Super Mario Maker 2, a Nintendo video game, released this summer. The game allows players to create game levels and post them online for other players to play. The game allows for creativity as well as game play.
My son is a huge fan of this game. He played the first version and downloaded the second version as soon as it became available. He loves to create levels and post them for other gamers to play. The other day, my son was over-the-Moon happy. Of the thousands of levels that players create, Nintendo featured one of the levels my son created in a video showcasing exceptional player-created levels.
In talking with my son, he told me that he had studied the formulas the makers of the video game used to create levels within the game. He then used those same formulas to create his levels. It was successful.
Yet, it was not just following a formula that got my son’s game level noticed. Rather, it was a combination of strategies that came together. My son followed a formula to create better game levels, but he also showcased these levels on his YouTube Channel that is dedicated to Nintendo games. So, it was a combination of skill, marketing, and plan old luck (or providence).
Authors also love formulas. Just give us the formula for writing a best-selling book, and we will write it. Just give us the formula for marketing to sell thousands of books, and we will do it.
Every time I turn around, someone is peddling a course with a formula for authors on how to sell thousands of books or create a bestseller. Some of the courses I have seen are:
- How to Sell a Thousand Books in Three Months
- Launch a Bestseller
- 3 Steps to a Bestselling Author Platform
- Nonfiction Writers: Create Six Figure Classes (how to build an online class business)
Authors jump on these classes and pay anywhere from $50 to several hundred dollars to learn how they can sell thousands of copies of their book.
I wish it were that simple: Get the formula, follow it, and sell thousands of books. Sadly, it’s not that easy.
There is no proven formula for creating a best-selling book.
If there were:
- Every book published would become a bestseller.
- Someone would patent the formula and use it to create best-selling books, making themselves a lot of money.
Often the people selling these online courses on how to sell thousands of books are authors who have written and published a book that sold well. They then think that they know the “formula” to do this and decide to teach others how to do the same thing.
JA Konrath, a best-selling author, raises a good question about these authors. He asks, “If you know how to write a bestseller, why aren’t you writing bestseller after bestseller? Why are you writing How-To books (or courses)?”
The bottom line is that there is no formula. What works for one type of book may not work for another type of book. Additionally, selling a general-market book is vastly different from selling a Christian book to a niche market. Selling a self-help book is vastly different from selling a Bible study book or a memoir.
So, how do you sell more books?
First, you have to write a compelling book. Second, you have to publish it with a professional-looking cover and interior layout design.
Then, you have to market the book. This is the tricky part. No single marketing technique is a surefire way to sell your book. Instead, you must use a variety of techniques that can include:
- A launch team
- Book reviews
- Media exposure
- Developing an audience
- Connecting with influencers
Just like my son’s game level, any book that sells well is due to a combination of factors including sometimes just being in the right place at the right time.
If you need marketing ideas for your Christian book, I encourage you to read my award-winning book Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books. As one reader said:
“Wow, this book provides so many marketing ideas that it would take years to implement them all. As I am reading, I am making a list of all the tasks I need to perform to improve my book sales.” —Susan
Remember, there is no marketing formula that guarantees success. You have to use a variety of marketing strategies to sell more books.
Marketing is Murky
Are You Looking for a Formula?
Selling Books is Challenging
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