The ‘How To’ on Self Publishing an eBook.
We are going to use the 4 p’s of marketing to focus on self-publishing your own eBook with an eye on low budget methods. You can apply any of these to your own budget situation to improve your marketing. Place, Product, Price, and Promotion. (This is a continuing work in progress and updated regularly)
Just because you submit an eBook to a site where there’s no gatekeeper(editor/screener) doesn’t mean you can put any piece of crap out there. People will give you bad reviews that will stay on your book page forever. Editing is hard work but must be done. Self-editing is like going to court and representing yourself. If you do have the budget, hiring someone to edit your book is great and worth the money. If not, you can use online workshops or local writer groups usually found through libraries or school evening programs. Using friends and family and acquaintances are your last resort, and a poor one. Finding a single person, one editor, that can do everything well is difficult. You’re going to need more than one person to do it as several opinions are best.
I’ve heard people say you need to choose a market for your book before you write. That’s true, nothing is harder than a market than a book you don’t know where to market. If your book falls into this realm, you might want to write a different book to market first then go back the original.
Where is your eBook sold? What is the distributor’s royalty structure like?
Amazon- The best place to be. They will just continue to sell Kindles like in a fire sale. Got to be here no matter the royalty structure.
Barnes and Noble-
- For eBooks with a list price at or between $2.99 and $9.99 –>65% of the List Price
- For eBooks with a list Ppice at or below $2.98 or at or greater than $10.00 (but not more than $199.99 and not less than $0.99) –> 40% of the list price
Smashwords- My eBooks were submitted through Smashwords.com first because they configure my .doc manuscript into several formats for almost every eBook download onto every device. Good, low rate, easy to make coupons, and great for marketing in general. Highly recommend and worth checking out. Smashwords also submits the book to Amazon and Barnes and Noble, but takes a percentage of profits. Saves some time if you are interested, but you do lose some money.
Your website: This is the best place. Why? You can charge the same price as amazon and make more money, with wordpress/oscommerce/magento/etc. it is easy and cheap. Setting it up is not easy, but if you can do it then go ahead. Go to eLance.com and hire someone to do it for $200 or less. You can also get other authors to bring their books to your shop and start a sort of team to help bring web traffic to each other’s store.
I’d be willing to do this. Give me a shout. My shop is ready to go using magento.
Make the website look professional and always remember content is King. Good content brings customers to your site.
What should be the price of your eBook? Should you charge very little, a little more, or lots. That depends, but I think there are 2 main strategies. These depend on how many books you’re publishing and your promotion strategy as well. I’ll think of more I am sure.
This has changed since the price collusion law suits against 5 of the big 6, so we will see how the future changes.
Rock-bottom pricing to expensive to a series
This strategy works great for a series of books that hook the reader. I’d say 3 or more. The first book should be cheap. Maybe $0.99 which eliminates any need for marketing as these books typically sell themselves on sites like Smashwords. A second book should increase in price as readers will want to continue the series, requiring less marketing as long as they know there is a sequel. Maybe, $1.99 to 2.99. The last book can be about $5.99. Although book sales may be lower for the high priced ones these books sales would be better. People may feel negative towards you as well, as they feel like you are gouging them. At the end of your first book let the readers know you have more books and/or a sequel. Put in a sample chapter of your next work and a link to your website.
I decided on $5.99 because a book that is 100,000+ words would print out as a good length paperback. For a read this size new paperbacks are anywhere from $10 to $12. I asked myself what I don’t mind paying for an eBook and $5 to $7 is in my sweet-spot. For voracious readers, eBooks are the way to go because of the cheaper pricing which (sometimes) removes editors, distributors, illustrators, printers, marketing, bookstores, and publishing houses from the process. Is it any wonder print authors make so little per copy?
Advertising budget, marketing, guest blogging, newspaper articles, friends, family, eBook signing, etc…
Short stories- Add your short stories to short story sites. Add in a link back to your homepage and a fan base. If you don’t have any, write some.
Print copies- Make some print copies of you book. Maybe 50-100. Approach people who are interested in writing reviews about your books (hopefully high traffic sites like newspapers, bloggers, people movers, etc.).
Goodreads- Several ways to use Goodreads. Giveaway your book, but ask for reviews in return. Going up a few notches on the site can definitely increase your eBook purchases. There are several Goodread groups that have giveaways. Getting 100 reviews on Amazon will go a long way on your eBook’s sales. Second, is advertising. Goodreads lets you advertise. Spend some money. It works like Google’s adwords with PPC bidding. Try it out. Lots to learn for this. If you got the budget, higher a professional.
Newspaper- Pay for a review. Unethical… maybe, but it is done all the time through blogs. Companies pay blogs to review products and write reviews about them. So why not pay a newspaper to do the same? Or write articles for the newspaper’s online edition with links to your website at the bottom. Do this for all sorts of online publishing jobs available.
Webpage and SEO- Make your webpage, and make is good. Use wordpress.org (not .com) for an easy do it yourself. Or get a company to custom build a website for you. Add the web shop as well. It can be done for under $500 and maybe $250 yearly.
Your Blog- For every blog post you write, you need to twitter it 12 times, write a press release and distribute it to quality press release sites (not free ones), write a summary for digg, stumbleupon, reddit, etc. and link to other blogs. Invite guest authors. Create engagement. Ask Questions.
Giveaways- Give your eBook away, for free reviews of course! Reviews will help distributors like Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble to move your book higher in the rankings. I don’t like this method anymore, people don’t write reviews, people don’t care. No value on a free book.
Friends and family- Get your friends and family to read your eBook, for free. If they read it for free then they will tell people (if it is good), and write reviews for you. Tell them to write reviews for you. Very important.
Facebooks- Engage, Interest, Sell. Focus on these three and you will be successful. Engage people, interest them in quotes from your book, and try a little sales as well (soft and hard).
Authonomy/Goodreads/Etc.- Add your book and check out options.
If you are reading blogs’s about self-publishing, you are reading the wrong blogs (unless you want emotional support). You need to read marketing blogs. Here’s what I follow. (let me know if you got some other good ones)