Thursday, January 27, 2011

Marketing Your Ebook

I've had quite a few people ask me how I marketed my book.  Since this comes up a lot, I thought I would spill all of my secrets.  Here goes:

When I first clicked "Publish" on my book, I honestly had one marketing lead, and that was  I had read JA Konrath's blog, and Karen McQuestion said she got her first sales by joining the Kindleboards.  So that's where I started.  I joined and introduced myself, and read the rules about advertising my book.

I quickly learned that the wonderful people over on the Kindleboards don't appreciate authors who post an ad once a week and never stick around to socialize.  Those get ignored.  I found that the best way to draw attention to my book was to put my book cover in my signature line with a link to the Kindle version, and then get to know people.  I posted on the threads that I was interested in.  I joined in the conversations.  I tried to be polite.  I also tried to make sure my posts weren't filled with grammatical errors or typos.  (Firefox is nice for this, it underlines my spelling errors in red so I can correct them before I click "post.")

Now, is a fantastic place for authors to mingle with readers.  But it's also a wonderful place for authors to network with each other.  When any author was looking for another author to interview, I signed up.  When a new person was starting a review blog, I submitted my book.  I found out a lot of ways to promote by reading the posts in the Writer's Cafe.

Here are some things I tried to help promote my book:

1. Giveaways. is a great place to give away paper copies.  If you're giving away Kindle books, try posting about it on the Amazon Kindle facebook page.  Just have people send you their email in a private message.  Doing giveaways on your own facebook fan page is a good way to get more followers.  I also did a giveaway on this blog.

2. Book Bloggers.  Submit your book for review to some book bloggers, but make sure your genre matches their guidelines.  To find book bloggers, try searching "book reviews" on Kindleboards using the search box.  There have been many helpful threads with links to different book review blogs.

3. Forums.  Being active on a forum is important for your internet presence., Amazon's forum,, and are all good places to chat with readers.  Just be sure to read the guidelines for posting, and get familiar with the site before posting.  And don't spam posts about your book.  The purpose of joining a forum is to get to know people, who will then want to know more about your book.  Don't be one of those annoying authors who post inappropriate ads for their books.

4. Paid advertising.  I am very careful with my money, but I did pay for two ads.  One with Kindle Nation Daily, and the other was an ad on Red Adept's review blog.  Before paying for advertising, I would highly suggest watching books that are being featured and noticing what happens to their rank.  You can also ask people what advertising did work for them.  The authors I chat with are very open about sharing information.

Last, but not least, I watched and listened.  If you look at what other authors are doing, and notice what works and what doesn't, it will give you important information.  Don't be afraid to try some different things out.  When you find something that works, stick with it.

If you have a promotional idea that worked for you, feel free to post it in the comments section!


Friday, January 7, 2011

December Sales Numbers

I don't post my sales numbers to brag.  I post them to help others decide if putting their book on the Kindle and Nook is a good idea, or if they should continue to submit to agents and try to get a traditional publishing deal.  I don't want to convince anyone to do what I did, but I do think it's important to have specific information if you're making the choice.

My December sales blew all my previous months out of the water.  Here's a quick recap of my sales:

April: 7
May: 151
June: 456
July: 176
August: 106
September: 389
October: 1,401
November: 2,670

As you can see, from April to June I was increasing in sales each month.  Then I raised my price from $1.99 to $2.99 near the end of June and sales went down in July.  They continued to go down in August.  In September I had two very good promotions, and that bumped my sales up for a day or two, but then sales slowed down again.  So near the end of September I lowered my price to 99 cents.  220 of my September sales were from the last four days when my 99 cent price went into effect.

October was fantastic, and November almost doubled my October numbers.  But December left everything in the dust.

December: 11,162

That's more than double my sales from April through November combined!  This is important, because it tells me no matter what your sales are right now, they can explode one day.  It's also important because with these numbers I can actually earn a living selling books.

So, if you're trying to decide if turning to self-publishing is a good idea, you probably need more concrete figures.  How much am I making?  I know some people think it's crass to talk about money, but if I don't, people won't know the earning potential there is with self-publishing an ebook.  So here goes.  If me posting how much I'm earning is offensive to you, stop reading now.

This is what I earned in each month since I started.  I won't do April because I didn't earn enough to get a paycheck, and it was lumped in with May's payment.

May: $110.60
June: $334.05
July: $349.43
August: $208.26
September: $393.73
October: $477.88
November: $903.29
December: $3,833.20

*Note, these are earnings from Kindle only.  I did earn a little from paperback sales and Nook sales, but less than $400 and not enough to make it worth my time calculating it out.  Also, December is an estimate because I don't have the actual report yet, and they convert my UK sales into GBP and then back into USD, so it's slightly off.

If I add all of these up, I've earned $6,610.44 through December.  This is actually quite a decent advance for a first book.  And I've already earned more than $1,000 for the month of January, so I know this number is just going to increase as the months go by.

I have been asked for a review copy of my book from a foreign rights agent in Thailand.  I'm very excited about the possibilities that will come up in the future.  I've had a lot of people read my book, and I'm getting more readers every day.  I'm working on a second book which will come out in 2011, and have plans to start a third this year.

I hope being blunt about how much I'm making at this is helpful to those trying to decide if this is the right path for them.


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