Happy writing from Gail Gaymer Martin at www.gailmartin.com
Through the years, I’ve watched my friends use different strategies to help their fiction sales grow. Some work and some don’t, but the ones who’ve found success, provides us with lessons so that we might learn from them and try some of their techniques. Obviously sales grow most when your work is in the bookstores and when it is promoted and distributed by your publisher. So this means, mainly working with traditional publishers. Mine put my novels in store—book stores, grocery stores, super marts, and any place books are sold. They also provide them as print books and downloads on sites like Amazon.
But you can also spread the word in a variety of ways.
1. Networking in person and picking up fans through network sites is an important strategy. Make friends with your local bookstores and libraries. Network also in the locations where your novels are set. When I research a town with a personal visit, I make contact with book sellers, with shop owners and even the Chamber of Commerce, any place that might be interested in spreading the word about my novel. These contacts can provide opportunities to return to the location for booksignings or other events where your books can be sold. Everyone loves to read books set in their town and even their state.
2. Connecting with large blog tours works. Make sure you’re connecting with those blogs that have a similar audience to your own genre and those that are active blog sites. Readers may not spend time reading a full interview, but they will see the cover, read your name, and probably read the back-cover blurb. This works so much better than paying for advertising which is usually a waste of your money. Having an enticing, well-done trailer, can also arouse interest with readers. I have purchased books by viewing a quality book trailer. But word of mouth is the best form of advertising you can have.
3. Providing a blog that teaches writing techniques or editing skills, anything that captures the interest of writers who are usually avid readers. Reading others work in your genre is a learning tool, and why not read a book written by an author who is providing you with good writing tools.
4. Give your books free to reviewers of quality review sites and those who are willing to be influencers. Ask them—but only if they enjoy your novel—to spread the word through social networking, their blogs as well as short reviews or comments at online bookstores. Check out my novel, A Dad Of His Own, at Amazon.com. Notice the number of comments. These people read the novel and offered their opinions of the book. Reader’s snail and email also validated the same kind of comments so I knew those who took the time to spread the word meant what they said.
5. Booksingings can be a waste of time, but use the opportunity for group booksignings which brings in a larger crowd and will usually provide better sales for your books. Besides bookstores, book festivals and book fairs also offer booksignings for authors. Use this time to network as well as meet readers and potential readers. Don’t sit. Stand and give them a welcoming smile along with a hello. They may walk past the first time through, but they sometimes come back to chat. That’s a good first step in introducing your work to a new reader.
6. Present workshops at writing conferences and if you have expertise in a subject, seek speaking events where you can talk about your skill and then bring along your books for a book signing. From these events—if you are an excellent speaker—others often ask you to speak at their events. I write Christian fiction and have been a licensed counselor for years, so I have developed numerous faith-based topics and am now a popular speaker at women’s events in both churches, civic organizations and libraries. I don’t talk about my books, but my novels often deal with faith and human issues where I use my counseling expertise. Build a platform by speaking whether you write fiction or non-fiction.
Other strategies can be used, and one of the most important is writing a quality novel that grabs readers, but these are a few strategies you can do without a lot of expense. They have proven themselves as worthwhile methods of growing new readers and advancing your sales.