Monday, 28 March 2016

What to do when your book isn't selling...

All writers have experienced it, and those who haven't are either telling huge porky-pies or are amongst the 1% who actually make it as 'best-sellers'!

What am I talking about?

Having that one book out there, published, and not selling!

Anyone who has written a book knows what it feels like to pour a piece of your soul onto the pages, pay quite a lot of your, hard-earned cash, for someone to edit it, then pay someone else to wrap it in a gorgeous cover before you click the button and publish it.
Now, that sentence doesn't hold the weight it needs to. You bleed your soul into a book. Your life. Your experiences. Every book, film, and TV show you've ever watched gets mashed into little useful snippets you can add to YOUR book.  
By YOUR I mean, YOUR.  No one else could ever, ever have written that book!  If you gave a synopsis to two writers you would end up with two entirely different books. Why? Because you are unique!
So, we've established how hard it is to write a book and also what you put into it.  
Then, you're paying out hundreds of pounds. Yes, hundreds of pounds in editing, covers, marketing, etc and that's BEFORE you publish!
So, you publish, praying to make your money back, at least!
And.....the books sits there. Doing nothing. Earning nothing. 
You're out of pocket.

What do you do?

Well, go ahead. Have a hissy-fit. Moan about it to your spouse.Cry!  Go on, sob! Deeply!
It sucks!  Get those emotions out - IN PRIVATE!

Then, pull up your socks and think about what you can do.

You could go the complicated Smashwords route and make it perma-free. By going permanently-free, your book would then be what is known as a 'loss leader'. Hopefully, drawing readers by its constant 'freebie' status to, again, hopefully, buy your other books. It's a risk....but your choice.

Or, you could go the Amazon  only, KDP Select route. Since the majority of your sales will be through Amazon (that seems universal for all authors), then this might be the option for you. You sign up for KDP Select and then every 90 days go free for 5 days, then do a price countdown, where the price is reduced significantly - wash, dry, and repeat. This can go on endlessly every 90 days.

Lastly, take the book down. Unpublish it. It's not selling anyway, right?

I personally would not go with the last one. Why? Read the beginning again. Look what you've put into it!

Maybe it needs re-editing. Maybe it needs rethinking and anew sub-plot added. Maybe there's nothing wrong with it at all. It's a cracking good read that no one has picked up yet!

TIP: If it's part of a series, edit the cover and the inside (You can do that at any time through KDP) and abandon the series idea; erase all traces that this ever would have been a series!  That is, unless, you have the whole series burning in your head and heart. My advice then, would be, write it and make the first non-selling book a 'loss leader' through Smashwords.
If the book/series needs to be written, i.e. you would die if it isn't, then do it!

You are under no obligation to anyone to write the whole series if book one isn't selling. Often that will kill your passion for the series anyway. Scrap it and start another book you really want to write. 

Hopefully, these ideas will get your book selling. Even if it's only in dribs-and-drabs. That's better than not selling at all, eh?

In the end of the day, remember one this, "This above all: to thine own self be true..." - William Shakespeare, Hamlet.

Write to please YOURSELF!  Do not write what you think people want to read; if you do, your heart and soul won't be in it!
When you write what is in your soul to write, people will read that, and love it. Kick start the sales with some of the ideas above, and, most importantly,  Don't give up!

And finally, it has been said that the best trick for selling books is to write more books!  Keep going!