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.  The first post is here; the ongoing series is here.

Roughly, marketing is making sure that if you catch someone’s eye with promotion, the information they need is available, complete, and appealing enough to get them to buy the book.  If promotion is a resume, then marketing is your job interview.

Marketing

If it’s a decent story at a decent price, you should have at least some sales.  If not, I’d say check the following, in this order:

  • Sample.  If your sample’s crappy, that’s bad marketing.  Check your samples to make sure there IS a sample, it’s formatted decently, and has actual sample material of your story, instead of just the table of contents or whatnot.  I would check this every time you post a story, not waiting to see if you get sales or not.
  • Genre. Picking the correct genre is not as obvious as it may seem, especially if you write the story without concern for genre.  Which, honestly, sometimes you have to do.  I’d say the first thing to look at, in case of truly crappy sales, is genre.  I have a number of short stories that sold ZIP until I switched genre.
  • Blurb.  I wrote a number of what I thought were perfectly acceptable blurbs at the time, then rewrote them with the eyes of a year’s experience.  Sales went up on some, not on others.  Don’t be afraid to switch these to see what’s working and what’s not.  I’m tempted to try switching some on B&N and not on Amazon to see whether sales go up on one site but not the other.  In fact, that’s probably a good tactic for switching anything:  do it on one site, and see if sales go up relative for that site.
  • Cover.  Right now, I’m pondering whether my covers reflect their genres, and how to change them if not.  I haven’t dug too deeply into this one yet; it’s important, but I have some stories with great covers that aren’t selling well, so if you’re having issues – I’d check the other, easier elements first, then go back to the cover if nothing else works.
  • Give it time.  Don’t start second-guessing yourself until, like, six months to a year.  Gain experience by writing more stuff and putting it up: some patterns only reveal themselves across different books.

Coming Thursday: Promotions