Hus-tle:  to sell or promote energetically and aggressively

The word “hustle” sometimes comes with a negative connotation, but it’s really a great term to describe what you have to do in order to sell self-published books.

The fact is, unless you’re a celebrity you’re going to be hustling your butt off to sell your book.

This might seem like an obvious statement to make, but you’d be surprised at how many first-time self-publishers think that as soon as they publish their book to the world they’ll just sit back and become best-selling authors.

The only people who may have that luxury are celebrities and well-known authors like Stephen King, James Patterson and Nora Roberts. They have a built-in audience that is eager to see what they have to say in a new book. But even they have to get out there and promote at book signings.

And the self-publishers who have achieved amazing success hustled their butts off to do so. Now they can also publish a new book and sell thousands in a very short time.

So What to Do?

As a newbie to self-publishing there are four steps to becoming a contender in the book industry.

First you must stay level-headed and realistic about your goals. Set S.M.A.R.T. goals for your new book. Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timed.

Second, figure out who would want your book.

In chapter 1 of my How to Sell Books eBook I tell new authors:

Your book must offer your readers 1) proven ways to improve their lives, 2) new information that they really need or want, or 3) entertainment value. The reader must also feel satisfaction at the end of the book.

Decide if your book provides one of these benefits to readers and if so, which one and to whom? Once you know that, you now know your target market. (And you can have multiple target markets by the way.)

Third, create a book marketing plan that will aggressively go after this market. The book marketing plan addresses the 4Ps of marketing (price, product, place, and promotion). A good plan will help you to shine your book up like a brand new penny, ready for sale. Adjust your goals as needed after doing marketing research. (You might even decide to publish a different type of book!)

Fourth and finally there is the process of implementing the steps of your plan on a consistent basis. Take steps to sell your book to your target audience online (more likely if you sell an eBook) or to sell in face-to-face scenarios, such as street fairs, book signings and meet-and-greets.

This last step requires a whole lot of “hustling” (promoting energetically and aggressively). A lot of time. A lot of work. A lot of stress. A lot of waiting for something, anything to happen.

If you plant the right seeds and your (well-written) book is entertaining, informative or can improve someone’s life, eventually you’ll start to see some results.

And once you do develop a following for your book, publishing subsequent books is more of a breeze. Word of mouth marketing is extremely powerful.

Don’t Get the Big Head

It’s really easy to get “the big head” when you finally hold your printed book in hand with your name etched across the cover. You think that everyone is going to rush out to buy your book the minute they see the title!

But in reality, that’s just not usually how it works. Most people (other than your family) need a really good reason to try out a new book by a brand new author. It’s up to you to convince them.

So to achieve success, take a level-headed approach to selling self-published books, put on your marketing hat and get ready to hustle like your book depends on it (because it does).