Sunday, 28 October 2012

How to Market and Sell your Books

Marketing and Selling your Own Books


Like many writers and authors, I love the creative, writing, process but hate the marketing that goes with it. However, if you do not market, you can never sell.

When I wrote my first cookery eBook for sale on amazon (The Big Book of Christmas Recipes) I assumed, erroneously, that just putting the book on Amazon would be enough to make sales. But I was completely wrong. People actually need to be able to find your book and to do that you actively need to market your book.

The truth is, once your book is published it becomes a product it is just line any other product at this point. Unless people know about it, it will never be found and bought. Even if you do not create a product for sale, as a writer you are still marketing yourself as a product and the same principles apply.

With my first couple of books I was really just hoping for the best... It was only when I wrote my third book for Amazon, The Big Book of Curry Recipes that I realized I had to get serous about its marketing. Truthfully, I really did not know what I was doing and the past six months have been as extreme learning curve.

In fact, I started this blog to document some of my experiences. Since I started, I have 8 eBooks selling on Amazon, I have an eBook selling on my own site and I have a book that I am finishing for a standard print publisher. Essentially I now have experience across the board of publishing with all the different highs, lows and excitements they offer.

Amazon is great, as they basically help with the advertising because of their large system. Though to get your book noticed takes time and effort on your part. But they have a +60 payment schedule, so you are paid 60 days after the month when you accrue any income. It takes a few months for sales to begin taking off, so do not expect masses of instant income. So it will probably be 4 to 6 months before you start getting regular and decent payments. Also, if you are European only offers cheque payments in US$ and not direct bank transfers, which is a bit silly.

Marketing Books

Selling your own eBooks can be a great way of making money, as you get all the profits. But, you are selling from a single page on your own site and getting enough traffic to that page can be a real problem. The benefits can be huge, but you need to spend time and money on advertising to make any decent sales.

Publishing a book through a standard publishing house might be a doddle... or so you might think. But if you are a first-time author the are not willing to spend any real money on marketing your book. So, in reality, you will have to do the same effort as for Amazon eBooks to get your book sold.

In all cases, a large chunk of the sales and marketing will come down to you. Below are some of my favourite methods for promoting my eBooks. I will concentrate on the eBook that I am selling myself on my own site, as that was the hardest to market. It also means that I've had to use the broadest range of marketing techniques for this eBook.

How to Market your Books

Writing your landing page is a major part of your success. Tell people about your book and what's in it. Point out why it's unique and what the benefits are. Give something away, a sample chapter is good, so that people can see the quality of your writing and production. Ensure the buyer that their purchase is safe, tell them a little about yourself and give them a guarantee. For example, see my Recipes of Africa sales page.

Once you have your sales page, you need to get people over to it so that they can buy. Publicize the page through your usual social media channels. Write about the book on your blog. Put an ad to your eBook on your blog's side-bar. If you have a website, do the same thing there. If you are selling through Amazon, make sure you author page is filled out and point people to it.

Use small ads to bring a wider audience to your product. Craigslist is excellent for this. If you have the money, buy ads through Google's AdWords program. You will have to pay money each time someone clicks on an ad (typically a few cents) but, typically, the sales you make will far outweigh the cost of the ads.

If your book is applicable to a certain trade or industry then ads in industry magazines and publications can also pay dividends. For this it's best if you have a short and snappy URL for your landing and sales page. For example, the URL to my African recipes sales page is: However, I have created a special redirection directory that is more memorable as: it is this that I use in print publications and on places like Craigslist, as it's much more memorable and looks more professional.

Get Links to Your Sales Page

Next use the standard marketing methods to get more links to your sales page. Use your Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and StumbleUpon pages. Add links to any blogs and websites that you own.

Now use standard internet marketing techniques to add more links. There are a number of directories of eBooks on the web where you can add links to your sales page. Write articles about your books and add links to your sales page and use those links when you make blog comments.

Write guest blog posts (particularly if you write on the subject of your book) and add a link back to your book sales page.

Give out free copies of the eBook and ask for reviews (with links back to the sales page). Have a competition or give out free copies to the first 20 people who visit your sales page (anything to create a 'buzz').

Write an eBook and give it away. Make certain that you add links to any products you sell in that eBook. Let others give the eBook away on their sites as well (this is an excellent way of creating a 'buzz' on-line).

This is a lot of work, but if you do not do these things then you will not get any sales.

Traffic = Sales  and Sales = Money.

The take-home marketing quote here is:

Today's action = Tomorrow's success

And because I need to practice what I preach, here is the information about one of my books:

Recipes of Africa eBook
This publishing and marketing information page is brought to you in association with the Recipes of Africa eBook. With over 1000 recipes covering each and every country in Africa, this is the most comprehensive book of African recipes available anywhere.

If you love African food, or are just interested in African cookery, then the Recipes of Africa eBook is a must-buy. You get information about every region of Africa and every African country along with a selection of classic and traditional recipes from that country.

This is a must-get book for anyone interested in food. Learn about a continent that to this day remains mysterious to many people. The recipes presented here are written by someone who has travelled extensively in Africa and who is a published Author. The book is a properly-produce and published eBook and the collection is immense.

Don't delay, get yourself a copy of the Recipes of Africa eBook today!

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