For the first "official" print run, I decided to start small and ended up selling fifty copies, which is honestly more than I expected.
First of all, I only accepted orders from readers in Iloilo. That way, I gave myself the chance to build a local audience, generating interest in the romance genre by promoting a book set in the readers' hometown.
Who knows? Maybe that audience might like my book and decide to check out other #romanceclass authors I talk about on my author Facebook page and on my personal profile.
Next, shipping orders to readers outside of Iloilo required time I didn't have back in February and March. So many things were going in both my personal and professional lives that I couldn't set aside the required number of hours to process everything.
So, let me recap. I decided to start small... by focusing on Iloilo. Here's how I did it:
1. Before I even posted that I was selling the print edition, I shared Instagram and Twitter posts from readers on my wall as well as quotes from Keeping the Distance.This worked in many ways, because some of my Facebook friends didn't even know I'd written a book. A few of them sent me messages asking where they could read it or how they could buy it. I replied right away and informed them that a print edition was already in the works.
Generating interest? Check.
2. I posted photos of the print copy and detailed order instructions on my author Facebook page, shared the post on my timeline, and asked friends to share it as well.Before I go into detail about the whole order and confirmation process, let me tell you about my friend. His name is Dan. He designs T-shirts, mugs, and other merch under his brand BKNWA. His page now has over 27,000 likes and people from all over the Philippines order stuff from him... via Facebook Messenger.
I initially wanted to use a Google Doc form to receive orders, but he pointed out that using an order form people could copy and paste and send through Facebook Messenger gave me one additional advantage. People didn't have to leave Facebook to order my book. They could even order it on free Facebook data. Awesome.
In the future, I intend to use a Google Doc form and Facebook Messenger to receive orders, but since this was a trial run, I decided to go with it.
So, basically, if someone wanted to order a book from me, they could send my Facebook author page a message with the following information:
Complete NameAnd they had to send it to me before a specific deadline. I posted a timeline as well, so people knew until when they could order copies and when they were getting the books. Here's the timeline I included in my post:
Number of Copies
FEBRUARY 23 - MARCH 1 (Taking Orders)As much as possible, I tried to stick to the timeline, because this first print run would set expectations on how I ran things. I didn't want people to say that they got their books late or that I was hard to contact.
FEBRUARY 28 - MARCH 1 (Order Finalization)
MARCH 2 - MARCH 15 (Printing of Books)
MARCH 23 - MARCH 24 (Release Date / Local Meetups)
3. Once I started taking orders for print copies, I kept posting about the book.It would take about a month for the readers to get their copies since I still had to get the books printed and shipped from JMD Copy and Prints in Marikina. I didn't want them to forget they ordered the book and wanted to build excitement.
Even after I stopped taking orders, I still posted updates about it. When the 50 copies were finally delivered to our house, I made sure to take a video of me opening the package, so people would know they were getting their books VERY SOON.
4. I met up with readers at a local coffee shop.This was one of my favorite parts of the entire process. I got to thank the people who bought my book in person and even signed their copies for them. Really one of the best things about being an author, indie or otherwise.
And that's how I sold 50 copies in month.I know 50 copies doesn't sound like much in the grand scheme of things, but if you're an indie author, it means a lot. 50 copies means 50 different people who'll leaf through pages filled with your words. 50 different people who supported your dream and took a chance on you.
This whole experience definitely taught me a lot about time management, which social media platforms I should focus on, and a ton of other things. I could've done better throughout this whole process, but I hope this post still helps you if you want embark on your own self-publishing journey and sell print copies of your books. Good luck!