Megan Nicolas discusses how she sold 1,000 books of her book in just eight months.

Earlier this year, Argyle Fox Publishing author Megan Nicolas sent us some good news. Her first book, Discovering My Dyslexia Superpower, sold 1,000 copies online. We were thrilled. To help other authors learn how she did it, we held a Zoom meeting to pick her brain. Megan graciously spent thirty minutes answering questions, leaving all of us with some clever ideas for getting books in more readers’ hands.

Watch the video above to learn how she reached 1,000 sales. Prefer to read? The full, slightly edited transcript is below!

UPDATE: Following our interview, Megan sent an email stating that she forgot to mention something. A while ago, she gave 15 books to a friend. That friend gave the books away at a dyslexia conference. Within the next two weeks, Megan sold 200 books. So should authors give their books away for free? Megan says yes. From her perspective, this proves that sometimes giving books away ends in sales.


Selling 1,000 Books Online

Daniel Brantley: Megan, thanks so much for coming today. I’m so excited to talk to you about hitting the 1,000-book mark. And that is 1,000 books sold, 100 percent online. Very impressive. A lot of people publish books, and hitting 1,000 books doesn’t always happen. There’s no guarantee. So, I hope you are as proud of yourself and excited as we are for you.

Megan Nicolas: Thank you. Thanks for having me. It’s been a really fun year, year and a half so far.

Daniel: Here’s your book, Discovering My Dyslexia Superpowers. Before we get into the kind of nitty gritty of how you sold these books, tell us about a little about you and about your book.

Megan: Well, I live in Kansas City. I’m an occupational therapist. I have worked with children with dyslexia. But the real reason for this story is that one of my twin boys has dyslexia.

And so about two years ago, we went to the local library to find a children’s book about dyslexia. And the one we found had a child who looked like they were in pain, like they had a headache. The whole book talked about struggles and difficulties, and we didn’t even read the whole book. My son said we should write an encouraging book. So, I said, “Yes, we should.” But inside I thought, I have no idea how to do that.

So right about that time, I had a childhood acquaintance who pointed me in the direction of (Daniel Brantley) and Argyle Fox (Publishing).

So, I had this story, and I wrote the story, but I didn’t know after that what to do. And so (Daniel) kind of walked alongside of us at every question or juncture.

I just said, “Yes,” because I think if I would have questioned myself or wondered too much about it, I’m not sure I would have kept on going. So you really paved the way and showed us what to do with our story, and you matched us with the illustrator of our dreams and laid it out perfectly. So that’s kind of the story in a nutshell of the book.

Reaching Initial Book Goals

Daniel: Well, that’s awesome. That’s great. Thank you so much for that. And I know on our website, there’s a little profile of you. You said in that profile that your book would be a success if you encouraged one child or family. Would you say that your book has been a success thus far, and how long did it take to get that initial milestone?

Megan: Yes, we are so happy with it. I think part of why we feel like it’s successful is because that was our purpose. We found a book that we thought wasn’t encouraging and we wanted to encourage someone. And so, even if it was my own children, it did that and showed them that they can do something that they set their minds to.

Our first (feedback) was, of course, (from) our bubble. I think that’s probably normal. Your friends and family and neighbors and people at your school. But once we started hearing from people that we didn’t know, or we heard stories of someone recommending the book to someone, but they already had the book—that’s when we knew it was catching on.

Those types of stories really showed us that, oh, it’s reaching people and encouraging them.

Daniel: That’s awesome. And how long after you published did it take to start hearing those stories that people are really into the book and it’s affecting folks?

Megan: We got immediate feedback, but it’s hard to say whether that’s people who just want to support us in our community. Once we started hearing from others (and getting) Amazon reviews from people that we didn’t know, that was probably more like two or three months after we published.

Working toward 1,000 Books Sold

Daniel: That’s not too bad. I know your book released October 31st—Halloween last year, 2022. Talk about your preorders. Did you have a big build up to when you released, and did you have a lot of pre orders up front?

Megan: I’m sure you remember some of that and maybe were about to rip your hair out with me. So, October is Dyslexia Awareness Month, and we had this deadline (because) we thought that would just be a perfect match.

But just kind of getting it done and out there in time, I felt like we made that deadline. So that was a great way to say it leading up the entire book or the month. I think of October 1st, I used my own Facebook account, letting people know we have this exciting new project, that they could preorder, and that it was Dyslexia Awareness Month.

So, I think the culmination of all those things helped us get started on a good boost, but it really was just sharing on Facebook. That’s how we first started. Then I think that month, I also reached out to our local newspaper and news programs, or some of them found us. So that also gave us a huge boost too.

Daniel: Yeah, that’s great. Before we move forward, I got contacted by another author who’s been reaching out to news outlets in his community. He’s been struggling to get any traction. Do you have any tips for people doing that? Like, what did you do that you think was the hook that grabbed hold of them? Or did you know people at the news station? What did you, how’d you make that happen?

Megan: We didn’t know people. I think I could just be biased, but I think it’s the story that they knew. This family went to the local library that everyone knows about. They saw a need and people shared it on Facebook within Kansas City. So, I think it was a good match for those stories that are—I don’t know what the news programs call them—neighborhood stories or human-interest stories. So, it just fit that.

And so, at first it was picked up by this—it’s called a newspaper, but it’s just on Facebook online—but it’s our small little community newspaper. After that—oh yeah, and we approached our library. Yes, we approached our library with the story.

And so the person that writes articles for (the library) put it on their website as like a news article. And so, I think it got picked up in a couple of those ways. And then our biggest thing was our local NBC affiliate came out to our house and videoed. And so, I don’t know. I know your question was really how to get in, but I think it was like through sharing of the smaller venues.

Daniel: Yeah. That’s interesting. I would never have thought of the angle of a newsletter coming out of the library. So that’s a good tip for writers, right? Check and see if your library has some kind of newsletter that could put your book in there. The only people getting that are people who want to read books, right?

Megan: And I don’t want to say that—I should say, many things that I’ve tried have not worked. I have sent books to the Today Show and Kelly Clarkson because she has a child with dyslexia, and they get returned. So, I’m still working on it, but many things that I have tried—you know, it’s not that everything I’ve tried worked.

So, I think the more you try and the more ideas you have, it’s just really time, I think—time and whatever it costs to send a book somewhere. I’m free to give out books because I think the more that we can spread our story . . . One is if you have something you want to share, but two, I think the more people that have it, the more people are likely to buy it as well or share.

Daniel: Yeah. Because that person is going to have somebody at their house who’s going to look at it and say, “Oh, that’s cool.” And I’ve always said that giving away books is a great way to sell books. Now, how did you end up on the news program? Did they approach you or did you go to them?

Megan: They approached me. Yeah. And that’s probably because of the press. I think it was because of that small newspaper first.

Reaching the Big Number

Daniel: And what did your preorder sales look like, number wise? Do you remember how many you sold?

Megan: I think, unless maybe you remember, I think it was around 300.

Daniel: That’s a lot of books for preorder. That’s impressive.

Megan: Well, thank you.

Daniel: And those were online?

Megan: Yes.

Daniel: That’s cool. And so, we’re here talking because you got up to 1,000 sales online. Super excited, and you’ve probably surpassed that, because when that happened, that was probably a month and a half or two months ago. But did your sales come in waves or were they consistent month after month? Was it like, I just sold fifty books last month and nothing this month or what did that look like?

Megan: Yeah, it came in waves and sometimes unexpected, which is incredible, but I do think it’s certain things that we might do that we don’t see a quick return or fruit of our labor. You never know like how that—

For example, I had a friend of mine who knew about the analytics with Amazon and buying ads, and maybe all of you know about that or have done that, but it’s not something that comes easy to me. He does that for a job, so he helped me. We set a limit and we said, “We’re going to spend $100 on this.” He set it up and we put in key words and the search and all that. And we could see it didn’t really generate sales. Maybe I had seven books sold or something. And what I learned from that is, “Okay, maybe I don’t want to keep running Amazon ads or maybe I I do.”

Maybe that was the one time, but I think, “Who knows what happens with those seven books?” Like, maybe those seven books went to places that I would never be able to share. Or I don’t know—some states that I’ve never gone to or around the world, actually, because on IngramSpark where you can check the countries, that’s what I’ve seen.

So, I could trace it back to that, or I don’t know how to trace it, but I see these waves that happen.

For example, I think when that 100 books I hit it in June, I think, and we were—every week or so I like to monitor it—and it’s, it was dead for a while, no growth. And then all of a sudden, we got forty-five books sold to the UK. I have no idea why that happened. So, I would say yes. Waves. That’s a long, long answer.

Tangible Marketing Tips to Sell 1,000 Books

Daniel: Yeah, but that’s exciting, right? You check in one day, zero. Next day, forty-five. Yeah, that’s great. And you’re right. Like every marketing effort, it’s kind of like the butterfly effect, right? It just keeps having waves. You don’t know what those will be, but you have to do them and see what pans out. That’s cool. Well, so you did a lot of stuff up front. You looked at the news folks and were on the news. What did you do since then to get you to 1,000 books? Have you been consistently marketing it or has your marketing also come in waves?

Megan: I don’t know about all of you, but I think it’s hard for me to maintain this level of high marketing. I mean, I’m not a marketer. I have another life. I have different job. I’m a mom. So yeah, when I have energy for different things, or maybe for a while, I’ll think on it and kind of weigh some different ideas and then try something.

Some tangible things that I did. I printed some materials like bookmarks that have my website and illustrations from the book. And also I created a QR code that would take people directly to my website. The bookmarks, you know, those are inexpensive things to print and create, and it ties so well—obviously with books. So I have all the different illustrations and a QR code for my website and a QR code for the Amazon link to purchase. And I give those out like, you know. I’m happy to give those out to anyone who would use them.

And then I also printed stickers. I think that stickers are just a hot thing with kids, so they have the cover of the book. And then I did also create just a large banner that was this cover of the book and a large QR code. I’ve only utilized it once, but I could see doing that in the future.

For my topic, for our book, it made sense to link up with the International Dyslexia Association. So, there’s a Kansas City yearly meeting. I was a presenter this fall. So that was another thing. So maybe every fall, I am a presenter there, and I was on a question-and-answer panel.

It was because I’m a mom of a dyslexic, but what a great opportunity to share the book as well. So that was another.

Daniel: And that one, I imagine you worked your way into that one, right? You contacted them and said, my son’s dyslexic. I’d love to come talk. I have a book about it that encourages kids.

Megan: You know, actually, they contacted me. I later said, “How did you know about my book?” And they said, “Well, we had our board meeting to see who for speakers. And someone said, ‘What about that mom who wrote the book?’” But I think it’s because, you know, the local articles. But it’s not like everyone came to me. I mean, I worked to get those initial (contacts), like asking the library, you know, to write the article.

Daniel: But once you get that ball rolling, sometimes it can be exciting about who will reach out to you. And that’s fantastic. Well, I know you published Halloween 2022. Do you remember the date when you reached 1,000 online sales?

Megan: It was in June. I don’t know the exact date, but it was in June.

Daniel: So that was like eight months?

Megan: Yeah.

Telling People the Good News

Daniel: Those things were flying off the shelf. That’s amazing! Very impressive. And you took advantage of Dyslexia Awareness Month this year also?

Megan: Yes. We did this this year for October. And when we reached 1,000 books, we used just our Facebook page (to promote it). I don’t want to just always share (about the book) because that’s not the only thing about me, right? So, it’s not that we’re always trying to push our book, and I don’t want to make anyone feel like that. But I think when you’re celebrating something, then it feels better to me to share that. Like on my Facebook page, it was my kids with the book. And we said, “We’re so grateful. We’re celebrating 1,000 books sold.” So that’s just another way to share it. I think in a way that feels comfortable for me.

Daniel: Well, it’s a natural way, right? “Hey, we met this milestone. And it’s because of a lot of you guys, but if it’s not, go get a book!” And so, you took eight months to hit 1,000, which is—Wow! That’s amazing. Super exciting. What would you say to someone who published months ago, years ago, and isn’t even getting close to 1,000 and just feels like giving up?

Megan: I would say, don’t give up if you believe in your book. There are just so many opportunities. It’s limitless. I don’t do a lot on Instagram. I’m like, “Oh, well, maybe that’s a new area I can start making connections from.” I really believe in building relationships. It’s the relationship that—oh, you are an influencer and whatever makes sense. Maybe for the authors that are on this call, whatever their topic is, maybe they want to partner with someone who is in that same space. So, for me, I want to find the people that are movers and groovers and dyslexia and partner with them and see what can come from the relationship, not just push my book. But if it’s of interest to you, if you would like a book, I will send it to you. And if you like it, I would love if you’d share it.

So that’s kind of my style. And I think the world is totally open for relationships. There’s no way we could meet all the people to share our books. There are avenues everywhere. So find where that spot is for you. I know for me, I have a long list of things that I can continue to explore.

Daniel: That’s great. And you kind of update that list as things kind of come to mind? You think, “I want to do this, you know, maybe not today, but someday”? Yeah, that’s cool. And so you mentioned influencers. Has that been a big part of your social media push to kind of get your book out there, just engage and see where it goes?

Megan: Yes, but I don’t know. So far, I haven’t had a lot of things that have come from that. But to me, if I can—I don’t have a marketing background, but—if I can get my book in front of someone who, people listen to or share, I mean, that’s kind of my goal. So, I still try to do that.

Tips for Authors Wanting to Sell More Books

Daniel: Yeah, definitely. What if a writer hasn’t published yet and they’re not quite sure? Or they want to make sure their book has a big splash from day one, right? They’ve not published but they want to. They have their book kind of figured out, and they want to hit that 1,000 books quickly like you’ve done.

Megan: Those are a couple questions. So, if you haven’t published, like I said in the beginning, if I would have stopped to question, maybe I wouldn’t have done it. But things just felt right. And you helped us with everything that we didn’t know how to do. And so, I was ready for that initial investment of publishing a book. And so I thought, you know, I just I knew, I knew what that investment was.

And then once, once I zeroed that out, I feel like it’s all just positive growth from here. So, I think, just know what the investment is and keep going. You can sell your book. It’s just how much work and time you want to put into it. I know for me, I could be doing—I mean, I’m happy with where we’re at, but I know it could be more if I put more time into it.

Daniel: Sure. We’re all limited, right? And so, uh, there was someone who asked about a good way to attract influencers. And you’ve kind of touched on that a little bit, just engaging and not really forcing your book on them. But how do you, how do you interact with them to try to build those relationships?

Megan: Yeah. I asked them. I’ve got our story down—what I shared at the beginning, a trip to the library with the boys. I’ve got the story down as short as I can with still making an impact and say, “Hey, this is our story. We’d love to share this book. Could we send you a copy?” And if they say yes, I send them a book.

So I don’t always know what happens with that after. It’s probably my next thing that I should spend more time on that and follow up more. We’ve done some other thing. I’m in a lot of different Facebook groups for dyslexia. And so, someone has said, “I’d like to have a small reading group for my kids, and do you have a book recommendation?” Of course I do. And so, I say what the book recommendation is and then say, “I’m happy to send you one book to get you started.” And I put it out there. So I respond where everybody can read those things on those Facebook groups.

Daniel: Cool. Yeah, that’s great. And then someone also is wondering what social platform has worked best for you. It sounds like you’ve been exclusively on Facebook. Is that right?

Megan: I really have, but I think it’s just because that’s what I was familiar with. So I started Instagram just for this book, but I don’t do a lot on it. I could be wrong, but my feeling on that is that I need to build it up before I’m some force that people are going to look at on Instagram.

So I just felt more comfortable with Facebook and felt like I have a lot more connections already. So that’s what I use.

Daniel: Yeah. That’s interesting. There’s something about being present there already and already kind of having friends and connections and stuff, instead of starting from scratch. Because these people on Facebook, most of them know you personally—initially, at least.

Megan: When I say Facebook, yes, personally, but then in the groups. So in like dyslexia groups for professionals or occupational therapy, entrepreneurs, or parents of dyslexics. That’s where most of the growth has come and I still—if I see anyone ask anything that could be related to (the book), I answer in the message, “We’d love for you to consider our book,” and then the link to Amazon. So that’s where I think most of—and then other people that see that, not just the person I responded to—I think that’s where a lot of the sales are coming from.

Daniel: Yeah. That’s great. Those groups. Because you have, you have your audience right there.

Megan: Right. These are other parents that are living with this target audience. It would be hard for me to say what that target audience is for everyone’s book, but I think finding the small target, you don’t just need everybody to know about your book. You need a small target.

Selling Books in Person

Daniel: Yeah. And then also have that concise explanation. Your story, you said, right—“We went to the library, the book we got was a flop. And so, this is what I’ve created, and it’s kind of the solution.” So, what about in-person sales? How has that gone, and where have you sold books in person?

Megan: Actually, it was only at that dyslexia awareness conference. And it was okay. But again, I think what could come from that, I think is even the better thing. I don’t know if maybe I sold fifteen or twenty books, but what comes from that? People saw me and maybe a bunch of people took my bookmark. I don’t know. So, I think that is more just (being) present. I didn’t mind if I didn’t sell a book. I had my display, and I was happy to share our story.

This is more of a tangible—I printed out all of our interviews, basically three interviews—our local NBC affiliate, that small-town newspaper, and the library article. I printed them out and made big poster boards with our pictures on there. That’s part of my display, so people kind of get drawn in and want to read like, “What is this all about?”

Daniel: And the story resonates with people, right? If you’ve been to the library and have kids with dyslexia, you know this pain. So now that your book has hit 1,000 sold online, what are your goals for the book moving forward?

Megan: I don’t know if we—I probably should set a specific number, but we don’t necessarily talk about that. We really just celebrate when we’ve hit benchmarks. I mean, our next big number would be, you know, 2,000 books, but I look at it more like how many people can I tell about this book? And then what happens from that is like a cherry on top. So, I just keep giving people the book. I share about the book, and I think because it’s such a personal story, and we did struggle, and it was not a good situation, we are just so thrilled with where we are now, and we really want people to hear these encouraging words. Of course, I want to be a successful author, but we really just want people to read this book and be encouraged.

Daniel: Yeah, that’s fantastic. Well, is there anything that we haven’t touched on that you think would be helpful for folks looking to reach that 1,000-book milestone?

Megan: I’m glad you asked me (to do this interview). So, thank you for asking me. It’s given me a chance to analyze and kind of think through what we have done. Because sometimes I think you lose track—like, well, where have I come from? Sometimes get stuck into, “I wish this was happening. I wish more books were flying off the shelves.” And when I had this chance to look back like, oh yeah, we did do those Amazon ads. And yes, I made my first website. I don’t know how to do that, but I made it, and it has all of our news articles on it, and it can refer people to Amazon. I mean, I have learned a ton. We have made connections with people that we didn’t know and have encouraged them and learned from them.

So, I think looking back to see what you’ve done and what the accomplishments you’ve made it through and how you’ve grown is a positive thing to remember.

And there is a wealth of opportunities to market your book. It’s endless in my opinion.

Daniel: Definitely. Well, fantastic, and thank you so much for sharing. I hope that everybody finds (this interview) super useful, and I look forward to hearing about everyone else hitting 1,000 books sold. Megan, I look forward to you hitting 2,000, 5,000, and 10,000.

Megan: Thank you so much.

Image shows Megan Nicolas and Argyle Fox Publishing founder Daniel Brantley discussing how Megan sold 1,000 books online in just eight months.

End note: According to a 2008 article in Publishers Weekly, “The average book in America sells about 500 copies.” Want to be better than average, like Megan? You have to publish first. Take a peek around our site to see if we could be the right publisher for you. Then submit your manuscript for consideration.