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Expand Access to Increase Book Sales

Mel Hopkins



There’s only one way to become a bestselling* author. Get a lot of people to buy your book. - Simple, right? 

 Yes, but it’s not easy for independent authors who must get their book in front of enough people to gain global sales. 

Well, at least it wasn’t easy before the internet and the growth of eCommerce. Back then, it was nearly impossible to make global sales without a prominent publisher.

Now any writer can sell worldwide.

So why do so many independent authors insist on selling their books exclusively on Amazon.com? And to their detriment.   

 There are plenty of viable outlets available that will lead to better sales and robust revenue. Yet many stop there and then wonder why they can’t make a living as an independent author. 

Possibly some of the reasons for poor sales include lack of knowledge, not enough preparation, and not setting an initial sales goal. Fortunately, there are simple fixes for these oversights.

 For example, 

  • Setting a SMART1 ( Specific, Measurable Achievable Realistic Time-based) sales goal.
    • i.e., Using several distribution channels, Independent author will sell 300-1000 units* during the first week of publication. 
  • You are identifying viable outlets to sell the book.
    • Direct sales, eCommerce sites, book distributors such as Ingram, hand sellers, independent bookstores, retail bookstores, specialty outlets, etc. Make sure at least one of your outlets is also a reporting agency to NPD Nielsen BookScan
  • Delaying publication to prepare a sales strategy,
    • and to solicit presales.

Now that you’ve considered a plan to sell 300 or even 3000 books during the first week of publication, it’s safe to tell you the rest of the story.

Determining where you will sell to your customers and how you will get your books to them is also known as Place.   It is the 3rd P in the marketing mix. So, deciding Amazon as the exclusive Place to sell books is unwittingly using a marketing tactic that may negatively impact your book’s sales revenue. 

Note: although Amazon is referenced throughout the article it’s not the focus. It’s about getting you, the independent author, to consider a solid book sales strategy that allows you to make your book available in multiple locations.

* (3000 -10000 books sold is the statistical count for WSJ or NYT bestseller, respectively.)
** Post inspired by @Troy 's Tweet (1/7/2020)




1.      https://www.smart-goals-guide.com/smart-goal.html  What is a smart goal? | acronym smart goals


2.     https://www.publishersmarketplace.com/bookscan/stores.cgi (npd publishers marketplace BookScan stores reporting


3.     https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/industry-expertise/books/ (NPD BookScan book market trends)


4.     https://www.ingramcontent.com/publishers/distribution (book distribution worldwide |Ingram content group)


5.     http://www.bowker.com/ (Connecting publishers, authors, and booksellers with readers)



Recommended Comments

@Troy  The action is here!  Some of Independent authors here seem to echo the same thing "I didn't know how to market my book." Except, they do. -It appears they're not strategic in their marketing practices.   I was the same way with my first novel - I knew what to do but I didn't work my plan.  I like how you call it a  (book marketing )"clinic" because it is!  We, independent authors, already know what's wrong - we  just aren't consistent with our "outpatient" care.   I'm writing this out for me too.  I believe this is one the best places for original content on the subject. 

By the way,  I like that I don't even have to repost it to my profile - the software keeps track of all my postings as long as I'm signed in. 


Oh!  I'll check out @dtpollard.

9 hours ago, Troy said:

DT Pollard Used to post here quite regularly. He really was cranking the ebook several a year (or so it seemed).

@Troy  OMG @hen81 is my writing "hero"!  He didn't come here to play with us one-book every 20 year folks !!! 65 titles according to his last post! 😀

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