3 hacks to sell more copies of your book

How can you sell more than 200 copies of a self-published book without spending too much money and time? There are three hacks that you can action straight away, but you will need to execute these over time, consistently.

Over the past couple of months I seem to have almost daily conversations with business book writers about how they can sell more copies of their newly published book, or more copies of a book they have published.

And I say sell because this is what you have to do.

While marketing may sound gentler and ‘nicer’ the reality is you HAVE to put a chunk of effort into making your book visible.

People can’t buy a book they don’t know exists. And it’s up to you to make it visible, and this requires you to get out there and engage as many people, groups, organisations, the media, Podcasters, Influencers that you can. And this means selling you.

I can hear a sharp intake of breath from you already.

‘What, I have to sell my book? Can’t someone else do it?

Let me respond by asking you a question.

If you’re not excited, prepared or willing to sell your book, why would someone else/anyone else be?

And, I know what’s holding you back as I’ve nurtured several writers through this challenge and, believe me, it is a real challenge for some people, no matter what role you might have in your business or organisation.

It’s one thing to write your book, it’s another whole, new world out there in marketing and selling your book. Many online courses and program promise you a six-figure income from selling your book, but what they don’t tell you is that YOU have to market, promote and sell your book.

And, the real challenge here is to work out how, where and to whom to make your book visible to so you sell more copies of it.

1. Confidence

Greg Weiss at the launch of his three-book series

Standing up in front of a group of people, now matter how small or large, to talk about your book is challenging. You think its going to be easy, after all you’ve spent a lot of time and money getting your book written and published. This is now your moment to shine, to sell your book.

Many first time business authors falter at this critical point as they go into what I call ‘the dark swamp of fear and insecurity’. The self talk goes something like this’

‘What if no-one likes it?

‘What if people disagree with what I’ve written?’

‘What if no-one buys it?’

‘What if my peer group thinks I am a complete prat for promoting my own book?’

‘What if ….

Get the picture?

So, how do you move out of the swamp of fear to the top of the mountain?

You stay clear on your purpose, know your target audience deeply, seek professional advice on the structure of your book, pay for a good editor and proofreader, ask for feedback from reviewers and revise your book several times.

All these things will make your book the best it can be. And that’s what you’re after. The best book you can write.

You want to know that you’ve done all you can to deliver insights, knowledge and tools that will help your target audience with their challenges.

Your book is actually about helping your target audience.

If you do this well (to a high quality in terms of the content and production), you will be proud and confident to stand on any stage, talk on any podcast/interview about your book…and sell more copies.

2. The right focus, team and tools

Jaqui and Christina Gerakiteys in a book planning session

Successfully writing a quality book takes time. It’s not a weekend project, Chat GPT plagiarised quickie or mashed-up set of blog posts. (Although I am now utilising Chat GPT across my research and writing and with my clients, and if you want some insights to this watch this LinkedInLive)

A quality book requires you to have the right purpose and focus. Of all the knowledge, insights, tools and tips you have developed and acquired over the years, what is the most relevant and useful for your target audience?

If you focus on your target audience and their challenges, you can then select the best of what you have to offer and share it with them.

As I say to our clients, your book actually isn’t about you, it’s about your reader, your target audience so you need to know them well. Then you write a book that will sell more copies.

Having a great team around ensures that what you write will be the best it can be. You simply cannot create a quality book on your own. Your book:

  • needs a clear structure and flow.
  • has to be proofread (more often than not twice). Typos, incorrect grammar and sentence structure, inconsistent heading and sub-heading formats confuse your readers. And, frankly, show you simply really don’t care enough to take the time to get these elements right
  • professional cover design and internal page layout and design that engages the reader.

All these elements and more require a team of specialists. Now, some of those specialists might be apps and online tools. Nothing wrong with that…but be careful to understand what they can do and what they can’t.

I use a wide range of tools when I am researching and writing from Temi.comotter.aiChat GPTBard.com among others in terms of writing a good book.

Human beings, I reckon, are better though.

The key point here is the more you care about the quality of what you are writing, how you write, design and publish it the more confident you will be standing on stage holding up your book, talking about it and selling it.

A side note: There’s tons of ways to game the Amazon Bestseller rankings. This doesn’t mean you’ve written a great book. Of course you could well have, but this is not a given.

Techniques to sell more copies of your book

In terms of marketing/selling your book there are thousands of tools, programs and ways you can maximise your marketing and promotional efforts:

  • paid advertising on all social media platforms
  • content marketing across platforms
  • being interviewed on relevant PodCasts
  • paying Influencers to promote your book
  • engaging more traditional publicists and media advisers.
  • building a ‘book community’ that helps magnify your posts and efforts by sharing across their networks
  • securing endorsements from recognised people in your field/sector
  • partnering with companies/organisations in your network to present and secure bulk orders
  • Sell discounted bulk copies to industry conferences and events.

The real challenge here is to work out where you should be, how much time and money you should invest for what specific return and if you’re going to DIY it or pay someone else to do this.

You can spend tens of thousands of dollars on marketing and promoting your book and not recoup the cost of this. The visibility might be there (for a while) but the $ probably won’t be. This is where a good book adviser/book coach can guide you, and it’s a core part of what we do here at The Book Adviser. As our clients are used to me saying:

You can’t market to everyone, you don’t have the time or the money, so let’s work out where your target audience is and engage them where they are.

3. Consistent execution over time

Dr Catriona Wallace at the launch of her book Checkmate Humanity

Selling thousand of your business book is going to take time.

Your book launch is NOT your marketing campaign. In fact the marketing and selling of your book needs to start 4-5 months BEFORE your book launch and continue for 12-18 months after it.

I get it. A book launch is a wondrous thing. I love them. There’s so much excitement, celebration and as the author, a sense of pride and achievement.

You’ve done it. You’ve written and published your book.

The reality is that the hard work has only started if you want to sell more copies of your book.

To sell more copies of your book (if that’s your goal) you need to have a strategy and a plan to achieve this. A key part of this is defining what your goal is. For example you might want to increase your visibility in your sector; use the book as a business development tool; develop a higher profile as a speaker/thought leader; leave a legacy; share your knowledge; sell lots of books.

Depending on your goal/s your book marketing and sales strategy will be different. Where are how you spend your time and money will be different. How you publish your book will be different (print, eBook, audio book or all three).

We’ve worked with a client who printed 60 copies of his book (and sold all of them). This was his goal and we achieved it through a targeted content marketing campaign and book launch. We’ve worked with a client who teamed up with a hybrid publisher on her first book (that had sat in her computer for seven years) that sold 3,000 copies at retail. It was so successful that she was commissioned to write a second book. Another client negotiated several bulk sales of her book as part of her speaking engagements, selling over 4,000 book in two years.

Selling more copies of your book takes consistent execution over time.

Consistent execution over time takes focus and commitment.

Business and life happen. The book loses its shiny new glow after the launch. Other things take priority, and after 2-3 months most people move on from their book, leaving stacks of brown boxes in spare rooms, the garage or stacked up in the utility room. After a while everyone forgets they’re there, and before long there’s the ‘what do we do with them?’ discussion.

To sell more copied of your book you need a strategy, a plan, people to implement it and for you to oversee it (even if you’re the one implementing it).

There are options available to you depending on whether you’re DIY or you have a team to support you. What is not optional is that you take responsibility for executing your marketing and sales plan over time. This is where a book coach can help as your accountability partner, cheer squad, networker. It’s also where your ‘book community’ can support you, IF you have built and nurtured one.

Start thinking about how you are going to sell your book as you write it.

Hayden Fricke signing books at his book launch. Leaders, do you have your sh*t together?

To maximise the opportunities you have to sell your book, think about your purpose, target audience and goals early.

Invest in writing and publishing the best book you possibly can. The world is being inundated with crap books, shadow libraries, plagiarists, influencers using ChatGPT to scrape the internet and steal genuine authors work. Don’t be that person.

Assemble a team that can and will support you throughout the whole business book process…from strategy, structure, writing, publishing and selling your book.

Commit to executing your strategy and plans over the medium term.

These three insights will help you build confidence in your book.

Looking to write and publish your business book? Send me an email: [email protected]

Book in a free 45 minute strategy session here.

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