Recently, someone rated my "Online Book Marketing" article a 2 out of 5. That person apparently didn't like the article. My guess is that he or she was turned off by the marketing angle. Writers write; they don't sell. Some writers even view the concept of selling or marketing their work as somehow inherently wrong.
That's fine. But unless you get a lucky break from a huge publishing house you will probably not go far with book sales unless you are willing to roll up your sleeves and do some serious marketing.
There are many ways you can market your writing and build a readership online. But you should also start thinking about your writing differently. For example, instead of trying to write and sell one book of short stories or one novel, why not break it into separate small books (each one a short story or two) or sell your novel as a serialized version-a new chapter or two every month? (Eventually you can sell this material in a physical book.)
The logic of my suggestion is this: Suppose you have a newsletter group of 7000 readers who love your writing. Each month you write a new short story set (including four stories), group of poems, or collection of essays that you sell as a PDF ebook. You publicize this to your newsletter group, including a free sample with your newsletter, and sell the set for $4 as an instant download.
Now, suppose only 10% of your readership buys your new ebook each month. 700 readers x $4 = $2800 each month! And don't forget-you are constantly adding new readers to your group.
The secret to success here is to build a readership group through a free e-newsletter, and sell your writing to that group (your fan base) month after month. This is how you grow a strong, solid readership that will buy your books when you publish them in physical form, because they have bought your books when you sold them in digital form. And you made a decent living in the meantime.
Jeremy M. Hoover helps you market your books online. Contact him at jeremyhoover AT gmail.com or at his website, http://jhooverwebcopy.com/bookmarketing.htm .