Ebook Pricing, Marketing, and Promotions: Basic Lessons

I’ve been trying a bunch of different ebook pricing, marketing, and promotions strategies.  While you shouldn’t consider me an expert by any means, I have come away with some lessons.  I’ll keep posting these over the next week.

Overall

  • What works today in any of these areas may not work tomorrow, so keep an eye open and don’t put all eggs in one basket.  Alternatively, if you find a new basket, you may want to try putting some eggs in it.
  • Don’t be afraid to mess around with anything; if it’s not selling, it’s not like you’re going to kill sales or anything.
  • Get a tracking program, so your feel for what is/is not working is based on numbers instead of pure emotion.  No matter how rational you think you are. (I’m using Trackerbox and really, really like it.)
  • Don’t forget to keep writing – and don’t forget to keep getting better.  You didn’t get into epublishing so you could not write.  It’s more important to stay excited about writing than it is to be perfect.
  • There is no guaranteed method to bootstrap yourself as an author, no matter what anyone says.  Try a bunch of stuff.  Wishing for a magic bootstrap fairy is for suckers.
  • Test your writing ability by submitting short stories to different markets, if possible.  It increases networking, is a marketing tool, and promotes your other work every time something else is published.
  • My newsletter is fun, but I don’t know if it does much for sales.
  • Give people things:  information, amusement.  It’s not about YOU.  The reason that people say things like, “Steven King could sell his grocery list” is that if he wrote a grocery list with the intent of selling it as a short story…it would give the reader something they didn’t have before.  If your main sales tactic is “Hey, I wrote a book, you should buy it, here’s a review, I have no opinions because I’m too scared of pissing someone off, la la la, buy my book,” then zzzzz.
  • Take risks.  You didn’t get into epublishing to be safe.  Just, you know, don’t rip anybody off.  That kind of risk is just dumb.
  • Whenever you work with someone on a book, even if you pay them, offer them a free copy of whatever they worked on.  Great googly moogly!  If you have a story published in an anthology, you expect a copy, don’t you?
  • By extension, don’t be cheap if there’s no point to being cheap.

Coming on Monday: Ebook Pricing.

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4 Comments

  1. liz

    That first one — “What works today in any of these areas may not work tomorrow” — is so true. It’s kind of fun but kind of frustrating.

    I’m taking a risk next month. I’m terrified yet so excited I might start bouncing off walls. Nothing about this gig is certain, but that’s part of why I love it so much.

  2. De

    Oooh, I’ll keep an eye out…

  3. Becky

    Wait. What? It’s not about me?? You quit with your dirty damn lies right now!

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