Thursday, July 11, 2013

When your books sales go Thelma & Louise on you...

For the first time since September, I'm experiencing a huge slow down in sales.  I'm not sure the culprit but I have read that this is normal even for the best of the best. They call this phenomenon a Sales Cliff and it sucks because the timing sucks - I'm counting on this to help cover my expenses for my road trip I'm taking in September. What I make this month determines how much of a cushion I have to cover the days I'm not paid from my regular day job.

I did find out that you can contact Amazon's customer support and ask them to put you in a category you can't see (because it's not listed). The trick is to be nice with them and be patient. I sent them an email yesterday and I'm waiting to hear back from them. By asking them, they can place you in multiple categories on top of the normal two you are only allowed to pick.

Another thing you can do is release another book. That helps too but I'm in the middle of two projects right now. I don't think I will be able to get done in time for it to make a difference and you don't want to rush your books.

Quality will always win, hands down. Put out a good product and try to get reviews and that should solidify your books place. Put out a crappy product and the negative reviews will kill your book, even if you fixed it..

Also keep in mind that no matter how good your book is, there will always be someone, somewhere who hates your book. They may think it sucks, or think a 5 year old can do better. IGNORE THEM.

On the opposite side of the coin, you will probably have fans who think every word you type is gold and you can do no wrong. In other words, continue doing what you're doing. Our audience will find us in time.

Most importantly, as I said before, you want to have a email signup form on your website to start capturing email addresses. This will take time to gather them but in the long run, you'll be glad you did.

Let's say you have 500 email addresses. Tell them that on Friday (such and such date) your book will be coming out and they will most likely follow your link on that day. When Amazon sees a lot of interest/buys on your book, your ranking will go up. They call this an Amazon Rush.  :-)

Second most important thing to have is a professional book cover. This stops people from browsing and makes them stop and look at your description.

What they are looking for is "Can I trust you to give me a good experience?" How you word your description is the next most important thing...

Third - A Killer Description. This is very misleading because you don't really want to spill the beans and give away what your book is about. That's part of the joy of reading.

Instead, your description should be like a sales ad, starting with any awards/kudos or acknowlegements from someone important.

This establishes trust that you are going to give them a good experience. Your description is basically trying to tell someone "relax, you're making the right decision."

Add a few blurbs and follow up with a final saying like "If you love ____________ then this book is for you!" to seal the deal. The name of the game is to get your product onto people's devices. (A Sale.)

Just remember that sometimes no matter what you do, you can't change the Amazon winds that blow into your sails or not. You can do everything right and the wind just isn't blowing. Try not to be discouraged.

Use this time to double check everything, strengthen anything the needs tweaking, work on trust and relationships with your readers and bloggers because they have access to lots of people who are readers. One good blogger with a huge following can really turn a bad month into a super month.

It's going to suck this month for me in sales but that's okay. (It may change but I'm basing it on the current trends.) I'm working on getting more quality content out, I'm checking and rechecking things and I'm working on making my image (called Author Platform) better so readers trust me, as they should.

For me to reach my goal of making enough money to stay home and write full time, I need to find 1000 new readers every month. That's it... just 1000. Consistently. Once I can do that, I'll be able to stay home and focus on pumping out more books, and do the things I want to do.

However, this month feels like that goal is so far away and I'm back at square one/Day one. That's okay, I know what's possible. I've already proven it.

Did you notice I said goal and not dream. Goals are attainable and are under our control. Dreams are out of our control and may or may not be attainable. For example...

Goal: I'm going to write 2000 words minimum every day. (This is a realistic thing that can be done if you focus.)

Dream: I want to be a New York Times Best Seller. (This is a nie dream to have but getting on the NYT best seller list is something that just has to play out on its own.

So many factors out of my control have to happen. For one, lots of people have to buy my books in a short period of time and do so over a certain amount of time. There's other factors too but you get my point.

Do what you can, Don't worry about what you can't control.

As Joe Konrath says: "This is a marathon, not a sprint."


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