How Do You Increase Sales? - Lynne Garner

On the 4th and 5th of this month I decided to give away my eBook: Anansi - The Trickster Spider (UK link - US link). Although numbers downloaded were not huge my book did appear inside the top 50 Amazon books for a period, which I consider a result.  

Now I've been asked why do authors give away books? 

The answer is simple - marketing. In order to gain loyal followers we need to encourage people to read our books. One of the issues with ePublishing is many believe eBooks are badly written, poorly edited etc. etc. The only way to overcome this preconceived idea is to prove (by giving away books) our books are the best we can create and as good (if not better in some cases) than traditionally published books. By giving away one of my Anansi books I'm hoping I prove my stories are worth paying for and readers will pay for and download my second title Anansi - Trickier Than Ever (UK link - US link).

However I'm not just relying on giving away entire collections of stories. At the moment I'm writing a stand-alone short story that will be available for free as often as allowed (as far as I'm aware Amazon won't allow me to give away free permanently) then for sale at a very low price the rest of the time. Although this will be a 'lost leader' it will receive the same care and attention my two collections of stories have. I will edit, proof and rewrite then the manuscript will be sent to my proof reader/editor. My hope is people will download and enjoy the story so much they then feel confident to pay for my collection of stories.

Also over the last few months I've been working on activity sheets that link to both books. If you'd like to view some of these click here for the first set and click here for the second set. The plan is to create an entire website filled with colouring pages, spot the difference, word searches, games, puppets and recipes. This will hopefully increase sales because parents, grand parents, teachers, child minders etc. will be able to bolt these activities onto reading time and make reading much more fun.

Last but not least I'm attending my first ever book festival at Zinc in Ongar (Essex, CM5 0AD) this coming Saturday (9th June 2012) and I plan to read my favourite story for my first book. Again I'm hoping those who hear the story enjoy it so much they'll want to download one or even both collections. 

So that's what I'm doing to increase sales. 

In conclusion I'd like to pose two questions:

One: for authors
What do you do to increase your sales?

Two: for readers
Apart from giving their work away for free (we all love free stuff but writers do have to make a living) what else could authors do to win your loyalty?

Lynne Garner

If you have time please visit my blog
If you have young children and would like to download some free activity sheets featuring my character  Burdock the Rabbit  then visit him by clicking here. 


Dan Holloway said…
Very very best with the reading - you'll have an absolute blast!
CallyPhillips said…
Like you Lynne, I'm playing around with the 'marketing' free promo concept. We can't give everything away for free, nor should we, but we do need to find visibility and readers and in the current marketplace we need loss leaders (or even lost leaders!lol) Personally I'm still fine tuning my strategy (and I suspect it will be constantly evolving as the market evolves) and I do put a lot of time into thinking about it -something I'd urge all ebook writers to do. I have a couple of titles out already which are effectively a 'try this cheap/free' and see what you think but I'm about to do a BIG launch of 1 free ebook a day for a week to celebrate Learning Disability Week (starting 18th June) I want this work to reach the widest audience possible. I don't care about the money on this one, I just want READERS. So anyone with any useful tips on how to expand my 'reach' - my life experience is that as soon as you mention the word learning disability people check out in large numbers. Don't want to know. I want to change that. I'm aiming for humour but something more... and was inspired by Mark Hadden the Curious Case.... so... that's what I'm doing THIS week. And NEXT WEEK. And the work that I hope to earn money from, that has to go on the backburner. I must stop having these good ideas. ebooks make it far too easy to get your good ideas out there! Hoist with own petard is the phrase that springs to mind. Good luck at the book festival.
Dennis Hamley said…
Two good questions, Lynne. I'm burning to know the answers. I'm just about to put out a free download but am still to be persuaded that, however well they do for free, there's a significant increase in paid-for sales.
I'd love to know the definitive answers to these as well, Lynne! But I don't think there are any. Or possibly as many as there are different kinds of books, writers and readers. I've had the experience of a significant rise in sales after a freebie - and a not-so-significant rise as well. I've watched a book rise and fall and rise again and had no idea why it was happening, except that somebody, somewhere, must have read it and spread the word - perhaps by word of mouth. I've been giving away three plays this week, individually published. Not something that you would expect to sit comfortably with a Kindle. I published two last year and have just published a third last month. All of them have had professional productions, one of them a major production with broadsheet reviews. I wish Kindle had been available at that time, because I reckon I could have sold a lot of downloads on the back of all that publicity! But mainly, it would have been because people liked the productions and wanted to read the scripts themselves. They are, I think, plays that can be read as well as watched. And one reviewer said as much, having come upon the play unexpectedly on Amazon. What has surprised me though, is that I'm getting a much bigger take-up in the USA than I am here in the UK, where these were first produced. I've done some promotion, but not a vast amount. Rather, I've come at it sideways, talking about drama in general. My current problem is that I'm so bombarded with 'read my fabulous book' promos on all sides and all sites that I'm finding it counter-productive. And if I'm feeling like that, and I'm essentially well disposed towards eBooks and writers - then potential readers must feel that way too. We have to offer more than that - but I'm not quite sure what, yet!
Lee said…
Since I offer all my fiction for free and always will, I have no really relevant suggestions. However, I have found that podcasts are especially popular, notably those read by an experienced, professional, and wonderfully mellifluous actor like Ioan Hefin (Corvus).
Lee said…
Probably I should add that I don't give my fiction away as a marketing tool, but out of conviction. Marketing is boring.
Lynne Garner said…
Lee yes marketing is boring but I have to make a living some how. If people want to enjoy the fruits of my labour they have to pay - otherwise there are no fruits. I'll have to find a job that pays me on a regular basis including sick, holiday and maybe even a pension.
I'm with you there, Lynne. And now, I rather wish I had. (Found the regular job including sick pay, holidays and pension that is.)
Lee said…
At my age, I no longer have forever, or even a couple of decades, to try to write a good novel, so it's essential to prioritise. Of course we all want sick pay and pension - holidays are not really a necessity - but it doesn't have to be from fiction. More power to those who can support themselves by writing, but since I'm a lot more realistic than people suppose, I'd rather not rely on eating (from) my words.

There is too much emphasis here on earning money or increasing one's visibility or whatever, when the focus ought to be on writing well. Market all you want, but if a novel is dull, marketing won't change that. Maybe we're not always honest with ourselves. And word of mouse counts.
Lynne Garner said…
I've had 21 books traditionally published so I would like to think I can write well. The books I turn into eBooks I proof read, edit, rewrite, pay a professional editor/proof and rewrite again. I'd expect to pay to see a good film, eat a good meal so I don't see a problem with trying to earn an income from my endeavours.

Popular posts

What's the Big Idea? - Nick Green

A Few Discreet Words About Caesar's Penis--Reb MacRath

Meet Author Virginia Watts, a Finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award, and Find Out How She Does What She Does

Last Chapter?

Misogyny and Bengali Children’s Poetry by Dipika Mukherjee