Sell More Books: Five Tips for Writers

by | March 2, 2018 |

All writers, whether traditionally published or indie, want to see their books fly off the shelves, whether real or virtual. What to do to sell more books?

Sell More Books Tip #1: Consistently create content

In order to build an audience and then grow it, you have to consistently create content, whether it’s short stories, novellas or full-length novels. We all know the book market is extremely crowded and competitive. If you don’t create new content on a consistent basis, your readers are going to have forgotten about you by the time you do get around to producing something new.

What does this tip mean in practical terms of production? For romance writers who work with traditional publishers, two novels a year is a rule of thumb. Indie writers often produce more and may write in shorter forms. Me, I’m on a rhythm of writing one romance novel (80,000) a year plus a short story (30,000 words) or two. I may vary this rhythm with a novella (50,00 words) trilogy that might take a year and a half to write.

Sell More Books Tip #2: Create consistent content

In order to create a loyal – and, then, growing – audience, your readers have to find the qualities that drew them to your work in the first place in everything your write.

‘Qualities’ is a tricky term and may mean specialization. I know any number of romance writers who set their stories only in the Regency era (1811-1820) in England, feature dukes and make sure to have plenty of frothy dialogue. That’s what their readers want, and these writers need to fill their readers’ expectations.

I have taken a different tack. I have chosen not to specialize in a historical period and instead want to give my interpretation of as many sub-genres of romance as I can. I’ve written medievals, Georgians, Regencies, Westerns, time slips, shape-shifters, and contemporaries. The qualities I want my readers to find across all my books include engaging characters, solid plotting, interesting dialogue and a strong sense of place, whether the book is set in contemporary Vietnam, 19th-century India, Regency England or present-day New York City.

The key to creating consistent content is finding the right editor, one who understands your work, your genre and your potential audience.

Sell More Books Tip #3: Make Books Available for Free

Not all your books, of course. A great way to grow your readership is to offer free stories.

I currently have five short stories available for free at my site: John Carter’s Conundrum, A Most Curious Courtship, The Red Palace, The Wedding Night and The Alpha’s Edge.

A potential new reader will easily try a free story. Wouldn’t you?

Sell More Books Tip #4: Social Media

Blog, tweet, do whatever social media is your cup of tea. For the past four years I’ve written two blogs a week. Ideally, you would blog on a particular topic and attract a readership with an interest in that particular topic.

Because I write both popular romance novels and scholarship in linguistics, my blog is eclectic and covers four topics:

i) language, be it on Creaky Voice, American Sign Language or African American Vernacular English;

ii) global travel, which often involves going to a place like Kazakhstan to learn Kazakh or Mongolia to learn Mongolian;

iii) tips for writers, such as this very blog; and

iv) romance, such as Five Myths About Romance Novels.

Over the past few years my blog has leaned toward language and global travel. The result? My latest linguistics book Languages in the World. How History, Culture and Politics Shape Language (2016) has steadily climbed the Amazon list and now hovers in the Top 100 Linguistics Bestseller list. This is a thrill because I have been donating all my royalties from this book to the Endangered Language Fund.

I am now shifting more toward writing tips and romance, so we’ll see if there’s a boost of interest in my novels.

Side benefit: blogging is a great way to stay in writing shape!

Sell More Books Tip #5: Team Up

There is always strength in numbers, so find like-minded authors and cross-promote each others’ work. I seek out fellow romance writers for my Five Questions Series and they reciprocate by inviting me to appear on their sites.

See also: All My Writing Tips

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This post was written by Julie Tetel Andresen

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