“If you self-publish, expect to sell less than 100 copies of your book.”
These words were spoken by a Christian author on a marketing panel at the recent CBA Unite International Show. This particular author was both a traditionally-published author and an independently-published author. She had published books using both routes.
The authors on this panel were sharing the lessons they had learned in marketing their books. After making this statement, the author neglected to talk about what authors could do to help ensure that they sold more than 100 copies of an independently-published book.
I am happy to say that I strongly disagree with this author’s statement. I don’t believe that any self-published author needs to “expect” to sell less than 100 copies of a book.
Expect means “to regard as likely to happen.” Truthfully, up to 99% of self-published books do sell less than 100 copies. However, this statistic does not reflect what an author should “expect.”
Most self-published books sell less than 100 copies because the author does not market the book effectively. Too many self-published authors have the idea “if I publish my book, people will buy and read it.” This mindset sets an author up for failure.
With over 1,300 books are published every day in America. The competition for readers’ money and attention is stiff. How many copies you sell of your book is largely dependent on the quality of your book and on your marketing efforts.
Having sold thousands of copies of an independently-published book, I can attest to the fact that you do not need to “expect” to sell less than 100 copies. What you do need is:
- A basic understanding of the book publishing and selling industry.
- A strong selling point or promise to your reader.
- To know and understand how to reach your target audience.
- To invest time and money in marketing your book to your target audience.
If you need to gain knowledge and information in any of these four areas, resources exist to help you. Some of these resources include:
- My book Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace.
- Information and tools for success in publishing and marketing books provided through membership in Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA).
- Marketing Christian Books University’s on-demand seminars on obtaining endorsements, getting book reviews, branding your book, and developing an audience for your book (free for members of CSPA).
Don’t expect failure. Instead, plan and act for success. You can expect to sell more than 100 copies of a self-published book with some knowledge and effort.
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Photo courtesy of Vincent van Zalinge