Congratulations! You’ve written an e-book.
Most people think that writing the book is going to be the hard part, and while it’s true that writing an e-book is no picnic, we’re sorry to tell you that the hard part has just begun. Because now that you have a product, you need to sell it.
But an e-book isn’t something you can stick on a shelf for people to pick up, or a service you can sell. So how exactly do you let people know about your book and convince them to buy it? Here we discuss how to market an E-book.
Getting Your E-Book Out There
The most important thing to remember about e-book retailers and distributors (like Kindle) is that they are not publishers. This means that they don’t take any responsibility at all for the quality of your work, and they don’t take on the rights for your work. All E-Book services tend to have the same set of characteristics:
- Free to Play – With e-books, you rarely pay an upfront fee. If you do pay an upfront fee (usually in the case of distributor platforms), then you will gain 100% net profit from your sales. With others that don’t charge this up-front fee, you should expect a small percentage of your sales to be retained as the fee for the service.
- At-Will & Non-Exclusive – You can upload your work at any time and make it available for sale – and take it down at any time you want. You can upload newer versions, change the price, cover or description, and generally make any changes you want at any time. You can also sell your work through multiple platforms, as none will ask for exclusivity rights to the book.
- Very Little Technical Expertise Required – Many major services offer automated tools for converting your files, uploading them and listing your work for sale. This means you don’t need to have any technical ability, you just need to be able to read and follow instructions.
Generally, for e-book retail or distribution, the process is fairly straightforward. You will need to sign up through their platform, upload your work and post it for sale. You have complete control of what is done with the book then, and with many distributors, you can pay a premium to have your book displayed in their promoted or offers sections.
Marketing Your E-Book
Once you’ve published your book, it’s time to market it! This can be a challenge, especially if marketing isn’t really your thing. But thankfully, there are a few easy things you can do to promote your book to the world with no experience, and very little budget. This list is by no means exhaustive, as marketing can come in unlimited forms, but a few good places to start include:
Plan Your Launch Around Your Goals
Whatever your goals for publishing a book, the way you promote it needs to fit around them. For example, if you want to make the Sunday Times bestseller list, you have to sell thousands of copies of your book from vendors who report their sales to The Sunday Times, and you have to do it within a specific time. In this case, your strategy could include offering a bonus to people who pre-order the book (since pre-orders count towards the first week of sales). Try to marry up your launch strategy with your goals, and you’ll see much more success.
Build Relationships Before You Need Them
Start working on your book launch at least six months in advance because that’s the minimum amount of time you need to build relationships. Get onto the radar of influencers by supporting them. If you have your own platform, like a podcast or blog, interview them and give them exposure. Sign up for their programs and be one of their success stories. When the time comes, send those same influencers copies of your book, and ask for an endorsement and/or a review. If they like the book enough, they may even promote it to their audiences.
Engage Your Audience
To truly succeed in self-publishing, you need to start drumming up interest in your book by engaging your audience throughout its development. Set yourself up on social media and start building an audience before the book comes out. Hint that you’re up to something. Ask for their input on the cover designs. Tease them with excerpts and snippets along the way. You’ll also want to keep building your audience through blog tours, interviews, and media exposure if you can.
Don’t Copy Blindly
Just because something worked well for one author, doesn’t mean it will work well for you. So instead of trying to copy the strategy of another author, spend some time working out what will work for you and what will resonate with your audience. This means you will be able to tailor it to your budget and create something special, and not just a poor imitation. Instead of trying to copy flashy strategies that are outside your reach, apply the simpler strategies you can execute well.
Get Onto Amazon’s “Also Bought” List
If you want to get as many sales and downloads as you can, you’ll want to appear in Amazon’s “Also Bought” recommendation list. You can get into the engine by publishing your book on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. This lets you put the Kindle version of your book for free for five out of every 90 days. In that time, do everything you can to get the word out so that as many people as possible download your book. When you reach a certain threshold, then your book will appear in “Also Bought.” This will eventually bring in a stream of sales even when you’re not actively promoting your book, making the free ones you gave away worth their weight in gold.
Put a lot of effort into getting reviews of your book. Reviews are what a lot of readers will base their buying decisions on – particularly if you’re not a known author. So make sure that you’re asking people to give your book reviews. Ask your email list, ask on Facebook – even ask inside your book. You must ask readers to post their honest opinions. As long as they in fact read the book, they’re entitled to their opinions, and it’s all useful feedback. One thing that also works well is to send a free copy of the printed book to those who are willing to post their honest reviews.
Harnessing Social Media
Social media is one of your biggest tools in marketing an e-book, so if you weren’t online before, you need to be now. Set up a page for your book and start posting content on it, inviting people to follow and sharing the page with everyone you can. Then, it’s time to start marketing! A few things you can do to promote your e-book on social media include:
- Use social media ads. Target your ideal readers and advertise your book launch to them, with a reorder option. Once your book is live, you can tweak these ads to direct to the digital download.
- Create social teasers. Share snippets from the book, reviews and behind the scenes info to create a buzz about it.
- Pin posts. Platforms like Twitter allow you to ‘pin’ a tweet to the top of your profile so it’s the first thing people see – make it an advert for your book.
- Design a banner. Social banners instantly grab the attention of people coming to your page, so why not use them to promote your e-book? Create an image that promotes your book quickly and effectively, and include a URL to the download (even though they can’t click on it).
- Post on community pages: There’s a community page for pretty much everything nowadays, which makes it simple to find a large group of people who would get value from your e-book. Join some of the communities and take some time to get to know people, make conversation and build connections. After a few weeks, start posting about your e-book and ask for support in promoting it.
Ultimately if you don’t market your e-book then you will never see any results, no matter how good the actual book is. That’s why it’s worth investing some time into learning about the different marketing channels, and figuring out which will resonate with your target audience the most.
At Lion Spirit Media, we specialise in helping you spread your message far and wide, so everyone in your target market pricks up their ears and pays attention. We’ve supported many clients through the creation, launch and marketing of e-books, and woven this approach into their general business marketing for maximum results. If you would like to know more, just get in touch with the team today for your free consultation.