In a recent discussion, I was asked, “How many authors are up to the task of selling 1000 books?” My immediate (unpublished) response was, “If you can’t sell 1000 books, why bother publishing?” But upon more thought, that flip response would have been a great disservice to those who really want to sell 1000 books, but do not know how. The word “TASK” struck me as a perfect acronym representing four areas that I believe need attention in order to be successful as an author. Each requires much greater description than below, but this may give foundering authors food for thought. Two of these characteristics are internal (TA), while two can be acquired (SK). Attend to each and I believe your ability to sell 1000 or more books will be greatly enhanced.
Time. There are two ways to look at this concept. First, hundreds of thousands of books are published every year and you have to stand out from his crowd. It takes years to build significant sales, especially those to corporate buyers. Second, many authors also have day jobs, so time utilization (vs. management) is a factor.
Attitude. The years it takes to slowly build sales can erode one’s attitude. During this time, authors are in a constant internal struggle as expenses outpace revenue, at least in the beginning. Couple that with frequent rejection (or being totally ignored) and one’s attitude slips little by little until most become overwhelmed give up.
Skill is the ability, coming from one's knowledge or practice, to do something well. Most authors are skilled at writing, some at publishing and fewer at marketing. While all three are required to publish successfully, most are not skilled at (or do not like) marketing. But this is the most important element to successful publishing. The greatest book in the world will not sell if people do not know it exists or why they should buy it.
Knowledge is the application of education. It begins with an understanding of what it takes to make a book successful. Read, attend seminars, webinars and conferences, network, research your topic and study new ways to market your book. Then do it.
Brian Jud is the Executive Director of the Association of Publishers for Special Sales (APSS – www.bookapss.org– formerly SPAN). He is also the author of How to Make Real Money Selling Books. Brian offers commission-based sales of books to buyers in non-bookstore markets. Contact Brian at P. O. Box 715, Avon, CT 06001-0715; (860) 675-1344; firstname.lastname@example.org or www.premiumbookcompany.com twitter.com/bookmarketing