eBook Marketing for First-Time Authors and Self-Publishers

eBook Marketing for First-Time Authors and Self-Publishers
eBook Marketing for First-Time Authors and Self-Publishers

I’ve been on Reddit and TheFastlaneForum lately and it seems like so few people actively think about marketing their new masterpieces. Of those that do think about it, many find it the most difficult part of self-publishing. Without further ado, here’s eBook marketing for both first-time authors and self-publishers.

The 4 Ps of Marketing Your eBook

PRODUCT

Includes the book cover, the title, and the description or blurb. The whole presentation of the book. I’ve written here about how to get a book cover, and here about how to create a title.

The blurb is a science all on its own. Generally, you want to include four items in your blurb when writing fiction:

  1. Situation Our heroes need to make it to the mountain to drop off a ring
  2. Problem A whole bunch of jerks stand in their way
  3. Possibility Can the motley crew of travelers fight off the jerks?

Keep your blurb short, between 5-15 sentences.

When in doubt, reference other books. See how other authors in your genre are doing things and get inspired by them. Don’t reinvent the wheel, especially for your first few releases if you’re largely unknown.

Take yourself out of the writer’s chair and into the reader’s. What entices you to buy a book? Do that. Pretend you have to convince someone to read your book in 20 seconds or less.

Don’t forget to include a call to action at the end. Tell the potential reader to buy the book.

Protips: Avoid hyperboles and cliches. Don’t sound like a generic knock-off of a book in your genre.

Notice it says nothing about the content of the book, although you can’t wrap a turd in a box and sell it for long (unless you’re Cards Against Humanity).

PRICE

$0.99 or $2.99+? This is a bit controversial, but whatever you pick, know you picked the right decision.

I’m just going to assume your major distributor is going to be Amazon, so the biggest difference between $0.99 and $2.99+ is the royalty rate. If the price is between $2.99 and $9.99, you receive 70% royalties. Anything outside of that nets you 35%.

Just know that the difference in sales between $0.99 and $2.99 are mostly the same. If you’re trying to make money, you’ll need to sell roughly 5 copies of a book priced at $0.99 to receive the same royalty as if you sold 1 copy of your $2.99 book.

They are both less-than-premium prices as well. It makes if you have a short story or novella to price it low. If you have a novel, have a bit of fun with the price. Go up to $5 and see if it affects sales at all. Create a premium price for a premium product.

It’s hard to stand out with the same price point as every other indie author.

Think about coffee prices. You can get a cup of coffee for free at the office which tastes like shit, but I guarantee if you get that same cup of coffee at a Starbucks or Caribou Coffee for $3 it will taste a lot better. Something about psychology.

Just know that when you price super low, you’re not winning your customers, you’re buying them.

PLACEMENT

Where do you publish your eBooks at? Do you go the KDP Select route and stick with Amazon for 90 days minimum or “go wide” and use services like Smashwords or Draft2Digital to publish to many storefronts at once?

Regular readers will know how I feel about KDP Select, at least for people who have been publishing for a bit.

For beginners, KDP Select can be beneficial. You can focus more on writing than the technical aspect of self-publishing, means you only have to format for one storefront. The 5-day free promotion can be advantageous if you have a plan in place.

PROMOTION

How do you plan on promoting your book? The absolute minimum I recommend is having a mailing list, which gives you the ability to notify people about new releases.

Mailchimp is my mailing list of choice, as it’s free up until you meet certain thresholds (something like 2,000 subscribers and/or 12,000 e-mails sent in a month). I use the paid version, which starts at $10/month, so I can create automated e-mails that send whenever someone joins my list.

You should also have an author website to serve as a hub for your readers. If you already have a website created for yourself and you don’t plan on writing under a pen name, even better.

Take your mailing list link and website and put it in the back of your book with a call to action. Your end of book information could look something like this.

Thanks for reading my first book! To stay up to date with all new releases from me, please subscribe to my mailing list below and you will be the first to know about all new stories!

Click here to join my mailing list!

I have also started a website. Please be kind and visit, let me know what you think!

www.authorwebsite.com

If you enjoyed this story, please be kind and leave a review on Amazon. This will not only help me by receiving feedback, but lets me know what you, the reader, want to see next.

Once again, thank you for reading this, and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it.

Paid versus free promotions?

Unless you know how to create ads and have a budget allocated to paid advertising or have an agency working for you, I recommend sticking to free methods until you start making money, then turning that money around and using it for advertising.

There’s nothing worse than spending a few hundred dollars on Facebook ads and not seeing a recognizable return.

On Facebook, tell your friends and family about the book. Don’t be scared. Find groups that are relevant to your book, but don’t just spam them with advertisements. Join the conversation for a while.

When using groups, use link shortening software to track clicks. Use Bitly, Tiny, or Goo.gl. Why? No point to continue posting on the groups that don’t deliver. Stick to the top deliverers to optimize your time.

On Twitter, find handles that deal with book promotions and mention them like crazy. Search for them on the top right of the screen or just click here to go there now. Search words like free ebooks, kindle books, and book promotions.

When you start paying for advertisements, be sure to split test everything. What this means is instead of having one single advertisement running, do a few at the same time with variations of one, then choose the best performing one or continue tweaking it.

For example, you might have two images you want to use and two titles. Run four ads at the same time at your daily budget divided by four for a few days. Find the winner, then dump all your budget into that one ad.


The bare basics of marketing your ebook, the 4 Ps. With this quick guide you should be able to set up your own plan to get your book into the eyes of readers.

Because how will anyone read your book if they don’t know about it?

Big dawgs gotta market.

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Justin Charnell

King of Spades at Onyx Defiant
I spend my time working out when I feel like it, being a gorgeous webmaster, and learning things. Former Marine, total POG (0651). I drink too much. PlayStation 4 on occasion. Gummy multivitamins and gallon jugs of water.
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