Call Me By Your Name. If you’re writing nonfiction, the formula is usually an image accompanied by a subtitle that explains the premise of the book (e.g. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies).
3. Design a professional cover
As the saying goes, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” But people will judge a book by its cover. An ugly front cover will deter buyers, while a good one will help your book sell like hotcakes. Even a good title can’t compensate for a poorly designed cover. To make sure you’re covered on that end, you might want to hire a professional designer who will create the front art for you.
Changing the front cover can double your sales overnight. One survey showed that 4 in 5 readers were more likely to buy a book with an eye-catching cover. Almost half said that an ugly cover can lower the chances of them buying the title, even if it was from an author they previously liked.
Many writers swear by these tips to make a living. If done right, you can build a successful writing career by self-publishing your works. Of course, some things are easier said than done, and you need to understand that you need to listen to market trends and tweak your process as you go along. But, as long as you adopt a business mindset, you can increase your sales and build your brand at the same time.