Saturday, June 30, 2012

How to sell an ebook

Yes, you read the title right.  I shall share my infinite wisdom with the masses.  Those unfortunate souls incapable of hitting it rich with their ebooks, shall now know the secrets to success.  Within this blog you will learn the techniques I've employed myself to sell hundreds of thousands of books a month.  This fool proof system is potentially worth millions, but I'm gonna give it away to my loyal followers for...FREE!!!!!!!

Isn't that how posts about this topic normally start.  The idea that there's some secret way of advertising is just ridiculous.  I hate to bash other writers, but John Locke's book seems to propagate this idea.  Ebook marketing is a rapidly changing field and what worked for one author quickly becomes an antiquated idea.

For starters my sales are dismal at best.  Normally when I read posts like this, I wish the writer had shared more details because I think it helps set expectations.  Well I'm aiming for full transparency here.

I've been at this self publishing thing for six months now.  I currently have one YA novel out and two short stories.  For the most part I average about 230 sales a month total.  Although June has proved to be a rough month and I'm at about half of that.  I sell my novel at 4.99 and my shorts at .99 cents and those seem to  do much better.  I rake in about $130 bucks a month, just enough for a tank and a half of gas.

Now you may read that and think "What the hell can I tell anyone about selling an ebook?"  Fair question.  But I guess this post is as much about how not to sell an ebook, as it is about how to.  I'm so sick of forums that read, "my book isn't selling what do I do."  To be honest I've been guilty of this as well, but with the amount of people selling pipe dreams who wouldn't be.  They'd have you believe that there's some type of repeatable marketing plan that will work for anyone, when the truth is do what works for you.

The old way to get rich:  Write a good book/cover/blurb.  (Yes that is always key)  Start a blog.  (A good idea, but not really a marketing tool as much as it's a way to connect with your audience.  More importantly, it takes some serious time for a blog to gain any type of readership.)  Get a facebook/twitter account.  (Again still a good idea, but seriously overrated.)  Spam the hell out of twitter etc. to gain awareness for your book  (There's problem number one.)  For some reason I keep seeing posts about how integral twitter and facebook are, but the technology is quickly becoming outdated.  Way too much is sold on twitter/facebook and you can't keep hopping online peddaling your writing like a damn gypsy.  The old tweet your title to your million followers ship has sailed.

The new way to get rich:  There is no new way to get rich.

Write your book.  Start your blog and social networking and just keep at it.  Don't spam people or waste time yapping on kindle's author central and other related forums.  I hate to have to say it, but the majority of writers are well, HATERS.  If you write well, they will find problems, if you sell well they will despise the fact that it's not them.  Not to say this is the case with all, but I see way too many stupid arguments break out on forums over idiots opinions.  Everybody's got one so why waste writing time yapping with people that aren't buying your book anyway.

WRITE.  Then WRITE some more.  Connect with readers, the key word being readers, anyway that you can, but don't sell them.  Networking is the key.  But what is also important is recognizing that you are in a rapidly changing landscape.  There are no specific ways to do this.  There is no right way.  Do whatever you can to sell your books.  Think outside of the box.  I really wish I could tell you more, but like every changing industry the people that find success are the pioneers that do what no one else thought about.

The cats out of the bag, anyone can publish a book.  The Amanda Hocking's of the world didn't hit it big because they were better than you.  They hit it big because they got there first.  Now you need to be first, figure out a marketing ploy that no one is doing and run with it.  Don't expect overnight success or worry about the crappy writers that are flooding the market.  If you have talent and are diligent eventually you'll find success.  The writers that can't write will eventually find another market to ruin.  So my .02 cents on how to sell an ebook, just keep at it.      


  1. indeed, one of the problems of those people who try to write ebooks for a living is how to sell more copies to increase their gains. this post is definitely a good solution to their dilemma. Thanks for sharing this post. I have linked this blog to mine and you can see it here:

  2. If you are thinking about starting an online business, or are currently the owner of an online business, you should know that it is easy to make money with ebooks, if you know what you are doing. You can make money selling ebooks if you understand how online customers think, and if you can help put their minds at ease about buying your product, you will be successful.