Ebook Sales

I’m going to talk about myself and my book sales.  It’s certainly not to rub it in anyone’s face, but rather as an examination of marketing efforts.  And frankly, I can’t use anyone else as an example because I don’t have access to their sales figures.

3 so far

On June 29th, 2014 I published my first ebook, Recognized Expert Status.  In the 7 months since then, I’ve put out two more ebooks.  Right now, they are all available only on Amazon for the Kindle.  It’s not the only market for ebooks, but percentage-wise it’s the largest.  The other sites, like Apple’s iBooks, or B&N’s Nook store, simply don’t add up to the possible market I have on Amazon.  That said, I do intend to offer my current and forthcoming books on the other platforms as well.

In addition each book is also available as a print copy as well.  Again, I’m going through Amazon – this time through a division called CreateSpace.  They’re a Print On Demand (POD) printer – I can’t really call them a publisher.  Like with an ebook, the author or sponsor (publisher) needs to supply them with all the elements in place to print a readable edition.

The ebooks are also available for “borrowing” via their program, Kindle Unlimited (KU).  For $10/month, you can borrow as many books as you can read on your Kindle, with a limit of 10 titles “borrowed” at any given time.  So if I wanted to borrow an 11th title, I’d have to return one title (remove it from my Kindle) before I could download number 11.

Sales so far

So far, I’m averaging about one sale or borrow every other day.  That’s across all 3 titles, not per ebook.  My latest book, Profitable Web Hosting which was released in November 2014, is currently the most popular.  I’ll talk about why that’s interesting in a minute.  It’s also the longest.  I’ve added more pages per book as I’ve progressed.  My middle book, Membership Site Design is next in popularity.

Marketing efforts

Funny – for a guy who runs a marketing firm, I’m really not marketing my ebooks or their companion web sites.

A couple pieces of advice you’ll hear over and over again as an indie author (or authorpreneur):

  1. The best sales tool is more books, which means instead of trying to market one book, put out multiple books and use each one to cross promote the others.
  2. Make sure you have at least ten 4 or 5 star reviews on Amazon for each title.  This is supposed to be social proof (a good version of peer pressure) that your book is worth reading because other people like it.

I have joined a number of groups on Facebook meant for promoting ebooks.  I’ve spent a few hours designing graphics and generating affiliate links for my titles, and posting the information in the groups.  But if everyone is in a group to shout about their own titles, who is there to actually look at your ad and actually purchase it?

In addition, I’ve created a few video book trailers (kind of like movie trailers) and posted them online.  Again, the groups seem to be catering to those people looking for a place to post their videos, not people looking for books to buy.

To put it bluntly: sales happen when you can solve a problem for someone, or scratch their itch.  These promotion groups exist to scratch the itch of people looking to promote their books.  They’ve not actually peddling the books to potential readers.

I did try to do a blog tour with one of my books.  Essentially, that’s where you can do guest posts on other peoples’ blogs, and maybe get a canned interview posted.  Theoretically, these sites have a better chance of drawing in potential readers, because the site owner is telling them about new ebooks.  However, I quickly discovered that non-fiction business books aren’t a popular staple for blog tours.  I wound up being featured on a couple romance sites, and a fantasy site.  I got some great reviews, but no sales.

Reviews

Right now my most popular ebook, Profitable Web Hosting, doesn’t have any reviews at all.  The one with the most positive reviews sells the fewest copies.  I’m used to being strange, going against the grain, but this definitely different than most other authors out there.  It is important to get reviews, and frankly I really want honest reviews for each book.  It’s just going to have to be one of my goals going forward.

Going forward

I’ll be posting more about marketing in general, and specifically about my efforts in marketing my own books.  I know, kind of like looking in a mirror at a mirror and seeing hundreds of images into infinity.  Examining my own navel.  Watch this space!  Hehe.

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