So, you want to sell your eBook but don’t know where to start? Perhaps you’re an author on our site, perhaps not. Perhaps you write music eBooks, perhaps eBooks on underwater Parcheesi strategy. Regardless, It’s my guess that what we have found works here at F-flat is applicable for other sites and subjects. And, hopefully, I can help you get your eBook selling with just a few tips. And, if they all seem to you as “well, duh, that’s obvious” kind of tips; I can tell you for sure that not all authors do these. But, the ones who do tend to sell more books.
Since we first launched F-flat in the beginning of August (2019, should this post have staying power), I have been keeping a close eye on our analytics. I have been trying to track trends, what sells, what doesn’t sell. Here’s some low-hanging fruit from our site’s data thus far.
1. Tag people on Facebook
The idea is simple:
- Write/Share a post linking to your eBook
- Tag someone in the comments who might be interested in said eBook
- Sip your martini and wait
Quite frankly, I was amazed at how effective this was at first. I shouldn’t have been. In a past life I worked at a Radio Shack. Workers there made commission from selling replacement plans. So, one day, I decided I’d start offering replacement plans on everything. EVERYTHING. No matter how stupid it seemed a replacement plan would be for that object, I offered it. And you know what? I came to have the highest commissions for replacement plans in the region.
“How’d you sell a $10 replacement plan on discounted $5 earbuds?!”
“I offered them one.”
It may seem dumb. You may feel embarrassed to propose it, but the truth is, you never know who might buy it if only you present the option. This rings true for our site.
“But David, the audacity to tag someone—to assume they want, nay, need, my book is simply… well… I cannot even, good sir…”
To my knowledge, no friendships have ended from people tagging others in the comments of our posts. But, to be fair, friendships are harder to track via Google Analytics.
What I’ve found
A good amount of initial book sales come from people who were simply tagged in social links. This works best (at least for our site) on Facebook. Tagging people in Instagram, for example, doesn’t seem to result in many direct sales (Instagram doesn’t allow for easy links, after all).
2. Redesign your eBook
I’m going to assume the importance of cover design is obvious. But what may be less obvious is the importance in the layout and internal design of your eBook.
How does the design of the inside of your book affect sales? We’ve found that the majority of people look through the preview pages of a given eBook before adding it to their carts. In fact, when we first launched we had issues with the preview for a certain book not displaying on mobile. We actually received messages asking to see a preview to know if it was worth buying. That’s right—people spent extra time just so they could get a preview to know if they wanted an $8.99 eBook.
Design matters to your book before it is even purchased.
“This is too hard—I’m not a designer.”
Stop. Breathe. Listen:
You don’t need to be. There are a slew of wonderful PowerPoint templates out there which make this easy. We actually suggest them in out author packet. Blog posts (such as this one →) have great tips for starting your eBook, as well as resources for free design templates. A quick Google search will also provide options for free design templates. Want more ideas on design? Check out “How to design a great ebook without design skills →”
What I’ve found
3/4 of our best-selling books were designed by the authors themselves using templates found in the above links. (The 4th one was designed professionally.) The authors who have used these templates have all noted that they were extremely easy to use. So don’t be scared. Also, if you’re a teacher then you should already know the value of learning something new!
3. Make a video of you talking about your eBook
Before you worry about your video production skills, let me state off the bat that I don’t think they matter. The truth is, people want to connect with you—the author. You’re not some faceless entity chasing a payday, those greenbacks, fatty stacks. You’re flesh and blood. You bleed, cry, and love as they do. OK, forgive the melodrama, but you get my point. Video is a simple way to connect to people who could benefit from your eBook. It doesn’t have to be perfect. If anything, lack of perfection is more relatable.
If you already have a group of followers on YouTube, that’s a great place to put your video. Since you can put links into a videos description, it is a great place to promote your book. Similarly, consider Facebook as a place to host your video (with a link, of course). Remember, you can put the same video up on numerous platforms.
Another good idea is to find a blog with a good audience where you can write a guest post and embed your video at the top. At F-flat Books, we encourage our authors to write posts and make videos promoting their books to put directly on our site. We’ve even published blog posts promoting eBooks that are on other sites.
What I’ve found
Blog posts with videos have a much longer time-on-page than other posts, indicating that people watch these videos. Also, I have seen quite a few sales come from links in YouTube and Facebook video descriptions. I haven’t found that the quality of video production changes results, at least when it comes to videos by the authors themselves. People just want to see your lovely faces.
It might feel awkward trying to sell your book. You may feel embarrassed trying to shill your wares. But, the fact is that most of you wrote your eBooks because you believe it contains info that could be useful to others. They could benefit from it. Nay, they would benefit from it. You’re doing the world a disservice by not making everyone aware of what you have written. Get it out there—no one is judging you for being excited about what you wrote.