Amanda Luedeke

July 31, 2014

Thursdays with Amanda: My Book Sales are Terrible…but I Don’t Care (A CHALLENGE!)


2013amanda2Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent. Her author marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

There is a major downside to self-publishing. Okay, there’s more than one downside to self-pubbing (just like there’s more than one downside to traditional publishing), but for the sake of this post, we’re going to focus on the one that is staring me directly in the face…

My book sales are bad. But I have the luxury to not care.

And that’s a dangerous, dangerous thing.

As I write this, my print Amazon ranking (if you care about such a thing) is #869,526. Ouch.

My digital Amazon ranking is #244,632. Considering this version is $5, that’s a big YIKES.rsz_images-3

It’s been like this since I took a break from conferences a months ago. Basically, I stopped being visible. I stopped talking about my book (aside from an occasional mention here on this blog), and sales slowed to a pace that would have any publisher going UGH. Except I’m my own publisher. Meaning there’s no one to hold me accountable. No reason for me to change my ways.

But the worst part…the part that is soooo embarrassing is that I really don’t even care.  I don’t have anyone to impress but myself, and right now my self is saying “Meh…we’re not in the mood.”

This is a dangerous spot, and I venture to say that if you’ve published or self-published, YOU KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT.

This is when careers fizzle out. This is when authors begin to tell themselves “Next time…I’ll do better next time.” And this is when the Book Burden first begins to take shape. You won’t notice it at first, but six months…a year of this kind of mentality and eventually your book will feel like a failed relationship. A blown opportunity. A mark of regret. Something you hate thinking about and yet it always seems to rear its ugly head.

Books shouldn’t feel that way.  We should display them proudly and feel good about how hard we worked to make them what they are.

But how can you get to that place? How can you reinvigorate something that has gone south?

Here’s what I’m going to do…

I’m going to do five small marketing tasks in the next week. That’s it. Just five. And then I’m going to report back here next Thursday with my results.


1. Find a blog that I’ve never appeared on before and approach them about doing a post.

2. Follow up on that article that I wrote for that one online magazine and push them to run it.

3. Think up an event/party/contest that I can do on social media in the next few weeks.

4. Send a newsletter out to all those people who first signed up to be notified when the book released. Let them know it’s now in print.

5. Find two writer-related blogs and leave comments.

That’s it. That’s what I’m going to do this week to improve sales. These tasks aren’t hard or overly time-consuming. They’re doable. And right now, doable is exactly what I need.

Next week, we’ll see how well I did.

I CHALLENGE YOU TO PARTICIPATE!! What are five small things that you’re going to do this week to promote YOUR book or YOUR brand? List them here and then let’s see how we do!! 

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  • Josh Kelley says:

    Great post! I once read that Author Central is crack for authors, but this post reminded me that sometimes it can be good to use crack (metaphorically, of course). I’m working on a post about that and I’ll link back to this.

  • I love this challenge! And I’m so glad i found this site. I’ll be mentioning it on my blog. In fact, I’d like to invite you to write a guest post for my blog: I get more than 50K hits per month. I really love the subject of your book, for I am an extroverted writer. Is Amazon the way to buy it?

    The sales of my second book “Bonnet Strings: An Amish Woman’s Ties to Two Worlds” have slowed down from what they were two months ago, when I was out on book tour. I’ve been at a loss for how to best use my efforts towards boosting sales. So you got me to thinking. I am going to do three things, so I don’t bite off more than I can chew.

    1. I am going to send an email to the 800+ people from my speaking venues who’ve signed up to be on my email list to let them know that the PBS documentary “The Amish: Shunned” that aired on American Experience in February that I was featured in, has been nominated for an Emmy!

    2. I will send a press release to the local people in the media who have interviewed me in the past to let them know the news.

    3. I’ll attempt to find three writers of blogs with whom I can exchange guest posts. (You up for it?) Please let me know:

    In addition to these direct marketing activities, I will also continue to write my third book. I have been so pleasantly surprised how publishing my second book has boosted the sale of the first. I can only imagine that the third will boost sales for the first two. This one is in the form of a letter to my Amish mother, even though she left this world nine years ago. It is my attempt at coming to terms with my relationship with Mem.

    I’m hoping to find a major trade publisher for my third book. (I so wish you or Chip MacGregor would be willing to represent the book. You would be perfect! But you are clearly not taking on new authors.)

    Thank you again for the challenge. I’ll check back next week.

  • Rachel Leigh Smith says:

    Thank you for the kick in the pants! I sent review requests to four sites today, and have a fifth marked to do tomorrow. I’m at six weeks and counting to the release of my space opera.

    • Amanda Luedeke says:

      Great job!

    • Edward Hoornaert says:

      I’ll give your book a shout out on my blog, if you’d like. That will propel it to the bestseller list for sure. (/sarcasm) You can IM me from SFR Brigade.

  • I want to get to the place where I don’t care! Every time numbers slide down, I’m thinking up a new scheme to get the word out. I’m getting ready to take a step BACK and try to focus on writing 2nd books in both series, come fall. But first I’m making myself take a week away from the computer for our family vacation and hopefully recharge the creative juices. Here’s hoping your five-point strategy boosts your sales!

  • I love the idea of making a list of five totally doable things..I think I’ll follow in your lead this week!

    • Amanda Luedeke says:

      Yes, please do! And do you have any of your top 5 figured out? I want to know what they are 🙂

  • Robin Patchen says:

    Great ideas, Amanda, and I love how honest you are about your own marketing woes. Here are my 5 things:

    1-write a FB post about Christmas in July…er, August, and link to my Christmas novella.
    2-Compose 3 tweets and schedule them to go out over the coming week.
    3-Write a blog (perhaps Christmas-related?) and promote it on FB and Twitter with links to the book.

    Okay, that was only 3 things. I’ll keep thinking about it. Thanks for the nudge!

    • Amanda Luedeke says:

      Hahah!!! But this is a great start. Be sure to let us know how things go on next week’s Thursdays with Amanda.

  • Rajdeep Paulus says:

    Great post. Simple. Doable. Thanks, Amanda. 🙂

    • Amanda Luedeke says:

      Hope you give it a whirl, Raj!

    • Rajdeep Paulus says:

      Yep. Just sent in two guest posts (one interview) and will be selling my books next week at a music festival. (Sharing a booth with Nomi Network). Now just have to find two blogs to comment on. 🙂

  • Sarah says:

    I’m still thinking of my options, as I’m trying to get back into the swing of writing prose again. I’ve been writing poetry non-stop, so writing prose ultimately ends up feeling like a new experience again. 😛

  • Melissa Tagg says:

    Book Burden. It’s so real. The really bad thing is when it hits before the book is even out…

    I love your challenge, though. As soon as this weekend’s deadline is behind me, I’m totally going to take you up on it. I especially love the doable-ness of it. I know one thing I want to do is get better about Goodreads…so that’s going on my list of five for sure.

  • Oh, I love the idea of thinking of 5 things. That makes it seem so much more manageable. I love your willingness to be real with us, Amanda 🙂

  • Edward Hoornaert says:

    I always care but never WANT to do any marketing, so publicly committing to five goals is probably a good idea. Here goes:
    1. Send out a newsletter about my latest science fiction book.
    2. Post comments on two writing-oriented blogs. (Hey, I’m half done!)
    3. Do more than just THINK about a monthly listing of new sf romance releases.
    4. Create at least two new blog posts.
    5. Post about the new book on the SFR Brigade and Linnea Sinclair’s site.

    There. Wish me luck … and check out (Uh, does this count as humber 6?)

    • Amanda Luedeke says:

      This is excellent, Edward!!! Way to go! Be sure to check in next week to update us on your progress.

    • Edward Hoornaert says:

      An update, then:
      1. Newsletter — done
      2. Done
      3. Made a good start. Should be ready to post by the weekend.
      4. Done (at “Shiny Grey Wisdom” and the comet expedition)
      5. Partly done (SFR Brigade but not Linnea)

  • Diana Sharples says:

    Hey, Amanda! Interesting point about not caring … I don’t think I ever fell into the trap of not caring, but I did trust to the marketing department at the publishing house and the fact that my book was on shelves at book stores. I thought posting on FB and Twitter would do the trick for my part (since I’m such a terrible blogger). That attitude came back to haunt me, so now I’m doing more.

    Today I made a Facebook ad for my author page. This hasn’t been terribly effective in the past, but I’ll give it another shot for a week.

    I’ve got SIX book signings lined up for the next several weeks, including a trade show. Plus a community event where I’ll raffle a gift box with the book and some nifty goodies that relate to the book somehow. After we get my daughter off to college this month, I’ll hit the stores again to line up more for the upcoming holiday season. My book has been out a year, but I still need to market it.

    Hitting the social media sites with graphic invitations to the book signings.

    I’m upgrading my website and … sigh … I’m going to start blogging. But I’ve got plans for quick, quirky, and fun stuff that will keep the page active, and my blogs are going to be short and upbeat.

    I’m signing up with a publicist for training … so I can learn how to do this stuff more effectively. (Phone call happens mid week.)

    Find more blogs where I can do interviews or posts.

    Is that five? Six? It’s a lot of stuff, because I’m not just doing social media. Right now I feel a little overwhelmed, but it’ll get easier when I get the hang of it.


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