Notes on marketing an e-book

Thought I’d make some notes about my recent efforts to sell my e-book, DEVIL’S REEF.  The book is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.  Smashwords offers all formats, and is useful for selling PDFs, Barnes & Noble is the Nook format, and of course if you have a Kindle, Amazon’s your jungle.  It seems like 97 percent of sales go through Amazon.

I created a blog (DEKarlson.com) and made a trailer, or a short video, using the video editing software that came with my Mac, with images and music I bought from photo and music agencies on the web. I also set up a Facebook page for the book, and a Twitter account.

I began by marketing the book through Facebook.  I made my profile picture the book cover, so people will always be reminded.  When I released the book, I notified all my Facebook friends, and some of them notified their friends, and I sold about 60 copies right off the bat.  Then sales tapered off as all my friends who were going to buy the book bought the book. My Facebook friend list can’t grow much bigger, but my Twitter follower list can! I began a Twitter campaign to drive people to my blog, where they can read about the book and link to Amazon.

Twitter definitely does drive traffic to my blog, and generate sales.  When I post a tweet,  I notice an uptick in blog traffic, and, sometimes, a sale or two.

I get my Twitter followers by following  people, and by being recommended by others. You can also use hashtags (#) to make words in your tweets searchable, and so drive people to your tweets (and then on to your blog). I try not to do any hard sell, just soft sell, like thanking someone for downloading the book, or notifying of a blog post, or just something funny or pithy – that probably works best. No one wants to be sold!

By the way, after about three months, I now have more than 1600 Twitter followers. One of my new Twitter friends even proofed the book and found typos I missed, and then recommended the book to her Twitter followers!

Gradually, I started getting good reviews, and I realized that at this point, that’s the most important thing, so I encouraged readers to write reviews on Amazon. I also began submitting free copies to bloggers who review books, and hope that pays off, I’ll let you know after they have time to read.

Just before Christmas I lowered the price from $2.99 to $.99.  This reduces the royalty from 70 to 30 percent, but I noticed that many of the big selling authors price their books at 99 cents.  However, I think a key concept to consider is that when someone buys a book, they’re spending more than money, they’re spending time, which is much more valuable. So it’s important to write a good book, make sure there are no typos, and get good reviews.

You can advertise e-books on Amazon’s and other blogs, and there is a Kindle book of the day, but it’s not free, and there’s a long waiting list. I decided not to go that way, for now.

Instead, I think what really sells the book is word of mouth.  Your mother tells some lady in the hairdresser, and she tells someone, and so on, and so on….  A friend down the street liked it so much he emailed 51 people!

That’s where it stands now.  I’m trying not to do too much marketing, as I have to get busy on the sequel!

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5 thoughts on “Notes on marketing an e-book

  1. You’ve got a good campaign going there. It seems to be working for a number of people and twitter is a great place to promote your work. Just checked it out on Amazon UK and it is only 76p! That’s less than a bottle of coke or some chocolate so I downloaded it!

    Best of luck.

  2. Thanks for the blog follow. I’m sailing in the Bahamas and can’t always get an internet connection, or at least one that’s good enough to check out blogs. Today is a good morning for it and i’m catching up on what I’ve missed. I look forward to reading your blog.

  3. Doug, It’s definitely a difficult and time consuming job to market one’s book. One thing that I have found effective is printing up business type cards citing my book, name, and the link to download it. Whereever we go, if I see someone with a Kindle or I-Pad, I have a discussion with them and give them a card. Hubby also carries my cards and has given out more than I have. People in the community have a sense of awe that an author would stop and talk to them. VBG

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