If you’ve been following Joe Konrath’s blog, you know he’s been experimenting with ebook sales for a year now. And he’s had tremendous success so far.
In fact, he’s now advocating that writers should not ever sign away their ebook rights to a publisher, because they can make more money by listing the books electronically themselves.
But is his experience typical? To provide another view on ebook sales, Mark Terry has written a guest post on Joe’s blog detailing his experience with selling an ebook.
The overall summary?
Joe is certainly selling more copies of his ebooks than Mark. They both discuss the possible reasons why in the post and in the comments.
I think the main reason is that Joe has done a ton of promotion for his books, both print and electronic. (Sent 7000 letters to libraries, visited 1200 bookstores, did a 100-blog tour in a month, and traveled to 39 states speaking at writing conferences, conventions, and book fairs.)
If you want to have large ebook sales, promotion is a key component. People can’t buy a product they’ve never heard of.
Internet Promotion for Ebooks
If you have an ebook for sale on the Kindle or any other electronic distribution platform, try these suggestions for getting the word out about your ebook.
1. Put links on your website to all of the locations where readers can buy your ebook. Make the links prominent – put them in your sidebar and set up a page on your site with a description of the ebook and links to buy it. Make it easy for readers to find your book and get a copy.
2. Send an announcement about your ebook to your mailing list. If you don’t have a mailing list, start one on your website so you can gather email addresses of fans interested in your stories.
3. Post an announcement about your ebook on your blog.
4. Write a guest post for someone else’s blog and have a sentence about your ebook in your author bio at the end of the post.
5. Cross promote your ebook with another ebook author. Trade first chapters of each novel and place them at the end of the other person’s ebook as a teaser chapter. Be sure to include a link or location where your ebook can be purchased.
6. Give out free copies of your ebook. Yes, that seems counter-productive to making money with your ebook, but the more people that get hooked on your writing, the more future sales of your books, print and ebook. If you’re still leery of giving them away for free, look at Joe’s blog. He lists all of his ebooks as free downloads on his website and he’s still selling loads of them through the Kindle store.
7. Make subtle announcements about your ebook on your social media networks, like Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, as well as any genre sites, book tagging or review sites that you belong to.
8. If your ebook is on the Kindle, join the Kindleboards community and interact with Kindle readers. Put a link to your ebook in your forum signature.
Remember, you aren’t aiming for a hard sell. You just want to make people aware that you have an ebook out there. Ideally, you want to draw them in with a catchy description of the book to entice them into checking it out.
The more mentions of your ebook out in the Interwebs, the better the chances of new readers finding your stories.
What promotional methods have you used or seen used for electronic books? Did it work well or not so much?