1. Figure out your goals.
You might be asking yourself how this helps with sales. After all, this isn't some big inside secret, and knowing your goals won't help you sell more books. Wrong! Knowing your goals, both in the short and long term, will help you sell more books than you can even imagine. Is your goal to get a hundred extra dollars a month to save up for a vacation or to pay down debts? Do you want to just supplement your income to save for retirement? Do you want to quit your job and write full-time? You need to look in the mirror and ask yourself what you truly want and need from this entire experience, or you'll never put in the time you need to put in. If you declare your goal out loud, you will have a better chance at realizing it. It works the same as when you tell a friend you're going to lose weight or give up this or that. You said it to them, and if you go back on your word, you're only going to be embarrassed.
2. Promote yourself before you even start writing.
Creating an author platform is more than important-it's crucial. You don't see big name companies like Nabisco and Under Armour just putting a new product on the shelves with no marketing. As an author you need to market not only your books, but yourself! Create a blog and write about what you know. Write about the writing process, your book itself, or create true and unique content if your book or books are about a specific topic. If you write about self-help or weight loss, then create a blog helping people with those topics. Give them bites of your book's material, and when the book is up, considering it isn't already, direct them to where they can receive more of that valuable information.
3. Know the worth of your books.
Not all books are created equal. I'm sure you've gone on to Amazon, only to see that the Kindle store is riddled with books of all different prices. Free, 0.99, 1.99, 2.99, 3.99, 9.99. What are you supposed to price yours at? You don't want to price it too high and turn people away, but you also don't want to price it so low that people think your book is worthless. As a new author, though, you have to be very careful with how you price your book. Newer authors tend to price their books cheaply, say 0.99, to appeal to more people in hopes that those people will take a chance on them and purchase their book on a whim. What I suggest you do is to look at relatable books. Look at books in your genre and topic, and then figure out when they were published, how many sales a day they are getting, how many other books this author has out, and if it is a part of a series. This is very helpful with the 'Customers Who Bought this Item Also Bought' part of Amazon, which is on your book's listing once you have a few sales. Price competitively, but don't sell yourself short.
4. The writing isn't up to par.
This is, more often than not, the reason you aren't selling many e-books. There are many people out there who don't bother to get an editor and/or proofreader for their books. Their budget might be tight, they might not know where to look, or they might just think they don't need it. The best authors in the world use editors, and they all know they need it. A newbie author will generally go into it and think that they know what they are doing and that they don't need some stranger telling them why their book isn't that great. I was like this at first, and I believe I suffered because of it. Getting my manuscript back the first time was an eye opener. You can be a great writer, but not everybody is great at spelling, punctuation, verb tenses, grammar, syntax, prose, etc.
If you're looking for an editor, I always suggest freelancers. These are people that are like independent contractors in a sense. I use the site elance.com, where I can easily post a job with a detailed description of the type of work I'm looking for and how much I'm willing to spend. People from all over the world will then see my ad and bid on the job, with hopes that they get it. I can see their pitch, their past jobs, feedback, portfolios, and more. They list their completed date, and after awarding them the job you give them your file and go from there. There are a few sites out there, like elance, odesk, and freelancer, but I prefer elance and always go through them.
5. Your cover art isn't up to speed.
There have been so many times that I've gone on the Kindle author forums and have seen posts asking for opinions on their cover art. I click on the post, go to their link to see the preview, and make an ugly face of disgust as I try to figure out how they think that's good in the slightest way. The cover, if you can even call it that, looks as though it was made in Microsoft Paint, and they are very proud of it, which makes telling them it's not good even more heartbreaking.
With your cover, you need to decide your budget first before you go forward. If you have the money, I would highly suggest getting a complete custom cover from scratch by a competent designer. Your options are large, and you could choose a site like elance, 99designs, or you could even go straight to the designer. Many designers offer premade covers, which are just unique covers already made, and you find out that relates to your book. From there you buy that unique cover, they take it off of their website, and you give them your information like the book name and author's name. From there they customize it, give you the cover, and you upload it to your book's page. I am listing a few places below you can look at, with some of them offering both custom and premade covers, and some offering just custom ones. I am not affiliated with any of them in any way, but I have used some in the past, which is why I recommend them.
Go On Write
AM Design Studios
Book Cover Sale
6. You don't have a definitive genre.
"I just wrote a romance novel about time traveling gypsies from space that solve mysteries in 16th century England!"
You did what? That's that answer I'd give you if you told me that. While the book does sound interesting and draw me in to want to know more, what genre is it? Is it a romance? Science fiction? Space adventure? Mystery? Thriller?
Getting creative and making these worlds that people get immersed in is awesome, but if people can't find your book because you overshot the genres, you'll never get a solid readership. Amazon allows authors to pick two categories to put their books into. You need to choose these carefully and allow yourself to pick categories so fine tuned and perfect for your book that not a single person finding and buying it will be disappointed. They will be getting exactly what they were looking for, and you will all live happily ever after. Continue reading →