Inkwell Editorial

Marketing Advice for Self-Published Fiction Writers: This Could Help You Sell a Lot of Books

Published by Yuwanda Black, Site Editor

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Written by Yuwanda Black

If you’re a freelance writer who’s dipped your toes over into the self-publishing waters as a fiction writer, you may be bobbing about in the dark when it comes to marketing. I know I have been since I started writing romance seriously earlier this year.

A Taste of Tara: An Erotic, Short Romance (BBW, BWWM, Interracial)Now though, some patterns are starting to emerge that I can tell you about. On my blog over on SheWrites.com, where I discuss my foray into this genre, today I talked about marketing in the post, Marketing Tips for Romance Writers: 3 Quick Ways to Increase Sales.

Note: The following advice applies to any type of writing you may be doing, because business (any for-profit business) is all about sales.

Self-Publishing and Marketing: About Sales

I just wanted to add one more observation to the points I made in the SheWrites post … In that post, one of the tips I gave was to get intimate with your numbers, writing …

Pay Attention to You Sales Numbers: You’ll know almost right away if a book is a hit (and what’s considered a hit can only be determined by you).

What’s a “Hot Seller?”

For example, in my case, if I release a book and it sells 20-30 copies the first couple of days, and then hits 50-60 per day a few days after that AND it continues to sell 5-10 copies a day for a few months, then FOR ME, that’s a hit. Just know, sales will eventually drop off. Sometimes it can be a quick drop (eg, after a couple of days). Other times, it may take a few weeks or even a month. So decide what’s a hit FOR YOU, then get intimate with your numbers (ie, track sales).

It’s how I determine if it’s worth it to turn for example, a standalone novel into a series, or to continue writing in a certain genre.While this may not seem romantic, pardon the pun, if you’re going to write romance for a living, you should treat it like a business. And, the first rule of being in business is knowing your numbers.

I’ve been saying this for years, as it’s the advice a business mentor gave to me a couple of decades ago. I’ve never forgotten it, and when I watch shows like Shark Tank and The Profit (two I’m addicted to!), the first things they ask about are the numbers, eg, what are your sales, where are they coming from, where are your major profit centers, etc.

My Latest Fiction Release: The Sales

A Taste of Tara: Part II is my latest romance (an interracial, erotic, short story — for adults only so don’t click thru if this isn’t your cup of tea). This is how it’s performed since it was released – which means it’s been a hit for me. Release Date: October 17th (late evening – I released it then hit my favorite local bar here in Jamaica to celebrate :-)).

Oct 17 Sales: 1

Oct 18 Sales: 32

Oct 19 Sales: 15

How Part I of A Taste of Tara Performed

Now, the first part of this romance series, which was released on August 19th, has sold 509 copies, for a total of $923.05 (after refunds (39 ebooks)). That’s netting $15.38 day; $461.52/month – from one book – that you never have to update again (unlike my non-fiction, how to ebooks).

Note: These numbers are only from Amazon; I also sell my romance novels on Barnes & Noble (B&N) and starting this past August, AllRomanceEbooks.com (ARE); where I’ve uploaded 5 titles to date)). The reason I only mention AMZ is because it’s where the bulk of my romance novel sales come from (about 90%); but B&N and ARE sales are increasing — just FYI.

To me, this is a successful release. Again, this will vary for each person depending on their lifestyle, income, debt, etc.

Final Observation about Ebook Sales & Marketing

When you release a book that does well, it introduces readers to your other books. And this is particularly true on Amazon (and I imagine other ebook sales outlet too). Why? Because of the Amazon algorithm helps you to sell more, as discussed in this linked-to post. So you’ll see overall spikes in your book sales when you get what I call a “dragger.”

What Is a Dragger?

I call these kinds of books “draggers.” Why? Because when you get a popular title, sales may peak quickly, but they do continue to drag in over time. And if you have other books, readers will seek those out.

In other words, a popular title will drag the sales of other titles along with it. [Source: How to Make Money Writing Romance: Earn Up to $2,000 Per Month (Or More!) Self-Publishing Short Romance Novels]

And this is exactly why the most important thing you can do to make more money as a self-published author is to get busy writing and publishing your next title; NOT spend endless hours promoting one.

In fact, the NEW book you publish can be thought of as your best sales tool because not only does it add to your catalog of work, it boost sales of existing works. So always, always, always dig into your book’s sales numbers, especially after you start getting three four, six months and a year’s worth of data under your belt. It’ll tell you everything you need to know about how to proceed to become a successful self-published, fiction author.

As always, happy writing!

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Posted on October 20, 2014 
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