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Ebook Marketing Tips: What It Takes to Sell a Helluva Lot of Ebooks Online!

Many freelance writers are dipping their toes into the self-publishing waters these days. It tickles me purple because I love it when freelancers take their careers into their own hands like this. Writing ebooks and selling them online couldn’t be a more natural fit for freelancers who want to expand their earning potential.

I got my sister into writing ebooks a few years ago – and recently one of her romance novels on Amazon has sold close to 500 copies in just over 3 weeks. In the next couple of weeks, I’ll be publishing an interview with her here because she writes fiction and non-fiction, so I thought it’d be cool to share some of her insights.

Update: Read that interview here.

At any rate, I was inspired to write this post because of an email I received from a freelancer who’s launching her ebook soon and was seeking some ebook marketing advice. She wrote:

I appreciate your website and tips all the time, and wanted to ask for your expertise on affiliate marketing. I am thinking of launching my new ebook soon, but I recognize the importance of the marketing plan prior to doing that.

Since it’s my first ebook, I’d rather start off on the right foot rather than kick myself six months down the road when I realize I could have done a better job promoting the book. Any tips or past posts [on ebook marketing] you can point me towards?

Following is my response.

Ebook Marketing: The Plan I Use to Earn Five Figures Per Year Selling Ebooks Online

Ebook Marketing Tips for Aspiring Self-PublishersMy ebook marketing plan is not fancy. The main outlets I use to market my ebook are:  (i) publishing weekly newsletters (like this one); and (ii) article marketing.

Publishing Newsletters to Make Ebook Sales: 3 Reasons It’s a Good Idea

(i) This is ideal because you speak to a defined audience who obviously has an interest in your subject matter. How do you know? Because they subscribe. Trust me, if someone gives you their email address, they’re interested. By publishing a newsletter, you’re building your reader base; your loyal fans. It makes sales much easier to come by.

This is why the bulk of my sales come from my website, because the purchasers are usually subscribers who’ve been reading my newsletters for some time before they ever buy their first ebook from me.

(ii) Also, publishing a newsletter keeps you on your toes because readers will inevitably ask questions of you that you probably hadn’t thought of before.

(iii) You also get more ebook ideas. Probably 50% or more of the ebooks I’ve written have come from questions posed by readers and/or outright requests for an ebook on “x.” If a reader is telling you that they want an ebook on “x”, how hard do you think it’d be to make sales if you write and publish it?

Article Marketing: One of My Favorite Ways to Sell Ebooks

Last year, I created my own article directory. And this year, I’ve really stepped up my article marketing efforts.

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been writing roughly 3-4 articles per week. I post them to my personal article directory, PRLog.com and EzineArticles.com (yeah, I started using them again; I’ll address why in a not-too-distant post).

Between publishing newsletters and article marketing, I have my two customer bases covered. What are my two customer bases? Potential new customers (article marketing); and existing loyalists (newsletter publishing).

Besides staying active on social media, I don’t do much else to promote my ebooks beyond these two things. But, I’m consistent with it.

Ebook Marketing: The Importance of Creating a Web Footprint

I’ve been in the self-publishing game for almost a decade now (I published my first ebook in 2002). I have hundreds of articles on the internet, have published a few hundred newsletters and have been active online since 1999 (this site is that old).

In short, my “web footprint” runs deep. This creates trust among readers because they can see that I’ve been around for a while.

It’s not to say that you need this to make ebook sales, but it helps. So, the sooner you start building your web footprint – and your community of readers – the better (and the more sales you’re likely to make). And, you can do this by doing things like blogging, publishing newsletters and interacting on social media. Speaking of . . .

How Many Ways are There to Market an Ebook?

There are tons of ways to market an ebook, eg, blogging, publishing newsletters, running PPC ads, doing JV partnering, buying Facebook ads, etc. The ways truly are limited only by your imagination.

And, I think self-publishers like me all have their favorites and when we find that something works, we tend to stick with it. I know I do!

Also, realize that a tsunami of sales is unlikely to come from one source. What I’ve found in my self-publishing career is that you have to develop what I call “sales pockets.”

What are Ebook Sales Pockets?

It’s when you get a few sales from one source, a few from another source and a few more from yet another source. For example, I sell my ebooks on outlets like Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Lulu. So, I can count on earning a certain amount from these outlets.

I also have one of my ebooks on Clickbank; hence, I earn a certain amount from this outlet.

I interact on social media (Twitter and Facebook mainly). I can’t quantify this, but I know I receive sales from this because many readers tell me that that’s how they heard about me. So, more sales from here.

I publish two weekly newsletters. This is where the bulk of my sales come from.

See what I mean about “sales pockets?”

Ebook Marketing: Conclusion

No matter how you decide to market your ebook, the bottom line is, you must remain consistent in your marketing. This is the number one mistake I think a lot of ebook writers make.

While it may seem like a lot, once you get into a groove, it’s really not. But, you must, must, must be consistent. I can’t underscore this enough. This is why, by the way, ebook marketing is the hard part of self-publishing (not the writing, like so many think).

But, it’s a sweet way to make a living. I look at selling my ebooks as a supplemental retirement plan because once an ebook is written, you can ostensibly earn money from it forever.

Now, how cool is that!

Yuwanda

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P.P.S.: Want to start a successful career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please?

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    Comments

    1. Good luck with it Claire. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for ya! 🙂

    2. Thanks for your answer Yuwander,

      I have read that the KDP is best for fiction.

      I have my first promotion next week as a test but I don’t think I’ll make much. My book is how to start your own typing business from home, so it’s a how-to non-fiction but in a small niche.

      But as you said, I have to at least try it to see if it works or not – then I’ll know whether to cross it off my marketing list or not.

      Thanks,

    3. Claire:

      I joined for one ebook once, and I didn’t see a significant increase in my ebook sales. So, I haven’t joined again because of that.

      However, because it didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. I write how-to, non-fiction, which sells way LESS than fiction, so that could be a reason.

      As an ebook marketer, you have to try many things to increase sales. So, while it’s great to listen to the experiences of others, never be afraid to try something to see if it will work for you — especially with a program like KDP, where you can always take your book out of that promotional program if it doesn’t work. In short, you have nothing to lose.

      Good luck. 🙂

    4. Hi Yawanda,

      I’ve been meaning to ask you this for a while.

      Could you please let me know your reason for not joining the KDP on Amazon? I know it doesn’t let you sell your ebooks anywhere else (not even on your own site) – is this the reason why?

      It’s just that I’ve heard from many sources that the free promotions on KDP (which lead to higher Amazon rankings and more sales) far outweighs the exclusivity to only Amazon.

      Any thoughts on this welcome!

      Thanks,
      Claire

    5. Thank you so much YuWanda. I actually published my first book in dec 2012 but because of poor marketing, not one copy has been sold. Hope its not too late to apply the method you have given BECAUSE, I PLAN TO GET TO WORK IMMEDIATELY.

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