How to Sell your Self-Published Book
My Successful Book
Your Self Published Book
I have had success and failure with two self-published books; both on completely different topics, and written in two different decades. The first book was tremendously successful and the second book didn't do well at all. Ironically enough the first book cost little to produce and market and the second one was a seriously costly and a most disappointing project. I wrote the first book, "The How To's of Gift Baskets" in 1990 and the last book, "For Kids 59.99 & Over" in 2008.
Over the past two decades the self-publishing industry has totally changed, marketing has changed and it goes without saying that technology has drastically changed. I was extremely lucky and had perfect timing with the first book, due to the fact that I was the first one to write about the growing industry of the Gift Basket Business. It is a daunting task to market your self published book, but it can be done successfully.
My First Attempt
For my first book copies I had Xerox Company run off 100 copies in a spiral binder. I sold these books from a small ad I put in the trade magazine. The books sold quite fast, so I was encouraged to get serious with this project. I went back to the drawing board and did some editing and additions. I hired a college student to do the cover for $50.00. I got an ISBN number and we printed 1000 books for $2.50 a piece. I found a company in Ohio that specialized in printing books. We did all the layout and artwork and got a good deal on the printing. Today the same company has expanded their operation to include all facets of book publishing from the design, layout, artwork, editing and sales.
The How To's of Gift Baskets
·During the '90s I had a gift basket business in Phoenix, San Diego and Houston. With all the moving around I became quite an expert in starting a new business. Until the early 1990s gift baskets often consisted of plain shrink-wrapped baskets full of fruit and nuts. The creative gift basket industry grew and flourished offering beautiful baskets for all occasions with a variety of products and enhancements. Many of these gift baskets were works of art. New businesses popped up featuring gourmet food in small "gift basket size.” These products were packaged creatively, very small and fit easily into different size baskets The prices of these products were often twice the price of a similar produce twice the size.
I was highly motivated to have a successful business as this was our livelihood so I searched for product companies, marketing information and creative packaging, but all I could find was the industry’s first magazine.In the beginning there were only a few companies that had gotten on the gift basket bandwagon and they were a challenge to find. This was before internet marketing. As the gift basket business became a viable business, things changed at a rapid pace and the competition of products began.
The light bulb went on and I decided to write a book. I wanted to write a book that would help beginners who did not have a clue about most different facets of business. My goal was to turn a popularcottage industry into a real and successful business.
Marketing of the Book
I got lucky, and I positioned myself in the right places. I knew absolutely nothing about marketing a book. I sent out a variety of letters to different magazines (in those days we wrote letters). I heard back from one magazine " Small Business Opportunities". I was lucky as the editor liked my book, and she continued to feature me in the magazine for the next four years. I also got a write up in the major craft magazine and sold 200 copies there. I wrote a letter to Barnes and Noble and I got a response. I was told to get a wholesaler and I did. I was in Barnes and Noble and several other bookstores for six years. Marketing a book was much easier to market in days gone by.
The Success Doesn't Last Forever
Life changes and this is what happened:
- Internet marketing came into being
- My book became outdated as the industry changed
- Other people started writing books about the business
- The business lost its popularity
My second book
For Kids 59.99 & Over
I came up with what I thought was a brilliant book idea--writing about ways to enjoy life and have a healthy life style as we age. The book had a lot of helpful information to grow old energetically. I hired a professional editor and a publisher that cost quite a bit of money. I worked on the book for an entire year. The publishing company did very little marketing, however I have to admit they had a great sales team. Unfortunately the title didn't work. I got caught up with what I thought was a creative and catchy title. I learned--at a major cost--that the title is the most important component of the book; and it has to explain the content of the book. The book was way too small and thin, and looked extremely insignificant on bookshelves in the stores. Much to my horror all of the books were returned to the publisher. Fortunately the publishing company was a POD (publish on demand) so I didn't get stuck with a bunch of unsold copies.
One lesson here: Never Fall in Love with Your Title. Take the most time with choosing the best title.
Mistakes I Made in the Total Marketing of My Book
- I hired a publishing company that was expensive and ultimately my book did not have the appropriate title for their venue of authors.
- The title was not explanatory about what was inside the book. Your title is the most important part of the book, as we know from titles we use on HubPages,
- The book was too small in size and looked insignificant in bookstores.
Astrology-My Next Book
Marketing Your Book
There are many "gurus" out there promising to sell your books. These experts charge a lot of money and offer a lot of promises. You can spend up to $30,000 and more and still not see monetary returns from your labor. There is a huge amount ambitious authors writing self-help books on the marketplace and unless you are well known with lots of pedigree after your name, the outcome of sales could be pretty grim. Today monetarily successful books are often written by movie stars, sports stars, politicians and well know business people. I judiciously marketed my book after taking an internet marketing class.
During the first seven or eight years of this decade, giving away free information was one the proven ways to succeed in selling your book. I took a class in internet marketing for selling your book in 2007, At that time we were taught that social network marketing was a waste of time. Today using social network marketing properly can propel sales of books as well as businesses. Times and technology keep changing and we have to go along with new marketing strategies for success.
This was how I wrote a successful and unsuccessful book.
Current Marketing and Book writing
Today there are many alternatives such as ebooks and downloads. Social networking is an excllent way to market with all the viral possibilities. If you are an excellent navigator on the internet you are way ahead of the game. Or if you are not, find someone who is an expert at internet marketing. This could pay off big time.
Anyone who has written a book, in the middle of a book or planning to write a book should check this out. John Kremer is the main reason my first book was successful. He offers great ideas of which many are free. He has been helping writers succeed for many years.
Things to Consider When Planning a Book
- Do some soul searching on your motivation
- What do you want for a final outcome?
- How important is it to you to make money with the book?
- How much money do you have available for publishing and marketing?
- Always hire a professional editor
- Research the market for competition
- Get your ego out of the equation
- Study titles and think about which ones that would intrigue you
- Run your title ideas among lots of people.
- Don't get sucked in by promises from a promoter or marketer.
- Purchase the book, "A 1001 Ways to Market Your Book" by John Kremer
- Purchase the book " Writer's Market".
- Personal stories that you think are amazing in your life may not really be of interest to other people.
- Write a book for your own passion.