15 (Silly) Ways for Authors to Sell a Book, Guaranteed!

By *Guaranteed* I mean “I’ve got no idea what I’m doing, please don’t sue me when it doesn’t work.” This post is satire and NOT to be taken seriously! There is no fail-safe way to sell a book, and anyone who tries to tell you differently is selling something (probably their own advertising packages.)

You might not know it, but sometimes selling a book is harder than writing it. True, the Internet has opened up limitless possibilities. Self-publishing has made it easier than ever for everyone to publish a book.

The only downside? EVERYONE can publish a book. Some estimates say that upwards of 700,000 books are published every year. That’s a lot of competition.

With all these works coming out, authors now have to worry about things like trends, marketability, author platforms, advertising, visibility and reviews. If no one knows your book is out there, they won’t buy it. Sticking it up on Amazon and hoping people stumble across it? Not enough.

Since this is the reality in which they write, authors have to get out there and sell it, but how to do that can be a difficult question. Not to mention frustrating. So for those of you thinking about selling your own books, here are 14 silly ways (and 1 serious one) to get people to buy them.

Let me know if they work.

  1. Sequins, glitter, gold leaf, embossed letters or tiny LED lights in the cover. People like shiny things.
  2. Put the cover of your book on fliers and hand them out to random strangers. What random stranger doesn’t like being handed a piece of paper? You could try handing out hugs, too.
  3. Make sure you have characters who do the naughty. People love naughty things.
  4. Characters who bump the grind. People love bumping and grinding.
  5. Offer a sedative/audiobook combo. If it’s playing while they’re asleep, they’re still reading, it was in some science study a long time ago.
  6. Death. Lots of deaths and horrible peril resulting in maiming in your plot. It’s not a conflict until someone loses an eye. It worked for George R. R. Martin!

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  7. Put the cover of your book on a poster and photo bomb the local news. Your book has to be more interesting than the on-site report they’re doing. The viewers will thank you. The Federal Communications Commission, not so much.
  8. Stalk a celebrity until you have the chance to wing a copy of your book at their head. They won’t read it because that would just encourage that kind of behaviour and they’d end up walking through a hailstorm of books every time they wanted a latte. But the publicity from the lawsuit will get your book sold.
  9. Sacrifice a chicken to the gods of publicity. If you’re really being serious about this, upgrade it to the souls of your enemies on a silver platter. It won’t be the first sacrifice the gods of publicity have gotten, believe me.

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  10. Make sure you have characters who are having lots of smoochy time. People love smoochy time.
  11. Get on every social media platform ever. Even the ones nobody uses anymore, you never know.
  12. Did you remember to put in a puppy? How about a kitten? A ferret? Something furry. Animals always belong in a plot. I suppose you could stick in a frog, it works in fairy tales.

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  13. Get down on your knees outside a bookstore and beg people to go in and buy your book (last resort.)

  14. If all else fails, chalk it up to the fact that readers are obviously culture deprived trolls who lack the subtlety to read your work and write another book. With lots of maiming. And smoochy times. And a puppy, who is in mortal peril. Aliens might be a good idea too. Blame everything on the Aliens. Don’t forget the shiny things.

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You’re welcome.

And finally, suggestion number 15 (being serious this time).

Write the most fantastic book you can with believable, complicated, sympathetic characters in incredibly interesting situations. Build genuine relationships with your readers (online and in person) and be grateful when they recommend or review your book. Some social media will most likely be involved, but don’t go overboard with the shameless spammy selling of your wares.

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*Obviously I am not a marketing expert. This list is intended for fun and should be taken as such. Don’t really do any of these things, except for number 15. Seriously, please don’t.*

If you have any fun suggestions, throw them in the comments. I would like to know if the gods of publicity like goats more than chickens, or if they in fact appreciate a good quality chocolate more.

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