Every self-publishing author wants to know how to sell ebooks online.
Very often, it seems that writing a book is the easy part.
Ebooks and books are everyday retail items. Like any other retail product, people need to notice them before they can buy them.
But how do you get noticed if you have published an ebook and are struggling with sales?
You want people to notice your ebook
If you imagine a small retail store selling Japanese teapots and cups, where would it be located?
Usually, where there is a high level of passing traffic, such as on the high street or in a mall.
Now think about the thousands of people walking past this little shop every day. And then about the few who actually walk in the door, and then about the percentage of those who enter, who buy something.
Perhaps only one in a thousand people even notice the teapots and cups, and then only a few will enter and purchase.
Yet the shop survives and sells enough to stay in business and make a profit. It does so because it had or has a clear marketing plan based on passing trade.
How to create passing trade for books
Now think about your ebook or book.
Its shop is an Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, or Barnes & Noble web page. But how much traffic are you attracting to notice your little bookstore?
Do you have a marketing plan to attract the traffic volume you need to make enough sales?
You need web traffic because it helps you to sell ebooks online.
This is the most important of all the elements when learning how to sell ebooks online.
Search engines and social media are the best means of attracting, building, and continually growing Internet web traffic to your website, blog, and then to your books.
Many self-published authors post ‘buy my book’ links on Twitter and Facebook.
Yet they only have a few hundred followers or page likes.
This is entirely self-defeating.
Perhaps a few of those few hundred followers may have already bought the book and will be annoyed in no time at being asked over and over again.
For those who haven’t bought the book, they have no intention.
They will ignore all the messages or, worse, unfollow you.
Social media should be used to continually build traffic, as for every thousand who follow you, only a few will buy your book.
Think about how often people would walk past the Japanese tea store before entering.
If the owner jumped out the door and screamed, ‘Buy my teapots!’ at everyone passing by, I don’t think the shop would sell many teapots.
Use Twitter, a Facebook Page, LinkedIn, and any other social media platform to first create and increase traffic to your website and blog.
Then, for every thousand you attract, a few will see your book links and end up buying your book.
The second important reason to increase traffic is to have the opportunity to monetize your blog via advertising. Any extra income can come in very useful for offsetting paid promotion costs.
Inform your readers
As with the lady screaming at the top of her voice about her teapots, having a website or blog that screams, ‘Buy my book,’ will not work well.
You need quality content that is informative or entertaining and will be worth indexing by Search Engines, shared by your followers, and in the process of this, help again in building your traffic.
Of course, have book buy links in the sidebar or the footer of individual blog posts, but don’t make them the main focus.
Quality content is far more valuable, as it will continue attracting thousands of people over a long time.
A buy link will never be indexed or shared, so its value is minimal.
But a well-written quality article will continually deliver unique visitors, or traffic, to notice your book buy links and help you sell books.
This is the easiest part.
When you self-publish on major platforms and retailers, your book sales pages are prepared for you.
The only work you need to do is ensure that you have a very well-written book description and a wow ebook cover to attract book buyers.
Setting up an Amazon Author page with your bio and adding social media links to your Smashwords and Draft2Digital book links is also well worth the effort.
There are many free and paid promotion options and advertising for all types of books.
Here are a few ideas.
Free Book Promotion Sites
Hundreds of these sites make money from Amazon Associates’ affiliate income.
In other words, if someone buys your book from their site or downloads a free copy, the site owner can earn a small commission or benefit from an Amazon cookie.
This cookie will attract a commission for the book promoter if someone buys something else from Amazon within 24 hours.
Use them by all means.
But note that they need a lot of books to make money, so your book will be just one of the thousands.
Do a Google search and select maybe a handful of these sites to list your book.
Paid Book Promotion Sites
There are good, bad, and better here.
What you should get for your money is a lot of exposure and an increase in web traffic to your book buy page, blog, and website.
A good rule of thumb is to check a paid site’s Internet traffic by using Alexa and checking if they have a Twitter account.
Check if their Twitter followers are organic (real) or paid (fake).
If it has a huge following full of accounts with no profile image, cute women with strange usernames, and no bios, they are probably robot followers, which have been paid for to increase the follower count.
None of these are real people, so, of course, they cannot buy your book.
Look for a solid list of organic followers.
You need a lot of online exposure to get value for your book promotion dollar.
Google and Facebook offer pay-per-click advertising that can be used in several ways.
While it is an expensive way to sell ebooks online, setting a modest budget for book advertising can produce sales results.
While you will spend more on advertising than you make in sales, it is a good tool for increasing a book’s sales ranking or page view count on your blog.
The other side of the coin is that you can earn money on your blog from Google Adsense.
So it is well worth considering this as a way of earning extra money to offset your book promotion costs.
If your Facebook Page has only a handful of Likes, increasing the number organically at the beginning will be difficult.
People are attracted to popularity.
For this reason, buying Facebook likes is good value when your Page is new.
I wouldn’t recommend buying Likes from providers other than Facebook itself, though.
As with Twitter, fake followers and fake Likes steadily disappear over time.
These were quite the thing a year or two back, but I am unsure how successful they are now.
Depending on the package you choose, they can be pretty expensive.
As I mentioned, don’t fall into the trap of buying followers because they are usually bot accounts, so they have little or no value.
Work on building your Twitter following by connecting with people in your niche.
Nothing in this article is set in concrete.
But you can consider each element when preparing your marketing plan and learning how to sell ebooks online.
There are only two things that I would say are vitally important.
One is never to stop increasing, building, and attracting organic traffic.
The other is don’t spend more than an hour per day doing so.
I like to set time aside each day for the tasks I have.
Perhaps traffic building for one hour after breakfast and blog writing for one hour during the afternoon.
Then a little socializing on Twitter and Facebook for half an hour in the evening.
The rest of my day, I devote to writing and living life.
What’s your plan?
Related Reading: When No One Reads Your Writing – What Can You Do?