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SPQ 034: Disappointing Book Sales – How Do I Increase Them?

Written by Steve Scott on January 27, 2015. Listen to SPQ: iTunes | Stitcher | RSS Feed
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The Question…

Julie from TrulyMadlyDeeplyHappy.com has had disappointing results with her book marketing. She wants to know what she can do about it.

Biggest Takeway…

Steve’s Answer…

When Steve checked out Julie’s website, he noticed she is a doing a lot of the right things to build an author platform. She has her own podcast, writes blog posts, and has a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Google+.

Julie is also building an email list, and the subscription pop-up she’s using is very clean and enticing. Her offer—daily happiness quotes and inspirational messages—looks like it is a good match for her market.

The site looks like it is monetized in two ways: coaching services and book sales. Steve says each requires its own strategy, so if Julie really wants to sell a number of books, then she should focus on selling books. If she wants to sell coaching, she should focus on coaching. Some people do both effectively, but Steve recommends focusing on one income strategy until you master it.

Julie is selling two books, but she is not on Amazon unless she is using a pen name. Amazon is the biggest marketplace, so if you don’t already have a huge audience of your own, you can leverage Amazon’s platform to sell more books.

Pricing Strategy

Steve recommends trying a lower price point, such as $2.99 or maybe $3.99. Julie’s books currently sell for around seven dollars each. Some people are afraid to drop their book prices because think they will lose money. However, if you’re not making sales, you’re not making any royalties anyway. If you lower the price, you won’t make as much money per book, but you’ll make more money by leveraging Amazon’s platform.

Building a Catalog

If selling books is selling Julie’s priority, Steve recommends writing shorter books (10,000 to 20,000 words) focused on specific problems. An example would be how to start your day feeling happier or a book about a 30-day happiness routine. This will help build up your book catalog.

Inside each book, you should recommend your other books, promote your email list, and recommend free pieces of content on your blog. Julie already has a visually appealing website, so the seeds are in place. She just needs to focus on connecting with people and turning them into loyal fans.

Steve recommends using a free launch to build up your audience. In episode 32, he talked about building a Kindle business from scratch. A free launch is ideal if you don’t have a large audience already.

If Julie wants to make selling coaching services a priority, he recommends a different strategy. She should still write short books and use free launches to build her audience, but each book should have a free coaching offer at the end. Julie should also mention her coaching services in the content. Clarity.fm might be a good tool for building your platform or generating additional income. Steve discusses building an author platform in episode 13.

In Julie’s case, Steve believes she may be trying to do too much all at once. Her blog has a pretty consistent posting schedule, but it looks like she only records podcast episodes when she has time. Here’s what he recommends:

  1. Cut some of these platforms so she has more time and mental energy to focus on one thing. Figure out what is working and spend six to 12 months building up that platform.
  1. Focus your marketing on list building.
  1. Focus your email list on selling books. Use autoresponders to talk about new books, pre-sell your books, tell people to check out your books, and so on. Use the list to launch on Amazon.
  1. Rinse and repeat. Spend 25 percent of your time creating content, 25 percent writing books, 25 percent marketing books, and 25 percent coaching.
  1. Scale! Figure out what’s working, and don’t be afraid to ditch the losers. Leverage your most successful marketing methods and focus on what works.

Julie has great content and a lot of value to offer people. Steve says she needs to streamline her core activities and avoid the “entrepreneur’s curse” of having too many ideas and not enough time to implement them.

Resources and Links

Julie Zommers: Learn more about Julie and sign up for daily inspirational messages

SPQ 032: Steve provides a step-by-step plan for building a Kindle business from scratch

SPQ 013: Learn how to market your books via email

Clarity.fm: Get advice from some of the world’s leading entrepreneurs