Tips & Tricks

Three tips to increase book sales for first-time authors

As a first time author it can be daunting stepping out with your story and trying to successfully earn money selling your book. Here are three tips to help increase book sales before your book hits the stands.

Always check your blind spots

Authors, who have spent so much time in the process of writing their books often are so intricately connected with the content and structure of their book that they can miss blind spots that a trained eye would catch.  Whether you have someone who is trained to look for blind spots review, or have some peers review your content before publishing, don’t rely on just yourself to catch everything.

An example of blind spots that I have come across in my time with the company is an author I recently worked with wrote a book aimed at explaining digital safety to the average person. With a vast background in cyber security and computer sciences, the author had a high level of understanding in the field, and was able to put together a book that took complex information and simplified it beautifully, except there were two small blind spots. The author’s knowledge on the subject blinded her from seeing the lack of definitions she provided for field-specific terminology, and where step-by-step instructions were required to make the content more accessible. An editor coming in with generalist knowledge was able to review the terms provided and point out where more definition was required. They also were able to point out where things that were second nature to the author might be slightly more difficult for the average reader. From the provided evaluation the author was able to revise the book to become something anyone could pick up and understand.

Another author had built out a complex world in a dystopian fantasy book about the future of London’s tube system.  His post-modern writing style had the perspective jumping from one character to another from page to page. It made for an enthralling read, but a blind spot occurred where the perspective switch was unclear in a few areas. An editor had to help fine-tune the text. This is an especially common situation in fiction, as the author knows how it is supposed to read, so it can be hard for them to see how it actually reads, especially to a critical eye.

Take feedback from industry professionals

One common misconception about self-publishing books is that the quality of the book is lower, so it will not sell well in physical bookstores, or will not be picked up by physical bookstores. This is by no means true.  A high-quality, marketable book is always the goal of the production team at Tellwell, and we will do what it takes to make sure that your book is marketable in it’s genre.

A high-quality book is a collaborative process, and we need to work together effectively to achieve the goal. It starts with the content. You have written the story, checked it for any blind spots, and cleaned up the writing with some thorough copy-editing, but it is still important that you go through the content of the book over and over again as you go through the publishing process. You never know when you will catch a typo that you missed the last five times you read it.

After that comes design; our designers have worked in the industry for years and have even won design-based awards for their incredible work. They have been carefully trained to understand a target market and create specific designs for that market that will make the book into a high level, professional quality. That being said, many authors come with their own ideas too, and that is great! But working together with the designer to make sure that your idea comes across in a way that is marketable and creative can sometimes be better than sticking so concretely to your original perspective. Take the advice of the designers, and collaborate with them to come up with something you can both be incredibly proud of.

Remember that getting the book published is not the end, it is the beginning

It may seem crazy to think you did all of this work writing your book, then have spent even more time revising and preparing for publishing, and then went through the whole publishing process, to look back and see that was just the beginning of a brand new journey: selling the book. Now, the actual sales process is easy, with the retailers and distributor taking care of all of the fussy work of selling and fulfilling orders for your book. So in one respect, you can sit back and watch the royalties roll in, however that is not really the case. Books don’t sell themselves, hard work does!

It is important to remember that for every bestseller out there, there is a whole marketing team behind the book pushing it, contacting media outlets, offering promotions, and advertising the book on many different channels. When starting the publishing process it is important to start to think about building a plan to make sure your book is noticed amidst a saturated marketplace.

This can start even before your book is published with some basic pre-marketing strategies, and then can work all the way through and beyond the date you book is released to retailers. Even with a small marketing budget there are steps that can be taken to make sure your book is effectively marketed.


Do you have any tips for authors to increase book sales? Contact us with your ideas at [email protected] with the Subject, “Ideas on Increasing Book Sales” to let us know!

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