Sufi Stories

Celebrating innovation, creation and entrepreneurship

My Eureka Moment: How I Finally Started Selling My Self-Published Books

A guest post by Venli.

I always wondered how some books seem to come out of nowhere and become best-sellers?

I spent an incredible amount of time writing, proof-reading, and illustrating my book. But my heart sank when I looked at my sales figures! With a box-full of books that I had purchased on selling and book marketing, I still did not know how to make my own book successful.

One day, I accidentally discovered the secret which has since then never stopped working for me. Even if you already use this secret, I hope my video will reaffirm your faith. If you are a budding author, then this may help you start on the right foot.


When my book was published, I was so happy. And I was even happier when I saw that a couple of my books got sold the very next day.

Over the next few months, sales continued to trickle in, but what I wanted was a stream!

I had hoped that my book would bring me enough money to quit my day job, but $9/day was barely enough to buy me breakfast at Starbucks every day.

I was stuck. Should I buy some “Facebook Page Likes” or Google AdWords? Should I pay one of those folks on Fiverr who promise to drive thousands of “real human visits” to my website?

Truth be told I did try those ideas. I was desperate.

But nothing worked. I agreed with this melancholy hashtag: #nothingworks 🙁

Over the next twelve months I sold 20 copies of my book.

I was deeply depressed. Though my book continued to be listed on Amazon, I shut down my blog.

And suddenly, my book sales completely stopped. Zero. Nada.

That is when I had my Eureka moment. I realized that whatever meagre sales I had so far was driven by my blog!

People were coming to my blog, reading about my book and then heading to Amazon to check out the book. When my blog shut down, my sales became zit.

When people hit the Amazon page, good reviews persuade them to press the buy button. But people simply would NOT go to my Amazon page if there was no effort to drive them there.

A blog also serves as an important credibility provider. Readers want to know about the writer. Who is the writer? What does he or she care about? Readers have to like a writer before they like his book.

I understood then that my blog was the one thing I should focus on.

This boosted my morale so much. I had a real target to attack now!

I revived my blog and focused on driving traffic to it. I had heard every sales-manager saying, “Sales is a numbers game”.

If you approach 10 people to buy a product, perhaps 1 will buy. If you ask 100 people, most likely 10 will buy. To sell more you have to reach more people with your sales pitch. There is no other secret to it.

Yes, your message should be well crafted such that it communicates value and trust. But at the end of the day, the more people you reach, the more you would sell.

If sales is a numbers game, what is the formula for success in this game? The best sales leaders I worked with always maintained that the success depends on the 4 magic numbers – “100 – 1 – 3 – 1”.

If you talk to 100 people, 1 person will be interested enough to give your product a closer look.

Out of every three such good prospects, one will actually buy and become your customer.

So it works out like this: Connect with 300 people. Out of these 300, 1 would likely buy your product.

So let’s work backwards – If you want to sell 10, 000 copies of your book, you need to reach at least 300 X 10,000 people which is 3 million people.

This is a big goal, but at least now I had a clear target to aim for.

But how do I reach millions of people?

I couldn’t keep calling people. It wouldn’t work. People respond more to subtle, storybook advertising, than cold calls.

The easiest, way of reaching people is by getting them to visit you!

I focused on making my blog visible. I learned how to optimize my content for search engines, so the people searching for topics related to my book can find my blog.

To sell ten-thousand books, I needed at least three-million visitors to my blog in a year. This meant 250 thousand visitors every month. This then would give me ten-thousand book sales in a year.

This was a formidable number for a beginner blogger!

But 1/10th of this number which is 25,000 visitors per month would give me 1000 book sales a year. This was a number I could realistically shoot at.

I signed up for free Google Analytics and connected it to my blog. It is easy and it takes exactly 10 minutes to do so. Google Analytics shows the number of visitors to my blog, the time they spent before they dropped off, and which of my blog pages were most popular.

My goal was that most blog visitors should be interested enough after reading my blog posts to check out my book landing page. At the bottom of every blog post, I embedded a link to my book landing page.

I created an email capture form on my blog. There are easy tools which let you set up an email capture form on any blogging platform with just a few clicks.

Once a month I would send out an email-digest, listing all the blogposts I had published that month, to those who had subscribed.

Certainly, all optimizations are useless if there is no content for visitors to read on my blog. I set up a regular cadence for publishing blog posts. I made sure that I never wavered from my blog publishing schedule.

I kept my new blog strategy very simple. I wouldn’t be able to keep up with fancy strategies. Create regular blog posts optimized for Google, monitor traffic and harvest emails. This was my simple blog strategy.

And it started working!

I started seeing increase in my book sales. I did not sell ten thousand copies of my book. But I sold nearly 2000 copies in the next year.

There is no secret silver-bullet. I found that that it is possible to make a decent living from your books just by following through a simple plan.


This post is a transcript of the video: