Friday, July 6, 2012

How to Sell 20,000 eBooks

Tip of the Day: Enter to win a copy of Shari Brady's new book Wish I Could Have Said Goodbye on my blog!!!

You can buy ebooks on marketing your ebook. There are a lot of them out there. Or you can read this post and I'll tell you the top three things I've done to get to 20,000 ebook sales.
When I posted on my Facebook page that I broke 20k in sales, I received many emails, PMs, posts, etc asking me how I did it.

I know some people think I should keep my marketing strategies a secret. I call BS. Seriously? I'm happy to tell you what I've done.

Unfortunately, there isn't a magic bean. I wish there was, because then we'd all be sipping sweet tea on a beach. However, I can tell you some steps I've taken to increase visibility of my ebooks:

- Set the first book in a series free -

This is the same tactic they use at Costco. Have you ever tried walking through that place without eating enough sample food to fill you up for a week? If it's yummy, you might even buy it. It's the same with ebooks. Yes, Anathema has been downloaded, hold your breath, close to 2,000,000 times (thanks mostly to Wattpad and Amazon).

Don't tell me my sales suck. I'd guess there are tons of people hoarding ebooks on their ereaders, assuming someday they'll read them. I know, because I'm one of the hoarders. I'm really proud of my sell-through rate. The fact that anyone buys my sequels is encouraging!

- Get mentioned on the right websites - 

There are some incredible websites that advertise ebooks. Some charge money for ads. Some will list free ebooks. All four of these are the right place to be. Yes, I'm sure there are more great ones out there. If you know, please share them below in the comments.

Pixel of Ink (my favorite!)
Kindle Nation Daily
eReader News Today
Kindle Fire Department

- Befriend book bloggers -

There's nothing better than someone who loves your books and will tell the world about them. This is where bloggers come in. These readers are happy to devour your book and then tell the world how much they love it.

I'm not going to list my favorite book bloggers because the blogger you query should be targeted for your book. They don't all like fantasy, they don't all like contemporary. Find the right reader for your book and ask them if they're interested in reading it.

But do me a favor, treat them kindly. You aren't entitled to a review, or even a good review. Let them have their opinions. They don't owe writers anything. However, a friendly relationship can go a long way.

Just yesterday a blogger sent me interview questions. She actually apologized for them, assuming many of them would be repeats from the hundreds of other interviews I've done. My response: I'm happy to answer any questions, no matter how many times I've been asked. Just because other people know the answers, it doesn't mean her readers do.
These are the top three tips I have for you. There's always discussions on getting into the right categories, promoting on Twitter (which I suck at, so don't ask me about it), promoting on Facebook (I generally use it as a way to connect with readers who already know about my books), etc.

You could try the spaghetti method (you know, throw it against the wall and see what sticks), or you could do the obvious: write, edit, write, edit, write, edit.

Take these words of wisdom from Hugh Howey (WOOL) in his Huffington Post article on snagging a film deal with Ridley Scott:

"My inbox lately has become sprinkled with missives from other independent writers asking me for any advice I might have. So I tell them what you have taught me: Please the reader. Write your best works for them; make those works affordable; interact with your fans; and take their feedback to heart. Without a single dime spent in advertising, a short story I wrote and didn't even work to promote climbed to the top of the Amazon charts. It drew the attention of Hollywood. It landed me an agent and half a dozen foreign book deals. All because of word of mouth. Because I happened to please you, and you told someone else, and they spread the word further."
Megg, Miss Enchanted ePubber


Danielle La Paglia said...

Megg, that's incredible!

I do have a few questions for you: 1) how much did you spend upfront to get the three book out there? (ads, cover art, editing, everything)

2) how closely did you release each book in the series?

Megg Jensen said...

Hi Danielle,

How much did I spend up front? Well, approximately $100 per ebook. Ads vary anywhere from $50 to $200. Some of the websites, like Pixel of Ink, no longer take paid sponsorships. They do, however, take submissions for free ebooks.

Anathema released February 2011, Oubliette released June 2011, and Severed released November 2011. I had Anathema and Oubliette both written and mostly edited before I made the decision to self-pub.

Hope that answers your questions!

Megg :)

Danielle La Paglia said...

Thanks, Megg!

DeenaML said...

Great post! I love the idea of sucking them in with a free sample and then seeing who comes back for more. :)

Emily Marshall said...

I completely agree about the free first book. I'll download anything on my Nook if it's free, and I've found several authors I've paid for their next book by finding them this way. I even think it doesn't have to be a book in a series. If I like their writing, I'm going to want to read any other book they have.

Megg Jensen said...

Deena - Try it before you buy it, right?

Emily - That's really good to hear. Many of my friends who've done this without a series see ZERO carry-over to their other stand-alone books. We're all puzzled by this because I would think there would be a lot of readers who agree with you.

I do wonder if it has something to do with Amazon's algorithms and how they recommend books.

Emily Marshall said...

Hmmm...that is odd Megg. I would have thought more people would have bought books in non-series as well.

knizpkovrizhka said...

thanx for sharing your experience, cool post!