One year ago today I launched my first book, Gorilla Mindset. My goal was to sell 10,000 copies in its first year, as fewer than 1% of books ever sell 10,000 copies over the course of a lifetime. As of today, Gorilla Mindset has hit 30,000 copies sold, and the sales are trending up. June 2016 has been my best month for book sales ever, and I’m on pace to hit 100,000 copies sold. (Fewer than 42 books out of over 1 million released each year ever sell 100,000 copies over a lifetime.)
- UPDATE (10/26/2016 – Gorilla Mindset has sold 44,000 copies.)
Here are some secrets.
1. Blogs sell more books than TV.
I follow book launches of pundits and media whores to look for the correlation between media/TV appearances and book sales. Appearing on TV as a guest, even on huge shows like FoxNews, does little for book sales. Michelle Fields has been on Megyn Kelly’s show talking about her book. She sold 0 (that’s zero) copies yesterday.
I would rather have a blog review from Victor Pride, Chris/Good Looking Loser, or Vox Day than be on TV. In fact I turn down media appearances (poor ROI for my time) and only go on shows if I like the hosts.
- If you want to sell books, build a big blog.
Think about book selling logically, from your perspective as a book buyer.
You are watching TV (god, no, don’t do that). You see a guest on. A guest is talking about something as you’re eating popcorn.
Even if you’re interested in the author, you don’t stop what you’re doing to buy his book. You instead say, “Oh, this guy is cool. I’ll remember the name and buy his book.” A few minutes later the discussion on TV and your attention span has moved on.
With a blog post, if you like what you read and see a link to the book, you’re more likely to buy. With Amazon’s one-click ordering, you may even end up like me. I have 10 or 20 books to read. I bought them either on impulse or as a way to support an author whose blog I enjoy.
2. Your book launch lasts forever.
Have you read Scott Adams’ blog? At the end of each post, he includes a link to his best-selling book, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big.
I’ve done the same since my book launch.
3. Free content = book sales.
Every time I write or podcast, I sell books. That’s why it cracks me up when losers cry about my “shilling” of books.
The incentives are perfectly aligned. If you enjoy my writing and podcasts, then you want me selling books, because the more books I sell, the more stuff I’ll give away.
Kindle – 12,848
Paperback – 9,473
Audio – 6,988.
(I sold a few hundred copies on Apple, but they censored me so I don’t have those sales figures.)
4. If you do a podcast, people will buy your audiobooks.
Remember that free content means more sales. Most books never go to audiobook, as the demand isn’t there. I’ve sold more audiobooks alone than most people will sell in a lifetime. That’s because people love my podcast.
5. As your profile grows, your book sales will increase.
In June I’ve sold 1,161 paperbacks – more than the 932 book I sold during launch month (932). In April I sold 1,027 copies of the paperback.
More web traffic means greater book sales.
6. Be accessible.
If you act like you’re above it all or insult you’re readers, you’re not going to sell books. This should seem obvious, but many “creative” types think they are geniuses and think everyone else is a loser. Because of that mindset, their careers never go anywhere.
7. Develop multiple sources of web traffic/ways for people to discover you.
I have books, blog, massive Twitter, email list, Facebook, YouTube, and podcast. I’ve also been building up my SnapChat. I promote all of these mediums via each other.
When you buy my Trump book, you’ll want to buy Gorilla Mindset (if you haven’t already), because the Trump book will mention Gorilla Mindset. Thus people who buy your new books will go back to buy your old books.
If I get banned from Twitter, that will be only a mild blow as there are so many other ways to find me.
8. Treat your writing career as a full-time marketing job.
For some reasons writers and artists have a problem with marketing. I don’t have time to explain why this is loser’s thinking. The Internet is huge. Even if your art only appeals to 1% of the population, you’ll be huge.
How do you find that 1% of the world who wants to read your books or watch your films or buy your paintings? That’s marketing. Learn it or die.
9. Be patient.
“Mike, I’ve been reading your stuff since 2011. Today I bought Gorilla Mindset.”
I hear that every day. It takes years for people to buy your books. Don’t be mad or blame them for being “entitled.”
Chill out. Keep producing great content and everyone will eventually buy.
10. Let people into your real life.
People want to get to know you as an author or human being. That’s why I opened up more of myself. If you read my earlier writing from years back, you’d see I never posted a picture of myself.
People want to get to know you before they’re going to buy from you. That’s the reality of the Internet. Love it or hate it, but arguing against reality is moronic.
How will I sell more than 100,000 copies?
More of the same. I don’t hide my marketing.
I’ll keep writing more Tweets, writing more blogs, writing more books, and giving away more podcasts.
Since Gorilla Mindset is a timeless book of wisdom, it’ll sell for as long as I’m alive.
I wouldn’t be surprised if it sells over 1 million copies, as I haven’t even fully tipped over to the mainstream.
Although many people recognize me in public (even up in Anchorage, Alaska) and many celebrities and sports stars read Gorilla Mindset, the culture is such that openly associating with me or promoting my writing can cause them drama.
As the pushback against PC culture continues, my own profile will grow. My mainstream tipping point is approaching.
I’ll be surprised if Gorilla Mindset fails to sell 1 million copies. Buy yours today.