Monday, July 22, 2013

Want to sell a ton of books?

I’ve been a member of The Greater Los Angeles Writers Society for almost three years, participating at monthly informative gatherings, book festivals, and special conferences and seminars. And I always come away from these events energized to create, market, or, as reminded by last Saturday’s guest speaker Carolyn Howard-Johnson, about ways to “Sell A Ton of Books.”

Howard-Johnson is best known as The Frugal Book Promoter. She is also a literary writer, poet, and very savvy marketer. (See her complete bio on her Amazon page.) She is also generous with her knowledge. She gave us a long list of ways to sell more books without costing us a ton of money.

One of the first things she said: speaking is the best way to market. However, not all writers are speakers, so we can still accomplish our marketing goals just by sitting at our desks and making use of resources online. For example:
  • Make lists of media, business, and personal contacts and organize them by email address, organization, and category. This is an area that I haven’t used enough. I know I could write an occasional newsletter and send them off to my lists via email.
  • Create a blog and have it link over to your Facebook fan page, Google +, and Twitter, accounts, to name a few.  I’ve recently joined three tribes at TRIBERR and my blog posts link over there now.
  • Put your key links under your signature on all your emails. I have my Amazon, Facebook, publisher, blog, and Twitter account links permanently affixed at the bottom of all my email messages.
  • Go after more reviews of your books. Don’t be bashful to ask – especially those who have emailed or commented about how much they’ve liked your book. You might also offer to review books for Amazon or write book blurbs for others. Howard-Johnson said we should all be able to find something we like about any book.
  • Invite guests to write for your blog and offer to post on theirs. I have a group of guest bloggers lined up for the next three months. Guests definitely make our blogs more interesting.
  • Join online groups. I’m in a couple of Facebook poetry groups and several writing groups. I also participate in several LinkedIn groups and join a weekly Twitter chat about journaling. All of these are ways to get your name out there.
  • And last but not least, take advantage of all that Amazon has to offer. Just go over to your book’s buy page and start getting familiar with it: Book Description, Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought, Editorial Reviews, Product Details Customer Reviews, Book Extras from the Shelfari Community, More About the Author, Forums, etc. and see what you can do to get more buyers over to your page. Howard-Johnson says Amazon is the driving force in the industry, so we must make our Amazon pages look as professional and inviting as possible.

Of course, all these helpful ways to sell tons of books will not take the place of excellent writing skills, marketing savvy, and sheer persistence.

Thanks, Carolyn Howard-Johnson, for being so generous with your book selling tips.


Anonymous said...

Madeline, thanks for sharing these important tips on marketing and yes, selling, our books. Just a few more things we writers have to do! :)

madeline40 said...

I know, Sherrey, there's always more things to do. It's a wonder we have any time to write.
I'm so glad you joined the WOW tour and got Mike's attention. Yay!