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How to Rebound from Dead Book Sales

How to Revive Dead Sales
Posted by Autumn Stone
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If you had asked me at the beginning of 2020 to predict my book sales for the year I would have nodded and grinned. I was making a steady income monthly and loving everything about all things romance writing. I had an aggressive writing and pre-release strategy that I was excited to rock out. Then COVID hit. I had no idea how much this pesky virus would affect the three aspects of my writing process that had to be in alignment: creativity, focus, and energy. It won’t surprise you to hear that I lost all three during the past year. But, the one thing that I love about self-publishing books is that once you’ve published your works you can sell them over and over again. In this episode, I will share how I plan to revive my dead sales in 2021.

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Show Notes

  • When you think about it, writers have two careers. The first is writing. You have to write the books and get them out there into the world. The second career is marketing. Constant marketing so that people will buy your works.
  • I have to admit that I am pretty good at marketing. In fact, my Autumn Stone romance books are a fun part of a larger online facing business.
  • With that previous experience I had some insight into the type of action I should take to get my books in front of readers.
  • Before March 2020 (pre-COVID) I had weekly marketing tasks that included:
    • Sharing my books in different Facebook readers’ communities
    • Infrequent shares on Instagram
    • An intense focus on building my email list via Bookfunnel
  • I didn’t pay for Facebook ads and spent very little on Amazon ads.
  • With that process I made thousands of dollars in books sales. I will be candid and say that I was grateful for that passive income as I sat home during quarantine.

Marketing Ebooks in 2021

The other aspect to my successful marketing strategy was releasing books on a fairly consistent schedule. I was publishing about every 6 weeks when I first started writing. I’m just moving slower in 2021 and I have to factor that into my process moving forward. Basically, I’m operating at a lower level of physical and mental energy. Here are some of my marketing strategies moving forward.

  • Consistently release podcast episodes! I absolutely love the conversations that I’m having with authors for this show. This show has a couple of different functions:
    • To uplift the voices and stories that are written by or focus on POC characters
    • To help advertise other author’s works
    • Encourage would be authors to get started
    • To market my books to an expanded audience through what’s basically a deeper level networking conversation.
  • Grow my email list-I changed my email list provider to Flodesk from Convertkit. At the time I couldn’t figure out how to get it to work with Bookfunnel. Happily, I can use Zapier for the integration between products. Email list building is a huge part of my sales strategy.
  • Email my list-I actually love emailing my list but I fell out of the habit in the past year. I just didn’t have the energy to do much of anything beyond actively manage my mood and protect my health.
  • Market my books in closed groups-This was a quick and easy task that I spent an hour on a week. This type of marketing focus really paid off.
  • Social media-I’m working on a social media strategy that I can stick with. Here is where I like to focus my energy:
    • Podcast
    • Instagram
  • Release New Books-To be honest, this is the most important task that I need to focus on moving forward. New releases help to lift notice on previous releases.
  • Focus on SEO-Search Engine Optimization is a large part of how people have been able to find my books through organic searches. I plan on auditing my blurbs to make sure that they are optimized for organic searches. Did I miss anything?
  • Podcast Interviews-If people are interested in having conversations about romance writing as a business-I would love to be a guest

Don’t Get in My Feelings

I think that it can be easy to get in one’s feelings about a drop in book sales. But, I think it shouldn’t be surprising that sales would drop when I stopped focusing on selling. For many authors this type of experience could be alarming. I think it’s just a part of selling any type of product. Lessons learned from this are the following:

  • Listen to yourself-I just couldn’t show up in the same way for my author business in 2020 as I did in 2019. I had to embrace that new reality.
  • Commit to the process-What’s focused on will grow
  • Make adjustments-If I find that something isn’t working, I’ll just make some adjustments to my process.
  • Have some Perspective-I just have to get in front of my ideal readers in order to get sales. And the number of ideal readers I need to get in front of isn’t a huge number.

I’m so excited as I begin focusing on this next phase of my business. Have you hit a sales slump? What did you do about it?

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Thank you for listening and supporting Let’s Talk Romance with Autumn Stone. I love having conversations with authors creating stories for characters of color and the people who read them. If you enjoyed this episode please “Buy Me a Coffee.” This support helps to cover the cost of running the show.

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