Now that your book is written, how do you promote and sell it? This will be the single most important question you’ll need to answer as you epublish your new book.
There are some specific things you can do to help your book stand out from the crowd. Tweaking your presentation and book metadata is critical. Here’s how to sell more ebooks:
- Pay attention to the cover image. The cover image, along with the book description, and to some extent, customer reviews, will sell your book. Of all the things you should outsource to a professional, cover design is the most important. While you’re having the book front cover designed, you should have the designer “build out” the cover so you can use it for print production at some point in the future. You may pay a little more up front, but it would be better to have it done now than need to have it built later. While I don’t have any mad skills in this area, I know people who do, and would be happy to pass a referral along to them.
- The book description is the second most important part of your book presentation. This really needs to POP. Since your target market is READERS, you can feel comfortable giving them plenty of copy to READ. Sell the sizzle – what will a reader gain from this book? Why is it different? How will they feel when they read it? What kind of problem will it solve for them? The more you can step into your readers shoes, the better. Bullet points are very descriptive and easy to read. If you have any lists in your book, this is a good place to mention them: Outlines the 10 critical keys to prosperity, etc. This is the same sort of copy that would (and could) appear on the back of your book (the backliner).
- Consider professional editing, or at least proofreading. For avid readers, it’s really frustrating to run into typos, grammatical errors, and misspelled words. A good editor will polish your presentation – they’ll help you go from GOOD to GREAT.
- BISAC codes and keywords will help position your book in the proper place for searches and browsing. Be sure to get as specific as you can – Juvenile Fiction/General is not as descriptive as Juvenile Fiction/Romance/Fantasy. You can generally pick 2-4 different BISAC codes for your book. Use as many as are appropriate. Keywords can help too – imagine how you might search for your book and use those words. Amazon allows 7 search items, separated by commas. Use them all. You might consider different permutations of the same theme. For instance, I did keywords on a book called Navigating the Lipstick Jungle. It’s all about how women can succeed in the workplace. If I recall, the keywords were: business etiquette, women in business, communicating at work, succeeding as a businesswoman, succeeding at work, women communication, and women promotion.
- Good interior formatting. Nothing screams self-published more than a poor ebook conversion (except for a poorly designed cover). Even some publishers engage in really bad conversions. You’ve seen them before: they’re obviously PDFs that went through some sort of automated conversion. Headers & footers are still there, there are formatting problems with lists and tables, words randomly break, etc. The catch with converting a book the easy way is that everyone knows it – a lot of readers will download the book preview, see the crummy formatting, and then not purchase it. OR they’ll buy the book, get frustrated because it’s hard to read, and return it or complain to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes. A lot of times, they’re just plain insulted. They’ve paid good money for the book, and they expect a quality reading experience. And who can blame them?
You’ve spent all the time and energy to write a book. You really ought to put your best foot forward and give your book a chance to succeed. Pay attention to these critical packaging and quality issues and you’re well on your way to having a potential bestseller.
What about you? Have you noticed other things that help you sell more ebooks? How did you get noticed? Leave a comment below and let us know how you did it.