How Self-Published Author Sold 800,000 Books

In a recent question and answer session with GoodbooksToday, author Theresa Ragan (Taming Mad Max), a New York Times and USA Today best-selling self-published author reveals some of the secrets to her many successes. Several of your books reached the Amazon Top 100 Best Seller List. How much do you believe your use of social media has factored into your impressive book sales?

T.Ragan: As of October, 2013, I have sold 800,000 ebooks. I believe 6 out of 10 of my books have hit the Amazon Top 100 Bestseller list. I think social media helps get the word out when I put a book on sale, but I give most of the credit for great sales to the time I spent learning my craft. I wrote for twenty years before ever releasing a book. For a book to reach the Top 100 Bestseller list, it has to have staying power, which to me means having the right book at the right time. Of course, luck is involved too. Do you have any advice for writers who are discouraged by lack of sales?

T.Ragan: My advise to writers lacking sales is to make writing a priority over promoting and marketing. I would suggest releasing three books before putting in a lot of promotional effort. That way, if you have a sale or give one book away for free to get new readers, you’ll be doing it for a reason – to get people interested enough to give your other books a try.

After I released six books, I spent three months trying everything The bad news is that because I did so many things at once, I m not really sure what worked and what didn’t. I made free video book trailers using Windows Movie Maker and put those on Amazon and YouTube. I blogged every week about my publishing journey, I blogged on any website that would have me, I said yes to all interviews, I spoke at conferences and on panels, I joined Twitter, Goodreads and Facebook. I sent an email every day to online reviewers asking them if they were interested in reading one of my books if I sent them a digital copy. I did blog tours and contests/giveaways. I found places like blog talk radio to interview me and I made a free website using Blogger. Once I made some money, I advertised on any site I could find where you could pay $15 to have your book on the sidebar for a month. I suggest getting three books out there and then trying everything you can to get exposure, which ultimately could turn into book sales.

See related article “Five Mistakes Authors Make That Keep Readers Away..” What current books are you working on?

T.Ragan: I am writing and negotiating the sales of Book 4, 5, and 6 of my Lizzy Gardner series. All thriller/mystery. Book 4 is due on December 15th. If you had to choose just one type of social media, which one would you select and why?

T.Ragan: This is difficult to choose just one, but for me, an author’s website is the most important tool. Although my website was built in a day and didn’t cost me a dime, I do provide lots of information for those writers or readers who are interested in learning more about me. Whenever I find a new author whose books I love, the first thing I do is search the Internet for their website. I want to know when they started writing and what other books they might have available. If they include other interesting tidbits about their writing process or their personal lives, all the better.

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