By August 5, 2015 Read More →

How to sell more books (or any product)

How to sell more books - Frances EveshamLast summer novelist Frances Evesham decribed for us how she uses a To Do list to make the most of her time.

It’s obviously a very effective method because she’s now published her second novel, Danger at Thatcham Hall, and has turned her attention to marketing and how to sell more books.

Joining forces with other business owners can get great results, regardless of your product. Here’s Frances on how there is power in numbers for the reluctant seller:

A tale of two marketers

The internet’s a great place to meet and exchange ideas. It’s also a great time-waster.

Who hasn’t spent spend hours flicking through posts and tweets when they should be doing something else? Often, as a writer, I’m searching for the magic answer to the nagging question, ‘How can I reach more readers?’

I follow @BenHatch on Twitter. He’s written three books about the trials and delights of family life, especially travelling with children. His Twitter feed’s full of photos, questions to his followers, and stories of funny things that happen to him or his kids. He rarely mentions the books except in his profile.

I also follow – well, let’s call him @FellowWriter. He has three books on Amazon. Every day he posts a dozen or so tweets containing his book title and Amazon buy links, with the odd quote from a review, singing his books’ praises.

Ben Hatch’s following is 104K, he now writes for the Telegraph and the books are bestsellers. Fellow Writer has a following of 1572 and sells a few copies a month.

Ben Hatch’s secret is he comes across as real and authentic. He’s not afraid to show human qualities and flaws. I feel I know him a little and I bought his books. I know nothing at all about Fellow Writer and I haven’t even glanced at his.

Ben is a brilliant marketer. Fellow writer is selling to me – and I don’t like being sold to!

How to sell more books - Frances Evesham, Danger at Thatcham HallWriters love the internet
It’s a trap many writers fall into. Quiet, introspective authors feel happiest head down over a keyboard in a solitary room. I know, because I’m one myself. I’m comfortable with social media, because I can hide in my writing room.

I’m slowly gathering followers, but it’s slow and time consuming. Also, staying at home too often may mean I miss out on the real experiences and chance meetings that would fuel my writing.

The truth is, it took Ben years to build his success, and he links his online marketing (because that’s what his Twitter feed is) with plenty of forays into the real world. He talks at literary festivals and events and travels widely, using the real world in his writing and marketing.

Social media and the real world
Social media isn’t the easy way to make a living selling books, because people like to buy from other people. To sell books, you need to get out into the real world, as well as cultivating an online presence as a human being, not a selling machine.

This is hard!

The thought of approaching anyone and saying ‘Please will you stock my book’, or ‘Can I come and sign books in your shop?’ or ‘Would you like me to talk at your book club?’ fills me with cold, clammy horror, and I know I’m not alone in this.

United we stand
So, with a colleague, I’ve set up a group of local authors. We’ve called ourselves Wales and SW England Writers United! and we’re working together to promote and sell more books. Holding hands, linking arms and helping each other up when we fall, we’re venturing out to meet our readers, and we’re doing it together.

It’s so much easier to approach businesses as an ‘organisation,’ not as a lone, hopeful writer. In fact, since we set up just three weeks ago, we’ve spoken to the organisers of two literary festivals and a large charity, and all of them want to work with us.

The proof of the pudding
Will we sell more books? Well, people will meet us, find out we’re real people, maybe even read what we write, or at least be interested enough to follow us on Twitter and Facebook. They might get to know us so well they just can’t resist buying our books. Maybe we can integrate the internet and face-to-face marketing successfully, and find the best of both worlds.

If you’re a published, self-published or soon-to-be-published writer in South West England or Wales, why not join our Wales and SW England Writers United! Facebook group and find more readers?

I’d love to know how you market your products, and what really works for you. Please leave a comment below.

work from home secrets

Frances Evesham can’t believe her luck, spending her days writing and collecting grandsons, historical trivia and stories of ancestors. Both of her Thatcham Hall novels – An Independent Woman and Danger at Thatcham Hall are available on Kindle and in paperback. She will be writing about the progress of Wales and SW England Writers United! on her website francesevesham.com.

Posted in: Making money

3 Comments on "How to sell more books (or any product)"

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  1. Fab idea to network with other writers in Wales and SW…will head over to the Facebook group and say hello. I tend to have bursts in sales, using social media, particularly to coincide with key events on my blog/in my life.

  2. This is a wonderful idea, Frances. I think Jelly has shown that lots of good and unexpected things come out of home business owners getting together to work and chat, and it makes perfect sense to extend the principle to marketing and sales.

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