How A Loss Leader Helps You Sell More Books ǀ Self-Publishing Relief

How A Loss Leader Helps You Sell More Books ǀ Self-Publishing Relief

When you self-publish, marketing your book falls squarely on your shoulders—and many writers have no idea where to begin. Fortunately, the marketing experts at Self-Publishing Relief have a few tips and tricks to help you boost your book sales. Let’s start with a question: Have you ever gone to Costco just to pick up a rotisserie chicken (or other item) at a great sale price, only to leave with a shopping cart full of goods? Or maybe you’ve purchased an inexpensive razor handle set, and then later discovered the blade refills cost twice as much as the original setup. This is loss leader marketing and pricing at work! Here’s how a loss leader helps you sell more books.


Use Loss Leader Marketing To Sell More Books

A loss leader is a simple yet effective marketing technique. Essentially, the loss leader grabs attention with a very low price (it may even be below cost) to draw in buyers. Once there, shoppers will pick up a few more things that aren’t on sale. In the example we first gave, Costco actually loses money on their rotisserie chickens because of how low they are priced. But since the chickens are well-known for being a great deal, they draw a lot of shoppers into the store.

And the buyers who are tempted by the price and purchase that very affordable razor handle are going to pay extra for the replacement blades—because now they’ve developed brand loyalty. People love getting that initial deal, which is why a loss leader works. If the introduction to something is priced much lower, more people are going to buy.

Now let’s apply the loss leader concept to boosting the sales of your self-published books. If you’ve written a series, you can price the first book much, much lower than the others. This skews the risk/reward level in the reader’s favor: When the cost is so low, readers are more willing to take a chance on a new author or series.

With thousands of new books being published every year, it can be difficult to get your book’s title out in front of the rest. By giving your potential readers a much lower bar to entry than other authors, you’re putting the odds in your favor that more people will click “buy.”

What if you haven’t written a series—can you still use a loss leader? Yes, if you have self-published more than one book. Loss leader pricing on one book will help boost sales of your backlist. Be sure to mention and link to the rest of your books in the discounted book’s marketing.


You should also have a page in your book’s back matter that pushes them toward your other works. As your loss leader book hooks readers on your writing, a page at the end with info about your other books will encourage brand loyalty and entice your fans to read more books by you.

Be sure to focus your marketing efforts on your loss leader. Think of the loss leader book as your bait: You need to flash it around and get people’s attention! Review the book’s keywords and make them as strong and specific as possible to rank higher in search engine results. Put your deeply discounted book front and center on your author website. And take a good look at the loss leader’s cover design to ensure it is effective and suits your genre.

By applying this effective marketing technique to your self-published books, you can boost your sales and overall profits. And remember the power of loss leaders the next time you head into the grocery store for “just one thing”!


Question: Which loss leaders have you encountered when shopping for books or other items?



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