I saved the marketing topic for later, because it’s my least favorite aspect of the whole process.
I already touched on the three main areas to focus on with your ebooks in the previous entries about covers and descriptions:
Beyond those three things, you just have to put your ebook out there for the world to find.
It’s that last bit where things get a bit tricky. How do you let folks know about your work? How can they find your ebooks? And how do you do that without being that annoying voice shouting out in the void of the Internet to “Buy my ebooks!”?
Good questions! Let’s look at some ways you can market your ebooks effectively.
Add Extra Information in Each Ebook
In every ebook, in addition to the required copyright info at the beginning and the novel or story itself, I highly recommend you add the following:
- Your website, written out in URL format, such as http://michaeljasper.net. Put this near the beginning, so people who snag your free sample will see it.
- An Also By This Author section, listing other ebooks you currently have available (I focus on novels, and not stories, just so it’s not too much info there — be selective and focus on the books that matter most to you). Also put this close to the beginning, for the readers who picked up a sample.
- An About This Author section that includes a short bio, some of your other publications, your website, and any other information you may think readers would like. Don’t clutter this up with too many URLs — just keep it simple. Add this right after the end of the novel or story.
- Excerpts! I try to add 2 short novel excerpts to the end of every story, and sometimes to the end of a novel. Include a short description of the novel, a link to the ebook in Amazon or Smashwords (depending on the version of the ebook you’re uploading), and maybe 1,000 to 2,000 words of the novel for each excerpt.
- Finish off the ebook with another link to your website. This is your virtual headquarters, so let people know where to find you.
Add Kindle Tags to Help Readers Find Your Ebooks
After your ebook is available in the Kindle Store, you can help people find it by editing your tags.
Simply go to your ebook’s Amazon page and hit TT, or scroll down to the Tags Customers Associate with this Product section. Type in up to 15 keywords, including your name as a keyword.
Do a Novel Launch or Two
I’ve started doing this for the novels I already have in both ebook and trade paperback format — each month I do a blog about the novel, letting people know I’m “officially” launching it. Then I drop the ebook price from its usual $4.99 to just $.99. And I drop the print version from its usual $14.95 or $13.95 to $10.95 (or as low as I can go and still make a tiny bit of royalty off it).
I let people know (via my usual methods of communication — my website, Twitter, and Facebook) that the low prices are only in effect for a month. And then when the month is up, I set the prices at all my various digital distributors back to normal. If I have another novel to promote, I’ll use that novel for the next month’s Novel Launch.
The low prices are similar to the free stories — loss leaders. I’m not a big fan of dropping the prices on my novels that low, but I can handle it just for a month.
This month’s Novel Launch, by the way, is for my baseball novel The All Nations Team.
Create A Facebook Author Page
A Facebook Author page gives readers a place to go that’s all about your writing. For me, it’s nice having the distinction between my personal Facebook page (where I have pics of my family and yes, even our cats) and my writing stuff, which goes on my Author page.
I have my RSS feed for this blog set to create a page in my Notes section of my Facebook Author page, for instance, and not my personal Facebook page.
You can set one up if you’re a member of Facebook by clicking the Create a Page link at the bottom of the Facebook page. Use these categories: People, Author.
So check out my Facebook Author page and click Like, if you would. 🙂
Set Up and Use an Email Newsletter
Lots of folks who are way better at marketing than I am insist you gather email addresses (by letting people “opt in” or subscribe) via a newsletter.
To be honest, I haven’t done this yet, but I probably will in the coming year. I really like the way author Zoe Winters encourages people to subscribe to her newsletter — she gives them a coupon for a free novella when they join up. Great idea!
Consider sending out an email newsletter maybe once a month or so, or every time you have a big release coming out. You never know when Facebook might change their format or start making you pay to use it, for example, and then you’d lose all your connections to your fans.
Other Marketing Resources
If you feel ambitious (and have the time), you can always experiment and try to do a bit more marketing and promo.
I recommend the following books for some great ideas on marketing:
- The Indie Journey, Scott Nicholson
- Smart Self-Publishing, Zoe Winters
- Let’s Get Digital: How to Self-Publish, David Gaughran
Back to the Making Digital Books Table of Contents.
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