Dream On!

It takes a lot of hard work to write a book. Most of us invest months or years, tons of research, and racking our brain to get it just right. Then after it’s done, you spend weeks and months rewriting, editing, and reworking what you already wrote. The old expression from Winston Churchill’s speech in 1940 applies to writers: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.” That definitely describes the writer’s life.

The expectation is that once the book is finally finished, the author’s work is done. However, there are two appropriate words in response to this concept: Dream On!

If your purpose is merely to write the book, then yes, you’re done. Fini! But if you actually want people to buy your book and read it, then there’s more to do, because whether your book is traditionally published or self-published, book selling these days increasingly relies on the efforts of the author. There’s no way to get around this fact.

Take best-selling novelist Louise Penny, for example. She writes great fiction, sells a lot of books, and has a loyal fan base. But she also puts a lot into her marketing efforts, too. Newsletter, speaking tour, book signings, website, Facebook, and more.

If you want to do well as a seller of books, not just a writer of books, you need a strategy too. There are lots of books about marketing methods for authors, and I recommend that you consider reading two or three. But here are a few ideas for you.

1. Create a “One Sheet” for your book. You might need to do an online search to find out what this is, but it’s essential. And once you have designed it, you can email it or print it off and send it as part of your marketing strategy.

2. Use social media to let people know about your book, using at least two platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, WeChat, Vero. There are new social media sites popping up all the time. Pick two or three, and use them to help people find out about you and your story.

3. Take advantage of a website that doubles as a blog. Every post should have a title, a category, and several tags. This is how people find you when searching for what they’re interested in. And being found is essential for authors. Your weekly blog post can be about a character, the plot, one of your themes, or even about you as the author. At times you should write about some of the research you did, or perhaps related issues that are important to you.

4. Enter your book into writing contests. It’s amazing the number of authors who got their start through a contest. By simply participating, you learn a lot and start to get some visibility. And if you win, you open yourself to greater notoriety and maybe even a publishing contract.

5. Provide a free pdf of your book to selected friends and family, and ask them to write an endorsement blurb or a review. Then, ask them to share their comments on their own social media. This has the potential of exponentially increasing the number of people who know about your book. They can also post the same write-up as an Amazon book review.

6. Visit local bookstores and libraries, offering to do a book reading or writing workshop. Ask if they are willing to carry your book. Many independent bookstores are glad to feature local authors.

7. Join a writers group. Not only can this help you improve your writing skills, but this increases your exposure to potential new readers, as well.

8. Write a monthly newsletter. This is an important way to build your platform, develop relationship with your readers, and keep people interested in what you write. Consider using a newsletter app such as TinyLetter, EmailOctopus, Benchmark, MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, or Constant Contact, to send emails and get signups with mobile apps. There are dozens of apps these days. Or, you can develop your own method using your email.

9. Advertise. This can be digital or in print magazines, and there’s a huge difference in what it costs. You can do Facebook ads yourself. Plus, there are a lot of firms who will do online advertising at a pretty reasonable cost.

10. Volunteer to speak at service clubs, libraries, bookstores, churches, businesses, conferences, schools or colleges, and other groups. Hey! You never know who might say yes to having a new author speak to their group in person.

11. Conduct a webinar, or plan a live Facebook session where you discuss your book.

12. Create some videos to post in YouTube or on your website.

This is just a sampling of what you can do to get the word out about your book and about you as an author. Many writers simply don’t want to be involved in marketing. They just want to write. I understand that. Believe me, I do!

But the realities are, well, realities. And without adequate marketing, your beautiful, well-written book will sit there on the shelf or in someone’s online catalogue and never make it into people’s homes, ebook readers, or eyes. And the potential income from book sales will never materialize.

So You Want to Sell Your Books?

In a recent post in the Nonfiction Authors Association, Stephanie Chandler discusses what it takes to actually sell your book once it is published. The truth is that some authors spend a lot of time writing the book, then assume that the hard work is over. NOT TRUE! You might want to take some time to read her article. You can find it at:


There are some steps you can take to increase your sales, however.

  1. Develop your Platform: Your platform is a combination of your friends and followers on social media, any organizations or clubs you are active in, and your mailing list. Basically, a platform is the way people know about you and find out about you and your books.
  2. Post about Your Book on Social Media: Now that you have a book in print, at least once a week, say something about it on your various online outlets.
  3. Create a Blog: When you write a blog you have an opportunity to create Tags and Categories that people can find when they search for your topics.
  4. Start Asking for Speaking Engagements. According to Stephanie Chandler, Being an author makes you an instant authority. Use your book to help you land speaking engagements, where you can sell books at the back of the room. Use it to impress potential consulting or coaching clients. Use it to show your credibility for teaching in-person or online classes. Another option: write more books. Each book you publish builds your “back list,” and those sales build on each other. Let your book be your credibility-builder, while you cultivate a loyal tribe and build a thriving business. When you do the work, book sales will follow, and so will other opportunities. But it takes time and persistence. Focus on the long-term effort involved, and how your book can make an impact on the world. This can be a fun and rewarding journey when you shift your perspective and set your expectations accordingly.
  5. Develop a Marketing Plan. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars, but you do need to come up with a list of ways you can get the word out about you and your book. Let people know about what you do and what you write.
  6. Enter a Writing Contest: You never know what might result from doing this. If you win, people take notice of you. If you don’t win, you’ll learn and grow from the process and get better, maybe even make some friends and improve your networking.
  7. Most importantly, Don’t Give Up: Keep on writing, and continue growing as a writer. Consider joining a writers association or workshop. Read books about writing skills and the writing life. Do you remember who won the race between the Tortoise and the Hare?