So, how exactly does an emerging author sell a book?

08 Dec

Okay, I feel I should warn you now this was half a real question, half a rhetorical one as right now I’m feeling I have absolutely no clue!

What have I tried so far? Well, I took part in the SA Writer’s Centre book launch events during Writer’s Week in March this year. I don’t want to sound bitter, but when I couldn’t even get the Writer’s festival to give me a plug via Twitter to an event that was listed in their own program when asked… yeah it was doomed. But when you look at exactly what was on the same night as my book launch – Clipsal, the Fringe, the Adelaide Festival, several free concerts and such, any unknown emerging author was going to struggle to compete, especially one for an eBook not due out til June that was commercial fiction rather than the paper in hand literary fiction preferred in that arena. 😉 Hey, some people turned up! And I wasn’t even related to all of them!

There was a flurry of joining fees as I renewed my SA Writer’s membership and joined the Australian Society of Authors and did as much name dropping and hinting to various media places as I could find.

I got myself interviewed by a local free paper, even got my picture in it! The other local paper I asked for help showed an interest… but I am just a no name eBook author of commercial fiction after all, and so wasn’t surprised it fell through. 🙂

My lovely local Library – the Mount Barker Community Library – held a book launch for me on the day the book was released in June. Even more people I wasn’t related to turned up (they didn’t out number my family but bless them all the same). There was good cake too.

Hague Publishing has done everything in their power to advertise my eBook from flyers to business cards to adverts to submitting it to various places for a free or paid review. I’ve gotten some pretty good reviews too. Heck, I even got to be the Kindle Book of the Day in August!

I have my blog, what you’re reading. I have two Facebook pages (one for me and one for Bonnie) and I even shake my assets on Twitter from time to time to encourage sales. I’ve gotten enough from my first two royalty payments for that glorious Chocolate @No 5 visit and brownie. But I’m doubtful I’ll make my third royalty payments stretch that far.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I never expected instant success or to be rolling in the big bucks right away. This is, after all, my first book. But it does make me wonder what exactly it is one must do to sell their work. Especially when you are one of millions who write eBooks of commercial fiction in a world still dominated by those who desire the need to hold paper in their hand and feel they are bettering themselves to read something more factual than fictional.

Oh, and this is seriously not a whinge and I do hope no one takes it as such. I don’t whinge in my blog as what would I have left to do on Twitter and Facebook? 😉 It is just a musing as to what you have to do to sell, sell, sell. I can cope with the rejection, seriously I’m a writer and I have had the occasional rejection. Well, more than occasional, but it’s part of the grand scheme of an author, isn’t it? How else can people quote you years after you’ve died of having this many rejections before you hit it big? As said though, I don’t expect to hit it big… I just don’t want my brownie money to dry up.

So when you embark on your journey as an emerging author, whether you are self-published or find a publisher willing to take a risk on you, just think of what exactly it is you need to do to make sales. As that is the magic thing I seem to be missing. I wrote a good book (well, the majority of reviews say I did), I am out there in the internet’s public eye being a mostly nice person (see whinging) and I’ve done all sorts of free, paid and begged for assistance promotional work to get my book noticed. What would you do?

No, this isn’t me asking for every ‘make money quickly’ spam artist to now comment on my blog telling me I need to spend big with them to get the attention I deserve. Any comment like that will be treated as spam. But it is a serious question I do ponder daily.

Right now I feel I’m getting the attention I deserve, and I’m just wondering what one must do to deserve better. To throw my love of quotes into this blog too – you don’t get something for nothing. And that’s exactly right. You can’t just sit back after your book is released and expect the brownie money to come pouring in. What can you do? How do you sell your book? Can you enjoy yourself and still sell your book?

This last question is the one troubling me the most. I hated the thought of a book launch as I wanted people to love the book, not have to turn up and hear me talk about it in case I ruined it. Remember my low self-image? My book is better than coming to see me on display… well, that’s how I felt.

And I don’t do the constant hard sell. Not every tweet or Facebook post has me saying “Buy my book or else”. In fact, on Facebook I’ve started to continue Bonnie’s life in the form of a diary for all to share for free. It’s fun, for me, as I love to write it. Do I get anything back? No, not really. But as long as I’m enjoying myself and look forward to doing it… then why not? Will it get me sales? Not so far, but who knows! It may get me people who like my work and that is half the point. It’s not brownie money, but it’s the bigger reason I write – as I enjoy it and want it to be enjoyed by others.

So, how do you sell your book? That time it is rhetorical. But something you should think on as you too immerse yourself into the world of being An Author. Me, I’ve got back to being a Writer. It’s more fun and the lack of pay isn’t so important. 😉

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO


Posted by on December 8, 2013 in Writing


2 responses to “So, how exactly does an emerging author sell a book?

  1. robakers

    January 11, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    Great Post,

    Thank you for allowing us behind the curtain and the reality of publishing. I am still cranking out my debut work and at the pace I am keeping it might be years before I find myself in your position.

    Having said that, I salute you. You have done what I dream of, you can look to your mantle and see your book on the shelf. That is cool and you have already entered the stratosphere where mere mortals like me want to inhabit.

    I encourage you to apply your creative skills to the marketing of your work. I believe that a Writer can solve any mental mystery. I have a friend who asks people in her field to take a picture of themselves while they work. The catch is that the book is open and their face is buried within the pages. She posts these pictures on all of her social media sites as part of her advertising. I do not know how this has impacted the sales. I think that when you find your niche and break through to your target audience you will be on your way. Best wishes from the US.


    • janishill

      January 11, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      Thanks so much for this, it’s always good to know there are people out there actually reading my waffles and getting something out of it. 🙂

      And good luck with your book!


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