The best way to sell your book…in three easy steps.
Write more books.
Seriously. That’s the way to do it. Many experts say so. I didn’t believe them when I first read their advice, but turns out, they were right!
I’ve sold triple the number of books with two books published than I did with one, and this is BEFORE I put one of them for free to attract readers. Now – my sales figures aren’t anything to write home about, but I’m doing better than I was a few months ago. I think 3 books out will have the same effect and maybe a little snowball will form at the top of a hill.
Write more books. Sell more books. I advocate writing outside your series if you have one of those, short stories or a novella. Variety is the spice of life, and people like having choices and options. They may buy into the big series more readily if you have a short story out there that’s a good sample of your voice and style. Note I haven’t gotten around to following my own advice there, but I will soon.
Don’t write crap.
I’m not suggesting you throw up just anything to increase the number of stories you have, because crap won’t sell the next book. In fact, it’ll have the opposite effect. Crap will get your name ruined. The buying public will see the crap, remember the crap, and will avoid it forever more. As well they should. With all the Indie publishing going on, and no quality control, the general public is having to sort through a lot of books. Fortunately, reviews are a reasonably accurate way to divide the wheat from the chaff. You need a few good reviews from readers you aren’t related to in any way to prove you haven’t written a load of it. Crap, that is.
Finish what you start.
I despise writers who make me wait too long for the next book in a series. Hate them with a passion, I do. Okay, not really, but I did give up on George R. R. Martin for that very reason. I made a commitment to his story, knew it was going to be big, and then he made me wait years! for this last book, A Dance with Dragons. I was really looking forward to it. I went to the bookstore frequently and asked after this book pretty much the entirety of 2010, but then, finally, I gave up. Sorry, I don’t have time for that kind of waiting game. Probably won’t go back to it, and definitely won’t until ALL the books are out. I may not go back to it ever, and that is something as a writer you probably want to avoid. Unless I’m at death’s door the way Stephen King was during the publication of the Dark Tower series, I will not be pulling that kind of years-long delay in pushing out the books of my series.
There are some important reasons why it’s a terrible idea, like forcing people to go back and reread the whole thing because it’s been so long since the last book came out. In the case of GRRM, his books are entirely too long for me to remember quite a few of the details. His books are too long to attempt re-reading. People are busy. Writers should respect that people are busy. Writers should not assume that people will remember every single detail from one book to the next, because guess what? They don’t. Making sure the series is published in a timely manner makes it easier for your readers to recall those details and they will be less likely to move on without you. If you have an awesome idea for a series and have the first few books written or planned out, make sure you can follow through to the end. The final words of my series – “Well,” she said. “Now it all makes sense.” Proof that the thing is actually written in a book called King and a promise that it will indeed come to an end in the not too distant future. I have a high level of confidence you’ll be able to remember the salient points from book #1 by the time you’re on the last story.
Follow through. Finish what you start. Write more. Don’t write crap. I’ll be able in a few short months to report on whether or not my theories are true after Telepath comes out. I hope I’m right, but if not, I’ll examine my three rules and make sure I’m not breaking them and keep at it. Oh, that’s the fourth rule.