How to Sell Books
So, I’m on Twitter a lot nowadays… Just being annoying & arguing with celebrities (well, the one’s who don’t mute me lol). I was reading this one post today by author Austin Kleon. He was talking about a newsletter by a friend of his, which discusses the nuances of the book publishing industry. It really got my ol’ noggin’ a-thinkin’.
1) Public radio appearances / slots
“I have no hesitations about proclaiming public radio the main driver of book sales. How do I know? I get to see the backend! I can see Amazon rankings go from 1,243,302 to 7,900…”
2) Word of mouth / buzz / hype
“First, the book has to be really good... But a strong voice, an interesting story -- and I'm thinking non-fiction here as well as fiction--a tight manuscript, confident editing and confident author is something that those who read a lot will sit up and take notice…
Second, the author, usually, or, sometimes, someone else--an 'influencer' or critic or loud-mouthed friend with reach--needs to get that initial word out. This is often random and unpredictable…
This is often random and unpredictable, in many ways …because [the author] does something intangible, that you cannot study, that you should never try to emulate, that will help get people chattering. Then, once the book comes out, and readers get to weigh in, if it is good, they will do a lot of work on the book's behalf, and sell copies…”
I think this paragraph also has some curious, arcane knowledge within:
Other common forms of book marketing I find less-useful-than-you-would-think for immediate book sales: making a swell author website; creating a Facebook page for your book; writing 'book adjacent' essays and op-eds that go live around publication date (especially if they are unpaid, as they often are, and despite Big Five publicists often pressuring you to write them); bookstore appearances (though they generate goodwill, can be super-fun, and may help your book be hand-sold to others later).