You’re considering marketing an ebook, or you’re already ebook marketing. Today, you must market your ebooks to make sales. Stop wincing. It’s not painful, I promise — you’ll grow to enjoy it, because of what you learn. You’ll realize that you’re writing better ebooks, and are selling more of them.
Authors ask me whether they need a blog, a Facebook page, and how often they should tweet. All good questions. However, if you’re just starting out, those questions may not be the right ones.
You need to prepare, before you do anything at all. Not only will the right preparations help you to sell more copies of your ebooks, they’ll also help you when you’re writing future ebooks.
Vital: your preparations, and the feedback you get from readers help you to write ebooks which sell.
Prepare for ebook marketing, before you do anything at all
As with all marketing the “4Ps” of the marketing mix — product, price, promotion and place (distribution) — matter when you’re promoting your ebooks. If your marketing isn’t working, go back to these basics, and you’ll find a way to fix it.
Here’s an example. A student found that her novel wasn’t selling. She was crushed. She’d had so much positive feedback. Beta readers loved the story.
We thought about product, price, promotion and place. Then we rewrote the description, and put the novel into the New Adult category. The heroine was 30, but had little life experience, for various reasons. We deleted the ebook’s current keywords, and added new ones. Result? Sales and a happy author. 🙂
1. Discover your readers: how do they think?
Where do your readers hang out? Nonfiction authors occasionally get lucky. For example, if they’re writing in a huge category like weight loss diets, they’ve got endless groups on Facebook, and Web forums they can join, to subtly promote their ebooks.
Fiction authors can find groups catering to their genre on the Web, on sites like Goodreads (be careful there), as well as on public and private groups devoted to their genre.
Here’s why these groups are so wonderful, and it’s not for the reason you’re thinking. Yes, you can promote your ebooks in your signature in groups, but more importantly, you can learn how your readers think. You’ll discover what they like, and what they don’t.
Not only does knowing your readers help you in your promotions, it also helps you when writing new ebooks.
2. Learn more about your readers: check magazines and bestselling books
Go to magazines.com and read the headlines of magazines you think your readers might read. This is useful for both nonfiction and fiction authors. If you’re writing fiction, you’ll get ideas for plotting.
I love reading reviews on Amazon too; both reviews for bestsellers, and other ebooks. That’s another wonderful way to learn more about what your readers do, and don’t, like. Make notes.
3. Create a readers’ mailing list, NOW
Do it. Now. Right away, not tomorrow. Today, hundreds of thousands of ebooks pour into Amazon. It’s very hard to stand out from the crowd. I use aweber for my lists; I’ve been using them for over a decade. There are other mailing list providers; MailChimp seems to be popular with authors.
Without a readers’ list, you’re wasting your marketing efforts. Not only are you losing opportunities for feedback, so that you understand readers better, you’re also losing sales.
So there you have it. Three painless ways to prepare to market your ebooks. Knowledge is power.
Finally, consider this. You may know that E.L. James wrote the initial material, which she later turned into 50 Shades, as fan fiction.
Do you think that her ebooks would have found such huge success if she hadn’t learn so much about her readers from writing fan fiction? She understands her readers. You can too.
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Updated: October 26, 2016
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