Are you wondering why your books don’t sell? Dear authorpreneur, if you don’t want to sell more than 10 copies of your books, then do the things we’ll be talking about today.
Most literary writers consider book sales a half-crass/half-mythological subject that is taboo to discuss. Publishing is the business of creating books and selling them to readers. And yet, for some reason, we aren’t supposed to talk about the latter.
While authors avoid the topic, every now and then the media brings up book sales — normally to either proclaim, yet again, the death of the novel, or to make sweeping generalizations about the attention spans of different generations.
Now, let me make this clearer: The lack of proper knowledge leads to plenty of confusion for writers when they do sell a book.
Some questions spring up like;
Are they selling well? What constitutes good sales? Why are people not buying? Should they start freaking out when their first $0.00 royalty check comes in from Amazon?
Your Book Won’t Sell Beyond 10 Copies by Chidindu Mmadu-Okoli
Going through Facebook today, I found this piece written by the author of Be Utterly Shameless sharing her thoughts on the things you need to do if you don’t want your book to sell more than 10 copies.
1. Don’t Make A Research
Remember, you know everything. You are omniscient. Before Abraham, Socrates, and Einstein, you are. Don’t read the works of others. Don’t read related works. Write everything from your head.
But don’t be surprised, when your book cannot make it to a platform, because the Intravenous needle was inserted upside down in one of your characters.
2. Don’t Be Original, Apply Neo-Plagiarism
This is specifically and mostly for Nigerian non-fiction writers. You have just written a book but it’s a collection of all the quotes from Socrates, Brian Tracy, Abraham Lincoln, Revised Standard Version Bible, Hitler, Idi Amin, Jezebel, Pharoah and Judas Iscariot.
Don’t be bothered why no one has the guts to copy or share your work with/without credits.
For thus says Labamabam,
“Aba ma ndị Aba [Aba knows its kind.] Shall a plagiarised work be plagiarised still?? Wherein lies the juice in your sqeeze!”
Are you really a thought leader or a thought repeater? Please don’t be like a chop-and-clean-mouth author.
3. Write Like You Are Undergoing Brownian Motion
Write like the people who will read it do not have the sense of critical reasoning. In the first chapter of your book, write about Buhari. In the second chapter, write about the state of cemeteries in Nigeria. Then finally, name the book in such a way that it addresses a learning issue for children.
Don’t be bothered, your readers will feel dizzy by your dwindling sense of focus. They didn’t know that you didn’t know that book planning is part of authorpreneurship
4. Critique Insults Your Intelligence
Write the book. Hide it under your armpit.
Don’t post the first few chapters on your blog or social media. Don’t even read it at the literary societies nearest to you. This way, no one tells you that your shit is really shit…and can be made shiny by experienced writers.
Again, no one gets to copy your work, because they can do it exactly the way you have imagined it in your head.
Don’t be angry when someone says that your work makes them mentally lazy because you didn’t respect the imaginative, creative and collaborative activity of your readers.
5. Become The Jack Of All Trades, Save Nobody, And Drown In the Titanic
Your eyes are sharper than the electron microscope. Therefore, write the draft, edit it yourself, proofread it once or twice, format it, publish, launch and earn. Do not even get a launch team. Don’t listen to good advice.
Isn’t it awful to be too independent? Is interdependence not the courage to find an editor, graphic designer, hire a formatting service, and so on?
Don’t worry, my friend!
People are waiting for you in direct messages, social media posts and Amazon review platforms to tell the world why they regretted buying a copy. For you wrote, ‘Let us rape these girls for their hard work.’ When the editor would have quickly highlighted it as ‘rate’ and not ‘rape’.
NB: The book in my hand would have come out like this, but for the contributions from my launch team members.
6. A Good Book Will Sell Itself
Ok o! I didn’t say otherwise!
After all, Be Utterly Shameless is my fifth book and the first in hardcopy.
A good book will really sell itself because it has the mouth to shout to the target audience, ‘I am here! Buy me!’
Rejoice and be glad! Blessed are those with poor or no book marketing mastery for theirs is the bank SMS alert,
“Dear Customer, your account 666****419 is now dormant. Kindly visit any of our branches to activate it.”
They will not even forget to add the words, “Thank you.” Like one who recites #TheActOfHope after holy communion.
7. Hype That Which Has No Substance
Let the sales copy for your book be top-notch. Let it include power words and phrases that have nothing to do with your book. Embrace visibility when there is no substance. Learn nothing about book marketing basics, which I have even taught twice for free.
Continue using the traditional marketing strategy. Wake up from nowhere with your goods [books] and start gallivanting, as like those traders in Tejuoso market dragging ladies by the hand with the words,
“Fine girl! Buy my book na! This book will fit you o! This book is your size! This book go last you o! This is a good quality affordable and portable book for your wardrobe!” Chai!
Use superfluous adjectives to qualify your book. Starch your book so well that the shoulders keep rising in public like caftan with 50-50 Naira shoulder pad.
Las las [In the long run], they will pull themselves out of your online grip, hiss at you with an unfollow button or insult you with the block button.
#ToWhomItMayOffend this may not be hype. It may just be the desperation that comes for not being prepared.
8. Results Without a Background (or Process)
Authorpreneurship does not require patience and preparation! You just wake up, write, publish and then wander about like a newcomer in Balogun market asking why no one is buying the book.
What have you been writing on?
What do people know you to have a voice for?
What kind of relationship do you have with your audience?
Or do you want to rape them of their hard-earned money when they don’t even understand the message of your personal brand?
What have you ever become by your writing? People won’t spend their money on an accidental writer. Meanwhile, no reader will bring out money from their pockets until you have brought consistent value to their tables.
9. Sell Your Book Like You’re in a Competition with Other World Influencers
So, you have heard that Brian Tracy’s books go for 500 NGN in Nigeria. This has made you take the decision to sell yours for 450 NGN. At least, your book is cheaper and you are not in a competition with him.
Thus says the Lord, ‘Is that not Brian Tracy who signed a 10-year contract with his publisher to make 300,000,000 NGN from his books at 30,000,000 NGN a year. In the first 2 years of the publishing contract, he sold 300,000 copies at 1000 NGN per copy. Such that the publisher decided to reduce the price by half to print and sell more copies at 500 NGN each.’
‘I do not understand my Lord! What message do you have for authors like me?’
Then the Lord said to me, “Chidindu Mmadu-Okoli tell that author, that setting his price below that of an influencer is a race to build an estate in the rock bottom.”
“Will he print as much as 300,000 copies like Brian Tracy? Wait, does he want to compete with his mentor? That competition is useless!” Says the Lord. “For no matter how expensive the jet fuel becomes, there will always be passengers who will fly first class.”
10. You Don’t Know the Purpose of your Price
You want to sell your book at 450 NGN because after comparing it with that of Brian Tracy above, you realized that his copy is 100 pages whilst yours is 90 pages.
Bla! Bla! Black Sheep…👏
Have you not read the prophecy, ‘The price reveals the self-worth, the perception of the one who sells the ideology!’
In other words, if I approach you to purchase the book at 300 NGN, you will cut out 60 pages of the book and give to me…then sell the remaining 30 as jara [extra], like the pepper seller who rewards a regular customer.
The real price of your work is dependent on two factors:
- The person you have become as one who is in the place to tell the story and author that copy.
- The person your audience becomes by the reason of digesting the content of your book.
This way, you attract people who seek to achieve the changes you have achieved.
Final Words To Keep You Going
As the author of Be Utterly Shameless, I exceeded my pre-order target by 40% in one month such that I had the courage to approach a publisher to create hard copies. My 140% story would not have been told IF I DIDN’T TAKE the exact instructions that I am giving you this day and more.
When I speak with other writers or (intending) authors like me, I tell them specifically that I want to see them birth works that have juice in every squeeze. It’s a bittersweet experience for most writers, but you learn a lot more when you get it right.
Is your manuscript almost ready? Are you still writing your first draft? You should take this assignment.
Work Out for (Intending) Authorpreneurs
Who am I writing for?
What is my writing history?
What have I been reading or listening to?
What spice is my story bringing to this space?
Is there real juice in my squeeze or will my reader drop my book half-way?
What lessons can you draw from or add to this list?
What problems are you currently battling with as an author or intending author? I can help you today if you can spare at least 90 minutes of your time to get the basics right!
Did you find this meaningful? Then share with a friend, author or writer who needs to learn from this.