Sadly, I’m not talking mystical experiences here today, though I recognize that publishing your own book does lead to a form of mystic self-fulfillment. In this instance, I’m talking about how books get delivered.
The first day of sales of Steven George & The Dragon, I sold enough copies to climb the charts in Young Adult Fantasy on Amazon.com. Great news, right? Unfortunately, none of those sales came through Amazon.com, so the book did not trend upward, but continues to languish at the bottom of the list. And that is a hard lesson to learn.
I launched my pre-sales website the first of March and then ordered an adequate supply of books from CreateSpace to sell at my very successful book launch party on the 26th. The event was well-attended and not only did I sell a lot of Steven George & The Dragon, I also had my biggest one-day sales of For Blood or Money. But it, too, is scarcely recognized in a search on Amazon. And here is why: I didn’t promote sales through Amazon when I promoted the launch of the book. I promoted sales through my website and the party. People buy where you promote, and of course the fact that half my profits were going to Room to Read for that first day of sales, everyone wanted to participate in my direct sales. I heard many comments back from people who wrote to say, “I’ll buy at the party so you don’t have shipping charges.” “I want to pick my book up and have it signed.” “I’d rather not use Paypal, so I’ll come and pay cash.” “You’ll make more money if I buy direct from you.”
I sold well, but no one knew about it!
This is a dilemma that authors face when thinking about launching their book. The quickest way to increased and long-lasting sales is to trend in your category with one-day and one-week sales on Amazon. But, of course, you will make a fraction of the profit on those sales that you would if you sold the books direct. What will it be—immediate profit or trending sales? Here are a couple of things that I will be doing for the launch of my next book at the end of July.
- Use Amazon’s presales service instead of my own.
- Promote sale through Amazon, even with the links on my own site.
- Partner with a bookstore to order stock for my release party/readings.
- Extend the concept of a hard launch into a week-long or month-long launch (soft launch) with multiple events instead of just one.
- Promote more aggressively to a non-local audience, including possibly traveling to other markets (like Minneapolis, where I also have a fan-base) to do readings and promotion.
- Partner with other authors who have lists they can send promotion to as I send promotion for them to my lists.
None of those things, of course, guarantee that I will make a bigger splash with my launch, or that my next book will become an instant best-seller. But sometimes it is necessary to take the long-term view instead of opting for quick profits.