Concerned about nonfiction sales? A new author, who’s revising her first book, asked for tips to help her to sell.
My suggestion: think about your audience. How will your book improve their lives—or entertain them?
We looked at the ASK process.
ASK is an acronym for:
A: the angle. An opinion, a slant, a point of view.
S: the story. A hero; with a goal. Conflict.
K: the keeper. The point; the reader’s takeaway.
The “K” is vital: give your readers something that will stay with them.
Another suggestion: publish before your book is “perfect.”
How to make nonfiction sales: write and publish
Nothing happens until you sell something, so don’t try to make your book “perfect”.
Today’s publishing industry is wonderful. You can publish something, and revise it as often as you like. This applies to anything you’re selling.
For example, I released our new program, The Ghostwriter’s Six-Figure Goldmine: Your 7-Day Strategy For Nonfiction, yesterday. While going over my notes, I realized I hadn’t mentioned a couple of points. So I edited the PDFs; it took 30 minutes to add the material and upload the new version.
Similarly, with ebooks and paperbacks. If you want to change something, just edit and upload again.
Let’s look at some tips to improve your nonfiction sales.
1. Use your books to advertise
Business writers know how to do this. They treat their books as advertisements. You’ll find links to their websites and other books within each book.
Of course, you can overdo the advertising. Be subtle. And careful.
Here’s Amazon on external links:
External links within Kindle books should be present only if they directly enhance the reader experience and the content of the title, as determined by Amazon.
Notice “as determined by Amazon.” If you’re concerned Amazon might object to something you want to do, don’t do it.
2. Remember your backmatter: it’s valuable real estate
As I suggested in Self-Publishing Catastrophe? 3 Tips To Write, Thrive And Sell:
Build a mailing list, but avoid heavy promotion—promote in your books’ backmatter, so you know your list’s members are those who’ve either purchased one of your books or downloaded it via a Kindle Unlimited subscription.
3. Think “pre-order”: make sales before you publish
I love pre-orders. They’re motivating, especially since Amazon has rules about delaying publication.
Check out Amazon on Kindle ebook pre-orders, and take advantage of pre-orders; they’re free promotions for your books.
In addition, pre-orders provide you with vital information before you publish. For example, if no one’s buying your pre-order, consider why that might be happening. Is it the book? The product page (book description?) Some other reason?
4. Concepts matter: create a concept before you start writing
Why create a concept first?
One reason. It’s much easier to change your book at this early stage than later. You can shop it around and gain others’ insights.
As you may know, I recommend that before you start writing a nonfiction book or a novel, you write the book’s blurb.
A blurb is a concept: the book’s primary idea, as well as its audience, and why that audience would care.
You can share your concept with a publisher, a ghostwriting client, or a writing coach.
Recently, one of my coaching clients sent me a book concept. In response, I recommended she message a literary agent to whom she’s connected on LinkedIn.
He responded positively, so she knows that her concept works for him. Although he may not offer her representation, he’s shown interest, so other agents may be interested too.
The single most essential tip to increase nonfiction sales: WRITE
You can spend a lot of time tinkering, so be sure to put writing first each day. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by your task list and demands from others.
Writers write. It’s what we do. If we don’t write, we can’t sell.
Happy writing. 🤗
At one time, ghostwriters focused on books because the demand was large and ongoing—it still is, of course. Celebrities want to “write a book”; many other people do too. Since these people don’t have the experience or the time to write a book, they hire a ghostwriter.
Learn more with our new program, The Ghostwriter’s Six-Figure Goldmine: Your 7-Day Strategy For Nonfiction.
Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.