How to sell a million books overnight? Easy-peasy, just do this:
- Write a book fast. The faster the better.
- Don’t worry about beta readers or professional editors. (time consuming)
- Slap on a cover, even if you have no graphic design experience.
- Formatting? Why bother when the message is what matters?
- Publish it on Amazon, either exclusively with KDP Select or with every other retailer too.
- Get on Facebook/Twitter and scream about your book at all times. Sell, sell and sell some more!
- Broadcast at Goodreads and Amazon Kindle Forums, disregard their TOS. It’s not spam, it’s an investment in your future.
- Keep pitching until the masses have found your book and every reader has fallen in love with it.
- Kick back and count your Benjamins. Nice work, Indie Author Super-Star!
Okay, you’ve probably guessed the above advice is a joke and a recipe for disaster, yet this is what some indie authors do even if to a lesser degree. (*raises hand* I’ve done a few of these as well.) Unfortunately, “one bad apple” comes to mind when behavior like this influences snarky forum comments to the tune of why someone would never read an indie book.
Reality check–the above instruction won’t work unless you’re Edward Morra, the character played by Bradley Cooper in Limitless, and the 100% human potential pill is still available.
Let’s move to plan B, shall we: How Indie Authors Sell a Million Books
Overnight. Scratch that. How Indie Authors Sell a Million Books. Scratch that too. How Indie Authors Sell Books. Ah, better. Settling down to realistic goals.
- Write a great book, even if it drives you insane by the end of it. Maybe it only takes a month or two, but maybe it takes years. I’ve done it both ways and have yet to recover my sanity but am happy with the books.
- Get as many beta readers as possible to give serious critique along the way and also once it’s done. Pats on the back won’t help. Strangers are better than friends and family because they’ll be brutally honest when that’s necessary. You may need to read and critique for others to accomplish this, which will also help you identify bad habits. If you can afford professional editors, do that too.
- Make your own cover, only if you’ve spent the time to master the art. Otherwise hire out. It can be surprisingly affordably.
- Learn formatting. Read Amazon’s Building Your Book for Kindle and the Smashwords Style Guide.
- Publish it on Amazon, either exclusively with KDP Select or with every other retailer too. (Hmm, this part hasn’t changed.)
- Get on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus or any other social media site you enjoy. Participate and make friends with people without resorting to constant self-promotion. Network, network and network some more.
- Do the same thing at Goodreads and other forums only if you have time.
- Blog to a schedule you can manage. Writers need websites and need to write more. Blogging provides the platform and helps people learn about you, connect with your social media links and hopefully buy your book.
- Do this until the world finds your book and some people fall in love with it (not everyone will and that’s okay).
I’ve heard many successful authors share what’s been most effective to them for selling books. While this is not a one-size-fits-all answer, in general this is what authors advise:
- Use social media to network, not to make hard sells.
- Be professional everywhere.
- Learn some basic SEO. Search engines help strangers find your book by subject matter.
- Write more books.
- Be persistent even if it takes years.
- Get lucky or create your own luck by doing the steps above.
There is no magic wand, no secret to success. How could there be? The truth is boring, far more mundane than the Limitless 100% human potential example, yet that’s what successful authors report has worked. Boring, mundane, successful authors who have sold a million books.
Share your thoughts and comments below. What works for you?
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