The number one question I’m asked is “How do I sell more books?” If I had a nickel for every time we are emailed that, I wouldn’t have to know the answer because I would be retired. Well I’m about to answer the most important question any author can ask, are you ready?
First let’s start by saying this. If you are an author and are looking to retire from your writing, or sell a million copies, get out now. It will only cause you heartbreak. While there are a handful of authors that actually do accomplish this goal, it’s the same as a young kid right now putting all his eggs in a basket hoping to play professional sports, have a backup plan.
I’m not saying it can’t happen, but it is very, very difficult. However I have the answer that will get you on your way. “How do I sell more books?” Yep, that’s what you want to know. Ok, so the answer is….
Ok, hold on. I know you really want to know this, but I’m going to tell you a quick story first, because if I tell you now you probably won’t read the rest of this post, and I’ll just be typing to nobody. When we got into the magazine business, our goal had zero to do with money. We wanted to help out authors. We wanted all authors, regardless of their sales or listing on any bestseller list to have voice. I will let you in on a little secret, every time you walk into a Barnes and Noble and you see all those books up in the front on the table or on the shelf, the publisher paid for those spots. That is not Barnes and Noble being nice, it’s pay to play for them. Most authors end up in the stacks, where less than 5% of all people actually go and look around. By starting the magazine we wanted to change the game and put the authors in control, and so far we have done a good job.
But now I think it’s time to reveal the magical answer once and for all. After all I’m a professional, an expert in the field you might say (except my wife since she knows what I wear to bed, but we will leave that for another post), I’ve done several years of research; I see what works and what doesn’t work. I’ve sat in conferences, given speeches, taught classes and talked with some very intelligent person. The answer to the question “How do I sell more books?” Write the absolute best book you can and work your butt off marketing it.
Oh come on, you didn’t really think I had fairy dust and could solve the problem that has been asked by authors for hundreds of years did you? The basic answer is there is no answer. There is no formula; there is only hard work before you write the book, during the writing process and after it’s finished. If you are not willing to put in the work, that’s fine, but don’t complain when your royalty check is under $10.00.
Writing is like everything else, a job. Either you are willing to put in the hours to make yourself better at your job, or you are just punching a time clock. The choice is yours to make.
The CEO / Publisher of Suspense Publishing a book publisher that publishes #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Paul Kemprecos, along with several other authors.