A self-publishing author proudly publishes his book, and then asks in bewilderment: “Why isn’t it selling?!” This is a common scenario, and it’s easy to avoid this disaster if you spend a little time on ebook marketing each week.
Small sales, or no sales, are hugely frustrating if you’re expecting the book you’ve worked on for months to start making sales as soon as it’s approved for the Kindle Store.
Here’s why “no sales” happen. I just checked Amazon, and in the past 30 days, 93,000 ebooks were uploaded to the Kindle Store.
Depressing? Yes, and no. Yes, because that’s a LOT of ebooks. 🙂 And no, because with just a little know-how, thought, and effort, you can eliminate a lot of your competition.
Ebook marketing starts right now — today
Can you imagine 93,000 ebooks published in just 30 days? I can’t. The sheer number of ebooks shows that the self-publishing environment is hugely competitive.
You can work on an ebook for months, and do all the right things — research your audience, buy great a cover, and invest in good editing… But all that effort is wasted if you don’t lay the groundwork for sales.
Today, ebook marketing isn’t optional. Every successful self-publishing author understands this. Moreover, ebook marketing doesn’t happen AFTER you publish. It happens before, during the time you spend writing, and after publishing as well.
Here’s the good news. Ebook marketing is completely within your control, and you can take action NOW, whether you’ve completed your ebook or not. You can and must prepare for sales immediately, otherwise you’re setting yourself up for unnecessary heartbreak.
Let’s look at four simple ebook marketing tactics you can use today, even if you’ve yet to publish your first book.
1. Explore paid advertising, and use your ad spend wisely
A few days ago I got a message from a disgruntled author. “I’m promoting my book — buying Facebook advertising, and posting on Facebook groups. It’s taking me a couple of hours every day, but as soon as I stop, my sales stop. I feel as if I’m on a treadmill going nowhere.”
Yep. That’s the way it works. Please consider this. Paid advertising is easy. The problem however is that when you stop paying, your sales stop. It’s always been that way.
To get the best return on your investment in paid advertising, focus on building your readership, rather than pushing titles. That is, advertise to build your mailing list.
Look at it this way. If you advertise a single title, you should advertise to readers who love your work — to your fans. “Cold” advertising, that is, advertising to people who don’t know you, needs to be focused on a response, rather than making sales. Getting direct sales from a cold audience is next to impossible.
On the other hand, if you focus on building your mailing list of readers, you’ve got the chance of making more sales with every ebook you write. One of my students has over 3,000 people on her mailing list. She knows that she’ll make at least 300 sales each time she publishes and sends a message to her list, even if she spend no time on other promotions.
So use your advertising spend wisely. Advertise to get subscribers. You can advertise to your subscribers for free, and once they know you, they’re much more likely to buy from you.
2. Invest 15 minutes daily: consistent marketing pays off big, over time
Book marketing needn’t take long. Five minutes here, and five minutes there, and you’ve done your 15 minutes.
Every minute you spend on ebook marketing will pay off for you over time. If you want to quit your day job, start spending 15 minutes a day on ebook marketing.
3. Remember the three-month lag: build your mailing list
“Twitter doesn’t work,” a writer snaps at me. “It’s just a waste of time.”
When I first starting teaching writers how to write and make money (some 25 years ago) I talked about the three-month lag.
The lag means that the marketing you do today shows its biggest effects three months from today, and builds (as long as you keep marketing.)
Over the years, I kept hoping that somehow the Internet would get results from marketing faster, but sadly, that hasn’t happened. The three-month lag still exists. Looking on the bright side, ebook marketing is faster than it’s ever been — no more taking bags of stuffed envelopes and packages of marketing materials to the post office — but results still take time.
Which authors will keep marketing for three months without seeing a major boost in sales? Here’s the answer: the successful ones.
4. Use other people’s audiences: everyone wants and needs content
Guest blogging is an easy way to “borrow” others’ audiences in exchange for content. From How To Get Started With Free Travel When Your Blog is Brand New:
Did you know there are plenty of writers who don’t have their own blog and get free travel all the time? While I still believe in having a blog of your own, until it is well established you can “borrow” someone else’s audience to show value.
Look on guest blogging as advertising, and as with our first tip, use guest blogging to promote your mailing list, rather than individual titles.
Ebook marketing is an essential part of self-publishing
93,000 titles in 30 days…
How many of the authors who published those titles invest time and money in marketing? Some do, of course. The majority do not.
Your journey to success in self-publishing starts when you not only realize that ebook marketing is essential, but also do a little marketing every day.
Remember the three-month lag: start marketing your ebooks today — and have fun. 🙂
You're a busy author -- you don't have time to market your books, because you're busy writing.
Here's a cruel fact: unless you make time to market your books, you'll have minimal sales. Perhaps zero sales.More info →
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