Tag Archives: advertising

How To Entice Readers, And Sell More Ebooks

How To Entice Readers, And Sell More Ebooks

Authors want to sell more ebooks. They search for a magic secret. While there are secrets, you don’t need them to sell many more copies than you’re selling at the moment.

Little things can make a big difference.

Little things: big sales

As you may know, I coach writers, and I’ve discovered that it’s NOT the super-secret marketing strategies that 80% of authors need. They just need to get back to the basics. You know: cover image, title, book description….

Today, with 80,000 ebooks flowing onto the Kindle store every month, you need to give your ebooks everything they need to be indexed correctly, and catch attention.

Tip: you can always improve. For example, check the genres into which Amazon’s placed your ebooks (scroll down the product page). Do they seem appropriate?

Let’s look at the basics.

1. Genres (categories): choose the most appropriate

How much time do you spend on the Kindle store each week? I hope you’re spending at least a little time there. Aim to familiarize yourself with the genres in which you’re writing. (Or the categories, if you’re writing nonfiction.)

Who’s in the Top 100 in a genre? Read the Look Inside excerpts for the top sellers. Ask yourself WHY they’re selling. Make lists of the top sellers. In some genres, the best selling titles change frequently.

One of my students wasn’t familiar with genres at all. She’d put her two ebooks into genres which just weren’t right. We shoved the ebooks into the genres for which they were most suited, and fixed the descriptions. Then I asked the student to spend an hour a week studying her genres on Amazon.

Her next ebook sold 145 copies on the day she published it. Her genre study wasn’t the only reason it sold — she’d started a mailing list. But she told me that more than anything else, browsing around Amazon gave her confidence. Why? Because she knew more that she did before, and she knew without a shadow of a doubt that she could sell.

2. Titles — try adding the genre

We talked about title tips here; read that if you need a little help.

Many authors add keywords to their titles on Amazon. I hate this with a passion. I hate hashtags in blog posts too, and for similar reasons. I hate it because: it looks stupid, devalues the title, and it’s a crutch.

That said, I’m all for adding your book’s genre to the title. Sometimes titles are ambiguous. Adding your book’s genre: a tale of romantic suspense, or a romantic comedy as a subtitle HELPS readers. (Hashtags in titles don’t help readers. Readers aren’t search engine robots.)

3. Use your descriptions: make them count

Pun intended on “count”. Amazon gives you 4000 characters for the description. That’s around 800 words. Use them. Make your descriptions enticing.

FWIW, be aware that your ebook’s description is advertising copy. Hire a copywriter, if you can afford it. (And NO, I’m not touting for work, perish the thought — I’m overbooked as it is. ;-)) Seriously, to repeat, your description is an advertisement.

Few authors create good descriptions. I include authors published by major companies in that group as well. If anything, traditionally published authors’ ebook descriptions are less inspiring than indies’. I’m not surprised at that.

Take this to heart, and to repeat once more: pay attention to your ebook’s description; it’s an advertisement.

4. Increase readers’  familiarity with a mailing list

Marketers are fond of saying that a buyer needs to see your name seven times before he buys. I think it’s many more times than that. The only way to appear on buyers’ radars regularly is to develop a readers’ mailing list. So — create a list, if you don’t have one.

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, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

How to profit from your writing: online store.

Ebook Publishing Profits: 5 Front And Backmatter Tips For More Sales

Ebook Publishing Profits: 5 Front And Backmatter Tips

Back when all books were paper books, you’d find savvy mass market publishers advertising in the front and backmatter of their books. If you’re involved in self-publishing, consider how you can use these areas too — they’re valuable real estate, and you can use these areas in any way you like.

A couple of definitions: “front matter” is all the stuff at the beginning of an ebook before the main content. “Backmatter” is the material at the end, after the content’s done.

Let’s look at some tips for getting the most from these areas.

1. Advertise (subtly) in your front matter

Be aware that Amazon shows the first 10% of your ebook via its Look Inside feature. Keep the essential material in your front matter short. Remember your copyright info, of course.

Use that 10% to subtly advertise your ebook. Anyone reading via Look Inside hasn’t bought your book, so spend a little time thinking what you could show up front, to encourage your reader to buy.

When publishing novels, include a snippet from an action scene (or romantic scene) from your ebook, if the first couple of scenes in Chapter One aren’t enthralling.

If you’re publishing nonfiction, share some interesting material up front.

In other words — flash your wares, don’t be shy.

2. Include a link to your mailing list signup page in the front matter

This link is just a couple of lines: “join our mailing list at (URL) for a free short story.”

Include the link in your backmatter too.

3. Written other ebooks? Include them in your backmatter

List your other ebooks in the back matter, with Amazon links. Be careful with this, don’t link to your ebook on iBooks on Amazon, and similarly don’t link to your ebooks on Amazon on iBooks.

4. Don’t go overboard with excerpts from other books in your backmatter

Keep your excepts short. I’ve bought some ebooks where the excerpt took up the final quarter of the ebook. That’s overdoing things. You’ll annoy readers.

5. Suggest a review: “If you enjoyed this book…”

Again, be subtle. Be nice. Tell readers you’d love to hear from them, and include a link to your website. You can also say: “If you enjoyed this story, please tell your friends.”

With reviews, Amazon says:

“Consider a message to readers in your book asking them to leave a review if they enjoyed the book or doing a Q&A with yourself to give readers more information on you. We will automatically provide a link to leave a review but sometimes a personal message can have a major impact.”

It’s worth spending a little time crafting your personal message. Tell readers something about yourself. Again, don’t go overboard.

The front and backmatter of your ebooks matter. In your rush to publish, don’t neglect these vital areas. Work on them while you’re writing your ebook, so that they’re all done and ready to go by the time you’re ready to publish your ebook.

Update on November 29, 2016: the Table of Contents goes in the front of your ebook

Since September, Amazon’s been cleaning house. I wrote about some of the things which are affecting ebook sales here.

Authors have reported that Amazon’s cracking down on Tables of Content appearing in the backmatter of ebooks — this has to do with “pages read” scams. So do be sure to put your Table of Contents, if you have one, at the front of your ebook. 🙂

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