Last month, I discussed several marketing tips for self-published authors. But there are many more marketing tips than could possibly fit into a single post, so today I’d like to narrow it down and focus specifically on ebook marketing. What can self-publishing writers do to market their ebooks? For indie authors, even small marketing steps can put your ebooks on the path to success. Consider the following tips for your ebook marketing:
- Set goals and make plans
Before you start any marketing effort, it’s important to establish what you want to do and how you plan to do it. What strategies should you focus your energy on? What is your marketing budget, and how can you best utilize it? This is where knowing your audience is incredibly helpful, as you can focus your efforts on methods that are most likely to reach your target demographic. But beyond that, make sure that you’re setting manageable, measurable goals for yourself. For example, saying that you want to “sell 5,000 copies,” or “get 100 Amazon reviews” aren’t the best goals, because they rely on things outside of your control, and you can’t really measure how well you’re doing until after your book is published. Instead, create goals like, “set up blog tour with 50 book blogs” or “host a Goodreads giveaway.” Plan what you’re going to do ahead of time so that you can schedule and budget accordingly, and track your progress along the way.
- Perfect your cover copy
I’ve written about this before, but your cover copy (which, in the case of ebooks, isn’t on the physical cover but is more of a product description) is absolutely essential. Many readers will decide whether or not to purchase a book based solely on its description. Your copy must be a good fit for your book and sound enticing to potential readers. If you’re struggling to write an engaging description, consider hiring a professional editor to look over your marketing materials. (You can find my rates for this editorial service here.)
- Choose the right category
Selecting the right category for your work is incredibly important for finding potential readers. No one is going to look for your fast-paced thriller in the comedy section, for example. Furthermore, improperly categorizing your book will alienate readers and result in bad reviews; someone who purchased your thriller because they expected a comedy is automatically going to be disappointed. It’s also important to remember that some categories are more popular than others. A popular category means more readers but also more competition, whereas your book might stand out in a niche category but only attract a small group of readers. Again, this is where knowing your target audience and having a specific marketing plan is beneficial.
- Optimize keywords
Familiarize yourself with SEO and carefully consider the keywords you’re using to describe your book. You want potential readers who use search engines to find it easily. Figure out which keywords and marketing tags are the best fit for your book, in order to lead potential customers to it. If you don’t optimize your ebook for search engines, readers will find another book instead. If you aren’t sure which keywords are relevant to your work, try looking at similar ebooks and see which words they use.
- Create an enticing thumbnail
You probably know already that your book’s cover is going to have a huge effect on its sales—but what about the thumbnail? Having an enticing thumbnail that works across multiple platforms is also important. Whether you’re just using the book’s cover or designing a separate thumbnail, make sure you carefully consider how it looks. A thumbnail that’s blurry, plain, not in color, or difficult to read is going to hinder your marketing efforts. Make sure that your title font is large enough to read, even from a distance or on a mobile device, and bold enough to stand out. An eye-catching thumbnail will go a long way toward enticing potential readers to view your book.
- Delay your announcement
This might seem counterintuitive, but don’t announce your book’s release the minute you upload it to Amazon. Why? Because it can take up to 72 hours before your book is reviewed by Amazon and appears in the listings. Plus, it will be beneficial to have already have a few reviews before you send out that big email blast or guest post on a popular blog. Keep this in mind when planning your book’s release date.
- Include a “look inside”
Having a few pages of content available for potential readers can be incredibly enticing. Being able to read a few pages of your book will not only encourage people to buy but will also ensure that it reaches the right readers. For example, someone who’s looking for a comedy can read a few pages of your thriller and realize it’s not right for them, so they don’t end up buying the book only to leave a bad review. Offering a preview of your content helps your book find the right audience.
What do you think? Have you marketed an ebook, or do you plan to in the future? Are there any tips and tricks I missed? Let me know in the comments!
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