Sometimes you can do everything right—marketing, promotion, a great cover, a fantastic book that is well edited—and you still won’t see the sales you were hoping for. So how can you capture the right audience and increase sales?
The best option is to start planning and writing your next book. The more you write and publish, the greater chance of your books gaining more readers and publicity—and a new book usually boosts backlist sales as well. But writing and publishing a new book is a time-consuming process. Even if you can get it done in a year, that’s still a lot of time to wait for a paycheck.
While you work on a new project or wait for inspiration to strike, here are a few things you can do to increase sales on books you’ve already published.
Write some short stories and/or novellas.
Work on some similar pieces of short fiction in your genre. You can either offer these as a free giveaway in hopes of increasing visibility and readership, or you might even have some success selling them as a short, cheap read for a dollar or two.
Create bonus content for your last book.
If you had some degree of popularity with your last book, see if there’s room for added content. For some authors, and especially for romance authors, you can write additional content, like a free short story about the characters in your book. Maybe it’s a hilarious “after the happy ending” or maybe it’s a short story involving a beloved secondary character. Create a little extra content, offer it for free, and see if that generates some new sales for your book.
Do a cross-promotion with another author.
Now, this isn’t to say, “Hey, Stephen King, I also write horror! Let’s do a cross-promotion.” But maybe there are a few other authors in your genre you’d like to partner with. You could offer bonus content for each other’s releases or simply sing each other’s praises on social media. The more new fans you have, the greater chance of someone buying your book.
Keep doing readings, interviews, and public speaking engagements when you can.
Writers aren’t always the most outgoing of species, but in order to thrive, we need to keep ensuring we’re visible. Look for opportunities to do interviews, readings, and/or public speaking engagements when you can.
Need ideas? Check out your genre. Horror writers can usually create opportunities around Halloween, just as romance authors might benefit by giving love and/or sex advice during Valentine’s Day. This goes triple if you’ve written a fiction or nonfiction book about a timely subject matter. The more people see you, the greater chances of boosting your book sales.
Contribute to an anthology.
There’s usually not much money when you contribute to an anthology, but it can be a fantastic way to gain some exposure in your genre, meet and work with other authors, and even have something new to share with your readers. Sure, you didn’t write the whole book, but you certainly contributed to part of it, and that’s an opportunity to reach out to your readers, send out a newsletter, and do a little self-promotion. Because while you’re plugging one book, who’s to say you can’t promote your novel in the process?
Be a guest blogger.
Check out indie book blogs, especially those that specialize in your genre or capture your target readers. Are they popular? Do lots of people engage with the posts? This can be a great opportunity to introduce yourself to the blog and its readers. If you have a decent following, invite the blog to interview you, or ask them if you can write a guest post. Perhaps you can write book reviews or, if you don’t already have a dedicated reader following, you could offer to interview another author. By engaging with a new audience, you can increase your visibility and hopefully your book sales, too.
Get a side gig.
The most obvious route for many authors and writers is to find a side gig. From proofing to transcribing to tutoring or even driving, there are a ton of side jobs out there. The downside? Many of the jobs don’t pay particularly well, but there tends to be a lot of work available, which can be helpful if you need extra cash. (Check out our blog on Eight Side Jobs for Freelance Writers for ideas.) And who knows? This could be the adventure to inspire your next book.
Hannah Guy lives in Toronto and is a professional writer and copywriter who specializes in books, books, and more books. Follow her on Twitter at @hannorg.