How to Optimize Your Ebook in 3 Steps

So, your epic masterpiece is finished, is it? Not so fast, speedy McGee. There are a few vital elements you need to add to that beast to give it that crucial edge over the thousands of other manuscripts currently logging space in the self-publishing world.

The Golden Keys to Success

I discovered these keys (through advice columns of older, wiser, and successful self-published writers) only after publishing 10 or so books and short stories. Now I am busy inserting them into my manuscripts to revivify those buggers. Here, in no particular order, are the tips to include in your MS:

  • Links (this a ‘duh’ one that I should’ve figured out on my own.
  • Gentle request for a review (an honest and good review, right?)
  • Lead-in to extra, FREE, content

Now let’s explore each one of these with a smidgen more detail so that we can intelligently apply them.

LINKS – In the beginning and at the end of your MS, you want to write your author name and ‘Blog’, as in Buckel’s Blog, for example, and then magically turn it into a link to your blog or site. If you use Microsoft Word, simply do this in your MS. FIRST, highlight {My Blog} beneath your Title, then hit Insert on the top dashboard. Click the Hyperlink button, paste your blog URL into the address line there, hit OK and that’s it!

The best part is, once your MS is live on Amazon, anyone who clicks on your book and opens it to read the first page (yeah, everybody does this), they will see that link and be able to click on it and view your blog. And they will click on it, because we all love clicking. It’s like a tiny thrill, a hint of what prospectors must’ve experienced back in nineteenth century California, when their hammers clicked on a rock and they discovered those golden nuggets. We’re all looking for the golden nuggets in our lives.

Review Request – I’ve had the darnedest time getting reviews. I’ve done everything They say to do, but if you don’t nab those reviews, it’s all for naught. Of all the advice out there, about the only bit that doesn’t cost a small fortune is this nugget of advice: At the end of your manuscript, simply jot down a gentle request for a review. And don’t forget to thank them.

Ask Those Nice Readers for Reviews

You’d be surprised how many people like your book but won’t bother to write a review, simply because they don’t think about it. So, best time ever to remind them is the moment they finish reading your awesome urban fantasy, or whatever. I am employing this short paragraph in all my books. Feel free to use it or tweak it or disregard it: As always, if you enjoyed this book, we ask that you take a moment to jot down an honest review. The career of an indie author depends on readers like you participating in this simple but vital step. I am, as always, truly grateful for your time and consideration.

Free Content Lead-In – Here is where the big-time success stories make their big-time moneys. It’s all about the Free Content. (Michael J. Sullivan is the perfect example.) If you can get a reader to like your free writing samples, they are more likely to lay down good money to buy your other works, those available for purchase.

At the end of your ebook, leave a lead-in, usually in the form of a link, as an offer of free ‘extras’ or ‘tutorial’ or even simply a free short story or first chapter of the next book in that series.

People are 65% more likely to subscribe and pay for content, if they are first given free (quality) content. You could do webinars, podcasts, YouTube tutorials, contests, giveaways, and the less exciting but still useful tool of written content available through your blog or free download. Loads of options are out there; be creative. Be bold.

Just remember that readers are, on the whole, intelligent people. They crave useful (educational) content, and are willing to pay for the pleasure of reading your awesome books—if they are given the option of first enjoying the consumption of some of your awesome stuff for free.

This is why it’s a great idea to give away your book for free for a limited period when you first publish it. Or, in a series, offer the first book free, and the others for $2.99.

All of this is designed to entice the reader to provide you with their e-mail address. When someone subscribes to your blog, they are saying: ‘I like your free stuff, send me more free stuff, and maybe I’ll eventually pay for your other stuff.’

And that is a pretty sweet relationship.

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