It may sound funny to ask an author how many books they want to sell, because the answer will likely be something like “a million” or “a lot” or “enough to write full time.” But, if we don’t start with a number in mind — a goal or destination — we are drawing a roadmap to get to nowhere.
It is best to start with a goal in mind and work backwards to achieve it vs trying to sell books without a compass. A goal is not a limit; it is a minimum to reach and exceed. It can be aspirational but it should be realistic and feasible.
Don’t get me wrong. Just because you set a goal it does not mean that you snap your fingers and achieve it. That would be mere dreaming. But if you don’t set a goal you are already lost and lack a foundational vision. To sell books, we must be motivated and hold ourselves accountable. Give yourself a daily book sales quota.
Answer these questions:
· How many books do you hope to sell? Why?
· What will you do to reach and eclipse that sum?
· What happens when you start to fall short of your goal and fall behind the target pace?
· At what price — in money, time, or mindshare — are you willing to pay to achieve your goals?
Here is some simple math to think about:
· If you sell three books a day, you will eclipse 1000 sales before a year’s time.
· If you sell 10 books a day, you will sell 10,000 copies in less than three years.
· If you sell 50 books a day, for a year, you will crack more than 18,000 books.
· If you sell 500 books per week, you will eclipse 25,000 sales in one year.
To sell a million copies in a year, by the way, you will need to sell about 2,800 copies every single day of the year.
So, look at each day as a chance to sell books. Map out what you will do every single day. If you have a great day, don’t slack off tomorrow. Have a bad day? Get back in there and do a little more tomorrow than you had planned for, to make up the deficit.
Come up with a number and commit to that sales target and devise strategic steps to hit it. Look at all of the ways you can register sales, from ads and speaking to news media and social media — and other means. Specifically assign projected sales numbers for each sales-generating activities. Maybe today you get 12 from speaking, 4 from ads, 3 from social media, 2 from fliers, and 4 from book reviews. What will you get tomorrow? Be consistent in your efforts, honest in your estimates, and reflective of your daily results.
How many books do you want to sell today? That is up to you.
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Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, can be reached at [email protected] He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand. He has over 30 years of experience in successfully helping thousands of authors in all genres.
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About Brian Feinblum
Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2022. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent. This blog, with over 4,000 posts over the past decade, was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by WinningWriters.com as a “best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Susan RoAne, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, IBPA, Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult: linkedin.com/in/brianfeinblum.