I’ve had a lot of success marketing my own shareware, freeware and Websites over the years, but this is the first time I’m marketing my own ebook. What’s great about the Internet, is that the same basic principles apply to anything you market online. Here is some food-for-thought to help you with your own ebook marketing efforts.
1. Read the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide by Mark Coker. This is a “must read” free guide with some great ideas on how to market any ebook.
2. You’re going to need a press release. A very attractive formatted version and a plain text version. Many free press release submission sites use online forms instead of allowing you to upload a file, so that’s why you need both. The first two sentences in your opening paragraph are going to make or break your press release, so if you don’t have something that grabs a reader’s attention, it’s headed straight for the electronic trash bin. No Starch Press, McGraw Hill, and PeachPit have some good press release examples.
3. Get a blog site and plan on doing a lot more writing. WordPress is good. It’s super easy to use and best of all, it’s free. Here are some ideas for your blog:
- Provide more detailed information about your book than allowed for in the online bookstores. Post the table of contents and chapter summaries to generate interest in your book.
- Generate content that will draw people to your blog site, so they can take notice of you as a subject matter expert and to notice your book. Blog about your book, things related to your book or anything else for that matter. Inform, educate and entertain. By making your blog interesting and fun, someone may find you interesting enough to buy your book. Even if someone doesn’t buy your book, they may know or meet someone that can benefit from your book. Remember, word of mouth sells more books than anything else.
- Talk about your ebook marketing efforts. Information about ebook signings, radio shows, TV shows, interviews and advertisements, all generate interest in your book.
- Post quotes from readers, book reviewers and media coverage to influence those that are still deciding to buy your book.
- Provide links to resources for people to learn more about your subject matter.
4. Get a Twitter account. Find something to tweet about on a regular basis. Tweeting helps drive traffic to your Website. It also lets people know that you’re up on the latest and greatest regarding your subject matter without having to write an entire article.
5. Make sure to use extensive use of tags (keywords) for anything you publish online. Tags help direct people to your blog and other content you post online.
6. Give copies of your book to family, friends and colleagues to help spread the word about your book – but don’t expect any of these people to actually read your book or drop what they’re doing and read it right away. They may be excited and happy for you that you’ve published your book, but it might not be the type of book they find interesting. And do yourself and them a favor: Don’t ask them if they liked your book. If they read it and liked it, they’ll let you know they liked it. Don’t put them in a awkward situation to admit that they didn’t read your book – or lie that they like your book.
7. Submit articles to Websites and print media about your subject matter (not your book). This gives you and your book a lot of exposure to people who have an interest in your subject matter, but would not necessarily come across your book in an online bookstore or find their way to your blog. As with all such articles, your name, blog and email address will appear at the bottom of the article in the form of, “Mister Reiner is author of the book OWNED: Why hacking continues to be a problem.” I know – shameless plug, but what the heck. It’s my blog site.
8. Set realistic expectations. I know you’re excited about your book and want the world to absolutely love it, but the world isn’t going to love your book overnight unless you’re an established author with a large following. It’s going to take time and some real effort on our part for your book to reach it’s full sales potential. The more of everything you do above, the better your chances for making a sale – and vice versa. If sales of your book takes-off on day one and you can talk with your financial adviser about early retirement, that’s awesome – but don’t count on it. Every book is unique. Every book has its own marketing challenges.
9. Take breaks from your marketing efforts and relax. It’s one thing to be motivated, but overdoing it can get quite frustrating, especially if you don’t see immediate results based on your level of effort. You also don’t want to burn yourself out. Spend time with family and friends, get some exercise, take in a movie, go do what you love to do for fun, or just sit in a park and watch the world go by. You’ll feel refreshed and enthusiastic once you get back into your marketing efforts.
10. Turn rejection and negative criticism into a learning experience. Try to objectively understand the other party’s point of view and validate if their comments are true or false. Not everyone is going to love your book and have good things to say. That’s just the way it is. We all have different educations, backgrounds, interests, ideas, values, perspectives and opinions. There are all kinds of people out there that can benefit from reading your book. You just need to work on getting your book in front of the right people.
11. Acknowledge your hard work and success. You already know that writing a book is challenging. Getting people to read it is even more challenging. Every book you sell deserves a pat on the back for a job well done.
I hope these thoughts and ideas are helpful. I encourage you to share your thoughts, ideas and experiences about your ebook marketing efforts as well. That way, we can all help each other to be successful.