Are you struggling with getting more sales from your books?
Whether you are a newbie author or otherwise, this post is for you. Here are five strategies you can use to boost your backlist and enjoy more profits from your books.
5 Ways to Skyrocket Your Book Backlist Sales
Here is a fact: Most writers do not sell many copies of their first few books. But do not despair because if you consistently build your brand and become proficient marketers, you will see your sales skyrocketing – and your former books rise the charts. And the more exciting thing happens: launching your new books will become a secondary priority, far behind stoking the fires of the backlist.
In the long run, successful and experienced authors discover that having 15 or more backlist titles selling consistently can dwarf the sales spike of a single book launch over time. If you have been writing and releasing your books for a long time, I am sure that you are serious about making this career work. I am not timid in saying that one of the reasons I write books is to build multiple passive income streams. How about you?
Okay, let’s get started.
Powerful Content Marketing
Last year, I took an introductory social media marketing certificate course at Brigham Young University. I am glad that I made this decision because having applied the concepts I learned there in my book marketing has tremendously improved the way I market my books.
The first thing I want to tell you is that not all marketing methods cost money. Some, like content marketing, only require time and effort. For example, you can build a simple website for free and start blogging there. You can also maximize your presence on your Facebook Page, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube channel without shelling a single penny. Personally, I enjoy doing live Facebook interviews with international authors and prominent personalities.
Also, never underestimate the power of building your own tribe (a community of your raving fans). In marketing, having brand evangelists or people who advertise you for free is very rewarding. Think about the success of Instagram micro influencers who have solid 50,000 followers and who are also their brand evangelists. They far outplay the ones with a million followers but are not actively engaged in promoting them. Consequently, they are paid to become brand ambassadors of different companies. This strategy works for authors as well.
When people see the value you are consistently giving to meet their needs, you will be deemed as the authority in that niche.
Now if you have money to spare, you can also do Facebook and Amazon ads. These strategies can be fantastic at driving sales, but both require constant tweaking. How? If you leave them for too long, your profit margins shrink. Likewise, if you stop adding new keywords or targets you hit a sales plateau.
My best advice is for you to keep producing valuable and relevant content to your target market. The law of compounding interest works not only in money, but also in our efforts as authors. The best way to proactively build your online brand is by making deliberate postings that position you the way you want to be seen- an expert in your niche.
Release New Formats and Sets
Statistics suggest that not all who encounters your books will buy a copy. And your chances of converting every browser into a reader lowers further if you only release your work in ebook format. There are still a huge number of people who prefer a paperback or hardcopy over an ebook reading experience. And some prefer an audiobook to listen to.
The audiobook market is thriving. The Guardian website on August 2020 highlights the report on the phenomenal rise of audiobook. According to Deloitte, global sales have been growing at 25-30% per annum for the past three years and will hit $3.5bn in 2020, driven by the US and China, which each make up around a third of the market (for comparison, global print book sales are a whopping $145bn per annum). Other leading players includes Britain, which comes in fourth, accounting for a mere 2% of the global market.
In summary, by releasing your books in multiple formats over time, you expand their potential audience and nurture more opportunities for word-of-mouth virality. You may want to hold off releasing a paperback or audiobook on your initial launch then you can do it later. The goal is to renew the interest of your readers who have previously patronized your other formats.
Permafree First in Series
This might sound counterintuitive at first but giving your book permafree is a wise marketing move. If you’re not familiar with this term, it simply means giving your book permanently free. An author drops the price of one book to zero dollars on all non-Amazon platforms then emails Amazon to ask them to price-match so that it’s also free there.
Did you know that 60 percent of surveyed readers say they always read the discounted books they have discovered? What’s more? These surveyed readers said that after they downloaded an author’s free book, they later purchased another book by that author. According to many successful authors, their free books tend to get downloaded far more frequently than paid ones, therefore, driving traffic and attention to everything written by the same author.
So, how does one make their book permanently free? You should sign up for a service like Draft2Digital or Smashwords.
If you have not done it, now is the time to try this strategy. Permafree titles are proven to lure readers into buying paid sequels. But please ensure that you have good read-through and a large enough backlist to make this a viable strategy.
If I haven’t convinced you of giving your book permafree, then cycling temporary promotions is your next best option. Cycling through backlist titles is a common strategy for high-earning authors. This can come in the form of a limited-time giveaway or just heavy discounts on your ebooks or audiobooks, which typically entails dropping a full-price book to between $0.99 and $2.99- the major price points. Running a limited promo for a few days can supercharge the traffic to a book, in turn influencing readers to check out your other books in the process. My books have repeatedly clinched the Amazon bestseller from my ebook promotions. If you have chosen the Amazon’s platform which is KDP, you can start a Kindly Countdown or a Free Book Promotion. However, you must enroll your ebook first in Kindle Unlimited to make it eligible for promotion.
Learn Online Skills
I always tell the authors I coach that writing the book is just half the battle. Marketing it is the other half.
There are a couple of online skills you need to learn right way to improve your author branding. One is copywriting. According to the bestselling author of The 1-Page Marketing Plan Allan Dib, “ Almost no other skill will reward you as richly as being able to write compelling words. Being able to clearly articulate why a prospect should buy from you rather than your competitors, in a way that creates emotion and motivates them to action is the master skill of marketing.”
Furthermore, you need to be visible to dominate the market. Use social media to your greatest advantage. By becoming proficient in the most prominent social networks, you will keep yourself ahead of the curve.
The last item I want to raise here is learning how to do simple graphics for your marketing activities. I especially enjoy using Canva because it hosts a plethora of templates I can just use and tweak to suit my design purposes.
Overall, you must consciously and continuously build your own personal brand. Having a large social media presence and following will add a lot of value to your career as an author. Think of your social media activities as assets that you will be building on throughout. Consequently, nurture and use your networks wisely now, and they will pay you big dividends later.
Dominate this 2021!
Let me end this article by quoting one of my favorite management gurus who is Stephen R. Covey. He said, “To achieve goals you haven’t achieved before, you need to start doing things you have never done before.”
You may want to look at my Ink Your Legacy writing course outline. It is still discounted until January 9. If this is something you need, you can go ahead with the enrollment and I will see you on January 11 for our class orientation.
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