It's a great time to be an author. There are more ways to publish a book than ever before and more ways to find and connect with readers.
But the low cost and ease with which books can now be published have also created a downside for authors. More books mean more choices for readers and has resulted in more competition for readers' dollars than ever before.
To make matters even more confusing, while publishing is thriving, bookstores, the traditional outlet for the majority of book sales, are in trouble. Independent bookstores are closing at a rate of approximately one per week nationally. Larger chains are cutting back. Depending upon your category, for every available space on a bookstore shelf, there are 100 to 1000 titles competing for that space. The chances that your book will make it to the shelf are slim - and once it gets there, the chances that your target reader will find your book and purchase it are almost nonexistent.
Despite all this, there are a number of things you can do to sell your book.
Less that half of all book sales are actually made in bookstores. Books are sold in a wide variety of retail stores, from large chains to tiny boutiques. They can be found in museums, gift shops, craft stores and sporting goods stores. They are sold on websites.
To successfully sell your book, you must think beyond the bookstore and large internet sites. To sell your book you must find your target audience. Find your own special niche - the one area in which you are the expert. Particularly in nonfiction, the more targeted your market, the better. That doesn't mean that you have to settle for small sales, however. A tightly focused target audience does not automatically mean a tiny one.
The average book sells about 300 copies. But you can beat those odds. There are as many ways to market and sell books as there are authors to write them. In a future post, we will share what we consider to be the ten basic rules for marketing a book.