Sell More Books


Additions to Sell More Books!: New Information on Select Chapters

Under Construction

There's so much more to say about writing and publishing than I could contain in the 300+ pages of Sell More Books! This page links you to new content (revisions, updates, further resources, case studies, etc.) for each chapter. Some additions follow the table of contents on this page. If there's a hot link, click on it for further information on that section.

Book Outline with Links to Further Information


Part I
Rethink Book Marketing in Light of the Revolutions

Chapter 1: Four Digital Revolutions that Can Make Nobodies Awesome

Part II

From Nobody to Somebody
Build Platforms with a Marketable Book and a Cool Online Presence

Chapter 2 – Why Market Your Book?

Chapter 3 – Write a Marketable Book

Chapter 4 – Write a Title and Subtitle That Attracts Audiences

Chapter 5 – Attract People with your Cover

Chapter 6 – Publish through the Most Marketable Channel

Chapter 7 – Get Lots of Blurbs from All Kinds of People

Chapter 8 – Optimize Your Amazon and Barnes & Noble Pages

Chapter 9 – Build a Professional Online Presence

Chapter 10 – Submit Your Book to Contests

Part III
Let the World Know About Your Book

Chapter 11 – Check Your Attitudes toward Marketing

Chapter 12 – Use Guiding Principles to Prioritize Initiatives

Chapter 13 – Seek Early Reviews from Respected Book Review Sources

Chapter 14 – Seek Reviews and Endorsements from Busy Blogs

Chapter 15 – Seek Reviews and Endorsements from Other Publications

Chapter 16 – Attract Attention through Social Media

Chapter 17 – Optimize Digital Sales

Chapter 18 – Sell Your Book in Brick and Mortar Stores (Not Just Bookstores!)

Chapter 19 – Help Reporters and Journalists with their Articles

Chapter 20 – Consider Radio (Even if You’re Shy!)

Chapter 21 – Consider Speaking (Even if You’re Shy!)   

Chapter 22 – John Kremer’s Twelve Tips for Low Profile Authors

Chapter 23 – Bulk Sales Beyond the Bookstore: An Interview with Brian Jud

Chapter 24 – Consider Press (News) Releases.

Chapter 25 – Sell Even More Books!

Appendix #1 – 200+ Ways that Low Profile Authors Can Market Their Books

Appendix #2 – Never Stop Learning! (Further Reading and Resources)



Chapter 2 - Why Market Your Book?

"I used to think I had an idea of what kind of self-pubbed books sold and which didn’t. Since then, I’ve seen people succeed wildly with books I wouldn’t have given 10 minutes to. The single common factor to success was great marketing and the author never, ever gave up. (Italics Mine)

In general, though, I’d say that poetry, memoirs and novels are the very hardest things to succeed at. Non-fiction – and topics that fill a niche not being currently served – is the best path to success. It’s not easy finding that sweet spot. (From interview with long-term distributor Jacqueline Simonds of Beagle Bay, Inc. by Joel Friedlander at )

Chapter 5 - Attract People with Your Cover


Chapter 6 - Publish Through the Most Marketable Channel

At the 2011 Decatur Book Festival, I offered free publishing advice from my book. I heard too many stories of people who had published through the wrong channels, wasting thousands of dollars and limiting their ability to sell their books.

Typically, if you're self-publishing, do it through either CreateSpace or Lightning Source (LSI). While most publishers prefer Lightning Source, individual authors may prefer CreateSpace. The latter is more user friendly and provides you with a real, live contact who can talk you through the process.

Also, I believe that CreateSpace's ties to Amazon can come in handy. For example, last week, authors began talking about the need to contact Amazon through Author Central to request the addition of five key words to help people search for their books. Yet, nowhere in Author Central could I find anything that recommended this. You had to hear it through other authors.

I went into my CreateSpace account and found that I'd already put in these five words as a normal part of publishing my book. Thus, in this case, the connection between CreateSpace and Amazon made me a bit more effective in marketing my book.  

On containing publishing costs. How much is reasonable to pay for editing, cover design, interior layout? Just contacted a recommendation by a friend for interior layout. He estimates that my 300 page book would take him 100 hours at $19 per hour, which would come to $1900. CreateSpace will do a custom interior for $499, or I can choose from their templates for $299. (Editor who was going to charge me $20,000 plus.)

I've paid freelancers about $250 for a cover design (I give them stock photos and ideas), $250 for a professional layout (you could do a simple layout yourself in Word), and $250 for final editing (after I and several family and friends have edited relentlessly).

To go really cheap, find people who are just getting started in the business who are willing to take you to get something on their resume. Get an e-book cover design for $5.00 from Fiverr (search "e-book covers" and look over the artist's previous work).Even if you hate the design, you've lost only five bucks! Mark Coker at Smashwords also keeps a list of cheap layout professionals and cover designers for e-books. Send an email to to request "Mark's List."

Chapter 8 - Optimize Your Amazon and Barnes & Noble Pages

If your books are available on the USA version of Amazon, they're probably available on the British version of Amazon as well. We get a few sales there, but not many. So this morning I visited Amazon UK to check out my presence there, only to discover that none of my USA reviews appear there. Huge oversight! So everyone in England thinks my books suck!

The remedy is simple. When you give out books for review, ask reviewers to also post their review to the UK site. To post a review, they'll need to log into the UK site with the same username and password they use for the USA Amazon site.

Here's where to check out your books on UK Amazon:

I assume this is also true for UK authors who have collected reviews on Amazon UK and assumed that they were also visible on the USA site. Make sure to check out your Amazon USA presence here:

Are there any other important places to put up reviews that most authors miss? Let us know!

Chapter 9 - Build a Professional Online Presence

Marguerita recommends asking relevant search engines to "ping" your site once you've built it or made significant changes. Example: .

On search engine optimization.

The priority of getting pole position. (NYT actually used term "pole position.") "A study last May [2010] by Daniel Ruby of Chitika, an online advertising network of 100,000 sites, found that, on average, 34 percent of Google’s traffic went to the No. 1 result, about twice the percentage that went to No. 2." (Feb. 12, 2011, The Dirty Little Secrets of Search, by David Segal, NYT)

Chapter 10 - Submit Your Book to Contests 

I'm adding the Readers Favorite contest, which was recommended to me on a trusted forum. Over 50 categories, four award levels in each category, contest deadline May 1, 2012, $85 entrance fee.

Chapter 16 - Attract Attention through Social Media

While many of today's marketers tell us to sell books by blogging several times a week and tweeting several times a day, I've maintained that if you're blogging and tweeting solely to sell books, you're probably wasting your time.

If you love this type of social networking and have the time for it, fine. And a small percentage of authors with well-defined niches will gain significant followings. But I'm more concerned with concentrating on what has the best potential for maximizing my time for selling more books. In chapter 16, I recommend finding the thought leaders for your genre/topic and trying to get them talking about your book. In other words, go where people already gather rather than trying to gather a crowd around yourself.

A recent Gallup report seems to reinforce this approach. I'd like to see more on the survey and the information they gathered, but this article reported that Gallup surveyed (completed in October 2010) "17,000 social media users."

"According to the survey, branded social media initiatives don’t drive prospective customers to consider trying a brand or recommending a brand to others in their social network. But prospects are likely to try a product or service if they hear good things about the brand from an engaged existing customer in their social network."

If this study is on target, then trying to directly attract buyers through Twitter, Facebook and blogging is probably a bad idea. However, an effective use of social media might be to communicate with those who are already your fans and like to listen to what you have to say. Indirectly, those fans could spread the word on their social networks that already trust them. Fans influence their friends. They call it “the amplification impact of a trusted communication.”

So it would seem that the most effective use of social media is to allow fans of our books to spread the word on their networks.

Chapter 17 - Optimize Digital Sales 

In December of 2010, Cherie put her BackWords dictionary up as a Kindle. For two year's prior, it had hardly sold at all as a paper book, but over the next six months it became one of our top selling books, selling almost exclusively in e-book format. Another of our books sells much better in paper than digital.

Our guiding principle is: Make our books available in all the primary formats that readers may want to read them. Thus, in 2012 we've been putting our books up directly on Amazon (for Kindle), directly on Barnes & Noble (for Nook) and on Smashwords to go out to other e-book platforms. It takes some time (and and some frustration) to format them (each platform has different requirements), but it's absolutely free and gets our books out there. By publishing directly, authors get 70% of each Kindle sale and 65% of each Nook sale (as long as the retail price is in a typical price range). Wonderful!   

1. - Good free article by Mark Coker, president of Smashwords.

2. - Smashwords Book Marketing Guide (free), by Mark Coker. - on the strategy of selling for lower price. Working grandly for this debut novelist. 

3. Another Konrath idea: "your ebook should start with the same description that is on the product page. That will jog a reader's memory, and make it easy for them to decide whether or not to read that ebook or sample." (He's coming from the perspective of people download scores of books in the e-readers, then choose between what to read (or whether to buy another book) much later. If you don't have a description in the front, you lose the ability to rehook them. This helps with the problem of losing your back cover in an ebook.)


2. Some are saying (Yahoo self-publishers list serv) to put your book up directly for Kindle, then separately to Smashwords for the rest (specify for them not to send to Kindle). In this way, they get a bigger return from Kindle.

3. This morning, Cherie passed this blog post on to me, which gives a recent example of self-publishing success.  I think it’s a good example of an author breaking out of the old publishing paradigm and entering the new. The end of the article links to more posts about successful authors. Great reading!

Here’s the beginning of the article, followed by a link to complete it:

“Title: I Left My Publisher, Gave Up on Bookstores, and Started Making Money by L.J. Sellers, author of the Detective Jackson mysteries

In January of 2010, I had one book on Kindle and sold 31 copies. I had two print books on the market with a small publisher, and they weren’t selling much better. In December, I had six books on Kindle and sold over 10,000 copies. To get from point A to point B, I had to make some radical decisions.”


Advice from Eddie Snipes, President of the Christian Authors Guild:


You said,
"But by allowing the meat grinder to convert to Kindle, it gives me the option of giving away free kindle files for those who wish to review it for me."
That's a very important angle I've not heard of before. So how do you go about giving away a free Kindle version to reviewers? Did you download it from SmashWords as a file in your computer and you just attach it to an e-mail to each reviewer?

"There are two options for giving out free copies. One is just as you said. Since Smashwords is DRM free, the files aren't encrypted and can be sent as an attachment.The other option is to create a coupon. On the Smashword's Author Dashboard, there is an option to generate a coupon. This allows you to discount any percentage - including making the book a free download. Then you can send the coupon code to a person or group."

Appendix #2 - Never Stop Learning! (Further Reading and Resources)

Top five forums for self-publishers, recommended by Joel Friedlander - .

Provide publishing timeline, like Bowerman does in the appendix of The Well-Fed Self Publisher? Lots of people would access online.

Chapter 18 - Sell Your Book in Brick and Mortar Stores (Not Just Bookstores!) NYT article, 2/28/11, Publishers Look Beyond Bookstores, tells of how major publishers get their books into nonbookstores.

Chapter 20 - Consider Radio (Even if You're Shy!) - much like HARO, except you receive requests from radio interviewers.

Chapter 21 - Consider Speaking (Even if You're Shy!) 

Are there perhaps associations related to a topic in your book? If so, perhaps they'd like to have you speak. Here's a searchable list:

Chapter 24 - Consider Press Releases

I mention a press release service that targets libraries. The name is LISWIRE - The Librarian's News Wire. Here's the url:


"Steve and Cherie are authors who care about their fellow authors. Plus, they've done their homework to cut through the hype and discover what really works for regular authors who don't already lead huge followings."


Cherie Miller:

Steve Miller:

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