How to Market an eBook Like a Pro
Writing an eBook is quite a challenge in itself, but the project doesn’t end when you press the publish button. In fact, the hard work often starts when the book is finished. Marketing an eBook like a professional can be a rather tricky and time-consuming task. But with the below tips on marketing your eBook, you can get the job done smoothly and have fun in the process.
BEFORE YOU START MARKET YOUR EBOOK
Before we start examining the key strategies you need to implement for eBook promotion, you need to consider a few things. Essentially, you must decide on the marketing budget you want to use and the specific strategies you want to use.
First, you need to decide how much money are you willing to spend on marketing the eBook. Marketing costs can easily vary from $0 to above $1,000. Therefore, you don’t want to rush into your project only to realize later what you’ve spent.
Spending more money doesn’t automatically guarantee results; so don’t feel like you have to spend money in order to achieve higher reader numbers. The correct budget depends mostly on what you are able to spend, as well as the strategies you feel are the most effective.
The second thing you must figure out before marketing your eBook relates to the strategies. You should identify the routes you prefer to use so that you can create a time plan and set goals for your marketing campaign.
We’ll explore these strategies below, but before you start using them, you should create a Plan of Action for each step. A Plan of Action is a simple spreadsheet outlining the required steps and the actions you’ve taken. It’ll help you stay on top of your marketing efforts and makes it easier to track results.
For example, for targeting eBook blogs for promotion, you would list all the appropriate blogs you’ve discovered, the method of contact for each blog and then sections to imply whether you contacted them and if they agreed to promote your eBook.
Finally, you should also establish goals for your marketing. You can’t know whether your eBook marketing is going according to plan without determining what is a success and what is a failure.
In order to establish a goal, answer the following questions:
- What does marketing success look to you? Receiving more clicks, selling an x-amount of books or receiving more positive reviews, for example.
- What about marketing failure? Poor reviews, only x-amount of clicks, not passing a certain sales figure, for instance.
- What are your book sales objectives in terms of sales numbers? How many eBooks do you want to sell on the first week, first month and the first six months?
UNDERSTAND YOUR READER
Like with any marketing, eBook marketing should always start by better understanding who is the person you are selling to. If you don’t know the target market for your eBook, your marketing efforts won’t be as focused.
Without an appropriate understanding of the reader, you might use tactics and channels that don’t appeal to your reader and therefore, you won’t sell as many books as you otherwise might. For example, eBook marketplaces, such as Amazon, can be great for reaching out to millions of readers, but if you are selling to a niche market, this route might yield lesser results.
In fact, if you are writing fiction, the larger eBook marketplaces like iEBookstore and Amazon would be better, as you can target mass audiences and the readership is interested in cheaper priced books aimed at their reading preferences.
On the other hand, niche eBooks can sell more on blogs, since the target reader is likely going to value the information more highly. Since the person is also reading a blog on the topic, they are likely to want to know more about the subject and therefore, buy the book.
TIME YOUR EBOOK RELEASE
Before you hit the publish button, you should rethink the timing of the release, as you can use it for promotional purposes. There might be events going on that can easily be linked with your eBook and the buzz around the specific topic could spill out to your sales as well.
Let’s say you’ve written a book about athletics. Releasing it near the Olympics is naturally a good idea as people will be interested in finding out more about the topic. If your eBook is about leadership, then a big election could be a way to tie the topical news to your book.
Therefore, when you are writing the book and almost ready to publish it, take a moment to figure out if there are things going on in the world that everyone’s talking about and which relate to your book. If necessary, you could even push the publication by a few weeks just to maximize the exposure.
Once you’ve found a particular hot topic, which ties to your eBook, use it as a promotional opportunity. Contact local media, including radio and newspaper to offer your expertise on the topic. You can even write a short analysis of the subject to online publications like Buzzfeed and mention your upcoming or newly released book in the article.
If the chatter is centered on social media, then use the appropriate hashtags while promoting your new eBook. For example, if you had the book about leadership, you might use the hashtags for the upcoming US Presidential Election and promote your book with Tweets and posts like: “What does it take to be a leader? #USElection2016”, “5 qualities of a good leader and do the #candidates in #USElection2016 have them?” and so on.
NAIL DOWN PRICING
The first rule of pricing your eBook: a higher page count of your eBook does not mean the value of the book should go up. The price is based on the content and its value to the reader, not on the amount of words you can write.
Overall, you should understand the eBook audiences in general tend to be price sensitive. This is one of the reasons Amazon’s eBooks are mostly priced around $9.99. But depending on what you are offering, the price could be lower or higher.
How to nail down pricing? If you are a newcomer and publishing your first eBook, you might want to consider keeping the prices down. This can help more people to actually pick it up and to respond to it. This can generate more chatter and reviews, which can be valuable in the long-term.
Once you’ve gained a good following of fans and people who actively follow your website or engage with your business, you can increase the prices a bit. When people know you and your style, they already know what sort of value to expect from your eBook. This then allows you to increase the price.
Watch the below interview with author Bob Mayer on his thoughts about eBook pricing and finding the right price:
CONSIDER HANDING OUT YOUR EBOOK FOR FREE
One of the most crucial aspects of eBook marketing is about gaining momentum. The interest you are able to generate will help introduce new people to your product and guarantee you are able to sell your book. Gaining momentum essentially means you need plenty of people sharing and commenting on your book at once.
The fastest route to it is by giving away the eBook for free, but only for a limited period. This can help generate more word of mouth, it lowers the barrier for people to pick it up and read it, and this creates the short-term momentum, which you can then use for later gains.
Even if you can’t generate high sales figures, you will generate interest and awareness. These are crucial for long-term exposure, as people will be willing to pay for the next eBook since they know the value your books provide them with.
A good way to generate even more buzz around your free eBook is to launch a free giveaway. You can use sites like Goodreads or LibraryThing to reach out to larger audiences than just handing it out on your website.
Finally, if giving out the whole eBook sound too much for you, you can just allow readers to preview the first two chapters for free. If you’ve managed to write a compelling, quality eBook, a few free chapters can hook the reader and make them want to buy the whole book.
SEEK OUT REVIEWS
The marketing focus should be on generating reviews, as you start selling your eBook. Reviews can ultimately be the deal breaker on whether or not the book succeeds – but instead of hiding away from the reviews, you need to focus on getting them on your side.
If you have room in your marketing budget, consider pursuing paid book reviews. These are not about paying for positive reviews, but aimed at guaranteeing your book gets enough reviews for people to take notice.
You can find paid book review opportunities through:
In addition, you can hand out your eBook for free to anyone who provides you an honest review afterwards. You can do so on your website or offer the book on a specific community forum, for example. Consider also providing your reviewers with tips on leaving reviews to ensure the process is smooth for them.
A good way to generate more reviews is by organizing a competition or a give-away. You could provide a gift for the best review (based on detail and depth-of analysis about the book). The gift can be another eBook on the topic, a company product (if you have those) or a gift card for eBook website, such as Amazon.
Remember to avoid hiding from negative reviews. Instead, try to understand where it’s coming from and in some instances, it might be helpful to respond to it. If you feel the reviewer didn’t understand your argument or they are presenting false information, you can thank them for the review and respond to the claims they make. Just remember to stay calm, be respectful and polite.
The benefit of responding to negative reviews is twofold. First, you show people that you are interested and appreciative of all reviews, and willing to learn. Second, you also respond to any inaccurate claims to ensure other people don’t start believing the false information.
COMBINE THE EBOOK WITH OTHER PRODUCTS
You should also boost your marketing efforts by offering the reader a wider experience. You don’t just have to sell an eBook, but give the reader an unforgettable and valuable encounter.
The other products and services you can easily combine with eBooks include:
- Creation of videos on the book’s topic – These could be little snippets of information on the era or location of your fictional book, or how-to guides around a niche topic, such as social media.
- Organizing of events for public reading and author meet-ups – You should contact local libraries and other such places for the option of having public readings of your book.
You should contact appropriate organizations and groups for this as well. For example, books about sports could interest a local gym or wellness centre and books about women in business might appeal to the local entrepreneur and small business guilds.
- Generating tutorials based on the book’s subject – These can be videos, meet-up events or blog posts delving deeper into the topic.
- Designing an infograph around the book – Infographs are something people like sharing and it can spark the person’s interest towards finding out more about the topic of your book.
You can even make these for a fictional eBook. For example, an infograph around the book’s characters or even the topic or location. If your book deals with mental health, for instance, you can create informative infographs on the subject matter.
You should also consider whether your eBook could be turned into a series. You can keep the readers more engaged if they know there’s something to look forward to.
PROMOTE YOU EBOOK
The above points will help you kick-start your eBook marketing. For further promotional advice, check out these additional two tips.
Share the story behind the eBook
Your marketing shouldn’t only focus on outlining what the book has to offer. You want to promote the book on the back of a wider brand: you.
People are often interested in the stories and personal backgrounds of the authors. In the era of social media, authors like Stephen King, Paolo Coelho and Angela Duckworth have plenty of followers interested in all aspects of the author’s life, not just the books.
Whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction, people will be interested to know what inspired you to write this particular book and on the specific subject. In the case of non-fiction books, you should especially focus on sharing your expertise with the readers. People will be asking questions like “Why are you the authority to write about this subject” and you want to share the reasons through your own story.
If you brand yourself and promote your own brand, you can generate interest on the eBook as well.
Blog about the eBook
Finally, you must use your website and blog for marketing purposes. Don’t just include a link to buy the eBook on your site, but regularly talk about the book and remind readers to buy it. The blog posts can help generate interest around the eBook and bring you more publicity.
You can generate plenty of content around the eBook. It’s possible to write about the writing process and the things you learned from the process. You can share tips about self-publishing and about the journey of creating an eBook. Not to mention the blog posts you can generate on the actual topic of the eBook.
Ensure you have an email list of your readers, both new and old, to make promoting easier. You want to engage your readers with new content, keep them interested in promoting your eBook and to inform them of any new eBooks you are writing.
Furthermore, you want to get your eBook mentioned in other blogs. There are specific blogs focused on presenting new eBooks in different fields. These include:
You can contact the sites and ask about promotional opportunities.
Additionally, try getting in touch with blogging communities related to your subject matter. Identify the famous bloggers on the subject and contact them with the opportunity to write a review of your book.
You can find these blogs by typing “[your topic] blogs” to Google. You can also use keywords. For instance, if your eBook is about social media, you can search “social media blogs” and contact blogs that seem the most suited for promotion.
As mentioned in the first section, a spreadsheet with information about the different blogs and contact details will make the process smoother. Monitor who you’ve contacted, what their response was to ensure you could promote any possible mentions in your own social media channels.
The above strategies can be helpful in getting the word out of your eBook. Following the tips will ensure you direct your focus on the right strategies and you’ve hopefully gotten ideas on which tactics might work best in your case.
But above all, you need to remember that marketing your eBookis much easier if you have a solid, quality book to sell. You can try all sorts of strategies, but if the eBook doesn’t offer quality for the reader in terms of value or emotional experience, you won’t be able to sell enough copies of it. While you might be able to cause a stir, you can’t keep up the buzz.