Joe Konrath has just written an excellent blog post called Zero Sum. I'm going to blog tomorrow about what he says about the race to the bottom but what I'd like to talk about now is this statement of his:
They [writers] need 100 sales a day at $2.99 to live very well.My reaction: Yes! 100 sales a day seems doable. Sortof. So, here it is, six things you need to do in order to sell 100 books a day:
1) Write a lot of good stories
This point, though obvious, bears restating. Part of putting out a good book is making sure it has been edited, proofed and professionally formatted. (Joe mentions that he uses www.52novels.com for formatting his books.)
Even if unedited, unproofed and poorly formatted books will sell--we've all read ebooks like this--at the very least making sure your books look professional will give you a competitive advantage.
2) Have a great product description and a professional cover
This is self-explanatory. Joe recommends Carl Graves.
One thing I've found helpful in writing a product description is Nathan Bransford's advice for writing queries. Nathan gives a helpful paint/write-by-number formula for doing this that got me started and, often, getting something half-decent on the page, something you can work with, is half the battle.
3) Price your book right
It's devilishly hard to determine what is a good price for a book. Joe writes, "Currently I'm $3.99 for novels, $2.99 for novellas (over 10k words) and story collections, and 99 cents for short stories. But this isn't set in stone."
How ebooks should be priced is a hotly debated issue. One thing I will say is, given the changes in Amazon's ranking algorithm, it's not worth pricing any novel-length work below $2.99. How high you want to go is up to you.
4) Promote your books
Have free giveaways to encourage reviews, write guest posts to announce sales, sell your books on different platforms, and so on. Those are a few of the things things you can do to promote your books. Here are some things Joe recommends not bothering with:
1. Advertising. It doesn't work on me, so I don't use it on other people. That's a cardinal rule of mine. I only use something or believe it works if I do it as a consumer.Joe ends by writing:
2. Social media. Occasional tweets of Facebook announcements are fine. At most, once a week. Maybe once a day if you have a new release, but end it after a few days. Otherwise people get sick of you.
3. Publicity. I've already blogged that getting my name in the press doesn't lead to sales. You probably don't need a publicist.
4. Spamming. I have a newsletter, and use it a few times a year. I don't use it everytime I upload something new to Kindle. And I don't pimp my work on other peoples' blog or forums unless invited to do so, or there's a section for it.
I want to end this blog entry by telling writers: Don't Be Afraid. Yes, the future will be different. Yes, things will change. But there will always be a need for storytellers, and if you hold onto your rights, you'll be in a good position to exploit those rights no matter what the future holds.I think this is an exciting time to be a writer. New possibilities for sales and distribution are opening up, writers are getting the lion's share of the royalties on most of their book sales and as a group we're starting to think more like business people and are taking charge of our careers. Go us!
Remember, in order to write a lot of good books we have to follow Heinlein's first rule: Writer's write. I hope you all have a productive day. Cheers!
- Kobo's Self-Publishing Portal: Report From A Beta Tester
- Query Tracker: Keep Track Of Your Stories
- 10 Reasons Why Stories Get Rejected