The one part of being an author that I dearly hate is marketing. I don't like to go out of my comfort zone. It's much more fun to sit at the computer and write or read manuscripts or edit manuscripts or play games. Marketing is an essential part of an author.
Years ago, when there were not a whole lot of Christian authors, you could write a book and the publisher would do most of the work. That's before the digital and print on demand age. Back then, people were searching for clean Christian literature and there was very little around.
The first books I read that were considered "Christian" were by Yvonne Lehman and JoAnn A. Grote. I have a bunch of their books. There are other pioneers, like Deb Raney, but for some reason, I never read her books until later.
The market grew through the years and it became harder for publishers to do what they used to do for their authors. Only very big publishing houses send their authors on tours with their books. As the market has changed, so have we as authors and publishers. Now we have to work to sell a book.
From experience, you have to do a lot more to be noticed. Book signings are a great way to meet people and grow a fan base. That's where you have to put on your big girl shoes and go to the book stores. No one is going to come to you. The more people that know who you are, the more books they'll buy. If you are not making yourself visible on writer's loops or conferences, you're missing out on sales. One agent told me that we all buy each other's books. That is so true.
Last week I attended a webinar where the speaker said to be able to write full-time, you needed a fan base of 1,000. That's 1,000 people who will buy your print book, not ebook. That's a lot of books. Wouldn't it be nice to know when you have a book published there will be a minimum of 1,000 books sold. If you have a good print book fan base, think of what the ebook fan base will be!
How can I get that fan base? Have a website. Put a book store on your website. It's all right to sell the books yourself. I'm sure you can order some from your publisher. As a publisher, I want my authors to order books from me. Every author should be writing a blog. Why? Think about this. When you go to the doctor's office and sit down in the waiting room, what magazine do you pick up? Nine times out of ten it will be "People." Why? Because you want to know what those Hollywood stars are doing. Write about yourself and your family on your blog. Let people know what you like, dislike, what you do, what's going on in your family. We're nosy people. We want to know what others are doing.
If your book is a Print on Demand, get extra copies and put them on consignment in a store. There's a store here where we live called, Shop-O-Rama. They boast of having 50,004 items in their inventory. I have my books there and they sell everything from nuts and bolts to clothing and decor items. Tour buses stop there. I'm selling books there. Everyone in the area knows about Shop-O-Rama. Go to some out of the way place and put your books there.
These are some of my experiences. You have to take chances to sell books. You have to work at marketing to sell books.