How to Sell Your Books

Gulliver in Brobdingnag:
How Authors and Small Presses Can Sell More Books

Frango duro patientia.
( I break hard things by perseverance. )

  1. A. The Heart: Write a Good Book
    1. Write a good book
    2. Then edit it well
    3. Copyedit and proofread
    4. Is the book title memorable? … Ask your friends: “After hearing the title, would you buy the book?”
    5. Writers write — that is a given. And writing these days means that writers must make an additional commitment to selling our books.
    6. Set a specific day and time — the same day/time every week — when you will work on selling your book. Book marketing requires persistence and consistency.
  2. B. Basics
    1. Indexes: nonfiction books should have quality indexes
    2. Fonts. Make sure you are using free fonts, or fonts you are permitted to use. [ List of my favorite free fonts coming soon.]
    3. Get your own ISBN not an Amazon ISBN
    4. Book covers. Make a stunning book cover … See the Pinterest page “Beautiful Book Covers and take advantage of Copyright-Free Images that you can use for your book covers and websites [ links to the best sites coming soon. Best of the best is Unsplash. ] …. Follow the basic Graphic Design Rules.
    5. Consider book trim sizes: There are 3 book sizes that meet the expanded distribution requirements for both KDP and LS. These sizes are (in inches): 5 x 8 … 5 x 8.5 … 6 x 9 … Remember 7 x 10 works, but with white paper only, not cream.
    6. Get the book listed on, and be sure to have a well-written “blurb” about the book, for the book’s back cover or dust jacket, and for the Amazon website.
    7. price the book at $ 12 to $ 20
    8. Choose the best subject headings … First learn about BISAC Subject Headings
    9. Book should have its own web page on the publisher website and author website
    10. Work with your publisher on a 1-page-long news release, that can be viewed online from the publisher’s and author’s websites or social media pages.
    11. Preparing for Interviews … Create a detailed outline of things to be discussed, and include questions you might be asked by the media, and answers
    12. The Problem of Review Copies … Copies you send to book reviewers usually end unreviewed, sold by the recipient for re-sale at the Strand Book Store in Manhattan. Publishers and authors can lose a small or large fortune sending review copies and getting few or even no reviews. However if you know someone who for sure will promote your book, send them a review copy with a personal note, and the news release you have developed with your publisher. If you know a lot of people, ask your publisher to send you a bunch of books at cost (you pay for printing price and shipping), and then send these as review copies.
    13. Collect all positive quotes and reviews, for use on the website and news releases
  3. C. Publish in Multiple Formats
    1. Paperback, by Print-on-Demand from KDP or LS.
      1. But if you are certain that you will sell 1,000 or more books, then get a lower-price per book printing (and a better quality printing) of 1,000+ copies by Thomson-Shore.
    2. Ebook — priced half of the paperback price. Produce this 6 to 12 months after the paperback, or sooner if your target audience is international or cash poor.
    3. Hardcover — priced affordably.
    4. Audiobook — at
    5. Screenplay.
    6. Small book sizes 4.25 x 7
  4. D. First Contacts: Create your “word of mouth army.”
    1. 1) Circle 1: Close Friends ..“Will you buy a book, and then rate and review it?” … “Will you tell your friends and colleagues about my new book?”
    2. 2) Circle 2: Mailing list of contacts. These are persons you know, who will not mind getting an email from you. ⁃ Write a thoughtfully-crafted message to your mailing list
    3. 3) Circle 3: Local News Media … Create a Local News Media list … radio stations, newspapers, magazines, email discussion groups ⁃ Write a news release about the book and its author … Send to your local media list
    4. 4) Circle 4: Friends in High Places. If you personally know anyone who has influence, or a large audience, don’t be shy. Carefully prepare notes for either contacting them by email, phone, or letter. The books you send these kinds of people are called “presentation copies.”
    5. 5) Circle 5: National News Media pertinent to your book. … For example, for a book related to summer camp, send an email (the content is your media news release) to the American Camp Association (ACA) magazine editor. ⁃ Never pay for a book review.
    6. 6) Circle 6: Book blogs pertinent to your theme. Take a look at this page from Zorba Publishing: 30 Sites that Review Ebooks.
    7. 7) Circle 7: Social Media
    8. 8) Circle 8: Influencers in Your Field. After your book as received some good reviews, you can contact influencers — but not for paid endorsements.
  5. E. EBM — Expertise Based Marketing — Your Personal Brand
    1. 1) Establish yourself as an expert in a specific field
    2. Start an online club — free and online by Zoom — where you lead discussions and workshops in your area of expertise. For example, a poet could start one online club about how to appreciate and understand poetry; and another online club about how to write poems.
    3. 2) Contact media and tell them to put your name on file when they need an expert, to comment on stories connected to your expertise
    4. 3) News pegs. If an important story starts to break — such as a virus outbreak in summer camps — call the largest news media in your city and tell them you can answer questions about this breaking story.
  6. F. Email Lists — 1000 True Fans
    1. 1) You may have an email list … build it.
    2. 2) Watch: 1000 True Fans by Kevin Kelly (Animated Summary)
    3. 3) Watch: How to Gain 1000 True Fans (Kevin Kelly on London Real) …
    4. 4) Read: Kevin Kelly’s updated essay …
  7. G. Events Live and Events by Zoom
    1. 1) Plan and promote a live or an online event, speaking about a topic of interest, connected with themes in your book — not focused on the book itself.
  8. H. Find Your Target Audience
    1. 1) Think about your target audience, the persons who are most likely to be interested in your book. For example: a book about working with children might be sold to parents of home schoolers, summer camp directors and staff, or anyone who works with kids.
    2. 2) Create promotional materials for this target audience.
    3. 3) Start a TAL (Target Audience List) — which should be continually growing — and then send your promotional materials to your list.
  9. I. Podcasts (your own) and Interviews: Get Yourself Interviewed on YouTube channels and Podcasts — and Radio programs, and Television news shows, and Newspapers
    1. Podcast hosting (free) — Look at Anchor )
  10. J. Video Promotion: Make a YouTube Channel
    1. 1) Make a YouTube channel based on the book’s theme
    2. 2) Video Book Trailer … Make and share on YouTube.
    3. 3) Animated book summary using Whiteboard Animation software, with the moving hand
  11. K. Selling on Amazon
    1. 1) Amazon Author page. Set up your page, and then add all your books. The people who follow you here will automatically get emails from Amazon whenever you publish a new book with Amazon KDP.
    2. 2) Amazon Ratings and Reviews
    3. 3) Kindle Unlimited: is it worth it ?
    4. 4) Goodreads author page
  12. L. Learning about all aspects of publishing, especially selling books
    1. Amazon KDP YouTube channel …
    2. KDP University video, 2021 July 1 …
  13. M. Make Your Blog/Website a number 1 site– with “Content Marketing” and “Discontent Marketing” (MP) and SEO
    1. Post good quality content at least one time per week
    2. No Paywalls !
    3. 1) Google Analytics
    4. 2) Rank Math plugin
    5. Infographics and Tipographics ( a tip or a quote that is on an image)
  14. N. New Ideas for Selling Books
    1. Make a T-shirt of your book, and then wear it everywhere
  15. O. Digital Marketing and Social Media Marketing
    1. Overview
    2. Digital Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing
    3. Twitter Marketing (average half-life is 24 minutes per tweet)
    4. Pinterest Marketing (average half-life is 6 months per pin)
    5. The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Hashtags for Book Authors
    6. 5 Free Tools from H-Educate
    7. H-Educated website
  16. P. Bulk Sales. Get paid in advance; and Always remind the buyer that the books (books printed on demand) are non-returnable (unless the buyer receives a defective copy). Offer a discount for sales of 20 or more, sent to one location, for:
    1. University classes
    2. Libraries
    3. Book clubs. NYRB has been running a book club for 10 years. Subscribers get 12 books per year (a different book every month). The cost is: “And now it’s an even better deal: To celebrate the anniversary, twelve-month memberships to the club are available at 33% off the usual membership price if you sign up for yourself or a friend today. That’s $99.95 for US subscribers instead of $150 and $145.00 for Canadian & international subscribers instead of $219!
    4. Home Schooling groups
    5. Summer Camps
    6. Businesses, to give out books that businesses will give as gifts to employees
    7. Gifts (wedding or conference or special events)
  17. Q. Quotes about selling books
    1. “Marketing is about creating relationships. … Make a sale, earn a comission. Make a friend, earn a fortune.” — John Kremer
  18. R. Resources: about the Science and Art of Selling Books — Books about selling books; Videos about Selling books; Articles about selling books; Websites and selling books
    1. Author Marketing Training: 7-day Course
    2. Article: Publishing and Book Marketing BY VALERIE PETERSON
  19. S. Translations and Subsidiary Sales (excerpts in magazines, film rights … )
    1. Get your book translated and/or seek foreign rights.
  20. T. Tools and Technologies
  21. U. Book Marketing Facts and Theory — will be a separate web page, on the website listed in Y. below. You are selling books to 5 different markets:
    1. Individual buyers
    2. Social media audience
    3. Institutions: schools, libraries, literacy campaigns …
    4. Retailers: book stores, book companies, Amazon, Ingram
    5. Wholesalers and distributors: library wholesalers, “Small Press Distribution (SPD)” ( )
  22. V. … Questions and Answers about the Psychology of Selling, and Book Promotion Theory and Practice
    1. How do you tell people about your book, and then make them want to buy it ?
  23. W. World: International Sales
  24. X. Experiments
  25. Y. Link here to my blog-website about book marketing: … Here we will answer the 4 essential questions:
    1. What are you learning? …
    2. What can I be doing better? …
    3. Which methods are successful for you ? …
    4. Where should you focus 80 percent of your energy and time? …
  26. Z. The Zorba 12:
    1. Greeklit — grants to publishers for translations in Greek … … … Application dates ( 3): 20 September 2021, 20 January 2022, 20 May 2022