More Steps to EBook Success…

By Jon F. Merz

I’m having my best month of ebook sales so far in 2012 so I thought I’d share some of the steps I’ve been taking to increase my sales. I outlined a lot of practical steps – including the best piece of software you can use to help boost your ebook sales in my book: HOW TO REALLY SELL EBOOKS (which was written after I wasted five bucks reading another author’s account of how he sold one million ebooks but failed to list anything concrete that he did beyond a blog) but here are a few other steps I’m doing right now to help things along even more.

1. Production Schedules: Depending on how quickly you work, I think it’s vital to come out with new material at LEAST every few months. Debuting new material allows you to promote it and simultaneously call attention to your other works. I’m aiming for new stuff every other month. I’m not necessarily talking a new novel every other month – it can be as small as a new short story. The key here is consistency and an ever-increasing amount of ebooks for your growing fan base to pick up. People want new stuff faster and the old days of only a novel every year are well and truly gone.

2. EBook Anthologies: This is going to piss a lot of people off, but every time I see someone else soliciting stories for an e-anthology, my first reaction is “why on earth would I waste my writing for it?” The fact is, any writer can put that story out themselves at a 99 cent price point and earn 35 cents and 40 cents (Amazon and B&N respectively) with each sale. And rather than getting lost in the table of contents with other authors (who may or may not help sales depending on the quality of their work) you can put it out yourself, increase your own virtual shelf space, and help further your own brand. Royalty sharing among ebook authors (unless it’s a novel collaboration) is no way to generate any sort of income. Of course, if Stephen King drops you an email and asks you to be in his anthology, that might be a different story.

3. Free Ebooks: Stop. Just stop. Everyone is doing this now, which means you absolutely should NOT be doing it. Further, while I know everyone wants to get exposure and introduce the world to your writing, the simple fact is, if you’ve labored long and hard on your book, then you shouldn’t give it away for free. Perception is reality and if people see you don’t value your own work, then they’ll never value it either. It’s worth something – even if it’s only 99 cents. But free? No way. There’s such a glut of free ebooks out there now, you’ll never get any sort of exposure anyway. It’s wasted effort that you could be using to sell copies of the work in question. Want exposure and reviews? Recruit a few keys friends or fans and give them a copy in exchange for them talking it up and posting reviews about it. Yes, it’s free to them, but there’s an exchange of value going on – they get the ebook and you get some definite exposure and reviews out of it.

4. Stop Book Launch Events on Facebook: Learn to use Facebook Pages for your author stuff. Creating a new event every time you have a book launch splits up your audience and then forces everyone you invite to receive email every time you post an update on the event page. It gets annoying very quickly. Announce your books on your Author Page and if you need help setting them up properly, I wrote up a few posts in the past on how to do it here and here. Remember: your goal is to build your audience, not annoy them. Plus, the more things you invite people to, the less likely they are to attend. Give them one page on Facebook to focus on, not thirty.

5. Write a Series: if you’re only writing standalone novels, I suggest you start writing a series. Now. Why? Because if your series is good and people like it, you will have a built-in audience for future installments. Plus, new readers will discover your series and you’ll keep building it. But if you keep writing standalone novels, then maybe the subject matter doesn’t click with certain folks. A series is a definable product and provided they like the characters, readers will keep coming back for more. I would argue there is more inherent value in continuing a series than there is in a standalone. My Lawson Vampire series now stands at seven novels, five novellas, and seven short stories. Each month, the series earns me roughly 85% of my income as compared to my various standalone novels. It is well worth your time developing a series.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, I hope you’ll share it with others!

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