You wrote a nonfiction ebook. It failed. One of my writing students is in precisely this situation. At the start of 2016, she wrote an ebook, and… Crickets. She can count her sales on the fingers of one hand. She contacted me, to ask whether I had any ideas.
Of course I do. You ask, I deliver. 🙂
Nonfiction ebooks: can you still make money?
Firstly, let’s talk about whether you can still make money writing nonfiction ebooks. The Amazon Kindle store is crowded. That said, some authors report that 2016 is their best year since 2010.
Here are the tips I shared with my student.
1. Keywords! Update your meta data today (be creative, and persistent)
Discoverability is the biggest challenge for all authors on Amazon, as well as on the other ebook retailers. If your readers can’t find your nonfiction ebook, they can’t buy it.
Check your ebook’s product page, and redo your keywords and description. Start by putting yourself in your readers’ shoes. If you were a reader, looking for the information in your book, what words would you use?
You have seven keywords you can use, as well as 4000 characters (approximately 800 words) which you can use for the description.
In addition to discoverability, remember that once a reader reaches your product page, he needs to feel that your book can help him. Give a clear description of your book: the challenges it solves, and the benefits to the reader. If you have great reviews, add a snippet of a review to the description.
Once you’ve revised your ebook’s meta data, you should see an uptick in sales within three or four days. No results? Tweak the meta data again.
2. Create a bright and sparkling new edition
I love ebooks, because you can edit them as often as you please to create a new edition. If you have material you’d like to add, go ahead and add it. Happy with the cover image? Change it if you aren’t.
Put “2nd edition” on the title page of your book, with the year: “2nd edition, 2017.” Update your meta data as well.
Additionally, remember that updating your nonfiction ebook is news. Create an online news release, and promote your new edition on social media.
Consider creating a new edition of your ebook once a year, or once every couple of years.
3. Contact influencers (your blogging and Facebook page finally pay off): reciprocate on promotions
The more people who know about your book, the more people can buy it. One of the best ways to promote your ebook is to use other people’s audiences.
Contact influencers in the subject matter of your ebook, and offer to do a guest post on their blog, with a link to your ebook. If you have a following on any of the social media networks, offer to do reciprocal promotions with an influencer in your niche. You promote them, they promote your ebook.
Consider partnering with three or four other authors in your niche, to create an ebook. Each of you writes a chapter or two. Add a link to the signup page for your mailing list in the book, as well as a link to your nonfiction ebook.
Webinars are a great way to promote ebooks. Join with another author or two, and create a webinar. With each of you promoting the webinar, you’ll be able to expand your audience, and create buzz for your ebook.
4. Give away free copies: hint you’d like a review
While “free” is no longer the excellent promotional strategy it used to be, you can still use it. Give away 200 free copies. You can’t force people to give you a review, but you can ask.
Aim to get copies into the hands of influencers.
5. Write more ebooks on your topic: explore it vertically (find out how well your topic sells, first)
Consider your nonfiction ebook’s subject matter. Could you write another ebook, which promotes your first ebook? Write another ebook, exploring your subject matter more deeply.
A suggestion: do make sure that ebooks in your subject are selling. KindleSpy is a useful tool which can show you how many ebooks are selling in any niche. If you find that the bestselling ebooks in your nonfiction ebook’s area are only selling a hundred copies a month, writing another ebook on the same subject may be a waste of time. Can you find a topic which sells better?
Use the tips to rescue your failed nonfiction ebook
Start by updating your ebook’s meta data. You should see results within a few days. Then revisit your ebook’s product page every three to six months, and update again.
My writing student put the above tips to use, and is thrilled with her sales. She’s now consistently selling copies every week, and is confidently getting ready to release her follow-up ebook.
I wish you similar success when you use the tips. 🙂
You can, when you discover the secrets of writing blurbs (book descriptions) which sell.More info →
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Update: February 8, 2018
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