in Author Skills

When Sales Go Stale

  • Buffer

We’ve all been there. You have a great launch (better than you expected!) and the sales and great reviews are pouring in. Some are from supportive friends and family, and some are from people you’ve never met before. You’re feeling confident that this book publishing thing was a great idea after all. You can do this! You are doing this!

Maybe it’s two months out, maybe it’s a year out, but inevitably, it happens. Sales slow down. That’s okay, you think! That’s normal! But then then you have a month where nothing moves. And then a month where returns come in (ouch), and then another month where nothing moves.

“I’ve made a horrible mistake,” you say to yourself in the mirror. “What do I do now?”

First off, get a grip and take a deep breath. You went into this knowing very well that the upward trajectory couldn’t last. Then get back to work. There are plenty of things you can and should do when sales go stale:

  • Go through all those wonderful reviews you’ve received and pull out your favorite snippets. Make a list. Then create some social media graphics (we love Canva– so easy to use!) that highlight that wonderful review. For example:

Breedling ad

  • Write a provocative blog post. What’s been your best/worst experience in publishing? What popular myth about your book/genre/life can you debunk? Pitch that blog post to Huffington Post or any other popular website to be picked up.
  • Create an event. Maybe it’s a Facebook Live chat. Maybe it’s a class at your local community center about your craft. Maybe you host a twitter chat. Let it be driven by something larger than selling copies of your book. Engage your audience through content.
  • Participate in a Twitter chat. Find a hashtag your readers are engaged in, and participate!
  • Contact your local bookstore or library for an speaking/signing event. Again, let it be about something bigger than just selling books. What can you do to bring people into that bookstore or library to see you?
  • Get creative. Think about unique ways to get in front of your audience. Maybe you send copies of your book to a few people outside your circle. Maybe you ask your friends if they know of some book clubs that might be interested in reading your book. Maybe you find some events your readers might be at, and think of some swag you can pass out there to get people interested in your writing. The possibilities here are endless.

And remember: This is a marathon, not a sprint. Marketing your work is an important part of your writing journey, and really can be fun!

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  1. Thanks for the info.

    Social media graphics–great idea. That could be extended to Twitter and social media posts as well:

    “I loved this book. A great addition to every writer’s toolkit.” [SALES LINK]

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