5 Proven Ways to Maximize Your Profitability as a First-Time Author

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Getting published as an author is a major milestone. Yet despite how hard it is to get published in the first place, it’s estimated that over 4 million new books were published in 2022 between traditional and self-published authors.

That’s a lot of books, and if you’re looking to make being an author into a profitable endeavor, this can make it hard to stand out. Fortunately, you can still maximize your profitability as a first-time author by making the most of some proven marketing tactics.

Related: 6 Steps for Successfully Writing and Publishing Your First Book as an Entrepreneur

1. Utilize Kindle and NOOK advertising

While many authors coming from an entrepreneurial background understand the importance of SEO and social media ads, they may overlook another valuable resource: Kindle and NOOK advertising. Twenty-four percent of Americans aged 30-49 own an e-reader, and many of these devices feature advertising of some sort.

By investing in Kindle and NOOK advertising, you’re not just reaching people who match your general target audience. You’re specifically reaching people who love reading — and that means with proper targeting, your ads are far more likely to generate actual purchases of your book.

To maximize your chances for success with Kindle ads, start with low bids to ensure you don’t overspend, which can easily occur if you take Amazon’s suggested ad bid. According to self-publishing expert Lori Culwell, you should aim for 10 ad clicks to make one sale on this platform.

2. Make use of local media

Local media can be a surprisingly powerful method for gaining additional press surrounding your book release. After all, as a first-time author, you’re not likely to land a profile in The New York Times unless you already have a sizable following in your industry.

However, local newspapers, magazines and websites tend to be more willing to cover a story about a local author releasing their first book. Even if these media outlets don’t have as wide of a readership, giving an interview about your background and book helps build your online presence, making you easier for new readers to discover.

3. Use your book to build your business

Always consider how you can use your book as a method for growing your business. For example, according to an Authors Unite case study, after Jolie Dawn was able to launch her book at the number one spot in Amazon’s Spirituality category, she leveraged that attention to build a six-figure coaching business. In her case, the book wasn’t the be-all end-all — instead, it served as a foundation for growing a thriving business. By tying the book launch into a business endeavor, Dawn grew its profitability well beyond direct book sales alone.

When planning your book launch, consider how it can relate to your marketing strategy for your business as a whole. While the book itself shouldn’t be overtly promotional, you should highlight your business and industry expertise in your bio and as part of your promotional materials. You could even include links to your website or newsletter inside your book. This helps your book become a powerful way to build brand awareness.

Related: Here’s How Writing a Book Can Give Your Brand a Much-Needed Boost

4. Get podcast and blog appearances

You can go beyond local media by trying to land appearances on relevant podcasts and blogs. In a case study from Write Nonfiction Now, Kathleen Gage explains that she appeared on dozens of podcasts to promote her book launch, which led to book sales, increased downloads for free offers on her website and increased attendance at her speaking events, leading to hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue from a single book.

For these kinds of results, you should target your blog and podcast appearances to shows and websites that are relevant to your niche and the main message of your book. Be sure to clearly demonstrate why you are an expert — why you are the right person to have written this book and how you can bring value to the podcaster’s or blogger’s audience. Quite often, a successful initial appearance will make it easier to gain more appearances in the future.

5. Maximize email lists with newsletter exchanges

Email lists are a popular tool for authors, as they present a way to keep your readers in the loop and engaged with your content. But to maximize profits, you shouldn’t just stick to your own newsletter. Instead, engage with other authors to do a newsletter exchange (or swap).

The way this works is by connecting with authors who write in the same or similar genre as you do. A newsletter swap sees both authors agreeing to promote the other’s book or website in their next newsletter. So, you’ll promote another author’s work in your own newsletter in exchange for them promoting your work.

This can be a great way to introduce you to a new audience through a source that relevant readers already know and trust. It can lead to direct sales and grow your audience. Similar tactics can also prove useful on social media as you try to grow your following there.

Related: How to Make Over $100,000 a Month From Writing a Book

These tactics that will maximize your profitability as a first-time author aren’t exactly a secret — and that’s okay. By using these techniques to increase your visibility and put yourself in front of relevant readers, you will greatly increase your likelihood of racking up sales and building a dedicated following.

With a profitable first book, you can ensure that your next book will be even more successful.

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