With the increasing popularity of e-books, self-publishing can be a smart way to make a living or generate a decent passive income, if you’re doing it the right way. It’s not the number of books you put your name on that matters, but the quality of your content and the marketing strategy you adopt in order to become more visible online and increase your e-book’s sales.
Making your publications easily available and taking advantage of the free tools and opportunities available out there sounds like an easy task for someone who’s well connected and active on most of the popular social networking platforms. Yet, lots of beginning writers struggle to sell their books to people who aren’t their relatives or friends.
While there’s no universal strategy for marketing a book online, there are a couple of things you can do for increasing your work’s visibility and boosting your e-book’s sales.
1. Be where your clients are
You don’t enter a coffee shop to buy flowers, and don’t browse through medical books if your purpose is to learn how to code. Neither do your clients, so if you want to sell a design book, start by finding out where your potential clients hide.
Join forums, discussion groups and communities dedicated to designers, and don’t neglect the online learning platforms that offer a place for chatting. Become active there and position yourself as an authority in your niche, but don’t be pushy; instead of asking everyone to buy your book, add a link in your signature, make your website’s address visible and offer free advice whenever possible.
2. Give for free, but don’t be cheap
Offering free e-books or sample chapters to a limited number of clients, or for a precise time interval can be an excellent marketing strategy, but make sure your customers know that they’re getting a valuable piece of content.
If your book is priced $50 on Amazon and you’re giving away 100 pieces, the lucky winners will know they received an item that’s worth talking about, and will spread the news if they’re happy with the book’s quality. On the other hand, giving away free samples of a book that sells for $1 won’t generate too much buzz.
3. Optimize your e-book and make it easy to find
Making your book available on Amazon and other similar platforms is definitely useful, as it allows you to reach a larger number of potential clients. However, adding the publication to online stores is not enough for generating sales. If you want people to find it and to become interested in your work, you need to optimize it by adding keywords that will allow you to target a specific public.
If you’re selling a recipe book, make sure the title is relevant, pick the right gender or category, add a relevant description that contains enough keywords and add the metadata to the original file. A line that reads “20 breakfast Paleo recipes ready in 30 minutes” is more likely to catch one’s attention and to be found than the simpler version “20 recipes ready in 30 minutes”.
4. Don’t neglect social media
A quick way to boost the visibility of your book is to encourage people to share it on social media channels. Add share buttons, or give your customers the chance to get the book in exchange of a tweet, share or comment.
5. Connect with bloggers and ask for reviews
There are hundreds of bloggers out there who write book reviews and have an engaged audience. Get in touch and offer them a free sample and exposure on your blog or social media pages, in exchange of an honest review. Always think win-win.
6. Create a responsive landing page
Regardless of the e-commerce platform you choose for selling your work, it’s still good to have a separate landing page for your book, as it makes it easier for people to share, bookmark and order. Moreover, you can advertise multiple books at once, and can modify the descriptions and prices easier.
Choose a beautiful design, add all the relevant information – including your personal website’s address, and make the link to purchase visible. Offering the option to preorder is also an excellent technique for boosting your marketing efforts and sales.
7. Build an author page
Having an author page on Amazon’s Author Central or Goodreads’ Author Program allows you to promote yourself and your work at the same time. You can add information about your published books and keep your customers updated through videos, photos and blog entries, while receiving support from trained staff.
8. Use videos and distribute them wisely
You don’t need a movie to promote your book, but a 2-minute video previewing your work or a series of teaser trailers can do wonders for your newly published content, especially if you include your website’s URL and the book’s landing page coordinates in the video. Post your short clips on several channels, but distribute them wisely, so as to target the right audience and ignite the readers’ curiosity.
9. Be ready to follow up
Once a customer purchases your book, be ready to follow up with a thank you note, and ask for their feedback. It’s easier to obtain testimonials and reviews from people who know that you value their opinion, and they can turn into active promoters of your books, if they love your work and personality.
10. Market yourself, not just the book
Where I live there’s a club whose tagline is “Things happen”. Be where things happen and market yourself, and your business. Take part in related events and carry business cards with you. If you have the chance to pitch your book to an agent or potential reseller, do it. Also, make sure your website and social media pages look professional and are up-to-date.
[tweetquote]If you find a horseshoe, use it, don’t wait for the horse to appear. [/tweetquote]
Don’t wait for people to magically discover your work, look for opportunities and take them as they arise.
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