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Selling an eBook but not sure why sales are flagging? Or maybe you’re launching soon and you want to get all your ducks in a row before you launch. There are a bunch of factors that contribute to a successful launch and ongoing sales of your eBook. Here we look at our fave 5 tips for selling eBooks online successfully to your audience and beyond.

5 proven tips for selling eBooks

1) Choose the right price.

It can really hard to make the right decision when it comes to putting a price on your work. On one hand, you know how much work you’ve put into it and you want to be paid – generously – for your work. On the other hand, particularly if this is your first eBook, you might be finding it awkward to command certain prices.

Price is about so much more than cost

Tara Gentile

There are a few things regarding pricing to consider when you’re selling your eBook online.

  1. Is this your first eBook? If so, you’ll need to consider that if you’re still largely unknown as a writer, then buying something from you is “more risky” than buying from a recognized name. Higher prices that might trigger decision making based on price can be a no-no in this situation, so you want to price your eBook low enough for potential buyers to take a chance on you. Generally, pricing between $2.99-$4.99 is a great no-brainer price to start with. If you’re not sure where you sit and feel like running a little experiment, then consider Pay What You Want pricing for your first book and let your buyers decide.
  1. Do you have a healthy following for your business or you as a writer on social media or a strong mailing list? If you already have a group of engaged followers eager to get their mitts on your work, then you know that this group of people has already placed value on your work and they won’t mind (and might even want to) pay a little more for something they are excited about. Depending on your industry and content, you could be looking at anything between $9.99 – $24.99 for your eBook. Think about it: if someone you admire and follow was selling their work for a cheap price, how would that make you feel about their work?
  2. Take a look at prices around you. If you know of similar works or writers, check out what they’re selling and price your eBook comparatively. You don’t want to sit too high above the standard, nor do you want to do your industry or peers a disservice by pricing too low.

2) Clever PR in your niche.

PR: that mysterious and daunting beast. It can seem overwhelming, but with so many opportunities online to get free PR to promote your eBook, a little street smarts can make all the difference. Here are just a few ideas.

  1. Approach bloggers in your niche and send them a copy of your book. For example, if you’ve just written a book about healthy living, reach out to some mid-level Instagram superstars in that niche! Ask first if they’d like to receive a complimentary copy of your eBook. When you’re given the green light, send that baby through. You’ll probably find that they’ll give you a shout out on their account. Most Instagrammers love to receive anything that’s going to make it easy for them to create fresh content. Be sure to send them a good quality image of your book cover (make sure you have a beautiful cover!) – nicely styled image of your book on an iPad or Kindle will make life very easy for them.
  2. Be inclusive! If your book is non-fiction then you’ve likely got the opportunity to include some strategic mentions of influencers in your niche. Writing about business or marketing? Using case studies, or other entrepreneurs as examples in your work give you the chance to reach out to those people when you launch (or before you launch). You’ll find that they’ll be thankful for the exposure and will likely promote your book to their own networks. If that doesn’t quite sit right, reach out to someone that you really admire in your niche (fiction or non-fiction) and ask them to write the introduction to your book.
  3. Discount codes for the above. People LOVE to give, so if you can create specific discount codes for each of your ‘ambassadors’ to share with their networks, it’s more likely they’ll proudly spread the word.

3) All hail the mailing list.

Got a mailing list? USE IT. It’s the most valuable marketing tool that you have and research still shows that email is the most effective way to make sales for your online products, eBooks included. Anyone that’s willingly signed up for your mailing list is waiting to hear from you, so take advantage! Email marketing gives you the opportunity to speak directly to your potential buyer and really control the message around the product.

If you don’t have a mailing list or it’s still very small (thanks for signing up, mom!) then you need to be building your list pre-launch. Make sure you’ve got a way to capture email addresses on your site and social media accounts and that you’re hyping up the release of your book with a promise that anyone signed up to the mailing list gets first dibs on the book or perhaps a special deal. It’s also important to collect email addresses as you make sales, so you can promote future books to existing readers.

4) Turn your freebies into gold.

Now, I know you’ve just spent a truckload of time writing your book, but it’s important to take a step back and ask yourself: “What is the purpose of my book?”.  Are you after traction and reach, or do you want to earn some straight up dollars? If it’s profits, then charge away. But, if you’re new to the writing game or are using your book as a way to establish authority in your niche then giving away your book as a free download can be a very clever move. This tactic can also work well if you already have a series of books. It’s a way to hook in potential buyers and if they like what they read they’ll come back for more, next time with their credit cards at the ready. Don’t want to give away your whole eBook? Why not try a few chapters to give them a taste? Again, make sure you’re collecting those email addresses in exchange for whatever it is that you’re giving away so that you can follow up with a friendly email to close the sale.

5) Keep pushing after launch.

This one can be a tough one, but it’s super important because momentum is key. You’ll probably have a launch date in mind for your book and that’s great – it’s essential to have a goal in sight. What you should also do, though, is understand that launch date is just one goal to reach in the lifecycle of this eBook. You’ll need to factor in a good month or 2 (or 6 – go nuts!) of eBook specific follow-up work. That means any kind of post-launch promotion like regular emails, social media campaigns, webinars or interviews, and guest blogging. You’ll want to be reaching out to as many relevant people as possible and it’s also imperative to keep your finger on the pulse when it comes to where your book is being mentioned. Be kind to yourself in the lead up to launch – you don’t want to burn out.

We’d love to hear your favorite tips for selling eBooks – do you promote through your website, social, email or a combination of all of these? What are your short and long term goals for your book and your writing journey? Let us know in the comments below.

About the author

Melissa Whidjaya

Melissa is the co-founder of Bloombox Co. Bloombox Co works to connect flower growers and flower buyers, creating a distribution system that reduces waste, improves profitability for growers, and removes barriers to consumption, providing flower lovers with a fresher, more sustainable product than ever before.

5 comments

  1. Chinenye Ofokansi

    Melissa, I can’t be grateful enough for this writeup. Thank you very much.

  2. Ivy Baker

    I would have never thought about doing an email list as a way to advertise and sell more ebooks. If an author I liked kept sending me updates about their books being on sale I would probably go buy a lot of them. So, it does seem like a good thing to be aware of if you are struggling to get people to buy your ebooks.

    1. Kristen DeCosta

      Hi Ivy! I am glad you found this so helpful. Email marketing is a GREAT way to sell your ebooks. You can build an email list to send them discount codes, new releases, and much much more. We have some great content on email marketing that you can read further into here.

      Thanks for commenting!

  3. Shon Hyneman

    I’m sharing this blog post! I am the author of 5 books, so my latest book I give away as an eBook according to people in my niche. There’s bloggers I’ve connected with who interviewed me for my book and they advertise as a free giveaway to those who subscribe on their mailing list.

    1. Kristen

      Hey Shon, great point with connecting with other bloggers, especially with the ones that are in your niche. Having a free giveaway is a great idea for building your audience and staking your place in the world of selling online :)

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