You’re a Self-published writer? Congratulations! Now learn how to Sell.

I really like that old Al Pacino movie, Sea of Love.

He plays a police detective and in one scene he’s musing with another cop about the strangeness of humanity.

“People are a piece of work,” he says. And I believe it.

How else can you explain that people won’t believe their own family doctor about the importance of getting their kids vaccinated, but will believe some quack who appeared on Oprah?

And tell me how otherwise intelligent, well-intentioned writers believe their books will be widely read when these same authors aren’t interested in selling them.

Selling. There. I said it again.

It’s like this: if you’re self-published, you’re either running your own business – and selling. Or you’re not selling many books. Period.

Don’t tell me about this guy or that gal who sold a boatload of books and doesn’t even know how to spell social media. Sure, the stories are out there and I hope one of them is about you. But don’t count on it.

A kid in my neighborhood comes to my door every time my lawn gets high. He rings my bell, looks up at me with an earnest expression and says, “I’ve got a new mower and I charge less than anybody else around.” The kid is in business for himself. And he’s a salesman.

It’s true in any business. And if you’re in the author/publisher business, it’s true for you too. The fact is, folks don’t readily fork over their cash, even if it’s just $2.99 for your Great American Novel. They’ve got to be convinced, cajoled, seduced.

They’ve got to be sold.

You have a website? Great! That’s one step in the process. WordPress and a free template will get you started. You don’t need to spend a fortune. Facebook is not top of my list, but it’s free and if you know how to use it, it can be effective. Twitter’s great too. Here’s a hint, though.

Don’t try too hard to sell.

What? Didn’t I just say that selling was important? Very important? Wasn’t that me?

Yes, it was. But I also mentioned seduction. It’s one of my favorite sports.

Do you run up to the gorgeous woman at the club and tell her she’s the woman of your dreams, that you want to take her home to see your Momma right now and that your car is just outside? Think that will work? I tried it a couple of times when I was young. I thought it might actually work one time. But no.

 Sending tweet after tweet urging people to buy your book isn’t selling. Ditto on Facebook. Being too obviously self-serving seldom works well. Bat your eyes a little. Look troubled and interesting. Then people will become interested in you. Maybe they’ll check out your Amazon offering. Maybe they’ll stop in at your website.

Do you like irony? I do.  It’s ironic that many of the authors snapping their whips on the social media to drive you to their website are at their worst once they get you there. How many times have you stopped in at an author’s website and it’s practically impossible to find a way to buy the damned book? Click on a picture of the book and you get a bigger picture of the book. You’ll find book titles with no links to a buy site. I see it all the time.

When you’re using the social media to sell books, be a pal, be a buddy. Offer helpful suggestions that will interest your audience. Get personal on Facebook and tell your fans what books you like and why. Mention your own regularly, but infrequently.

Selling is really taking action to get the sale. It doesn’t mean you have to call people at dinnertime. It doesn’t mean you have to go door-to-door with a suitcase full of books.

Look for a forum where you can interact with the masses. Goodreads isn’t a bad place to start. Try a blog tour. And on Twitter and Facebook, make sure you reply to every query or kind word. Become engaged. Your potential readers will love you for it.

And they might just buy your book.

Dennis Anthony has been a newspaper reporter, sailor, military  officer, television news producer, public relations executive and publishing company owner. He and his wife live in Pensacola, Florida, but try to spend as much time as possible at their cabin on
Lookout Mountain in Alabama. Debunker: Independence Day is his first published novel.

Twitter:  @DennisAuthor


Dennis will be awarding an eCopy of Debunker: Independence Day to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. I encourage you to follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: 


  1. Very good advice! Many authors really need to take this to heart!

    1. Thanks, Virginia. I'm sorry it took a day to reply. I didn't follow my own advice!

  2. Press release writing can be perfectly done when you are aware of its writing style. Consider writing short press release so that people do not face boredom while reading it. press release distribution services


I love to hear from you. So feel free to comment, but keep in mind the basics of blog etiquette — no spam, no profanity, no slander, etc.

Thanks for being an active part of the Writers and Authors community.