(Light warning: Following these steps might result in a few angry emails and bullets being fired in your direction. Unfortunately, the popular saying “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” only applies to the emails.)
Getting your book sales to take off isn’t easy. Contacting reviewers, hosting giveaways, participating in interviews, going free for a while, building connections on social networks and good old advertising are basic methods used by authors and publishers to give their book a shot at greatness. As with any other product, the results of these efforts vary greatly. You can take two identical author twins, have them write the same story and follow the same marketing plan, but there could still be a large difference in sales.
What's the solution?
There are two schools of thought. One involves authors attempting to manipulate the ‘butterfly effect’ by flying to a different country and killing a butterfly, in the hope that chaos theory sets in and somehow results in more sales for their book. As expected, this has produced mixed results and probably a few hurricanes.
The second, more effective route is to use tactics that are frowned upon in public. Here are three tips, (not) guaranteed to increase your sales figures!
1. Take hostages at a large book signing
Hugely popular ‘Young Adult Author X’ is hosting a book signing at one of the largest bookstores downtown. Hundreds, if not thousands are expected to turn up to grab a signed copy of her highly anticipated epic about the post-apocalyptic love between two vampiric zombies.
This is your opportunity to orchestrate a lucrative hostage situation. Remember to follow the principles of branding, by making sure that the name of your own book appears everywhere during your gun-toting rampage. This could include:
- Wearing custom clothing that advertises your book, instead of a dark criminal outfit
- Forcing ‘Young Adult Author X’ to read the first chapter of your book and give it a glowing review
- Talking to the negotiators at length about your book, and agreeing to release a hostage if the police announce details of your upcoming blog interview to the crowd
- Demanding a million unmarked kindle book sales instead of cash
- Refusing to talk about anything but your book at your eventual trial
You might spend the rest of your life in prison, but we all have to make sacrifices as aspiring authors.
2. Start a gang of innovative pickpockets
Pickpockets in major high street locations usually work by covertly relieving you of your valuables and leaving nothing in return. You can strike a blow for their reputation and increase your book’s readership by changing this model! After you hire and train a gang of such thieves, give them cheap USB flash drives containing a copy of your ebook. Instead of simply robbing their targets, your gang will replace the wallets with these copies of your book.
The downside? Your book’s name might become synonymous with theft and the ensuing rise in crime statistics. It might be worth it if your book is associated with that genre.
3. Lobby for heavy sanctions against nations where your book isn’t selling well
If you have the appropriate connections to get this done, then you’re probably rich and important enough to explore better avenues of promoting your book.
Nevertheless, even if you choose this path and the sanctions don’t go through, you can be sure that your book will at least get extensive media coverage. Most of it will be in the form of angry protestors burning effigies of you, but any publicity is good publicity. Right?
Good luck and let me know how this strategy works out for you! Suggestions and additional methods are always welcome.