6,000 Copies Sold: But How?

Alex ZabalaYesterday’s post had a single question about marketing. Today we get under the hood.

What did you try that you wouldn’t try again?
I don’t like sitting in a booth all day long trying sell books and getting abused by the public. I sold the same amount of books on Amazon, sitting at home drinking beer.

Okay that sounds silly, but my point is, Amazon is a monster seller. Why would I sit all day long in a booth attempting to sell books when Amazon is doing it for me electronically? My blogs, my website and my online presence in Amazon are the biggest selling machine.

Don’t get me wrong, I would like to do future promotions in person but in an atmosphere conducive to selling books.

What’s the most unusual or creative thing you did? Did it sell books?
I really don’t know what the catalyst was that propelled Treasure of the Mayan King. I think the main point was the ‘clean’ angle. We promoted it as a clean book with no profanity. I really believe there are millions of people out there that want to read clean stories. No profanity or sex scenes, just good old-fashioned adventure!

Getting 4 and 5 star reviews was important too.

Once a reader latched on, they most likely told others. We noticed sales started slumping…then when we posted that we won the ‘top ten in Clive Cussler contest’ and sales jumped again.

Something happened in June of 2013, we sold 900 books on Amazon and we have no idea why. That’s why I did the Peter Frampton analogy.

# # #

There’s no silver bullet, no magic incantation, no precise combination of social media techniques which will guarantee sales or make it easy. It comes down to four things, three of which Alex has shared:

  1. Experiment endlessly, and pay attention to what works.
  2. Be persistent.
  3. Start work on the next book.
  4. The one he didn’t mention but which I know is true in his case and should be included: use common sense and good manners in all your interactions and experiments.

That’s how to sell 6,000 copies of your book. It’s how to sell 600, or even 60.

There are loads of more specific strategies out there. Check out Tim Grahl’s site, for instance, and sign up for his 30-day course. But in the end, the 3 steps above are how you’re going to sell your book.

9 thoughts on “6,000 Copies Sold: But How?

  1. And that is exactly what I was saying: There millions of people looking for clean books. Me being one of them. Did you read that? Yes, millions, so…that is my main angle. Now the challenge is finding those millions.

    1. When I see what’s on the shelves nowadays I can hardly grasp that “millions” want clean books — but I am one of those. Just knowing your book is clean makes me want to read it!

      We got into a discussion at our recent writers conference about why “Amish fiction” is so in demand. Someone said it’s nostalgic, but I wonder if people choose this type because they trust it to be “clean.”

  2. Thank you! Some time back, I stated a discussion regarding this same topic, profanity, and sex scenes. I was called every name you can think up, by those who feel that such language, and filth, are a most. The novellas I’m currently writing, contain neither. Again, thank you! Joel, thank you also, for posting this. Great one. Blessings.

  3. Joel (and Alex), it’s heartening to see Alex’s success with Treasure—we need more indie publishing success stories, and this is a good one. And there is certainly a market and a rightful place for writing that is “clean,” as you guys describe.

    However, I do include profanity and the occasional semi-naughty scene in my work, because it serves the story. I occasionally write about characters and situations for which the avoidance of those things would ring false in the tale. I never include gratuitous lardings of those materials, but they are there when the story calls for them. Every story beats to its own heart.

    1. Therein lies much of my position: I don’t want to be surprised by language or situations.

      If I’m reading a police procedural published last year, I expect this, that, and the other thing. And if I want to completely avoid certain things, I know not to read certain genres.

      As I’m sure you know, Tom, I’m not making a moral point here, but a commercial one, or perhaps, a moral point about the privilege of choice, both as writers and readers.

      Always a delight when you drop by.

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