Self-Published Authors: How to Sell More Books During the Holidays — 3 Tips

I’ve been writing, self-publishing and selling ebooks online since 2002. I can’t believe it’s been that long! As of this update, I’ve written almost 100 — fiction and non-fiction.

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3 Ways to Easily Sell More Ebooks Online During the Holidays

If you sell info products online, you probably realize that the holidays are a great time to sell more – just like any other retailer. This is particularly true if you self-publish and sell on Amazon. You can literally rake up during the holidays! Following are three things I’ve done that have worked beautifully to help me sell more of my titles during the holidays.

I. Write More Ebooks

Every year more e-readers, eg, Nooks and Kindles, are sold. One reason is that prices are coming down. And when people get them, what’s the first thing they do? Load them up with ebooks.

One Ebook Writer Who Earns Between $4,000 and $6,000 per Month — from Just a Few Titles

I write primarily non-fiction, how-to ebooks and in late November and early December especially, I notice an uptick in sales. My sister has transitioned beautifully from non-fiction to fiction, and sales of her ebooks in her new genre (interracial romance) are off the charts!

She’s finding that the more she puts out, the more she sells. She’s published three ebooks in the last couple of months, and will have her biggest payout ever as a self-published ebook author with the next pay cycle.

Note: Amazon lags 60 days behind in payments, so everything you sell  in December, for example, you get paid for in February (just in time to pay off those holiday credit card bills, right?!

And let me tell ya, it’s not chump change – she expects her earnings to be between $4,500 and $6,000 (if she finishes her latest release).

She just told me if she doesn’t sell another ebook this month, her earnings are already over $4,500 for January. And remember, she only started writing romance back in February of this year. So this all happened within a year’s time.

Lesson: the more ebooks you write and publish, the more you earn, especially in you write in a hot-selling genre like romance. I know this from my self-publishing journey.

II. Bundle Ebook Titles

The ebooks are already written, so bundling like titles together is an easy way to upsell clients. Even if you charge just $1 more by bundling, it can exponentially increase sales.

For example, I’ve sold a lot of the internet marketing ebook, How to Make Money Placing Free Classified Ads, which sells by itself for $19.95. But I bundled it with this ebook for just $1 more (it sells for $6.99 separately), and now I sell even more – some three years after it was initially written.

The Psychology behind the “Infomercial Approach” of Bundling Ebooks for Sale

I was doing some research one day on how to sell more ebooks, and ran across an article that talked

about the effectiveness of late night infomercials. The idea is to pile so many good offers on that the view CAN’T say no. It really is a science – literally. Proof?

The secret lies in neuroscience. Infomercials are carefully scripted to pump up dopamine levels in your brain, says Martin Lindstrom, an advertising expert and author of “Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy,” which details how ads affected 2,000 research subjects.

“Infomercials take viewers on a psychological roller-coaster ride,” Lindstrom says. The fun starts with dramatizations of a problem you didn’t know you had, followed by the incredible solution, then a series of ever more amazing product benefits, bonuses, and giveaways, all leading to the final thrilling plunge of an unbelievably low price. (emphasis added)

After the ride, Lindstrom says, “dopamine levels drop in 5 or 6 minutes. That’s why infomercials ask you to buy in the next 3 minutes.”

Now I’m not saying “dupe” prospects into buying what you’re selling, but if yours is a legitimate ebook full of info someone is considering purchasing anyway, an add-on of equal value that complements that ebook – for a very nominal amount – can be just the thing to make them buy.

Learn more about how I bundle ebooks to sell more of them.

III. Offer Ebook Discounts

I’m not a huge fan of discounts simply because I always keep in mind those who purchase at full price. Even though it works well in retail, my thinking is, if my ebook info is current and someone paid full price for it last week, then it’s kinda unfair that someone else pays less this week.

This is just my opinion – and why I don’t offer discounts often.

3 Tips on How to Get the Most from Selling Your Ebooks at a Discount

(i) Be Crystal Clear about the Deadline: Be crystal clear about when the time to purchase will expire. And remember, we live in a global economy, which means different time zones. So when I ebook discounts, I’ll say something to the effect of, “Offer expires this Sunday, December 1st at 11:59 pm EST US.

(ii) Create Urgency: Piggybacking on the last point, I’ve noticed that the longer you offer a discount, the less you sell. I’ve offered ebook discounts for as long as a month, and as short as a week. I’ve had much more success with the shorter time period; I think this is because it creates a sense of urgency to buy.

(iii): Use Odd Numbers in Your Pricing: Ever wonder why you never see a price of $19.98, or $49.96, or $15.94? It’s because tests have shown that odd numbers do better, eg, $19.99, $39.97, $49.95. Proof?

Consumers tend to perceive “odd prices” as being significantly lower than they actually are, tending to round to the next lowest monetary unit. Thus, prices such as $1.99 is associated with spending $1 rather than $2. …

According to a 1997 study published in the Marketing Bulletin, approximately 60% of prices in advertising material ended in the digit 9, 30% ended in the digit 5, 7% ended in the digit 0 and the remaining seven digits combined accounted for only slightly over 3% of prices evaluated. [Source: Wikipedia.com, Psychological pricing]

The Psychology behind Offering Discounts

Discounts are a powerful purchasing motivator – and why it’s one of the reasons use it year after year after year. Here’s just a little insight into why discounting is such a good way to sell ebooks (and anything else).

. . . although the primary rule of economics states that consumers will act in the most rational, self-benefitting way, discounts have a big effect on purchase behavior. . . . it’s important to note that everyone is attracted to a deal, no matter how large or small.

Just think – would you rather pay full price for an item when you could save a few bucks instead? [Source: Leveraging the Psychology of Discounts to Make More Money]

FYI, not all discounts are equal. There’s a great section in the post mentioned just above about learning which types of discounts work best for your target market. Check it out so that if you use this method, you get the best results possible.

Share Your Ebook Marketing and Self-Publishing Thoughts

Is there anything you do this time of year to sell more ebooks? Is there something you’ve tried that didn’t work? Self-publishing is still so new and there are so many ways to make money at it, so please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.

Note: This post was previously entitled, “Self-Publishing Money-Making Tips for the Holidays: Are You Leaving $$ on the Table by Not Doing These 3 Things?” when it was first published on Nov 26, 2013. It was updated and republished in June of 2017. 

P.S.: Get 4 Ebooks for One Low Price — The Ultimate Self-Publishing Package!

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