I’m going to assume that what you’re looking to do here is not just sell a few books but actually maximize your income from your books. If that’s the case, keep reading because you’re about to learn what you need to know to maximize your income from an ebook.
There are a few fundamentals you will have to master:
The first and most important choice to make when marketing an ebook is distribution. Where will readers find your book? It sounds like you’ve already published on Kindle, Nook and Smashwords which is a less-than-optimal strategy.
Most self-published authors find that they earn a much higher income (10-25% more) from publishing their ebooks exclusively on Kindle using Amazon’s KDP Select program. In KDP Select, you’re giving away your rights to distribute your ebook on any platform except Amazon for 90 days. Why would you do that?
a) Amazon is the #1 Store for Ebooks
Amazon controls 67% or more of the ebook market in the US and 79% or more in the UK, the two largest English-speaking ebook markets right now. By focusing on Amazon, you’re focusing on the largest distributor of ebooks in the world. In contrast, Barnes & Noble’s, the next closest competitor, has about 12% market share in the US.
b) Amazon Prime Borrows
Anyone who owns a Kindle and has Amazon Prime can “borrow” 1 book a month through the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library at Amazon.com: Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. It’s free for customers to borrow and read your book, but Amazon will pay you each time that happens, currently a little more than $2 a borrow. Not only do you earn income from each borrow, but each borrow counts as a “sale” in Amazon’s sales ranking algorithm. This means you’ll have a higher Sales Rank on Amazon and a better chance of getting your book on one of Amazon’s bestseller lists. And that means even more sales.
c) Brand Recognition and Focus
Almost everyone knows the Amazon and Kindle brands, making it easy for customers to find your book on Amazon. Far fewer people know about Nook, Smashwords, iBooks, Kobo or any of the other few thousand ebook distributors. With Kindle’s brand and focusing on just one marketplace, you can save a lot of time and money from formatting your books separately for each platform, re-updating books on other platforms, filling out tax forms for each distributor, and much, much more.
Basically with KDP Select, you’re making more money and spending less money and time. That’s just smart business.
If You Don’t Use KDP Select…
By now you should understand why it’s just a much better idea to use KDP Select and publish your ebook exclusively on Amazon. But if you decide not to anyways, you should at least publish on all the biggest distributors: Amazon, Barnes & Noble’s (Nook), Kobo, iBooks and Smashwords.
Once you’ve got your distribution down, it’s time to market your book. Again, this is where using KDP Select makes your life a whole lot easier (and more profitable).
Amazon has a new program launched on October 31, 2013 called Kindle Countdown Deals which allow you to schedule a promotion up to 7 days long at at least a one-dollar discount from your regular book price. Amazon promotes these Kindle Countdown Deals heavily and so far at TCK Publishing we’ve found that without any marketing whatsoever on our part, simply scheduling a Kindle Countdown Deal helped increase book sales on average more than 10x during the promotion period and increased sales after the promotion period ended as well.
Since you have to be enrolled in KDP Select to use a Kindle Countdown Deal, it’s just another reason why using KDP Select is a good idea.
A Few Free But Powerful Book Marketing Strategies
Contact Book Reviewers
Again, this is much, much easier on Kindle because of the size of Amazon’s customer base and how active their reviewers are. You can find literally millions of Amazon reviewers and contact them to let them know about your book and ask for a review.
Since contacting reviewers is free, and since many reviewers can not just add credibility to your book with a review but send new customers your way via their blogs and social media accounts, it’s a high-payoff marketing activity.
Here’s a short video tutorial on how to find the right Amazon reviewers for your books:
Create a Reader Group
You can create a reader group for your readers to connect with you and each other. This is a powerful marketing tool for many reasons. First of all, it’s totally free. You can start a group on Facebook, GoodReaders or wherever you want. I prefer Facebook since it’s so universal and sharing is built-in to the platform.
Just go to www.facebook.com/bookmarks/groups and click “Create Group” at the top. You can name the group after you or your book, whatever you prefer. Then add the link to your group at the end of your book and invite readers to join to connect with you and other like-minded readers.
I created a group for my book The Kindle Publishing Bible and it has become one of the largest groups for authors on Facebook with over 1,700 members and incredibly active group members. Everyone in the group loves it because they can connect and share with each other so it’s really a service I’m providing to readers, and it doesn’t cost me a dime!
Create Valuable Videos
Another great marketing strategy that’s free (if you have a smartphone or camera) is recording helpful videos for your readers. If you read non-fiction, this process will be incredibly easy for you. Simple take the top 10 FAQ’s from your customers or target audience and answer them in video form. Then mention your book at the end of your video and link to it in the book description.
For fiction writers, you may have to be a little more creative. You can read excerpts from your books or short stories or share your personal story of why you wrote your book(s) and what they mean to you.
At the end of the day, readers want to connect with authors and video is one of the most powerful ways to do that. If you create helpful, fun or entertaining videos for your target market, they will love you for it and end up buying more of your books.
Once you create your videos, you can upload them to YouTube, fill out the book descriptions so that readers know what the video is about and make sure to add a link to your book(s), website(s) and/or social media accounts.
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