Okay, so today is Friday August 8th, 2014. As of this morning I have sold almost 3,000 copies of my debut novel, WWIV - In The Beginning. From what I'm told by others, that represents a good start to my writing career. By this time next month Book Two in the series - WWIV: Kids at War - will hit the charts and I can only hope for as good a showing as Book One.
Here's the thing, most of these sales, most of the growth in the sales of this book have been organic. That means I've spent very little on advertising in attempts to sell the novel. Most sales have come via Amazon's amazing search engine and recommendations.
Since some books sell poorly, I can't give all the credit to Amazon. Some of the credit actually goes to the book itself: The unique cover, the sales blurb, the concept, and of course the genre. Let it be known that many readers in the Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic genre are veracious readers. They devour new concepts and novels like my dogs with their food at dinnertime. For that, I am thankful!
Organic Growth Rocks
And I bet you know why, don't you?
First off, you don't have to spend a lot of money to get traction. The book (and Amazon) do the hard work. To date, I have spent $562 to promote Book One. I can't really tell you how many copies have been sold as a result of this advertising, but I figure somewhere around 200 - 300 is the actual amount. There's probably been a small residual affect as well, so let's say 400 copies have been sold thus far as a direct result of my advertising efforts.
The second benefit, and this is key, is the readership I have gained. Most people (at least 85% this far) have chosen this book by their own volition, with no outside input influencing their decision. There's good likelihood that as many as 80% of those readers will consider purchasing Book Two (and Three and Four and Five). This allows me the luxury of concentrating on my writing, instead of wasting hours consider various advertising options.
Not all marketing is created equal
This really goes without saying, but it's always worth repeating. I have tried playing with a number of advertising options. Some popular to many, others not so common. I know for a fact that when I stopped one certain method, my sales remained stable (actually, they increased slightly). Saved some money on that one.
About a month after the books release I did a small blog tour. I saw sales jump immediately and remained at a higher level for a number of weeks afterwards. That was the best $135 I think I've ever spent in my life. I am definitely using that tour again for Book Two.
So the moral is this: Use your money wisely!
Shoot for Organic Growth
And just how do you accomplish such a nebulous task? Here's five pieces of advice that you've read before, but (again) are worth repeating:
1. Write a great, and unique, story/manuscript
2. Have that manuscript professionally edited
3. Get a professionally designed cover
4. Format your manuscript into the best ebook/paperback out there (or hire it out)
5. Spend your (small) advertising budget wisely. Consider a Book Blog Tour
That's it, really. Do you best; give everything 110%. And realize that some books won't sell many copies. That's just the way it goes - sorry. But don't give up. Get writing immediately on your second book. You'll be surprised how much easy it all is the second time around. And learn from your mistakes on book one. I know I have. And I've made plenty of mistakes on this journey so far.
Next week we'll have a lively discussion about fear - rational and irrational. I promise to keep it light.