Tis the season for gift giving, and because we’re too scared to brave the mall this time of year (seriously, people can DIE there) and have no idea what frankincense and myrrh are, here’s a little free advice for all you author types out there from the wisest folks on our team—Jennifer, The Design Dude and our grumpy old neighbor, the “Get off my lawn” guy:
When your book isn’t selling
JENNIFER: There are bunch of reasons why your book might not be selling, and most of them don’t have anything to do with the quality of your writing. Good book marketing and an enticing cover, as well as reasonable pricing and key word choices WILL impact your book sales. And don’t forget to review our list of reasons why your book might not be selling for more information.
THE DESIGN DUDE: Don’t “settle” for a cover that you’re not 100% happy with. If you aren’t “peeing your pants” excited about it, then it’s not right. Keep at it till you love it. Your readers will appreciate it and your book sales will show it. Need a little more in-depth advice? Check out our Top 5 questions to ask when designing your book cover.
THE "GET OFF MY LAWN" GUY: Hey! Why do you two get Christmas colors and I get “shit brown”? Show some respect for your elders. Anyway, here’s a tip for all your authors out there, quit your whining on Goodreads. Put on your big boy pants (or panties, no offense) and take an honest look at your book. If it ain’t selling, you probably have real problems. Spend your time figuring out what those problems are instead of wasting everyone’s time on Goodreads.
JENNIFER: No author is an island. To succeed, you’ll need to be able to recognize your limitations and understand that it isn’t possible to do everything yourself. Know when to hire a professional. (And just a little hint: 2 non-negotiable times when you’ll need a professional are for your book cover design and your editing/proofreading. If you think no one can tell when you design your own cover and do your own editing, you’re wrong. People notice, and they hold it against you).
Make friends with bloggers, too. They can be invaluable in your efforts to reach a larger audience. But word to the wise: don’t piss them off, because they have long, long memories.
THE DESIGN DUDE: You’ve heard of beta readers, right? Well, why not have beta cover viewers? Build a team of beta cover design reviewers with a mix of people who have at least some basic design knowledge (or even just really good taste) and also people who regularly read books within your genre. Ask them to be as specific as possible about what they like and don’t like.
THE "GET OFF MY LAWN" GUY: Blue is alright, I guess. Here’s another tip for all you author types: figure out all the social stuff on the interwebs. I can’t help ya much there, but there’s hashbrowns, tweeps, face-stuff, insta-thingies and pinups. No idea what that stuff is, but I’m pretty sure they can help you sell more books and connect with other authors out there. At least that’s what the kids runnin’ this site tell me. They may be a little disrespectful of a well-maintained lawn, but they seem to know a thing or two about selling books.
JENNIFER: Get good at taking criticism. Even if you’re the second coming of Justin Cronin, some readers aren’t going to like your work. For more information, check out this guest post from author Isabel Jordan about how to handle a negative book review without becoming a cyber stalker.
THE DESIGN DUDE: All things being equal, social media posts with interesting visuals are going to get more attention than those without. It’s not even close. “But I’m not a designer!” you say? Not a problem. There are several fantastic online and mobile tools like Adobe Spark and Canva that make it super easy to create engaging and attractive graphics with zero design skills.
THE "GET OFF MY LAWN" GUY: I’m on a fixed income so you won’t see me paying $7 for some fancy schmancy coffee and you definitely won’t catch me paying $4.99 for a book by some author I’ve never heard of. If your name ain’t Stephen King, you ain’t getting more than $2.99 outta me...EVER. Pretty sure I’m not alone on this, either. So, if your book sales are in the shitter (excuse my French), try lowering the price, Greedy McGreedyton. You might just get more people to give it a try.