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The #1 Sales Tip for Independent eBook Authors

November 28, 2010

My #1 sales tip for independent ebook authors is: Give away free content.

As my About Page mentions, I’ve been working in the ebook field for over ten years. Part of what I’ve been involved in has included working with independent ebook authors — authors who have written a book and self-published it as an ebook.

If you are one of these authors, then you know that the job of marketing your ebook falls on your shoulders, since you aren’t being represented by a publishing company. This usually means that you’ll be learning some internet marketing methods and trying to make the world aware of your ebook through things like social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc), forum posts, blogging, article writing, and other related methods.

It’s pretty safe to say that the big takeaway concept from any internet marketing lesson is: “Content is King”. You’ve probably heard that before. In a nutshell, it means that the information that you write and make available for free is what brings people to your website, and it’s what keeps them coming back for more.

It’s very easy to apply this to your ebook marketing plan. All you have to do is give away part of your ebook for free. If you have a website or even just a blog, you can post the first chapter or other significant parts of the book for people to read online.

These are some reasons why this is important:

  • If you’re an unknown author, readers are not familiar with your work. They don’t know anything about your writing style, and basically they just don’t know of any reason why they should buy your ebook.
  • Selling ebooks is different from selling paper books in one big way (among others): customers can not pick up the book and flip through it. Many times, the only information they have is the cover image and a summary of the book.
  • Once a person has read the first chapter of your book, they might be hooked enough that they will want to buy the entire thing.
  • If your website has plenty of content relating to the topic of your ebook, people will be able to find it in Google when they search for those keywords.
  • If you write regular blog posts with quality content, you will be generating more and more pages that your potential readers can find in Google.
  • The more information you give, the more a reader will be convinced that you know what you’re talking about, and the more they will want to buy your book to learn more.

If you’re an author and you don’t already have a website, you can start a free blog right here on WordPress. Since you’re a writer, writing a blog shouldn’t be much of a stretch, and it’s vitally important for your visibility as an author.

Here are a few examples of people who have been successful at increasing sales by giving away free content:

FreedomYou – This is a website about fasting, health, and addictions. The author has posted many articles on the subject. At first it appears that he is just giving away a ton of free information, but the articles are actually chapters from his books and each page tells you how you can purchase the full book.

James Patterson – The first book of his new release “Don’t Blink” is being given away free on James Patterson’s website. Once you’ve read a third of a book it is very likely that you’ll want to finish the whole thing.

Coldplay – Okay, Coldplay is a band, not an author. But in 2009 they gave away an entire free album. It caused a big stir, and you can be sure that the publicity helped them.

To take this concept even further, you could give away an entire ebook for free. If you’ve been writing long enough that you have a few books under your belt, giving one away for free can definitely help sales of the others. If you have multiple books on similar topics, it can give customers a reason to buy the others once they’ve seen how great the free book was. Besides that, it feels very appealing to customers. If you don’t have entire books available to give away, you could give a few short stories.

There are many other aspects about internet marketing that should be studied and tried, but I believe that this is the #1 most important concept for ebook authors. Give it a try. The worst case scenario is that you end up with more publicity than when you started.

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One Comment
  1. thedailydabbler permalink

    Very helpful. Thank you for the info.

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