What more can we do to boost book sales?

Right at the start of the year I received an email from my Dream of Things publisher to tell me he had scheduled some advertising for Leaving the Hall Light On since January is typically a big month for eBook sales. I was elated to have this great opportunity.Microsoft PowerPoint - LTHLO cover concept 0913.pptx

Here’s the list of advertising events he set up.

  • Kindle Book Review – three posts on their Facebook page on January 2, 3 and 4, and tweets about Leaving the Hall Light On ten times in the month of January.
  • World Literary Cafe Leaving the Hall Light On featured as “Today’s Hot Title” on their website on Jan 4, 5 or 12 (exact date TBD) it occurred on January 2.
  • Indie Author News Leaving the Hall Light On their “Book of the Day” on January 6.
  • Digital Book Today – Leaving the Hall Light On their “Book of the Day” on January 7.
  • Indies Unlimited – will do an article on Dream of Things memoirs and anthologies (including Leaving the Hall Light On), date TBD. (hasn’t appeared yet)
  • Kindle Books and Tips – will do a special newsletter on Dream of Things memoirs (including Leaving the Hall Light On), date TBD. (hasn’t happened yet)

To accompany each of the events I tweeted, posted on LinkedIn, and shared them around my Facebook timelines and groups. I also was thrilled that Cyrus Webb reran our interview from last year on Conversations Live on January 7, and that two wonderful new reviews of Leaving the Hall Light On came out in the first week of January. Vine Leaves Literary Journal posted their review by Krystal Sital on January 1, and Crystal Otto posted her review on The Muffin, WOW Women on Writing’s blog on January 5. Again, I shared these reviews around my networks.

I guess you can tell there’s a big but coming. The big but is: but what happened to the big sales? I saw a little bit of sales activity at the beginning of this advertising campaign, but in the last few days it looks as though sales have gone down. With all the things that went on, I thought we’d really make a splash. It has turned out more like a drip, drip, drip.

DOT logo stacked 0612 copyI feel so fortunate to have such a wonderful and proactive publisher who is doing everything he can to promote my book sales. However, although I haven’t seen actual sales figures yet, the campaign appears to have had very disappointing results.

Any thoughts out there? Any suggestions?


  1. Madeline, are you working on a second book? That seems to be the strategy of many authors and publishers. Apparently book #1 sells much better again after book #2 comes out, assuming you have found a group of readers that enjoys and needs your work.

    I haven’t decided yet whether to take this plunge. You?

    • Madeline Sharples says:

      Hi, Shirley,
      Thanks for stopping by.
      Yes, I am working on another book – a novel. I’m now on revision #2. Lots of work but I’m liking the process. And I hope your thoughts about books sales after book #2 comes out ring true.

  2. Yes your publisher has been generous, AND I would say to PLAN an even MORE intense virtual book launch and tour—plan on 50+ “appearance”—so that you and your book appear everywhere that people whose lives have been touched by bipolar illness or suicide will see your message. Offer free books to be given away by lottery to commenters monthly on any given blog or forum. Monthly because it may take a while for people to comment and be sure to be on the “notify” list so that you can respond to everyone—marketing is a conversation after all. (Kathy Pooler does this well.) Do the same with blog radio in your field—or mental health field generally. Set up an affiliate program so that others can sell your book from their site for a profit (generally about 50% of the cover price of a digital book if they actively promote your book). Yes, create both digital and hard-copy formats. Re: Amazon and Goodreads. Offer some give-away to anyone who writes a good review of the book. A give-away can be a 30-minute consult, another product, a discount on a forthcoming workshop. Best wishes, Denis

    • Madeline Sharples says:

      Thanks for this great advice, Denis. I’m curious about what you mean by a 50+ appearance. I will definitely take your advice and do my best to implement it – though it all seems so daunting.
      I look forward to your guest post about writing your mother’s memoir. What a great topic.
      All best, Madeline

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