How to Sell Your Novel

I recently got challenged on a Linked-In group forum to suggest some ideas for selling novels. I set down some ideas that popped into my head off the top of my head (which is where I keep ideas that I don’t have room to store inside my head) and I thought I would share them here as well. So this is mainly a cut-and-paste, with embellishments. I have lots of other ideas too, and so I’ll keep posting them as I have time to check them out and get them written down.

The first idea was one that a fellow writer named Thomas Knight (The Time Weaver) came up with on a FaceBook writers’ forum the other day: make bookmarks with your book cover on it and a bit of blurb-type info, and leave them here and there in public. On the Linked-In forum, I suggested leaving them in libraries, seniors’ centres, recreation areas, coffee shops – places where real readers are likely to congregate – and just leave one or two here and there: not a stack of them.

Another writer on the Linked-In forum said that the bookmark idea was from the 1990s. “It didn’t work then and it won’t work now.” I beg to differ (especially since Thomas is a newer, younger writer than I, and he is writing fantasy, and he is selling books. And his book cover just won a design award). The difference between then and now with bookmarks (or postcards) is that people who were intrigued by your bookmark ten years ago had to take the bookmark home, keep track of it, and have it on them when they got to a bookstore to buy the book. Now if they are intrigued, they input the title into their mobile phone and if they’re still intrigued, they press “purchase.” The impulse buyer has never been so available to writers. I buy books on impulse all the time. Especially ebooks.

Other ideas I proposed included:

  • offering to do a guest post on someone else’s blog (I don’t mean another book-writer’s blog: break out of that circle) – one that relates to the subject matter of your book.
  • having a blog of your own that actually GIVES something to the reader instead of just promoting yourself (like this article tries to do)
  • getting your library to stock your book just because you are a neighbour and a patron, and then host an author event for you (or a group of you)

There are other suggestions here from Rodney Walther on one of my Militant Writer blog posts: https://maryww.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/how-to-sell-your-published-book/

Also, you can go on Google and type in “How to Sell Your Book.” You’ll get dozens of FREE articles with great ideas in them. Here is a very good one that I am using myself:

http://www.absolutewrite.com/novels/stucker03-02-05.htm

In the world of algorithms on amazon, etc., promoting your own book also means writing another one, and then another one, as more books attract more readers, and more readers attract more readers. If you have an out-of-print, traditionally published book, as I did, get it back on the market.

To paraphrase T. Harv Eker, what sells is dreams. You have to think about those to whom you’re selling your book, instead of thinking of yourself. What does your book offer them?

More later… stay tuned.

11 responses to “How to Sell Your Novel

  1. Think this very good article. I tried a few already, but sorry so far they haven’t work

  2. Mary W. Walters

    Reblogged this on The Militant Writer and commented:
    While we wait for the second installment of our two-part deLuca-Getzin interview series, I’m reposting an item I wrote for Fiction Tips last week. I hope to get the next installment of this one out this weekend — I’ve been accumulating lots of ideas.

  3. Nice ideas. I’m an impulse buyer of ebooks too, but because I read mostly ebooks, I would never pick up a bookmark to take home. It might work for me if the title of the book, name of the author, and/or website were printed on an item I do use (like post-it notes or pens).

    • Mary W. Walters

      Excellent idea, A.M.B.! I shall put that one in my next installment of How to Sell Your Novel (and credit you!)

  4. What works changes as other people catch on and try the same thing. The 99 cent price point on Kindle at one time sold books. Now there’s such a glut, it’s probably not as helpful unless you have a lot of shorts or novellas. Forums that brought together readers and writers were helpful, but now readers are so sick of constant plugging, that’s a dead end as well.

    The best way is to write a book that will appeal to a lot of people. We all see what sells. If that’s not possible, then it’s helpful to find the target audience for what you wrote. I think I’ve found mine. They are an enthusiastic bunch. Unfortunately, there are very few of them.

    • Mary W. Walters

      I’m not surprised that your readers are enthusiastic, Marion: you are a wonderful writer. But I’ll bet there are far more of them out there in your prospective audience than you know. I’d like to know how you found the ones you did? Feel free to link to any blogs or other methods you’ve used to help your readers find you — we’re all learning and those who have done something right need to mentor those who are learning.

      I agree about the .99 books (also Amazon has put strings on that approach now), and I also think the Kindle Direct giveaways are less popular than they were.

  5. Pinned you on my E-author’s board. Some say blog hopping works. Hard work and good writers better love writing for many remain unsold. Here’s the pin. http://pinterest.com/pin/create/bookmarklet/

    • Mary W. Walters

      Thank you Katherine! I’ve never been pinned before. That link didn’t lead to your e-author’s board, but I’ll see if I can find it by searching your name on Pinterest. I’ll add blog-hopping to my next list… I find it hard to spend all that time but yes, I know it helps.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s