“How do I get more people to purchase my book?”
A fan-turned-writer messaged me on Facebook after finishing her novel (Night Walker, by Janice Coleman). While I’m not necessarily a paranormal-themed book reader and I don’t have the time to read it now, I did put it on my to-purchase list.
She has a valid question though.
How DO you get more people to purchase your book?
Selling your book can be frustrating.
When my novel, Still Life in Blood, came out in 2013, I had an “instant” following in my local writers’ group (Rehoboth Beach Writers’ Guild) since I had spent the previous 8 years at Free Writes! writing bits and pieces of it. I sold a hefty amount of books at my local book store (Browseabout Books). But after that first year, sales started to dwindle. I still booked signings for the next two years, but there were only two things that really helped my sales: one, my book was set in the town people were visiting (Rehoboth Beach; everyone wanted the book once they realized it was set where they were staying; it made it all the more thrilling to “see” the places in the book), and two, word of mouth.
Your friends and family are your biggest fans—or at least they should be! If they aren’t, why are you friends with them?
I’m just kidding, just kidding.
In all seriousness, they love you (they are friends with you, right?), but they’re even more proud of you than you think. Ask them to like, share, follow, comment, mention, review, purchase (yes, and I’ll explain way), and encourage. They will be the reason your book does well.
Below I’ve outlined everything I just mentioned—but not necessarily in the same order.
- Purchase – This is the only one of my suggestions that actually costs money, so let’s get this out of the way. You didn’t write the book to give it away, right? You wrote it because you have a dream or a passion to be a writer (have you read my post on passion? Check it out!). This dream took you a year, two years, or, in my case, eight years. If you look at the price you’re selling it and divide that by the years you worked, that’s how much you would get per person buying it (for example, my book costs $15, I worked on it for 8 years, that’s $1.87 per year—you can’t even get a beer for that unless you’re at happy hour, and even then… would you drink that beer?). You worked hard on that book! You slaved, you sweat, you bled for it. Charge for it. And if your friends and family think they should be given the book for free, unfriend them. I’m kidding, again, but do the math. Pay yourself. It’s part of your income. Of course you may want to give your mother and father a copy and your sister or brother, or husband/wife, but not every single extended family member and friend needs a free copy. I gave my two best friends their copies, my mother, and, despite my best efforts to give my sister a physical copy, she purchased the eBook it because she wanted it on her ipad for the gym (thanks sis!). My uncle insisted on purchasing it. You get my point, though.
- Like – This is the easiest way your friends can help sell your book. If you’re posting on a social media site, like Facebook or Instagram, ask them to like or double-tap. Their like makes your post more visible and more likes, means more potential sales.
- Follow – It’s pretty simple. The more followers you have, the more exposure you will get. Ask your friends to follow you.
- Share – Asking them to share or repost your post will introduce their friends to your book. Sharing your post will expose their friends to you and your book. These are people that might never have heard of you before. Share. Share. Share.
- Comment – While double-tapping on Instagram is good, commenting is even better. Photos with more comments get moved up higher than photos with no comments. Ask them to take a second or two to drop a couple words. And while you’re at it, drop a few words on one of your favorite authors’ photos… they might even follow back!
- Reviews – Reviews help writers sell books whether they are new writers or established. It’s okay to ask your friends to write a review. My cousin wrote a fabulous review for my book without me asking, so don’t be afraid to ask!
- Mention – If your friends and family are out with their friends and family, ask them to talk about you and your book. Encourage it and don’t forget to be thankful. Word of mouth is the best way to boost sales. Simply mentioning your book or name will let more people know you’re a writer and have published. I still get the occasional, “You wrote a book?” astonished face in conversations. Smile and nod and give them a card (business or bookmark). Ask them to check it out. Chances are they love to read and didn’t know about your book OR they know people who do read. Case in point: I told a client at my day job that I had written a book. He told his mom and the next time he came in, he said, “My mom purchased four copies, can you sign them for her as gifts?” (Um, yes!)
- Encouragement – Let your friends encourage you to keep going, to write the next one. Let them ask you questions about your writing and don’t be afraid to answer them. I actually had a brainstorming dinner with a good friend of mine and her husband. I told them I was stuck in the book. I didn’t know how to move forward. I didn’t know what to do next or why my killer was killing. They told me to come to their place. Over Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon and a glass of Stump Jump (a fresh bottle of a red I accidentally smashed on their front walk a few months earlier; which is an entirely different story and I digress), we talked about the novel, where it was going, what was going to happen and they encouraged me to not give up because it is my passion. Together, we solved one part of the ending—you’ll have to wait to read it, but it’s coming along nicely!
So there you are… a few ways you can ask your friends to help you and your book sales.
And if they don’t want to do any of this, get rid of them—but not in the murder mystery way… just get new friends. I’m kidding!
Or am I? I may need to go back and see how many of my friends are liking, sharing, and commenting on my posts… 😉
Speaking of that… I need to go like/comment on some of my friends’ posts.
Peace, my lovely’s.