Forward: Learning how to sell an e book can make or break you in the fiction writing and publishing business, especially if you are going to self-publish your fiction. This article will help you develop a marketing plan for your electronically published book in order to make the most sales from your book.
Selling an e book has to be one of the most difficult parts of fiction book writing and publishing. Though almost everyone in the world reads, everyone has a slightly different taste for fiction than everyone else. To help you sell your fiction, I have put together several resources on how to sell an e book. Use all of them to jump start your book selling success, first online, then offline.
The first rule of thumb when starting to sell your book, no matter what media source it is published in, is to not give away copies of your book. It is very tempting to give your book away to family and friends, but let me tell you, when you are first starting out, your friends and family are your best customers.
You may think friends and family will want you to give them a copy, but they also understand the time, effort, and cost you put into your book to get it published. They don't mind paying you for a copy of your book, just make it more special for them by signing it or giving them a discount.
The key is to make money with your book, not to pay money for people to read your book. Think of it this way, the money you make from your friends and family will help you reach out to more people that you don't know.
However, giving your book away is not all that bad in some ways. If you do, do it with other intentions. I highly recommend asking them to provide you with feedback or a book review so their recommendations will help sell your book to other people. This is primarily for news, marketing outlets, or book reviewers who will write something up on your book.
There are many forms of advertising out there, but you don't have to spend a lot of money to market your fiction, at least not right away. If your writing budget is starting off empty, you need to start low and work your way up.
Just because an advertising method my not cost anything, that doesn't mean it won't work. Some of the best sources of marketing don't cost anything and are just what you need to get started.
Below are the free methods of fiction marketing you need to push steady and hard in the beginning so you can fill money into your writing budget. It is assumed you already have an author website to help sell your e book.
The first and foremost method of how to sell an e book, or any book for that matter, is by the use of word of mouth advertising. Word of mouth advertising is simple and free: Tell everyone you come in contact with about your book and ultimately give them the address to your website so they can buy it. A great way to do this is with the use of business cards with a link to your web site.
It's easy to talk about your book. It is yours! You intimately know every word in the book and you should be very passionate about your work! Personally selling your book is simple! People find it fascinating that they personally know an author and thus can't wait to buy your book.
Search engine submission will happen automatically when your web site is searched and found by search engine spiders. However, this process can take anywhere from a couple of days to quite a few months. There are a few tricks to get your website on a search engine a lot faster.
The first thing you should do is create a blog for your book! This is a great way how to sell an e book and is essentially free advertising. This is an area people can make posts about your book and where you can put links to your book or your author web site in the blogs.
Search engines are continuously indexing blogs (the largest blog site is owned and run by Google.com) and they spider all of the links within the blog. This is the fastest way to get your web site on the map, but it can still take a little time and may only spiders that one page.
A faster way how to sell an e book is to jump start this process by "Adding Content" for your blog to a MyYahoo or MyMSN page. The content you add is called your blog xatom address. Search engines like Yahoo continuously spider their own pages. Same with MSN. You can also add each of your web pages to your Yahoo and MSN home pages for effective results.
Submitting your author or book web site to online directories is a great way to improve your site popularity, traffic, and exposure. This is called an incoming link!
Look for more online search directories using the major search engines. They are a dime a dozen, so look for the very best ones to link to your site. Though some do charge, most of them are free.
Make sure to check the Alexa ranking of the site you want to link to to make sure it is worth linking to. A lower number is better. Linking to too many lame directories will actually lower your link popularity since most of them ask for recipricol links back to their website. Try to avoid those if you can.
Another common method of how to sell an e book is getting your word out to the world using targeted traffic and email marketing. There are thousands upon thousands of sources of this type of marketing, so I can't possibly list them all here. But all you have to do to find them is to search the net for "targeted email marketing" or "unique targeted visitors". Most of these sources cost money and a lot of them do not produce the awesome results you'd expect for their price. Just be careful with which companies you work with.
Try to find sources that target fiction readers of all genres or your specific genre. If you write science fiction, you don't want to target romance readers.
For the targeted visitors, simply supply your home page URL. For email campaigns, use your sales letter that you worked up for your home or start page of your website.
There are also hundreds of free methods for driving targeted traffic to your site such as traffic exchanges and banner exchanges. These all take time and are not as responsive, but it will give you visitors to your websites.
There are several online bookstores that deal directly with e books and hard copy books. The best way how to sell an e book using these sources is to do a little research and find book selling sites that allow you to submit information about your book.
A great place to start is by choosing the best e Book publishing platform out there. Createspace.com not only provides you with all of the tools you need to publish your books, but they also automatically include your title in all of their online book store directories.
Another way how to sell an e book and to drive traffic to your book's website is to have your link placed in websites that relate to your book or that link back to your book. These sites can be fiction related or content related.
You can use search engines to find such web sites that either allow you to link to them or exchange links (you put their link on your site, they put your link on their site).
If you review someone's related fiction book or add a post to their blog, you can add your link back to your book's website in your signature block. You can even add your website links to such places as Facebook, Google + or your very own blog you write for you book.
Another hot linking source that I love to use (and many other people out there) is called Pinterest. Posting your book on Pinterest can create a viral buzz that spreads word about your book very quickly.
Linking is usually free and can really drive a lot of traffic to your site if the site you are linking to receives a lot of traffic every month, something to consider when linking. You want sites to link to you without having to link back to them that are related in some way to your book.
This is the best way how to sell an e book online with no money and with the most potential. Depending on how large your network is, the more advertising power you will have.
You can use social networks to do a lot of things for you like create a hype for your story even before you are published. Let everyone know when it will be available so you can build some anticipation, excitement and curiosity.
The best thing about social networks is that the people already know you and they will be wanting to know more about your writing once you start talking about it.
A strong advantage of publishing your book through a publisher is that they submit your ISBN to all of the major bookstores throughout the country (and other countries) for you. They already have the contacts and methods in place to do this very easily.
It takes a lot of research to learn how to sell an e book, but you too can submit your books to these major bookstores by contacting those bookstores to see how to do this. You want to target bookstores that sell similar books to yours, otherwise you will be wasting your time.
Before publishing using a large book reseller source, you should first ensure your book is of highest quality possible. Remember, as a self-publisher, you are judged on your book content as well as layout, correctness, and proper format.
So, once you've learned how to sell an e book and and have actually made some sales, create your own Fiction Book Marketing System to start selling your book with a more lucrative type of marketing plan.
Jason W. Moser is a self-published author and master online marketing specialist. He has published several books and self-help articles about fiction including How to Sell an e book Using Free or Low Cost Marketing Techniques. Jason has retired from the Navy and now lives in Chesapeake, Virginia with his wife and two sons.