2014-03-16

Book sales

Peacekeeper now stands at 33,605 words.

So what causes book sales to go up? What causes sales to drop? Does anybody really know? Oh there are books out there by people who claim to know, people who, for the price of their book, will tell you how to market and promote your book and how to boost sales. I don't think anyone really truly understands what drives most sales. I had a spectacular run up of sales in 2012 so some people who know about this believe I'm some sort of expert in this matter. Believe me--I am not!

There are a few things that can cause a dramatic increase in sales though: Having your book mentioned or talked about on a show like Oprah or Ellen can result in a huge spike in sales. Having your book turned into a movie of course is a no-brainer way but this requires incredible luck. Winning a prestigious award might cause a small increase because most non-writers know nothing of these awards. Promoting your book on Facebook, Twitter, internet ads, Google+, and other online sources might give you a small, temporary increase in sales. Sending out a pile of postcards in the mail will most likely not result in enough sales to cover the cost of printing and mailing them. Doing signings at book stores or libraries does not seem to boost overall sales at all. So what drives sales?

Several surveys suggest that most people buy a book based on the recommendation of one of their friends. In other words--word of mouth. Following behind this are the people who buy a book because it was written by an author they've read before and liked. Next in line are those who just browse the list of books looking at titles and covers. These people will buy a book based on its visual appeal followed by the description then the reviews and finally the price.

Not every author can enjoy strong sales for long periods of time. I had my run with the Galactic Alliance series back in 2012 when Translight rose up the Amazon chart to stall at #178 of all books sold. I know I have a faithful following because sales spike when I release a new book. But the days of selling hundreds of books a day appear to be over. What caused that spike? I have no clue. But I am very happy to say that even though daily sales are low, they are steady. I still get the occasional good review which boosts my confidence and makes me want to write more.

Learning to write a great book is a never ending process. I read books on how to improve my writing. I read other books with an eye towards how the author structures her sentences and paragraphs. I read internet articles and magazine articles on how to improve my prose. And most importantly, I listen to my readers. I have always responded to their emails and I listen to their comments. I work at a nuclear power plant and we continue to strive to improve--training never ends. It's the same with writing.

Next week is my last week as an instrumentation and controls technician at the nuke plant. I'll be working nights and then I have a week's vacation. When I return to work I report to my new desk as a maintenance planner. This is a good move for me for many reasons. Wish me luck.