OK, my family & friends bought my self-published book. Now, how do I get the rest of the world to buy in?

Nobody said this was going to be easy. Self-marketing a self-published book is something I have ZERO experience with. There, I said it.  And that’s the primary reason my agent and I spent almost a full calendar year pestering 46 publishing houses… hoping and praying one of them would take a chance on Dad@Home. A book deal would have absolved me of much of the responsibility of pushing sales. A book deal would have simplified everything. A book deal didn’t happen and here I am, almost six weeks after “independently” launching my book, wondering what the hell I do next?

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These are what’s left of my “Author’s copies”. I’m hoping to send these to people who will read my book, write about my book and thus encourage the masses to buy my book.

It all started off with such promise. When my book finally went live on Amazon, I plastered the news of its release all over my multiple social media accounts… Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+. My one and only marketing plan was to simply get the word out, and get the word out I did! I was counting on everyone I knew to share the link to my book and somehow it would spread like wildfire around the world. I had a theory: to really succeed at self-publishing, you MUST go viral. You need a grassroots campaign that is fueled by the people. All hail the power of the people! I believed in the people!

And for a while there, it kinda/sorta appeared to be working. My first 10 days of book sales were unspectacular, but very steady indeed. 60 copies sold between paperback and Kindle… not too shabby! Hey, all of a sudden, I was sitting in the Top 10 “Fatherhood” books on Amazon.ca! Out of the hundreds of thousands of books sold on Amazon.ca, I was #4,167! I was feeling pretty good about myself, and about my little book that could. After doing some research, I found that a vast majority of self-published books sell LESS THAN 50 COPIES in their entire lifespan! Wait! What? Less than 50?

Wow, I had sold 60 books in the first ten days! Was I on my way to best-seller status? Um… well… yeah… no. Sales fell off dramatically (like, off a cliff) and they are still in free fall. You don’t believe me? Well, believe this awesome chart that I created all by myself:

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I certainly don’t like how this chart is trending! But, here’s the good news… who knew you could go online and design your very own custom-made charts and graphs? Not me, but after a quick search on the old google machine, I found a handy website that produced this bad boy in mere seconds. My only issue is, how the hell do I get rid of that “pointed pink line” that runs through the chart? I tried everything, but after 15 minutes I became frustrated. Finally, I said: “Ah, who cares, so what!’ and I left the pink line in there. Anyhooooo.

As you can clearly see in my clever custom-made chart, in the entire month since my productive 10-day opening run, I’ve only sold seven copies, leaving me stuck at a grand total of 67. To look on the bright side, I’m still more successful than a majority of self-published authors. To look on the depressing side, I still need to sell a few hundred more copies to break even on Dad@Home.

So, why is it so hard to sell books these days? A very big part of the problem is getting noticed in a vast ocean of new releases. There are over two million new books released every year in a multitude of different genres, and that ranges from big publishers all the way down to self-publishers. TWO MILLION!

And, here’s another mind blowing fact… a few thousand titles make most of the money. That’s right, almost 90% of worldwide book sales go to a fraction of the books released in any given year. “Blockbuster” books take up a lion’s share of sales and that’s where the real money is. The simple fact is, most books are busts! HUGE BUSTS! Is Dad@Home already a bust?

Now, I could take this very discouraging information and use it as a very convenient excuse to throw in the towel right now. I might even think, “why should I bother trying if the odds are stacked against me?” Well, I’ll tell you why. Momma didn’t raise no quitter! I want to see if I can get the rest of the world to take notice of Dad@Home. To the 67 family and friends who bought my book, I sincerely thank you. For those family and friends who haven’t bought my book, what the hell are you waiting for? Come on already! Just go buy it already! What are you, some kind of cheap S.O.B.?

OK, so sorry for lashing out. That was unseemly to say the least. I’m sure some of my friends may have perfectly legitimate reasons for not buying my book. (But mostly, they’re just cheap… KIDDING! Or am I?)

Moving on. Phase one of marketing my book was letting everyone I know (and their dog) that I had released a new book. Phase two will be letting the other 5 billion humans on Earth know that Dad@Home is ready to be discovered. So, what’s the plan? Well, I still have several “author’s copies” kicking around, and I’m about to ship them off to people and places that might want to review my book, give me some media coverage, or somehow spread the good word that it’s available.

I’m hoping to generate some fresh and renewed BUZZ about my book. It’s a new day, it’s a new year and I’m re-energized and ready to sell this book! I’m also expanding the distribution of my passion project. Look for the digital version of Dad@Home on both Kobo and iBooks… coming soon. Very soon!

If any of you good people know of someone out there with connections to the media biz that would appreciate a copy of Dad@Home, please go to the “Contact Me” section of this blog and drop me a line. And no, this is NOT a way for any of my cheap friends to get a free copy. I can see right through your little scam! Just go buy it already! GEEZ!

For the rest of you, please keep spreading the word, please keep your eyes open for any marketing opportunities you could pass along, and please help me keep the faith. I’m really hoping the journey of Dad@Home: Fully Domesticated is just getting started.

To purchase Dad@Home on Amazon.ca, click here!

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3 thoughts on “OK, my family & friends bought my self-published book. Now, how do I get the rest of the world to buy in?

  1. Try getting on a morning breakfast show on TV. There was a guy on CTV lately talking about a self published book. Sorry, cannot remember what about. Dad

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  2. Hey Greg! What an interesting blog!

    I’ve found myself in a similar predicament, except that I’m the editor of my book, “White Fanged Blue Bitch” by Capt. Art E. Ayotte, also available on amazonDOTCALM (not ca unless you want to lose some extremities in its purchase). What I find missing from this particular section of your blg (the rest yet to be read), is a quick summary about your book. What is it about?

    I think the magic number is five…if you had (at least) five people purchase their books from Amazon, you could ask them to put a review of it on Amazon. With that number, and hopefully more, Amazon will feature your book more often, and eventually even promote it, as well.

    A few other ideas: (1) There is an event in Saskatoon, called “Word on the Street”, where authors sit at their tables, out on the street, and meet the public as they pass by, and sell their books. (2) Ask that related businesses consider purchasing the book at a reduced rate and selling it for you. (3) Get into every trade fair you can. (4) Start a book club with it. (5) Post it on Porcupine Plain’s Facebook page and ask for people to share it. (8) Do you know anyone involved in charity groups such as Rotary? Offer a booktalk at one of their regular meetings. (9) Don’t ever give up.

    Loretta Harpham

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