I’ve had a few questions from readers about what to do when book sales slump, or how to kick sales off that haven’t even had chance to slump. I thought I’d answer very simply and publicly in this post with a few words of general advice and guidance.

Firstly, don’t panic. Sales do slump over time. It happens to everybody. I had a sales dip in September, but they’ve picked up again this month. It’s the nature of business, so don’t fret about it.

Secondly, ask yourself what you can do to help give sales a boost, but also whether it’s worth it at this moment in time. Sure, your book might be selling a few less than last month, but is it really worth discounting it again? Or is it not just better to get on with the next book and run a promotion when you put that new book out? Probably the latter.

Thirdly, if it’s been a while since you last did any promotion (and by a while I mean months, not days or weeks), take a look at some ad sites like Bookbub, KindleBooksandTips, Bknights on Fiverr, Booksends. But don’t just buy an ad without a plan — ask yourself whether you can really make that money back, whether the promotion is right at this moment in time. If you’ve only got one book out and you’re running a free promo with it, almost certainly not. If it’s the first book in a lengthy series, perhaps.

Oh, and give things a chance. If you’ve switched from $5.99 to $4.99 and $4.99 isn’t selling any better, don’t go switching it again after a day. Give it a month. Study. Stay aware.

Fourthly, and most importantly, keep writing. Keep working on the next book. It’s a cliche, but it really is true that the best form of promotion is a new release. Don’t do anything silly like stop writing to spend “a few weeks promoting.” That’s a terrible idea, especially if you’ve only got one or two books out. Instead, get to work on the next book. Keep focused. Keep writing.

And that’s it, really. Simple, but true. If your sales are slumping, the key things are not to panic and to view sales over a monthly rather than daily period, and to keep on writing. Run ads when you need to, like special occasions or new releases. If you’ve not got many books out, the absolute best thing you can do is keep on writing. Amazon doesn’t owe anyone a living. It isn’t anyone’s fault that your one or two books aren’t selling yet (well, maybe it is: see in a moment…). You just don’t have enough work out yet to properly advertise it.

An expansion to all of this: as well as keeping writing, you have to make sure you’re keeping professional. Which means learning about craft, learning about business, learning about genre and covers and product descriptions. And it sometimes means swallowing a bit of pride. Yes, your cover might be fantastic, but does it really reflect your genre? Will a reader stumble upon it and think, “Oh yeah, that looks like the epic fantasy I want to read right now?” Or will they just turn away, confused, and move onto something that does?

And your formatting. Yeah, it might be “good enough.” But “good enough” isn’t good enough for readers. You want to stand out as a professional. So take the time to be a professional. Same for your blurb, editing, genre, everything.

Understanding genre is really important. So important that I’ll do a full blog on it tomorrow. Until then, remember the key points.

Write. Finish. Advertise when applicable. Keep writing. Keep learning.