eBook Sales Tips Every Author Should Know

Thanks to greater compatibility with devices and more distribution options, selling eBooks has become much easier in the last few years. Despite this, your eBook sales can hit a ceiling at some point. For some this could be the 50 eBooks sold mark. For others it could be 2,500 eBooks sold. Regardless of where your […]

Turgay Birand

August 11, 2016

Photo by Turgay Birand
Thanks to greater compatibility with devices and more distribution options, selling eBooks has become much easier in the last few years. Despite this, your eBook sales can hit a ceiling at some point. For some this could be the 50 eBooks sold mark. For others it could be 2,500 eBooks sold. Regardless of where your eBook sales numbers fall, there are several strategies you can implement to break through the ceiling and start selling more eBooks. Before you give up and blame the quality of your book, consider the following eBook sales tips.

1. Test Different Book Covers

One of the easiest ways to increase your eBook sales is to test different book covers. When you are working on book cover ideas for your eBook, make sure you have multiple options to choose from. If your eBook isn’t selling as well as you would like it to, then try using one of the other covers you have. Humans are visual beings, meaning your book cover will make the first impression on a potential reader. If your eBook is buried amongst hundreds of other eBooks, your book cover might be the only thing that sets your book apart from the others. When is the last time you changed your book cover? If the answer is never, a simple change may help you start selling more.

2. Test Different Prices

Deciding on the right price for your eBook is hard. In fact, it may be impossible. This is due to the fact that there is no perfect price for an eBook. With this in mind you should consider testing different prices to see what effect it has on your overall sales. Most authors react to lack of sales by lowering their book price. This makes sense because a lower price will make it easier for potential readers to buy your book. However, pricing your book can also have a negative effect. When you are testing different prices, make sure you test a higher price as well. Many times potential readers perceive an eBook that costs $11.99 as more valuable or professional than an eBook priced at $2.99. Price has a direct correlation to your sales. Make sure you test different prices to find one that works best for you and your audience.

3. Tweak Your Book Description

When is the last time you picked up a book that had a mediocre description and still decided to buy it? Chances are very rarely, if ever. With so many books to choose from, potential readers will look for a book that seems more interesting if your book description is lacking. Given all the work you put into writing the book itself, make sure you put some serious thought into your book description. Use professional help just like you would for the book. Much like your cover designs, you should settle on several different options so that you have other options if one description isn’t selling well.

4. Length Matters

How many pages is too many pages? How many pages is too few pages? The answer to each of these questions varies from reader to reader, but finding what resonates best with your audience is crucial. Imagine writing a book intended for young kids that is 1,200 pages long. Chances are a large majority of your target audience will avoid buying your book simply because of the length. On the flip side, writing a book that is only 60 pages could have an equally negative effect. I wish I could give you an exact number of pages that will result in optimal sales, but there are far too many factors based on the topic, intended audience, etc. What I can recommend is looking at the top selling eBooks in your genre to see how long they are on average. With this information you can then evaluate the length of your current books. Though you may struggle to change the page length of books that are already available for sale, moving forward you can keep in mind how long your eBook should be.

5. Add Social Proof

All eBooks should include social proof. Not sure what social proof is? It’s the quotes you see on a book from other authors or a line saying the author has written a best seller. Simply put, social proof shows potential readers that other people love your eBook. It is human nature to be skeptical when it comes to spending money on something we aren’t familiar with. Think about the last time you purchased something online. Chances are you read a few reviews before you hit the buy button. Social proof, much like online reviews, give potential buyers the added confidence needed to buy your eBook.

6. Have A Focused Topic

This tip has to do with all of the eBooks you write. When you take a look at all of the eBooks you have written, do they revolve around a specific topic? If the answer is no, it may be affecting your ability to sell. Now this isn’t always the case, but typically it is much easier to sell when you produce books that are written about a specific topic. There are two reasons for this, repeat buyers and a better understanding of your target audience. Repeat buyers are the holy grail of any business. Think about an author like James Patterson. Every time he writes a new book, thousands of people that have read his past books rush to the store to buy his new novel. This requires little or any effort on his end. People simply know what to expect from Patterson and line up to read more. If he all the sudden wrote a book about nutrition, it would not be quite as easy for him to sell as many books. The other benefit of focusing on a specific topic/genre, is that over time you will gain a deep understanding of your target audience. This makes your marketing efforts more effective and will save you money.

7. Narrow Your Target Audience

The first five eBook sales tips we discussed had to do with changes you can make to your book itself. Now we will talk about changes you can make to your eBook sales strategy. The first being narrowing your target audience. Marketing your eBook properly plays a major role in the total number of books you sell. Initially your eBook may sell without marketing thanks to friends, family and recommendations. However, you will reach a point where without marketing your eBook sales will hault. A major mistake even trained marketers make is not narrowing down their target audience. You may think that everyone on the planet will love your eBook, and maybe them would, but marketing to the whole world is expensive and inefficient. Focus your marketing efforts on as narrow of an audience as possible. Instead of marketing to all women, market your eBook to moms that have two or more children, are between ages 30-45 and have purchased books in your genre before. Bottom line: the narrower the better.

8. Survey Your Audience

Imagine knowing exactly what your audience wants to read, all you would have to do is write it and sales would be immediate. If only there was a way to know what they are looking for. Surveys are the way to learn this information. Tools like SurveyMonkey make it easy for you to create and track online surveys. If you have an email list, blog community or social media following, send out a survey to better understand your readers. Ask them questions such as:
  • Which of your books did they like best?
  • What is the ideal length for a book?
  • What drew them to your books to begin with?
  • What should you write next?

9. Focus On The Buyers

This next tip is only relevant after you have written a few eBooks, but it is very important to discuss. Once you have written a few eBooks you will begin to see repeat buyers. We just discussed how important and profitable repeat buyers are, therefore it is a great strategy to keep these people happy. If possible, communicate with your loyal readers. Nurturing these relationships can lead to far more sales than you could ever imagine. These individuals have spent their time and money to read your eBooks. This is not by accident. Encourage them to refer your books to their friends, as well as to continue buying your future eBooks that you plan to write. Think about this simple statistic: businesses are 6x more likely to sell another product to existing customers than to a new customer. Another way to think about this is that you will have to spend twice as much money and/or time to sell your eBook to new customers than to your existing readers.

10. Spend Money To Make Money

The final eBook sales tip on this list is often times hard for authors to understand- you have to be willing to spend money to make money. If you are a self-published author this can be an extremely scary thought. Before you start spending money, make sure you follow some of the tips we discussed earlier, such as narrowing your target audience and surveying your current readers. Once you are ready, you can consider some of the following paid opportunities:
  • Social media advertisements
  • Networking events
  • Book conferences
  • eBook promotional websites
As a writer it is easy to forget how much work is required to actually sell our work. Writing may seem like the hard part, but writing is what we do. If you are struggling to sell your eBooks, try some of the eBook sales tips discussed in this post. If you found this post helpful, please share it with some of your author friends that may need help breaking through their sales ceiling.

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