In all the work I’ve done with authors over the last five years, there’s still one major gap in my knowledge.
Most of my time has been spent doing two things:
- Setting up new platforms for authors and teaching them how to use it
- Launching new books
Both of these are obviously important. If an author doesn’t have an online platform or know how to use it, then they’re not going to sell books. Also, it’s important to know how to leverage that platform to sell as many books as possible when you have a new release.
The part I haven’t done a lot of work with and that I’m facing right now, is this…
How do you sustain and grow sales over time?
When I first released Your First 1000 Copies: The Step-by-Step Guide to Marketing Your Book, my goal, for obvious reasons, was to sell at least 1000 copies. Well, that took me less than two weeks.
Now, my goal has become selling 10,000 copies.
This is a big goal for a self-published, non-fiction book in a very narrow niche. However, I feel it’s an important goal. For me to be credible in giving you and other authors advice, I need to know that I can do this stuff myself — for my own book.
Why 10,000 copies?
Most books aren’t break out successes. Most books aren’t written by celebrities. Most books don’t get random, huge, Oprah-like endorsements that change the life of the author forever.
Most authors have to slug it out in the trenches to build their book sales and their following one person at a time. And if I can figure out how to sell 10,000 copies of my book, then anyone can.
In addition, I recently spoke with someone who has worked in and around the publishing industry for well over 20 years and he told me the same thing I’ve heard before. Books that are able to sell 10,000 copies have a staying power that books with lower sales don’t. There seems to be a special tipping point around that number that indicates the book will continue to sell year after year.
Which is something I would love to happen for Your First 1000 Copies.
Why do this?
I’m the book marketing guy. That’s what I do. That’s what authors pay me for. And here I am putting out numbers that I could very easily not be able to hit and could hurt my reputation.
So why don’t I just keep mouth shut, tell everyone the book is selling fine and keep doing what I’m doing?
Not long after my book came out I published the unvarnished look at my psychosis leading up to the launch of Your First 1000 Copies. I felt like it was important to tell the truth and not let everyone think I have it all together.
This is the same thing.
It’s fun to share when your book is selling a ton of copies. It’s much less fun to share when it’s not. In fact, I talk to authors all the time that feel a lot of shame and embarrassment around their sales figures.
So I want to run an experiment that could easily crash and burn, but will show the truth behind what it takes to sell books in today’s marketplace. I want to give the scary, behind-the-scenes look at what I’m doing and how it’s working. I also want you to learn from everything I’m doing so you can take the pieces that work and apply it to your own marketing.
But, most of all, I want you to know you’re not alone in this.
Where am I at?
As of today I have sold 3247 copies of Your First 1000 Copies (I don’t count copies I’ve given away in my sales numbers). About the first 2000 of those were sold in the first two months the book was out. The following three months have accounted for the other 1200. My goal is to sell 10,000 copies in the first year it’s out so I need to sell an additional 6780 copies before June 27, 2014. That means I’ve got to sell about 850 copies a month (about 30 copies a day) moving forward which is significantly more than the 368 I sold in October.
What will we learn?
I’m working on how to pull this off. I’m doing all kinds of fun and exciting stuff to market the book and build my community. I’m learning from other authors and putting into practice things I’ve helped my clients do. And I’m going to share the entire journey with you. The good, the bad and the ugly including:
- The technical stuff like how I published my audiobook
- The outreach stuff like how I’m growing my email list
- The platform stuff like content, emails, Amazon, etc
- Sales figure stuff like exactly how many books I’ve sold so far
- The emotional stuff like how hard it is when your book’s ranking keeps dropping
- What’s working
- What’s not working
Where are we starting?
I’m going to release a new post every week. I’m going to start by sharing about the first several months and then move into how I’m continuing to grow sales.
To make sure you get notified as soon as it’s published, make sure you signup for the email list below.
I look forward to having you on this journey with me.
November 7, 2013