The author of He Said/She Said, Erin Kelly wrote a very passionate love letter to eBooks in one of the articles she penned for The Guardian in 2018. In fact, she referred to them as a godsend, especially as they increase accessibility to books and literature of all kinds.
In just the past few years, eBooks have become mainstream within the various types of digital media consumed. What started with Kindle and e-readers turned into Amazon Publishing and online writing platforms such as Wattpad.
Today, ebooks are a great way for industry experts and aspiring authors to bring their ideas into existence, sending a piece of their skills and abilities for their relevant audience to take value out of.
For those who are masters of their trade, having spent decades within an industry, ebooks offer an accessible medium for such aficionados to build authority within their field, gain online traction, and even turn it into a source of passive income.
But in order to get to the point where you can consider an ebook a best-seller, you need to strategize from step zero. By doing your homework and writing the best book possible, you can self-publish and then continue to sell thousands of copies of your masterpiece.
Here are a few pointers to remember while writing and selling your ebook.
Beginning at Step Zero
Unbeknownst to first-time ebook writers, there is, in fact, a step zero when it comes to writing and publishing your first ebook. Whether you choose to publish it through Amazon’s Kindle Direct or on your own site, you have to start right.
There are two most effective ways to, sort of, beta test your eBook before you even begin writing it. Yes, even before you put down any words.
The first is more so for research. The process is simple yet very effective in determining whether there is even an audience for the niche of your ebook or not. Open Amazon’s Best Sellers in Kindle eBooks Page, and then continue to choose the category your ebook will focus on.
For our example, we have chosen history.
Then continue to choose a niche within the category. We chose Europe here. You can go further and choose an even narrower niche and then open the first book.
Once you have to the ebook’s page opened, scroll down to where the details about the eBook are published. This is where you can see how the book ranks within related categories. Anything under the 10,000 rank is a good sign. Erik Larson’s book here is a definite top-tier seller within relevant categories and niches.
By doing so, you can get a picture of whether there is an audience for an ebook in the category you have chosen. Unlike books published by well-established authors, such as Erik Larson here, not every author has an audience anticipating a release. You have to do a little bit of digging and research to make sure you will be able to sell it later on.
One way people do that is by crowdfunding their eBook. This is not a step necessary for your ebook’s success. We mention it to bring light to one way it is done in the market. Or you can create a landing page for your book, apply some SEO strategy and at least get the name of your book out in the cloud.
Writing the Best Book Possible
There is a lot of subjectivity when it comes to determining what the best ebook or book is. We will not talk about the metric or the intricate details of what makes your ebook perfect. In fact, we will just give you a few basic pointers that may seem obvious but are often missed.
The first one is doing your research ad coming up with an attractive topic. You can include buzzwords or keywords in the title, in fact, it’s recommended, but not in a very obvious manner.
Make it so that the title is obvious in telling what the book is about but tempting enough to keep the potential reader interested.
One of the tricks ebook writers use is writing the ebook around buzzwords or keywords. This works well on two levels: number one, it is relevant to whatever is searched most about your particular topic; and second, it’s effective for increasing your visibility on search engines.
Both marketing and consumer/reader perspectives are covered with this one strategy.
The second step once you’ve written the book is editing and formatting. You would be surprised at the number of potentially great ebooks out there with helpful content but lacking proper editing or formatting necessary for presentation, readability, and consistency of flow. Having professional ebook editors going through it again will give your content a third-party review necessary for picking up spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, plot or content holes, etc.
Once the content is complete and finalized, it’s the cover you need to work on. You have to ensure that it is eye-catching and attractive enough to keep a reader interested. Get professional cover designers to do it for you.
This will be highly effective in persuading those who are motivated visually.
The Right Price
Pricing is a big point of debate among ebook authors. Since the delivery model is not as complicated as with conventional ebooks, authors often uncomfortable pricing their books too high.
If you price too high, you risk not getting enough buyers. Too low and you risk your profitability. So what’s the happy medium?
One answer – research!
Amazon, Kindle and other self-published portals that sell books similar to yours will be a great point of reference. Skim the market to see what is out there. Charge a fair price based on the perceived value your ebook offers.
If you want to charge a little more, you can either create packages or make use of Kindle Select for regular promotional offers. You don’t want to be in a race where competitors are valued at $0.99.
The Promotion Begins
Whether you’ve chosen to self-publish solely on Amazon or on your own, you need a platform on which to build your promotional campaigns. You can’t have a beautifully decorated cake without a sturdy cake stand!
Begin by creating a website and relevant social media accounts. You don’t have to sell your book directly on your website if you’re choosing the KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) route. Instead, you can use it to redirect traffic and keep your emailing list appraised of updates on the ebook.
The first reminder when it comes to social media is to pick your battleground carefully. It’s true, not every niche audience uses all social media platforms.
For example, there’s a high possibility that an ebook on baby clothes will be more appropriately promoted on Facebook and Instagram than Tumblr or Twitter.
So, when you make social media accounts, a little market research goes a long way. This is not to say you should completely avoid other platforms. The aim here is to emphasize prioritizing the platforms. Put more effort into those platforms where most of your audience exists.
Social media promotions, especially if you’re providing a discount, can work quite well in increasing the visibility of your ebook.
If you’re publishing on Amazon or just making it a secondary selling point, use the author pages to the full extent. From the book’s description to about the author, use the space available to maximize SEO. It also helps improve your image as an author because your audience will be able to find some answers.
An Email List
This is not the run-of-the-mill cold calling-style email marketing campaign. Instead, this is directed at a more carefully curated list of individuals within your network. There is no doubt that there is a learning curve and a battle to be won with email marketing. But, with a professional ebook marketer’s help, you can manage it.
Reviews are like an old wives’ tale within the realm of digital and internet marketing. In fact, more than 84% of people have affirmed their trust in reviews prior to making an online purchase.
For your book, you can reach out to some of your contacts or early readers, requesting they leave reviews on Amazon or elsewhere. This helps SEO and also creates a – hopefully – good word of mouth for your book.
Pay-per-click is one way of promoting your ebook. Ads on Google, Amazon, Facebook, and various other forms of online adverts are a great way to give your online presence a boost. Yes, this will require an investment of sorts because they are paid advertisements, but it’s money well spent.
This is for those authors who are using KDP for their ebook publication. KDP Select allows authors to offer ebooks for a reduced price for a limited period of time. When you do offer the ebooks for a discount, you can use social media campaigns to promote the offer.
Other Marketing Activities
This can include writing guest blogs on websites suitable to your niche, approaching podcasts, leveraging Quora by answering questions relevant to your subject and linking the ebook in your answers, and trying to connect with people you have mentioned in the ebook.
These tips are specifically meant for ebook categories that focus on educational, advisory or insightful ebooks. For fiction, approaching online book groups and the bibliophile community of influencers and amateurs can be effective.
And lastly, leverage your existing community or network. If your non-fiction ebook is more professional in nature, reach out to your network of employees, partners, colleagues, etc. to spread the word.
Today, when there is a definite surge in the popularity and use of ebooks among readers, there is no better time to write and publish your ebook. You don’t have to write a long drawn out piece of literature.
Find your expertise or niche and build authority within the field, demonstrating your particular expertise. With these tips and a professional ebook writer or editor, you have a chance of turning your idea into a success that will eventually open new doors for progress and growth.