Writing Fails to Pay

Selling earns your livelihood. Selling books is arguably the third most important thing about being a writer. (In my opinion, Writing is hands down the first, and editing/revision is probably the second.) Selling is how we are going to be able to buy all of that coffee we love, pay our rent, and possibly have enough left over for a new copy of The Cursed Child. How you sell does depend on how you published. Traditionally published writers will often be able to sell in bookstores that are closed to those who self-publish. Self-published authors will generally focus on e-books rather than print, because of the lower overhead costs and higher profit margins.

Either way, books are not items that can easily sell simply by putting up a billboard with your novel’s cover on it. Most people read less than five novels a year, so using marketing strategies to hit every person who’s ever lived doesn’t really help. Instead, you want to focus on markets with a high volume of readers. Blogging is one of the best ways to target a reading audience, but most people who blog are writers as well. This means that your product has to be fantastic in order to really catch their attention.

Posting a bunch of links saying, “Buy My Book,” won’t help much because, in all honesty, no one really cares about a new author. Why would I want to read an unknown book, when I can go pick up the latest thing from Joe Abercrombie? I’ve read his stuff before and its incredible. (His character Glokta is one of the most interesting people I’ve ever read. If you haven’t read the First Law Trilogy, you are missing out.) If you blog, there are three ways you can sell a book: make friends online and they will try your novel because they like you, be helpful and your audience will try it because, again, they like you, or finally catch someone’s interest by posting creative, intriguing content. The majority of those tasks deal with people liking you, so make it a point to foster relationships rather than just spamming would-be readers.

The best way to sell a book is to get people to recommend it to their friends. In order for them to do that, you need to get people to read your work and love it. The latter is achieved by creating a fantastic story, so don’t skimp on editing/revision because that is where you turn your book into something incredible. If you know that you have a good story, try going to a bookstore and asking the manager if they have a staff member who really likes your genre. Offer them a free copy of the book, and if they like it, ask them to personally recommend it to customers who like that genre. The key to making this a success is having a wonderful book to begin with.

Selling a book is hard work. You need to have a grade-A product to even hope to be a success. This doesn’t mean you need to have a Phd in English, but simply that your work is generally error free, the story is somewhat creative, and you can find the right audience. I hope that everyone is having a wonderful day and I am looking forward to hearing from you.

6 thoughts on “Writing Fails to Pay

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