You follow all the expert advice you can find. You perform every last task, from editing to book description polishing to Goodreads promotions. You’ve even gone through the effort of setting up a writing blog and started blogging about writing. But despite all your hard work, you only have a trickle of e-book sales coming in. What gives?
Great Kindle E-Books
You’ve been writing long enough that your Kindle e-books are of high-quality, from three-dimensional characterizations to solid plot to consistent descriptions to fluid viewpoint transitions. Your work may not be quite up to snuff with the big dogs like Martin, Maas, Taylor, and Sanderson, but it is clearly superior to most of the self-published dreck out there.
And yet those best-selling novelists and your inferior quality classmates are all selling more books than you. It’s infuriating!
Ninety percent of the time, the reason this happens is because of lack of exposure.
Listen up, because it took my dumb noodle years to accept this fact, and I want to save you time and frustration. If your book isn’t selling when it is clearly of higher value than many others out there, odds are banging good that people are simply not seeing it.
Marketing up the Wazoo
So stop writing that next book. Focus your energies instead on getting the one you just published out there. Let people know about it. Scream its accolades from the rooftops. (Okay, that one’s probably not going to help, but you get the picture.)
As I am discovering, there are numerous ways to get your books in front of prospective readers. Most advice columns will open with this tip: go to Facebook and post some ads . . .
I personally refuse to be a part of that breeding ground for trolls. So I can’t tell you if this is a profitable idea. I do know that Facebook is not specifically designed to sell books. Even Goodreads is not necessarily the best place. Sure, they’re all readers there, but in my experience its members are more interested in judging books and gaining friends and receiving free books than in putting down cold hard cash for real-life e-books.
Again, I may not be the best judge of that little world; my view might be skewed by an unpleasant sojourn there (it was consuming valuable time out of my schedule with little to show for it, even though I was winning friends and running forums).
Amazon AMS Ads
Perhaps the most useful thing you can do to promote your book is to place it in an AMS sponsored ad on Amazon. This will put it directly in line of sight with readers who are actively searching for books just like yours, and who are in fact prepared to purchase.
As we’ve already discussed this in another dynamite post here, I’m going to move on and offer you some further useful options.
- Outbrain and Taboola. Content discovery platforms are great ways to promote your e-books. They work like AdWords, on a pay-per-click format, except they are cheaper and offer instant links to your content. Outbrain and Taboola are perhaps the two most used platforms. Outbrain’s content has 15 billion page views per month. PER MONTH!
- ProductHunt. If you’re a Web geek with slick meta skills, you might be able to make Product Hunt work for you. It’s a place where people geek out about top new products. I haven’t used it; it seems to be tailored more toward Smart Phone-type products. Not sure how useful it would be for authors, but you might want to give it a whirl.
- SlideShare is a slick-looking site designed to provide users with useful content, educational-type documents, infographs and other visually-intriguing presentations. You can post your blog posts there for all the world to see. But after perusing the site, it, like ProductHunt, does not seem tailored to e-book authors. Still, I’m sure a tech-genius could find success through it.
- StumbleUpon is a huge discovery engine, designed to display new and exciting content. It finds and recommends web content through peer-sourcing and social networking principles (what doesn’t?). Submit your site or blog and users will ‘Stumble Upon’ it (oh, now I get it) and rate it. Ah yes, another rating system. Still, if your blog is rated, and rated well, search engines will sit up and take notice, and your traffic will increase.
So, there you are: those are the Deathly Hallows.
Try them at your leisure, or not. One final tip: you might go to Yahoo Answers, or Haro and answer a question there about writing or e-books, and leave a link to your site or blog. The point is, there are free and inexpensive ways to promote your books, which basically comes back to promoting your site.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. The worst that can happen is . . . nothing happens. Or, maybe you attract a troll. But so what. That just means you’re becoming legit.
Go ahead and be bold. No one’s going to find your awesome Kindle e-books unless you show those awesome Kindle e-books to them!