Want to Sell Ebooks but it’s slow going? Here’s what to do…

ebooks wired to mouseFor authors who sell ebooks, it’s often a real challenge to begin the process. The hardest part can be coming up with ideas to jump-start sales. Ultimately a book that sells well will generate reviews, referrals and more sales. So how do you go from just starting out to selling ebooks in quantities that matter?

Asking this question to a group of writers who frequent a site called Authonomy prompted many great answers. Please note the author’s name and her/his book link accompanies the advice which reads in italics.

Question: what to do when ebooks sales are slow?

K. A. Jordan, author of Let’s Do Lunch, gives a few quick tips. She says, Stay visible, don’t spam, get the book reviewed on an Indie friendly book blog… I’m on Nook boards, Kindle boards, Goodreads, Facebook and Authonomy…. I also have my book links on my email signature.

Having an online presence in many forums (including emails) without spamming sounds very wise indeed.

Sarah R. Yoffa, author of Coming Home, says, Successful authors don’t just sell books; they build communities, have followings, are personable but not personal, are professional but not businesslike, are fun but not too silly (okay, a little silly at times but not all the time or you lose credibility; none of the time and you seem to have no sense of humor)… The Amazon Kindle Communties, Nook Boards and Goodreads are all great places to mingle–but Goodreads is a no-sales-safe place. Respect that and they’ll click through your posts to buy your book. ALWAYS put your book’s link into your sig. Keep it in a text file on your desktop so you can copy/paste it into posts in places that don’t let you set one up by default… Facebook (a Page, not a personal profile) is a good place for building a private community but be aware that not everyone in the world is on Facebook (I know, hard to believe!) so don’t make that your #1 or exclusive destination for news. More people are tweeting than doing Facebook FWICT and Twitter trends go viral really fast. Learn to use the Twitter hashes for trending topics (# for hashes and @for mentions)… If you’re already on Goodreads and would like to share buzz, please friend me. I’m releasing my first book on March 21 and will start to build up my Goodreads profile... You can also put a video onto YouTube. One caution, though, a bad video trailer for a book will work against you and YouTube is full of bad things being shared so as to make fun of how bad they are.Amazon Kindle

Okay, Sarah is echoing online presence without spamming. She’s also talking about professional relationship building, which is exactly what many of my readers appreciate the most. YouTube videos are smart, as many readers have found me from my videos, even though they’re far from Oscar quality. This Twitter # (hash tag thing) is a confusing entity for many, and we’ll be hearing about it again below.

Gerald Hornsby, author of Bleak Midwinter Tales, says, Participate in something called #SampleSunday. The hashtag is a clue to the fact that it’s a Twitter-based promotional tool. The idea is that you publish a sample of your writing to your blog, and ‘Tweet’ the link using the above hashtag. I’ve got some brilliant feedback from fellow writers using this. Have a look at my blog for examples of my #SampleSunday pieces at http://geraldhornsby.wordpress.com/

Very wise advice. If you go to Twitter, in the search box type #samplesunday to find plenty of info.

Barnes&Noble NookThis one seems like a final resort though maybe it shouldn’t be since it has worked wonders for some authors. Consider this great advice from Jennifer Bogart, author of Remember Newvember. She says, What about offering a free upload for a limited time? …people like to receive things for free. If those that do download it offer up a review, then you are on your way with word-of-mouth promotion.

In fact some authors have experienced tens of thousands of downloads in less than a month when offering free ebooks. This could be especially brilliant for an author with a sequel or a series of books, as happy readers are likely to continue with an author and characters they enjoy.

Brooklyn Writer, author of On the Verge, says, The people who have done really well, the Amanda Hockings, Stephen Leathers, etc have a few things in common:
-fast paced commercial GENRE fiction with great openings and hooks
-lowest Kindle price
-forum presence (but this could get overwhelming)
-multiple books and/or series.
-blog that also creates a fan base and attracts readers

Here we see great recommendations including adding a blog to the online presence, engaging the readers right off the bat with blurbs, hooks and sequels, and having very low prices. Amanda Hocking is on her way to millions by selling books at 99 cents.

ebooks on pcDon A. Martinez, author of The Advance Guard, says, Find a local writers’ guild who might be able to offer support for their membership. This can include (but usually isn’t limited to) financial support in the form of purchases. A member of my home writers’ association (http://www.etwritersassn.com) tends to only buy Kindle/Nook e-media books, while offering her own in both traditional and electronic formats. She bought a copy of my own e-book after I offered it on Kindle.

Writers tend to read and help, so being active in writing communities is a great way to network and share your books.

Siamzathang’a Hauzel Sailo, author of Lallula, Fairies and Super Beings: In a Mysterious Land: How to Become a Wiseman and a Superhero, says, I would join, register or publish in as many places as possible…. You can also publish with http://youwriteon.com to make it available to order through leading bookstores in UK…. I think http://myspace.com is also a good place… Spread about your book to whoever and wherever you can… And do mention and add a link to your other book(s) in your free book (if you give them away). If people don’t know, how will they come and take it even if it is a diamond? So, if you are on http://twitter.com make followers. And http://twiends.com?i=shsailo (my referal link) is the best site I ever found to increase followers for twitter and likers for http://facebook.com.

Good additions. Many authors don’t think of MySpace, but they have writing/reading groups similar to Facebook. Didn’t know about Twiends either.

This was helpful. I plan to return to this topic with a new post and tips in the future.

What do you think?

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8 Responses to “Want to Sell Ebooks but it’s slow going? Here’s what to do…”

  1. Carrol Wolverton Says:

    Have used your tips a lot. Thanks. Latest ebook effort is YA novel, Raylaina, the story of a teen with an abusive boyfriend. 99 cents on Kindle. It’s a good story with a powerful message. Book is designed for young women active in the dating scene. So far, it’s selling quite well.
    Appreciate your help in keeping us all going.

  2. Elisa Says:

    Oh so true. It’s easy to spam hundreds of nothings to thousands of people paying no attention. It’s getting involved that is much more useful. Joining every kind of community that you can spare the time for. Thanks for putting it so well!

  3. theaatkinson Says:

    all good tips. thanks for posting the comments from other authors. great way to keep the info fresh.

  4. Tom Bentley Says:

    Jason, since seeing your stuff on Google+, I’ve been impressed by your helpful info. I recommended you as a resource in answer to a LinkedIn question about the world of ebooks the other day. Thanks.

  5. Mat Nastos (@niftymat) Says:

    Great tips! I drop by your site whenever you post on Google+.

    I’m not quite sure Twiends is worth time or effort. It’s still a bit too new and most of the followers you’ll get aren’t really valid. From my limited experience with it, that is.

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