The Internet is full of advice on how to sell Amazon Kindle ebooks and they usually take the form of saying that writing a great book is the most important first step.
This is followed by paying for a standout cover, quality editing and book promotion, and then more often than not, the importance of selecting niche genres and categories.
I am sure all self-published authors have read a mountain of these type of articles.
While doing some research for a blog post, I stumbled upon an article a few days ago, which I initially dismissed, as it was so mercenary in its approach to how to sell Amazon Kindle ebooks.
Yet on reflection, I went back to it a day or two later because a few lines had stuck in my head. The first was about how the book was written.
…this book was created from existing content I already had. Specifically, I spent $550 for a ghostwriter to take a series of emails from a Google group and turn them into a working manuscript…
From this, I gathered that the content of the book was immediately secondary to the goal of selling ebooks, which led me to think that perhaps authors are handicapped in their book marketing because they are so in love with their book, which probably took months and months to write.
I am sure many authors will shudder at this next quote from the article.
…it took about 6 hours of my personal time to go from inception to publishing it on the Amazon store. The breakdown was 5 hours of editing and coordinating with my ghostwriter, and 1 hour of cautiously figuring out how to publish on Kindle.
So what happened after publishing this quickly written ebook of emails?
Using the Kindle Direct Publishing Select program, I gave the book away for free for the first 5 days. After 5 days of giving the book away for free, over 41,000 people had downloaded it.
Not a bad start. So, then what happened?
After the 5-day free promotion, I started charging $2.99 for the book……After the first week it went on sale, I made $926 selling 555 books. That’s more than $130 a day.
For an ebook of emails, this is not a bad start. I was dubious, but the article contained a screen grab of sales data from Amazon, so I had to assume it was true.
Although this ebook gained good sales, the author was not totally happy, as he admitted to making one mistake. He had an additional goal, other than just selling ebooks. It was to increase his email list, and the link at the end of his ebook had not returned the conversion rate he had expected.
On average only 10% of people who buy a book finish it. I made a huge rookie mistake by not including more call to actions and bonuses throughout the book, especially early on. I plan on adding these soon which is pretty easy to do using the KDP uploading system.
This admission was enlightening, as although I couldn’t find reliable data to support the claim that only ten per cent of readers finish a book, it may be close to the truth.
Yet authors probably think that people who buy ebooks actually read them to the end. In the case of this particular ebook, I think that perhaps the collection of emails may not have been a riveting read so it may explain the reader drop-off.
But it does highlight the thought that listing other titles and contact information at the end of a book may be a mistake.
Apart from this small error, how did this ebook climb the sales rank? This one small quote is telling.
…putting the keyword as the first word in my title.
How many self-published authors would think about this? When writing a book, the title is almost always a product of the story, and not well, a product in itself.
The article is very long on marketing strategies such as this.
Blitzkrieg Relevant Facebook Groups and Twitter Handles
But it is very short on advice about writing a book. In fact, the book and its content hardly gain a mention. I don’t think the cover was even mentioned at all.
However, what I found fascinating about this article was that it inverted the traditional thinking of self-published authors by making the book absolutely secondary to the real goal, which is to sell ebooks.
Now I would not recommend implementing everything that is written in the article, but it does contain food for thought for authors, who are looking for ways to increase ebook sales.
Authors, in general, are not good marketers, but as self-publishing means an author needs to do almost everything, perhaps it’s time to learn a few tricks from real marketers and step back from your book and step into aggressive marketing.
You can read the full article here.
I started my working life as a lithographer and spent over 30 years in the printing and publishing business.
Originally from Australia, I moved to Switzerland 20 years ago. My days are spent teaching English, writing and wrestling with technology while enjoying my glorious view of Lake Geneva and the Alps.
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