How I Actually Increased Sales

This post, from Ruth Ann Nordin, is excerpted from a post which appeared on her blog on 1/21/10, and is reprinted here with her permission.

I keep trying to think of ways to help authors boost their sales so if they want to either make more money at writing or attract the attention of an agent/publisher, they can have a better chance at it. Now, I don’t know if this will boost sales or recognition or not, but I’ll share what has happened to me over the past year and you may take the information to do what you will with it.

As I compiled a list of my expenses and royalties (which still are lacking compared to what I spend), I noticed that Kindle sales brought in $118. I thought that was for the year, but then I realized it was for the month of December. So far this month, I have made $174. Those are what I get after Amazon take their cut. I’m starting to see monthly payments instead of the three times a year I averaged for the past two years. I made about $174 over the course of one year in 2008. I never thought I could make that much in one month from Kindle sales. I only charge $0.99 per book. (Note, my paperbacks are still low. I made a total of $120 for the year on those, which was my average anyway.)

Okay. So I know other authors blow my totals away. But I thought since I am seeing a pretty good increase in sales, I would pass along what I did this past year. Like I said, I don’t know if the same method will work for you, but it’s all I can think of to offer in an effort to help others out there.

1. In January, I started posting three of my best books for free on my website and asked a blogger who posts free ebooks if they would be willing to post my books on there. She did.

2. Finally, I saw some actual traffic coming to my site. Before this, I got about 30 to 40 visitors a month. Now, I was actually getting into the hundreds. This was pretty exciting…and scary (because suddenly, I realized people were looking my way and I didn’t want to goof it up).

3. Around March or Spring, I had someone who has a free ebook site email me about posting my stuff on there. I said yes and decided to post more of my books for free. I noticed an increase of sales in some of my paperbacks and ebooks, but nothing substantial.

4. I signed up for Author 2.0 at The Creative Penn to learn about book promotion, making book trailers, podcasting, and other topics I thought might prove useful to increase my exposure as an author. I also started listening to podcasts geared toward publishing and marketing.

5. Over the summer, I decided to go fully into self-publishing and posted everything up for free. I got on two more free ebook sites from those who contacted me.

6. I started publishing my books on Kindle. I started the price around $3. Saw no real sales, heard that Kindles $2 and under sell best, so I changed the price for all of my Kindles to $0.99.

7. I started getting regular emails from readers and even if they had something I didn’t want to hear, I thanked them for contacting me and kindly explained why I do what I do. (I’d say 95% is positive email, though the couple that weren’t were very nice people and very respectful, so it never got nasty. I don’t want people to get the wrong idea.)

8. I started book trailers. This didn’t seem to impact sales, though they were a lot of fun.

9. I started the 500 words a day WordPress blog which is steadily attracting more attention.

10. Got my first $12 royalty payment for Kindle sales.

11. I got 5,000 hits on a website in October. I nearly fainted. This was probably because I just posted new ebooks on my site.

12. October was my first $35 payment for Kindle sales. I also got $35 from CreateSpace for about three months worth of paperback sales.

13. November, I got 13,000 hits on my website. How? I do not know. I also brought in another $35 from Kindle sales.

14. December, I sold 12 paperbacks (the most I’ve ever sold in a month–probably due to Christmas). Kindle sales went through the roof. I earned $118 worth in royalties. Again, I do not know why. I did nothing different than what I was doing before. I’m guessing word of mouth is starting to do its magic.

15. January, I started a podcast to begin uploading my first audiobook. (I have no idea if or how this will improve sales or visibility as an author.) I have made $174 so far this month on Kindle. I have only sold 4 paperbacks. I have received roughly 6,000 hits on my website.

So we’ll see how things (hopefully) progress this year.

But take whatever you can from the list if you wish and see if something will help boost your sales too. I mention the numbers to show the trend of cause and effect. I really hope that this method can work for someone else. I never thought it would for me. To me, this is beyond my wildest dreams. For someone else, this may be pathetic.

Visit Ruth Ann Nordin’s blog here, and learn more about Ruth and her books here.

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