Have you decided to offer your freshly written book as an ebook? Then you’ve made a wise choice. The Pew Research Center reports that at least one in five Americans has read an ebook in the past year. OverDrive, a distributor of ebooks and audiobooks to libraries, reports that ebook checkouts from libraries increased 200% in 2010.
Ebook sales are estimated to be $3.2 billion this year and to reach $9.7 billion by 2016, according to a market report published by Juniper Research. The main impetus for this growth is increased sales of ereaders and tablets like the iPad, NOOK and Kindle. With such devices becoming cheaper each and every year, more people than ever before are building digital libraries.
Even those folks who have yet to purchase an ereader or tablet will read ebooks on their computers or mobile phones. Indeed, ebook sales have become so successful that hardbook fiction sales have dropped over 10% according to Nielsen BookScan.
So, if you have an upcoming ebook to sell, you’re in good company. However, even with the favorable ebook market, you still need to invest in some marketing. Many authors subscribe to the “if you build it, they will come” mentality when it comes to ebook advertising; however, there is no guarantee that consumers will select your ebook from the many other (and even free) ebooks available. So, how can you make your own ebook stand out?
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The single and most effective action you can take before releasing your ebook is to create your own fan club. Consumers who know about your ebook and who are looking forward to turning its digital pages are also more likely to purchase it than an unprepared audience. Such a fan club will also be of benefit to you should you have some hesitations about which chapters to include in or exclude from your ebook, whether additional points or explanations are needed, or even if your writing style is understandable for a given audience. Finally, if you decide to offer back-end products like videos, workbooks, classes or a second ebook, having a ready audience will increase the sales of these products.
How do you create your own fan club? Here are four different ways to do it online:
Create an ebook blog
You can start a blog for your ebook even while you’re in the process of writing it. This helps introduce you to your potential readers and lets them know you as a person. If you wish, you can create a forum for visitors to comment on your content, ask questions and offer suggestions. A blog also helps you rank well for your ebook title and subject matter in the search engine results pages, or SERPs.
Sample chapters can be listed in your blog, providing readers with an idea about your ebook’s theme and pace. These sample chapters can also be linked to a sales landing page. Finally, a blog is a useful tool for gathering subscriber emails, which can later be used as part of your email marketing campaign to gain buyers.
Start affliate marketing
You can offer your ebook through affiliate networks like Clickbank and Chitika so that affiliates list it on their websites and/or blogs in exchange for a pre-agreed commission. Doing this leverages your ebook marketing, effectively putting a team of salespeople at your disposal. Likewise, Google AdSense and Facebook Ads offer you the opportunity to advertise your ebook to a broad audience of potential customers, charging you only when someone clicks on your ad.
If you’d rather take a more personal approach with your ebook marketing, you could negotiate with individual website owners and bloggers whose sites you admire and would like to be featured on. This personal approach is time-consuming but advantageous in that you know who is marketing your ebook and what approach he/she is taking. Such a tactic also helps prevent your ebook from becoming associated with an unintentional or undesired branding (e.g., your ebook denouncing MSG is listed on the The Glutamate Association’s website).
Take advantage of social media
Marketing via social media is a great way to gain traffic, collect user feedback and create product awareness. Through social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, a message posted on your profile can go viral and reach a large audience quickly. This helps establish your name and brand in the minds of individuals. Furthermore, these individuals can interact with you by posting comments or questions, helping to turn your marketing monologue into a dialogue.
Direct marketing of your ebook via LinkedIn or Facebook is a faux-pas; however, if you offer incentives to your audience, as well as useful advice and content, your sales page will eventually become inundated with visitors. Furthermore, viewers who like your content will help publicize it, increasing your fan club.
Write guest posts
Guest posting is an ideal method for tapping into another blogger’s audience and making it your own. When contacting another website or blog, pitch at least two to three article ideas as well as the key points that you wish to make in each of these articles. You needn’t talk about your ebook exclusively; however, it is imperative that your ebook be mentioned and linked somewhere in the blog post.
Once you have successfully guest posted on smaller and lesser known blogs, start targeting higher Page rank sites, mentioning your past posts as a kind of blogging resume. This will expand your audience dramatically and increase visits to your own ebook blog.