ASP 15: How to Revive Sales on a “Dead” Book

Quote of the day:

“I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat.”

– Sylvester Stallone

Ron is busy with the Authority Pub Academy, and wasn’t able to make it today. In anticipation of the launch of the Authority Pub Academy, Barrie and Steve have decided to answer a few questions about books that have seen sales trickle to a stop.

Do you have any dead books on Amazon?

There some books that do well at the beginning, and then seem to suddenly fall off a cliff. They go from selling 10 to 15 copies a day to a big fat 0.

In general, if your books are at the top of charts, they tend to do well in the long run. For example, Steve’s Master Evernote has been doing well for a couple of years. Having a brand helps sell your other books because people tend to check out your catalog. But if you don’t do a good job with presentation, the books won’t do well for long.

Barrie’s Sticky Habits is not doing well, and she isn’t sure why. She believes in the product and put a lot of work into it, so it is difficult to determine which part made it hard to sell—cover, title, etc.

What are some ways you can repurpose a dead book to help your book business?

Look at everything you create as an asset—everything has value. Even books that don’t sell well can be useful: For instance, you can

  • Turn them into permafree books, which helps to attract new readers.
  • Include them in a bundle, like Steve did with Productive Habits Book Bundle, which is currently the 3rd or 4th bestseller in his catalog. You can advertise these bundles on your blog’s HelloBar.

Is it worth testing a new cover and title?

Test when you have the time, but remember the 80/20 principle.

Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn and the guys at Self-Publishing Podcast redid their covers and descriptions, and it ended up improving their business. However, this will not always be the case. Make sure you don’t neglect your bread and butter. If redoing a title and cover takes energy and focus away from creating new bestsellers, then it might not be the best use of your time.

Change one element or variable at a time. From there, see if you get any results. Then change another factor after three to four weeks.

What marketing efforts might revive a dead book?

First of all, improve your sales copy. In general, your sales copy should be benefit-driven. Draw people by emphasizing core problems and how your books will solve them.

You need to put on your marketing hat after writing your book. Your job isn’t over once the book is written. There is an art and science to creating sales copy, and learning that art is almost as important as learning to write.

Another thing you can do is to fix you author page. This is one of your biggest assets, and often your first point of contact with your readers. Make sure that your author page helps the reader.

Here is Steve’s Amazon Author Profile.

“Proven Internet business strategies for the price of a coffee.” That’s a selling point. It describes the benefit that is being provided, and makes it feel attainable for the reader. Offer your readers a benefit. Talk about their challenges, and how you can help them.

You can also try paid ads. Check out episode 13 for more details on this strategy. As a rule, you only want to pay for one ad every other day to see which ads generate sales. Exercise Every Day didn’t do well for a while, and then sales shot up because of paid ads. But just increasing ads isn’t enough. You want to know for future reference which ads and what types of campaigns lead to increased sales.

These ads go for anywhere from $10 to $1000. Experiment with the cheaper ones first and test them on an individual basis.

BookBub is a valuable paid ad website. Check out episode 4 for more info.

Another strategy is to guest post on blog related to your niche. Establish yourself as an expert with credibility, and draw in new readers from other audiences. Write a strong guest post and mention your book at the end of the post (or anywhere you’re allowed to put in links). Stephen Guise used guest posting to increase sales for his book, Mini Habits.

You can also create an autoresponder around your books (timed emails for your subscribers). By communicating with your readers on a regular basis, you keep them hooked and turn them into serial readers.

Finally, you can put an ad (link or banners) within one of your blog posts, especially if your articles are ranked highly or get a lot of traffic. But don’t turn your blogs into pure advertisements, or you risk losing your followers. If you do end up inserting an ad, we recommended the plugin Quick Adsense.

How can you prevent your book from dying before you publish it?

This might be the most important question of the day, because ultimately, you’d rather write books that remain successful in the long run, rather than having to save dying books. One important strategy is to write books under one authority brand. Let your brand carry your books and place them in front of your readers. Also, don’t be too disappointed if your book sales fall off. Just continue doing the hard work that keeps them selling. And look for other ways to use the book. Check out episode 7 for ways on how you can leverage your existing content.

That’s it for today! Go to Authority Pub Academy to check out the “Breakthrough Bestseller Video Teaching Series” and we’ll see you next time.

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