eBook Selling

Tips for Getting Massive Book Sales

In 2011, Derek Doepker was a broke rock musician, working as a valet at a restaurant, and had to sell his keyboard to pay his rent.  Fast forward to today, he is now a 7 time bestselling author who has sold over 50,000 copies of his books. Derek learned a system for massive book sales that he shared in this month’s SkillBites Show.  To listen to the show, click here.

As Derek is the first to admit, he had no special talent or knack for marketing.  His first book sold 3 copies, one of which was to his mom. He learned from his failure and from others who were successful.  His second book skyrocketed to #1 bestseller on Amazon, making $6000 in its first 11 days. How did he do that?

Derek identified several keys to his success, which are elements of the system he created to be able to replicate that success.  First, it wasn’t enough just to write a great book. He promoted his book heavily so people knew about it. Second, even with powerful marketing, a book isn’t going to go very far unless there are people who want the information.  He made sure there was high demand for the topic of his book. Third, he didn’t skimp on the book cover, and chose a title and subtitle that would grab the reader. Books need to have an attractive cover and a title and subtitle that express who the book is for and why they should read it.  Fourth, he chose a narrow niche for his book. Books that fit a narrow niche tend to do better than books in broad categories. For example, a book on raising kids on a raw food diet will do better than one on raising kids to eat healthy. Fifth, he found other people with large networks of the target readership for his book to promote his book, which gave it much greater credibility and visibility.

Derek also shared his 3 C’s for book sales success:

     ●  Collect intelligence. Research what other books are out there on the market on the same subject.  Identify the ones that are selling the best and review their covers, titles, descriptions, etc. to get a sense as to why they are doing well.  Also, get on people’s mailing lists to get their emails. Which ones grab your attention? You should build an email list and then create email campaigns that incorporate the elements from others’ emails that attracted you.  Essentially, you should imitate what is working well for others.

     ●  Create your big idea.  One of Derek’s big ideas, for instance, was to develop a system that enables people to change bad habits in just 5 minutes per day.  Identify your unique spin; what do you do differently, or what do you offer that’s different from what else is out there?

     ●  Collaborate with others.  When you collaborate with influencers, websites that promote books, book reviewers, etc., your book will get in front of many more people and consequently do better.

Derek offered the SkillBites audience a free copy of his eBook, Why Authors Fail.  Go to his website, www.bestsellersecrets.com to download that.

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Book Marketing FAQs

This is the 3rd blog post in a sequence, and it is on book marketing FAQs.  The prior 2 were on book writing FAQs and book publishing FAQs.

1. How do you run a book launch?

Answer:  There are many different types of book launches.  Some people have small cocktail parties, some have large events, some have book signings, some launch their books through social media and blogs, and some do discounted or free book campaigns with joint venture partners contributing free products and services to anyone who buys your book on the launch date.  What kind of launch you should have depends on your objective for the launch, the preferences of your target audience, how much effort you want to put into it and how much money you want to spend on it. It’s a good idea to plan a launch about 3 months after you expect your book to be published. That way, if there are any snafus with the publishing, you won’t have to postpone the launch.  

2. How much time should I plan to spend promoting my book?  

Answer:  The more you promote your book, the better the results will be from it.  If you spend only a few hours promoting it, you won’t get much in the way of results.  If you don’t have the time to spend promoting your book yourself, you may want to hire someone to promote it for you.  Plan on spending at least 40 hours during the months leading up to your launch sending emails, posting on social media, preparing press releases, sending your book to reviewers, getting your book on your website, planning your book launch and other marketing tactics.  Then figure on spending at least 10 hours/month after your book is published.

3. What are some of the best ways to market my book?

Answer:  There are many book marketing tactics.  In fact, there’s a book called 1001 Ways to Market Your Book, by John Kremer. You can conduct an email campaign, a social media campaign, a blog tour, a PR campaign, a free book campaign and a bestseller campaign, to name just a few.  Some are free and relatively easy to do yourself, such as the first 3 listed, while others take more time and require more expertise to do right, and can cost a lot of money.

4. With so many different ways to market my book, how do I decide what actions to take?  

Answer:  Three keys to determining what actions to take when marketing your book are (1) know your objective – what do you want to achieve from your book? (2) Know where your audience is likely to be — are they on social media frequently?  Do they read trade journals? Do they listen to certain radio stations, or follow particular blogs? And (3) identify tactics that align with keys (1) and (2) and fit your available resources.

5. Why would I want to run a free book campaign?

Answer:  If your aim for your book is to get more people to appreciate your expertise, then running a free book campaign will get your book in front of more people.  It also tends to create momentum that leads to book sales once the campaign is over. In addition, people who receive a free book tend to write more reviews.  Getting good reviews can also help your book sales after the free book campaign is over. You can run a free eBook campaign through Amazon’s Kindle Select program if your book is exclusively on Amazon.  You can run a free print book campaign on Goodreads.com.

6. How do I get book reviews?

Answer:  This is a good question, as books that have a large number of good reviews do much better than books that have few reviews.  Amazon has started denying the reviews of anyone they think might be in the author’s family or network. Still, start with your friends, family and colleagues and ask them to post reviews.  Here are a few more tactics:

     ✔️ Include a sentence in your book requesting that the reader provide a review for you.

     ✔️ Do a search on Amazon for books like yours and try to reach out to anyone who reviewed those other books to see if they will review yours.  Sometimes their contact information is available.

     ✔️ Try a free book campaign, which can lead to more reviews.

Do you have questions on book marketing that you want answered?  Email me at judy@skillbites.net and I’ll get back to you with my answer.

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Getting Others to Promote You

When someone brags about their own abilities, we generally take it with a grain of salt; but when we hear someone else extoll someone’s expertise, we take notice and give it more weight.  And when that someone else is a commentator for a TV or radio program or a newspaper reporter, we are even more likely to believe it. So if we want to build our reputation, a good way to do that is to get media interviews.

How do you do that?  Maura Sweeney, this month’s guest on the SkillBites Show, shared a number of resources and tips for getting media interviews.  Maura is an internationally acclaimed speaker, having traveled to over 60 countries, speaking on such topics as influence, leadership and emotional intelligence.  She is also a published author of 6 books, a podcaster and a frequent media guest.

Maura advised that pursuing media exposure does take a lot of work, patience, commitment and getting out of your comfort zone, but it is well worth it.  Each time you land a media interview, you get better at honing your message, and then you get more interviews. When you direct your energies toward getting media exposure, then you are more likely to get media opportunities.  

Maura shared some stories of how this worked for her.  One such story involved her getting on BBC Radio. She was in Liverpool, England on vacation, and decided to do some research on the Beatles for her own personal interest.  While there, she noticed the BBC Studio building, and thought there might be someone there who could tell her what the Beatles were like before they became stars. It turned out that the person who might have been able to help her was not available, but a BBC reporter asked to talk with her. He took her out for tea and invited her to be a guest on a BBC Show.  Not long after that, she got a second opportunity to be a guest on the BBC.

Maura recommended starting small – seek interviews with podcasters and local radio shows on your topic, or who have audiences who would benefit from hearing about your topic.  A good source for finding appropriate radio shows and podcasts is radioguestlist.com.

Another source is newspaper interviews.  There’s a free resource for this called HARO.com (Help A Reporter Out).  It’s an email that gets sent to subscribers a few times every day with a list of all the topics that reporters are seeking experts on.  It is time consuming to go through the emails, and the response has to be quick; but if you land an interview, you’ll get your name in an article that will go to thousands of people.  It’ll take your profile to a whole different level; and again, the more times you get selected, the more likely that you’ll get selected again.

Another resource Maura shared is InterviewGuestDirectory.com.  This is a paid directory that media personnel use to find experts they want to interview, so if your profile is in the directory, they’ll find you if your expertise is what they are looking for.

Before you proceed down the path of seeking guest interviews, however, you should prepare a message that you want to share.  Then, after you land an interview, you need to find out who the audience is and how long the interview is. Prepare some questions that you can send to the interviewer and practice answering them in the time that is allotted for your interview.  The better prepared you are, the more confident you will be in the interview and the better you will come across.

Maura offers consulting services to help people hone their message and prepare for media interviews.  She generously offered to the listeners in the SkillBites community a 30 minute complimentary consultation.  To take advantage of this opportunity, email her at maura@maura4u.com, with the subject “SkillBites”.

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The Power of Audio Books

Did you know that audio books outsell eBooks by 3 to 1? According to Tina Dietz, world class audiobook publisher, sales of audio books have experienced a meteoric rise in the past several years, with over 20% growth year over year. People are listening to audio books while driving, flying or working out at the gym, when reading isn’t convenient. At the same time, the cost of producing an audio book has dropped by 50%. It’s also a different audience than readers of print books and eBooks, so if an author does not get their book made into an audio book, they are missing out on a sizeable audience.

Tina shared a number of issues to think about when considering whether to have a book made into an audio book. First, she suggested that every author read their book out loud prior to publishing the book. The more conversational the book, the more the book will build an intimate relationship with the reader and the greater likelihood that the reader will enjoy the book. Reading the book out loud will provide a very different sense of the book than reading it silently. It will also give the author a sense as to whether there are portions of the book that could be problematic for narration, such as exercises for the reader.

Another consideration is how the audio book fits in with the business. Interestingly, when an author has an audio book, the author can do 2 launches, using basically the same marketing material, thus doubling the bang for the buck. Also, if the author has plans to do the audio book as well as the print book and eBook, the author can include a link to a sample from the audio book in the print and eBook versions, which can drive more traffic to the author’s website.

Audio books do not require much equipment to produce. The most important equipment to have is a good microphone, and that runs less than $100. Tina recommended either the Blue Yeti or the Audio Technica 2100. The software can be downloaded for free, such as GarageBand or Audacity. It is essential to record the audio in a room that will be absent of any road noises or echo. The author can narrate the book herself, but it is strongly recommended that she take the time to learn good vocal and breathing techniques that are central to audiobook narration.

From a timing perspective, Tina advised that a professional narrator spends about 5 to 6 hours recording one hour of audio, which is about 10,000 words; so for a typical 100 page book, or 30,000 words, it’s about 20 hours for a professional to complete the narration. For an amateur, it would take considerably longer.

Tina has developed a 12 step Audiobook Production & Best Practices guide for authors interested in producing an audio book, and has offered that guide to the SkillBites community. You can download it by going to launchyouraudiobook.com. For more information about Tina Dietz, visit her website, StartSomethingCreativeBizSolutions.com.

SkillBites has partnered with Tina Dietz and StartSomething Creative Business Solutions to offer special audiobook production packages. If you are interested in getting your book turned into an audio book, click here for details or contact us.

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Protect Your Interest in Your Book

Angela Megasko, founder of MarketViewpoint, author of Ultimate Mystery Shopping and SkillBites customer, forwarded to me a blog post that was very disturbing. It concerned a woman who was about to launch her book when she discovered that it had been stolen! Someone from Nigeria had taken her book, put his own name on the cover and was selling it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online sites. Click here to read the full story. While she ultimately got the online sites to take down the stolen book, it took her considerable time and effort to do so.

What can be done about this? For one, you need to be vigilant. At a minimum, do a quick search every now and then to make sure your book hasn’t been stolen. For another, register your copyright. You own a copyright in the content you create without registering it; but when you do register it, you declare your ownership as a matter of public record, and if you need to sue someone to prevent them from infringing on your copyright interest, you would have broader remedies if you win. You can register the copyright yourself for $35, or you can hire SkillBites to do it for you. It won’t prevent the book from being stolen, but it may reduce the risk of theft and make it easier for you to pursue your claim to get your book back.

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