October 27

New author question: Where can I sell my books?!

This is the classic new author question: I’ve just published a book that I’m so proud of, now, where I can I sell my books? Well, friend, there are many ways to get your book into the hands of readers. Let’s walk through some major ones.


If you’ve been around me for longer than about a week, you know I love Amazon. Amazon has made publishing and distributing quality books internationally super easy for authors, and they’ve kept royalties reasonable for us, too.

When you’re first starting out, I think it’s completely fine to only publish an Amazon Kindle ebook and CreateSpace paperback book. If you want to get fancy, publish your audiobook on Amazon Audible through ACX.

When you publish on Amazon, the bookstore will help you advertise and sell your book. During the first 30 days your book is live, have a few days during which the book is free or $.99, and drive traffic to download your book from Amazon. If you can get a bump in downloads a few days in a row, Amazon will highlight your book in the “New and Noteworthy” section, and you’ll get a boost of sales there. Easy peasy.

Your own platform

Here are the places you should absolutely make sure to advertise your book:
Your own email list
Your friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances list
Your social media profiles
Your blog, podcast, or YouTube channel

Get a nice 3D image of your book, standing upright, and link to the Amazon sales page. Ask everyone you know to download or buy a copy, leave a review, and share with a friend. This can be especially effective if your book happens to be free or $.99. Everyone loves to be notified of a good deal, and you’d be surprised how many people turn out to support you!

Podcast interviews

Go to iTunes and search for podcasts in your field. Look for podcasts that bring in guests to interview, find the host’s email, and send an email requesting to be on that person’s show. You’ll want to convince the person that you have something interesting to say to their audience, but you’ll be surprised how many people will bring you on their shows, if you just ask and show interest in a win-win situation. Plug your book at the end of the interview.

Live events

Look for local live events that you might be able to contribute to. Maybe there’s a casual meet-up that’s often looking for guest speakers. Maybe there’s an annual event that’s bringing in people to talk on a certain topic. Maybe you could organize an event at your local bookstore, church, or school. When you show up for the live event, bring a box of books with you! This isn’t selling your book, but you’re hoping those people will help spread the word about your book, which will eventually result in more sales.

Send free copies to key people in your field

Think about whether there might be some key influencers in your field. Maybe teachers, leaders, pastors, coaches, CEOs, well-connected moms, anyone who has a wide reach, in and of themselves. Send them a free book with a hand-written note, explaining how you hope the book offers some helpful ideas to them. Make sure it looks like you personally put the package together. They’ll appreciate the thoughtfulness, and I bet they don’t receive packages very often! Again, this isn’t directly selling your book, but you’re hoping those people will help spread the word about your book, which will eventually result in more sales.

Third party promotion

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with paid advertising. I don’t think it’s worth it to run Facebook ads or Google Adwords because you’d sink way too much time and money into figuring out how those advertising platforms work. Instead, rely on people who’ve already got the advertising down.

For instance, if you go to Book Bub (https://www.bookbub.com), you can pay them a fee to let their email and social media lists know that your book is free or discounted. They typically drive 2,000 to 4,000 sales per day that you advertise with them. There are dozens of sites like this, too. You give them a flat fee, and they do the advertising heavy lifting for you.

Libraries and independent bookstores

This is an advanced book sales technique, but definitely worth checking into. I’d make sure you have your book on Amazon Kindle, CreateSpace, and Audible first, then, work on this strategy.

You’ll need your book available on Ingram (http://www.ingramcontent.com), you can approach your local library and independent bookstores. Pitch them on why you think your book would be a good match for their customers. Highlight that you’re a local author (libraries and stores usually have a section devoted to local authors) and that your book is easily available for them on Ingram.

Libraries and bookstores prefer to order their books wholesale from Ingram because their system is already set up for those orders. Plus, honestly, they don’t really want to pay Amazon for CreateSpace books. It’s a distribution territory thing. You can use the exact same files on Ingram, but there will likely be a one-time fee to set your book up for print on demand publishing. The library and bookstore will handle stocking your book, but do check in on them to make sure they actually followed up!

Regional bookstores of big box companies

Why not shoot for Barnes & Noble? They’ve just started their own print on demand company, so go to the Nook Print Press website (https://print.nookpress.com/) and upload your files for print there. Then, visit the regional office of your area’s Barnes & Noble. Pitch them on why your book is a great fit for their customers, highlight that you’re a local author (B&N also usually has a section for local authors) and that your book is easily available for them on Nook Print on Demand.

Again, make sure they follow up and actually print and stock your book. Don’t be afraid to be a little persistent!

I hope this has sparked some ideas for you. Book marketing is a long-term game, and you should always be on the lookout for new ways to answer that perennial question, “Where can I sell my books?!” What about you? Where have you been able to sell your books?


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