Book Promotion: Do This, Not That – December 2017

by | Dec 13, 2017

By Amy Collins

Do This Not That for December is focused on guidance for authors who have dreamed of quitting their day jobs and making a living as writers. There are a LOT of us who have published our first book hoping that the sales from that book would give us a steady income. The bad news? The numbers show that very few authors make a living with their first book. The good news? A LOT of authors make a living as writers by publishing numerous books. Do you want to make a living as a writer? Then be a writer. Keep writing.

What They Did

They stopped after one book.

I have recently started asking authors this question:

“How is your next book coming along?”

Why am I becoming so obsessed with author’s “next” books? Because I know that ALL publishers stay in business because only a small fraction of their books are successful, but those books that are make a great deal of money. It is the few top sellers that cover the balance of the books published. Not even bestselling authors knock it out of the park every time.

Think about it this way. What would you think of:

  • an artist that only painted one painting?
  • a songwriter who only wrote one song?
  • an actor who only knew one monologue?

Well, if those examples make you smile/cringe, then why would authors believe that they can make a living with one book?

What They Should Be Doing

May I strongly suggest that you start mapping out your next book? Now is the time to start writing the book that will double your chances of financial success.

Surveys of avid readers indicate that many nonfiction readers are more likely to take a chance on unknown authors if they have more than one book.

Genre fiction writers can tell you that their series work only really starts to take off once their publish their third book.

For those of you asking when the right time to produce a second book is, the ideal schedule varies. But releasing a book every 6-9 months will give you time to publish and promote each book before adding the next book into your activities.

There are so many things that have to come into play to make a book financially successful.

  • Good writing
  • great packaging
  • constant press and media exposure
  • extensive marketing
  • and then the last and most important element: luck

The elusive combination of factors that will catapult an author into financial freedom rarely lock into place (sorry). But the chances of hitting the right combination goes way up when you double and triple the number of books you are selling.

What They Should ALSO be Doing

Once your author marketing activities are underway, scooping up a new book and folding it into your marketing practices is usually pretty simple. Promoting yourself and your books does not get more difficult as you add more titles. It actually gets easier. One of the most successful marketing strategies is to offer a first book for a deeply discounted price and then drive readers to buy second and subsequent books at full price.

The money and time spent promoting yourself as an author will yield twice the results when you have double the number of books to promote. And once you grab a reader with your first book, you can easily get the to buy your next book. All that time and effort put into convincing a reader to buy a book… if you only have one book then the loop closes and the transaction is over. But with multiple books, that initial effort can yield so much more.
Photo: BigStockPhoto

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  1. K. E. Young

    I still don’t really know what I’m doing, but I seem to have managed to avoid one pitfall at least. Finishing up editing of book one, almost done writing book two, have started book three, and outlined four, five, and six. Story ideas written down for seven, eight, and nine.

  2. Paula @ Ink Blot Book Review Blog

    This is soooooo true! Too many people get wrapped up in one book, that if that falls through, they completely give up! You simply can’t do that! I am a fan of the “many books in the oven” approach, but I sometimes think I spread myself too thin by going too far the other way… But definitely, don’t put all your eggs in one basket!

    Great article! Will send this to a few friends :)

    • Amy

      Wonderful to hear that this matches your experience. Thank you!

  3. W. M. Raebeck

    Thanks, Amy! My fourth book, “Stars in Our Eyes” is out next week (short story collection), and what you’re saying is so true. I’m always surprised when I benefit across the boards after releasing a new book. I liked your analogies about the painter, the songwriter, the actor.—so true. I’m lucky in that I’ve got numerous books in the works, having been writing forever, but perhaps for newer writers, it might make sense to hold off on publishing the first book until they have another one or two in progress… Inadvertently, that’s what I’ve done. And always knowing my next book was coming to fruition has helped propel me ever onward.

  4. Michael N. Marcus

    While it’s important to think about your next book, sometimes trouble with the first book can delay later books. There are definite advantages to having several books “in the oven” at the same time.

    • If you get bored or encounter a writer’s block on one book, you can switch to another and be productive–especially if the other book is in a different genre.
    • Sometimes when you don’t feel like writing, you can be productive on another book by editing, fact-checking, finding artwork, doing interviews, planning publicity, or proofreading.
    • One book may suggest another book.
    • One book may influence another book.
    • Something you write for one book may be used in another book.
    • You can write multiple versions of the same book for different markets.
    • A book that’s far from completion can become an inexpensive or free preview edition.
    • There is always downtime during book production, such as when you are waiting for blurbs or a cover design or a proof. Use that time to work on another book–a new one or an update of an existing book.
    • The things you learn about the writing and publishing process on one book can improve your other books.
    • It gets you in the mood to think as the operator of a publishing business–not just a writer.
    • Amy

      What a WONDERFUL LIST!



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