"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
Information & inspiration to hone your craft and increase your cash...Since 2009

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Self-Published Authors: 4 Smart Strategies to Grow Your Income and Your Business


I received an email from an author who has self-published over 15 books, asking me to help promote his most recent book. I asked him to send me an image of the book and a link to his website. “It’s down right now.” When I went to find it, there wasn’t a trace of a site.
I then asked him if he was on Amazon. “No. Amazon is not for me.”
So, how do you sell your books? “At book events, speaking appearances, my email list and cold calls.”

While these are good strategies for selling books, they require a great amount of time and effort. He could have earned more money in a shorter period of time by working smarter, not harder.

To avoid watching your time and money go down the drain – literally and figuratively like this author did, following are four smart strategies to go from pittance to profitable.

1. Website
All authors should have an online home - a website or blog - where people can find you. It doesn’t matter if you’re using free tools like WordPress, Tumblr or Weebly, as long as you have an online presence that you own and manage.
Without this home, you are missing out on opportunities to sell books; to connect with people who are interested in hiring or partnering with you; and to showcase your published works, media appearances and other accomplishments.

Smart strategies to grow your income with a website:
Set up your site to include four pages: home, about, products and contact. On your product page, include your books and big orange “Buy Now” buttons for each book. Make sure you have PayPal or another means to receive payments. Try to link to your product page on each page of your site and make it easy for people to contact you with questions.

2. Amazon
When you tell people you are an author, they are going to ask you three things:What’s the title of your book? Where can it be found? Is it on Amazon?
Being found on Amazon makes you a “real” author even if you only publish electronically. It also offers three huge benefits to self-published authors: a reputation as a book seller and distributor; billions of global buyers that you would never reach on your own, not even with a website; and an active and engaged online community through their commenting and rating systems.

Smart strategies to grow your income with Amazon:
Publish a quality eBook to Kindle, even if it’s just a chapter, and sell it for $1.99.  This allows you to start building your credibility as a published author; make money to invest in book projects; and possibly get feedback to help make the final version the masterpiece you want it to be.
Here’s the caveat of using Amazon. You cannot get the names and email addresses of the people who purchase your book, which limits your ability to sell to them in the future. You can get around this by adding links to your site in your eBook; by encouraging readers to sign up for notification of the final release; and by asking them to submit ideas on different aspects of the story or book.

3. Social Media
Social media is a great way to drive people to your product page to buy your book and for promoting your books. While it is not advised to sell directly on the sites, you can sell through conversations, education and relationships.

Smart strategies to grow your income using social media:
You can buy ads; establish relationships with people who will become your evangelists and spread the word about your books; and build relationships with influencers who can put you in front of their audience.

4. Selling on your own
You are the primary salesperson of your book - period. Here’s the problem with that. Many authors are writers and introverts, not marketing or sales people, and prefer to do things that are comfortable for them. Selling is not high on that list.

Smart strategies to grow your income through selling on your own:
Get from behind your computer, leave your house and show your book to everyone you encounter. Explain the value your book provides. This will boost your confidence, sales skills and bottom line.
Studies show that most published authors, even traditionally published authors, sell less than 300 books. This does not have to be you. By utilizing the four strategies mentioned above, you can grow your book sales and bottom line.  Go from pittance to profitable by working smarter, not harder.


Marcie Hill is a freelance writer, blogger and author of 62 Blog Posts to Overcome Blogger’s Block who loves technology, roller skating and photography. Find more about her and her written successes at Marcie Writes.


  1. Jennifer, thank you for posting my article. I hope these tips help new and veteran published authors on they journey to financial success.

  2. Marcie,

    Thanks for sharing these creative strategies. Much continued success!

  3. This was both concise and thorough--thanks for sharing your insights, Marcie!

    1. Quoting Akilah success tip from Facebook:

      "That was a good read, Marcie! Thanks for sharing. I would add the aspect of re-purposing sections of the book (particularly if it's non-fiction) to bring more traffic and revenue from your book's content. That has been working well for me."

  4. Jennifer Brown BanksJanuary 11, 2015 at 11:11 AM

    Thank you for your time and comment, Akilah.

  5. Marcie, Excellent points. I especially appreciate the fourth. It's so hard to do the "buy my book, buy my book!" thing. But it's a vital aspect of our success as writer's these days, right? Best of luck in all your future writing endeavors.

    1. Susan, it's a sticky place to be. On the one hand, we don't want to be over-annoying salespeople; on the other hand, we have to sell our books. I was advised to post five educational or informational posts with information from my book and make the sixth message a sales pitch.

      Also, really build your social media relations. They'll work for you even when you're occupied with other projects. And many blessings on your writing projects.

  6. Thanks, Sue. We value your feedback here.

  7. Great advice, Marcie! Thanks so much for sharing. Jen, thanks for hosting!:)

  8. Jennifer Brown BanksJanuary 12, 2015 at 12:33 PM

    Thanks, Karen. Glad you found this useful.

  9. I like the smart strategy idea of getting readers feedback to help make a possible final masterpiece version, because I did already actually get some positive readers feedback on an ebook I wrote.

    That readers feedback (together with some music business experience) did give me some new ideas for a possible future upgraded version. In fact it did give me a lot of ideas for possibly giving you as a reader something to choose from with possible multiple versions.

    Just as in the Music Business, you frequently have multiple versions of a song, with things like different style versions, special remixes, bonus tracks etc. etc.

    I am thinking that in a somewhat similar way besides providing a free preview also possibly providing you as a reader with a choice to get a low priced download version or print versions, or possible other combination packages,

    For example with a download version, a print version, and an audio version, special bonus material etc. etc.