One of my challenges for this New Year is to promote my Ebooks . I would be grateful if others could share their own experiences with promoting Ebooks and here's to a great weekend ahead.
I've never written an e-book, but it's on my 'to do' list for 2013. Is it straightforward enough to do, and when you've done it, do they actually sell?
In a word, no! Actually, that's not true, but it really depends what you mean by "sell". Most people are hoping to sell a few thousand books, when in reality most people sell only a handful.
In the e-book world, any book that sells over 100 copies is considered a best seller.
I have to totally and completely disagree. I have had a life-changing experience with ebooks. They do sell. I realize they don't' for everyone, or at least not at first or as fast between one writer and another, but, just, as a counterpoint to your post, I would just like to say there are other opinions that would argue vociferously against this statement. Again, I realize not everyone, many don't, but, it does happen.
Also, where did you get that 100 ebooks is a best seller thing? Over what time period? 5 to 10 books a day will get you on an Amazon "hot new releases" list, which is best seller list of one particular variety (30 days tops), but it won't land you on the regular best sellers list for either ebooks or books-books (lol, books books). If you sell 100 in an hour, you can spike to a best seller list (again on Amazon) but you won't stay there if you don't sell another 100 the next hour. B&N best seller lists are a mystery, so I won't go there. Kobo and Smashwords have lists. So does the New York Times and USA Today, etc., based on retail store reporting. Some periodicals are reworking the data gathering to accommodate the changing landscape, but, it's klunky and old-school publising, in places, still resists the new ways. Etc. A huge drama that continues to be reported on in Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, etc.
Traditionally, 5,000 books is a "best seller" but that is a generalization based on the traditional publishing model, which is sort of having its last gasp, or is maybe dead. The industry is in total upheaval and all the old ideas, methods, and numerical valuations are in flux and will be for a few years to come. We live in the borderlands of remaking publishing.
Also, consider using Facebook.
Another consideration is to look into using Facebook.
Seriously. It is the most incredible, powerful, broad-access, super-highly-targeted, cheap way to access thousands and thousands of people in a very, very focused way.
We live in a rare moment in time. Use Facebook. Trust me. It's mind blowing how powerful this tool is.
How do you use Facebook to promote your book? Are you talking about posting info about your book on your own page, talking about the book on pages where a large number of people congregate or actually advertising on Facebook?
You can use it in several ways. You use it to build a fanpage for your book or yourself as an author (or your pen name). You use promoted posts/sponsored stories from that page to increase exposure to those fans. You use paid advertising to drive likes to that page or to drive traffic to your website or even your book's Amazon or B&N page.
Shadesbreath....Do you have a FB fan page that can be accessed by someone who is not a Facebook member? I'm planning an e-book in 2013 and, though I've strenously resisted a personal FB page, I realize I'll have to use social media to promote a self-published book of any type. I thought if I could actually see your own FB fan page (if you have one), it might help me understand the type of promotion possible in that venue.
You should be able to see it without an account: www.facebook.com/GalacticMage
As for the personal profile you need to have, if you aren't comfortable with Facebook on that front, just don't tell anyone you have a profile. Or get a gmail email account that nobody knows, and just make a profile with that and never look at it. There is also a way you can manage a page without having a profile, I think that is called a "business account" but not sure if they still do that or not. I think you're perfectly fine just making your profile and keeping it to yourself and you'll have what you need for privacy. Don't friend anyone. Work your page only.
I checked out your website, which is awesome! Although fantasy fiction doesn't "speak to me" (probably due to my age), I know it does to many, many readers and is an excellent market. In fact, I will recommend it to my grandson. Good luck with your Galactic Mage series. The cover art alone is amazing.
Thanks. Cris Ortega is my cover artist. She's so amazing. Working with her is such a joy, and her talent is a blessing to her and to my books. It exemplifies the amazing time we live in too, that I can find an amazing artist from Spain, never have the expense of travel even, and can work with her on projects. It's just a great time to be a writer, any kind of artist. We should all be so thankful for this era, and our great fortune to be in it and have the wherewithal to at least give our art a go.
And thanks to those who have said nice things about my site and work. I guess I get a free commercial out of this thread. This is me not complaining.
If anyone wants more specific help with a Facebook page or something, don't be shy. Message me or hit me up through the contact us button on my website or whatever. I'm happy to help if I can. Don't be shy, seriously.
What a great page! I've 'liked' and ordered the book!
Her position seems clear to me. Most ebook self-publishers sell only a handful of copies. This is probably true. Smashword has some data suggesting as much.
I'm just glad Shadesbreath is kind enough to offer genuine advice based on his obvious experience and authority on the subject.
You will find people--myself included-- ready to give every possible kind of advice, but only data matters. The average annual sales of a self published book is, by multiple sources (Smashwords, iUniverse, Lulu), under 40 copies. If you want to do better, you need to have a plan.
THIS is it right there. Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner. People fail because they don't have a plan, and then they say the indie route sucks. You have to have a plan, Which includes a writing schedule, an editing schedule, a beta reading system set up, a cover design plan, and a marketing plan. You have to look at it as a business, not a lottery ticket.
I only have one ebook and the publisher did that - for a price. I'd also love to know how to go about it and what the cost is, too, especially for a children's book. Now we're up to the next weekend, so hope it's a great one for you, Eddy.
Amazon has a free book you can download about promoting eBooks. Even if you don't have a Kindle, you can download a utility to your computer to read the free Kindle books. I can't remember the name of the book. I'll look and get back with the name.
I would take issue with some of the suggestions so far in this thread.
For a start trade publishing of the traditional sort is doing just fine. We have more options now but there is no need to suggest Harlequin, Random House etc are circling the drain. That kind of publishing is still an extremely good option.
Also a best selling is and always has been a book that appears on a best seller list (e.g. NYT). It is a claim that should be followed by specifying the list.
How easy or hard selling an ebook is depends entirely on how good the book is and what your skill set is like. If the book is good and is packaged professionally, you don't need to spend days and dollars pushing traffic to it. Word of mouth will work in your favor.
I, personally, chose to mainly use established publishers because I do not have the skill set to format, package and distribute (let alone get the paper copies in Barnes and Noble etc) and would rather use that time writing. I am looking at self-publishing some reprints now and taking my time to make sure everything is done well.
I also review self-pub books and that experience prompts me to say, don't skimp on the editing. Editing is important.
The "Big 6" is now the "Big 5." Penguin bought Author Solutions. Borders is dead. Barns & Noble is teetering and looks like it's gonna go down. Big name authors are self-pubbing in larger and larger numbers. Change is more than just in the wind. As long as there are still people who like a nice hardback book to read, and I am one of them, there will be publishing houses. But that number is shrinking, ereading is on the rise, Amazon's 70% (and Nook, Kobo etc.) are changing the expectations of writers, and with profits already slim, the traditional houses can't afford to pay writers what can me made, and that old model just isn't working. Don't get me wrong, I think there is still a place for traditional publishing for as long as those hardback readers exist and there are bookstores that will buy from them. But the future of that system is in question, and curation may become a better way of describing what we call publishing today. That's why Penguin bought Author Solutions, in my opinion. So they can get money from would be writers like the old vanity press people did, cashing in on people's hope, especially given the percentages of success stories are low taken in aggregate. However, my point was not to try to predict the future so much as to point out that when someone asks if they should put out an ebook, to have them given an authoritative NO for an answer just set my hackles up. That is an absurd answer. If that's how we look at things, no one should ever start a business either because statistically the odds of failure are insane. A better answer would have been, "Yes, go for it. Make sure you do it with realistic expectations and long term strategy." That's what got me going.
The Big 6 will be the Big five when the merger between Penguin and *Random House* occurs. (Many houses have also expanded into e and self- areas because... why wouldn't they, it makes money? But I would not touch Authorsolutions with a ten foot pole. Their fees are too high and their services no better than what you can get for free or cheap elsewhere.)
Barnes and Noble is doing fine, and books sales are pretty stable--people just do more of their buying online and in digital format.
Yes, self-publishing has become a viable option for becoming a best seller. But those other options still exist and are a better fit for some authors.
There have been a lot of changes and broader options. but trade publish is and continues to be one of those options. And the majority of ebooks are still bought from third party publishers, not direct from author.
The old model is working just fine and sends me a monthly check. I think you misunderstood what I was saying no to. Trade publishing is not about to disappear. It will still be here for decades at least, and quite possibly centuries because it has certain advantages for consumers.
You can support one option on its own benefits without suggesting there is anything wrong with the other options for an author who is well informed and know what they are doing. The options are not in a cage match to the death--all authors are just peers developing their own career as best they can. Many, including, myself, use both options.
Most people trying to become authors will have limited success regardless of which option they choose, that hasn't changed and is just an unhappy truth. Those with the skills and persistence to succeed now have more options, and that is a very good thing.
When I said the model is broken and having it's last gasp, I did not mean to imply that the publishing houses have all been closed and had the buildings torn down already, nor did I mean to suggest that there are no more printing presses in operation at this time and that there are no longer any books being printed at all. That's not what I mean, so I just want to get that straightened out.. As I just said, and will say again, as long as there are people who like a nice solid book to read, there will be a way to get one. The fact that Penguin bought a vanity press and is selling "high end" services to writers is indicative of a recognition of that reality, but also of the change in how that delivery is going to come about. It is also perhaps indicative of a need for additional revenue for them.
If the traditional houses are going to stay up and running, much less stay strong, they have to make the old model profitable, but if book stores can't stay open, then the old model is officially finished, and something new now exists, or at least will exist when the bookstores are gone or mostly so, and hardbacks have to be bought online or through the mail, or through little neighborhood book stories that might rise up out of the ashes (which would be cool IMO). The traditional thing turns into a printing house model where printers are a distributor sending product to WalMart and Amazon shipping centers. Barnes & Noble is not doing well, at least not in anything I've read in the last year.
And don't get me wrong. I don't hate on traditional publishing. Not at all. Like I said, I'd love to find a way to get into Walmart and all that. People get so defensive when anyone suggests times are changing and the old ways are gonna go the way most old ways do. My post was never an attack on traditional publishing. It was an attack on telling people not to try. Not to pursue their dreams and believe in themselves. THAT is where all the purpose of my post was. I think you've misconstrued my passion for belief in oneself, and my irritation for summarily dismissing someone's willingness to take a shot as an assault on your way of life, which it is not.
Well, you did say last gasp--so I interpreted that to mean 'about to completely die'.
I think gatekeeper and branded companies will continue to exist, as will retail sales with deep discounts. So there will be trade presses filling that niche.
That was the only point I was making. Publishing isn't my way of life. It is just a way I get paid for writing, which is my job. I want as many people as possible to be able to have that job, if they want it and have the chops. By whatever method. I don't blanket insult any of those methods.
I have professional experience writing, producing, and marketing eBooks. I deal in reality vs. dealing in the strange online world where there are many deceptions. Don't believe online promises of making big bucks from eBooks. "Stay at home and work on your computer and make lots of money so you can afford ocean cruises." Claims like that--as ridiculous as that may seem--are everywhere. Nobody comes right out and admits that they are pushing another deceptive get-rich-quick scheme.
Writing, producing, and marketing eBooks won't make you a lot of money. But, you WILL be able to create and promote your personal or business brand. Self-publishing is a valid professional activity. Don't believe the detractors who tell you otherwise.
Some people do in fact make a lot of money. I know authors who comfortably support themselves by self-publishing. But they are a hell of a lot better at it than most people (including me).
Why would you say "ebooks won't' make you a lot of money"?
What are you calling "a lot?" And when you say "won't" you are saying definitively that it can't be done. That's simply not true. Besides the massive deals of the super lucky people like Hocking and Howey and that whole 50 Shades of Gray thing, there are so many who are doing great, or at least, doing middling well and supporting themselves or largely supporting themselves doing this thing, writing, that they so love. It just drives me nuts to see people poo-pooing it in absolutes like this.
Your advice about avoiding anyone promising riches ... along with their editing services is good, however. Editors and all that should be vetted carefully, references checked, etc. As for pay-to-play publishers who want money in advance, avoid them, imo. Smashwords has proven to be very reliable for people who don't want to be bothered with the technical side of things, so no need to go with some snake-oil salesman pseudo-publisher promising riches, that's for sure.
Here's just one little article on publishing. I can't find some of the more thorough ones out there that list the 1,000 or so people who sold over 50,000 books last year, but all that info is out there. I'm just not going to hunt for it for the sake of a forum post. This article touches it well enough for my point.
http://publishingperspectives.com/2011/ … nt-page-1/
Writing, producing, and marketing eBooks won't make you a lot of money. Really?
"Fifty Shades of Grey, was released as an e-book and a print-on-demand paperback in May 2011 by The Writers' Coffee Shop, a virtual publisher"
They're all doing ebooks now because everybody with a kindle wants something good to read on it. Logical really. I'm buying more books than ever since I got my kindle. They're just too easy to buy online and it's costing me a small fortune.
I'm afraid that I'm a dinosaur and want to continue reading real books! I did have a go with one daughter's Kindle and other daughter's Kobo, but did not like using either of them at all.
I was excited when I heard Shadesbreath had written "The Galactic Mage", but had to wait for a time until it was available to buy in real book form from Amazon UK and not just on Kindle. My copy arrived over the Christmas period and I'm now hoping for a bit of a downturn in workload so I can read it soon.
I don't understand why so many ebook authors don't make their books available in print-on-demand as well for those of us who prefer real books!
I looked at "The Galactic Mage" and it looks like the ideal birthday pressie for my husband. He's into all that fantasy stuff and what have you. But he's like you, so I'll have to order it in book form. I can understand that, but the kindle saves a lot of space and is very convenient.
You're the lady from Wales, aren't you? Nice to see you again.
If you ask me, the forums are just a competition to prove who's more knowledgable about SEO or ebooks or whatever, and that doesn't do anybody any good in the end. You just get conflicting opinions and not many facts. So, it took me a while to sift the good from the bad in this thread. I saw the words "genuine advice" and have to agree with it and applaud Shadesbreath for giving a lot of useful information. I'm thinking about doing some ebooks on skincare and makeup but would have given up the idea if Shadesbreath hadn't joined the thread.
I am not quite sure what makes advice genuine or not genuine. I am sure Shadesbreath has self-published, and I know I have. And I think we both agree that just throwing up an ebooks doesn't do you any good.
I would encourage anyone in the preparation stages to sit down and write a publishing plan that includes most or all of the following:
identity your realistic sales and determine a budget--as a rule of thumb, 10% of projected profit. For me this is a few to several hundred dollars and so needs to be spent well as it does not go far
identify the services you will do for yourself and get training for the rest
edit book to a publishable standard
format book for all distribution channels
set up website and blog with sales funnel to you sales hub
workshop your blurb with people who know what creates sales
research your target audience
solicit reviews and endorsements
identified paid advertising, interviews etc--where will you promote
identify unpaid promotions such as chats, blog tours etc
add editorial review to your distribution points
Set up amazon author pages and other infrastructure
Upload and test all formats
schedule release date
I am indeed! Braf cwrdd a chi eto (nice to meet you again)!
Its a bit of an aside, but if one pays to much attention to the stats you can easily become paralyzed or disillusioned..
Here are some ..
About 30% of new businesses fail in the first year
50% fail by the 5 year mark
90% of people who attempt an online business quit in the first year
Most never even make $10 (profit)
Only 21% of American Adults surveyed read an ebook last year (Pew 2011)
The ebook market is only 1 Billion (but expected to triple by 2015 [thats probably an underestimation considering the rise in hardware popularity that can be used to consume ebooks])
I cant imagine allowing any of those figures or similar ones that are often bandied about stop you from attempting something. If you have a measure of self worth, a passion, and an expertise or talent that you think others can or should recognize - its a travesty to let other peoples failures keep you from your own possible successes.
As long as you aren't so foolish as to believe the claims made by some "business in a box" ebook system that ends with a buy now button and expect overnight riches, treat your endeavor as a business (following the disciplined strategies that Shadesbreath and Psycheskinner have pointed out) and are capable of "being your own boss" - ebooks, self publishing, web based business are all amazing opportunities with very little barriers to entry.
I don't have any paint by numbers suggestions for you - but over the years I was able to support myself and support a certain lifestyle (and now a family) using just ebay - just content writing - just affbusiness creation. If I listened to any "common knowledge" I would have been told I would fail at all of them and the numbers were stacked up against me. But armed with nothing but a computer and the depth of knowledge accessible via the internet - I found the opposite to be true.
I'm not even really an unbridled optimist type - but certainly dont look to all that failed for a measure of whats possible in business - there are plenty of examples of success to absorb and turn to for inspiration too
( i know thats messy but I pecked it with my phone ...so Good luck to you and I hope you get to at least say that you tried)
I can also add that I am also a fan of the "ebooks" ( they are of course novels that are available in digital and print formats) that Shadesbreath has published and am quite happy that I was able to be exposed to them via my previous interactions here on HubPages.
Considering that both published have been topping many of the lists on Amazon, I could see why he would want to encourage others to recognize that a very real opportunity exists there (rather charitable of him actually!)
His site ( http://daultonbooks.com/blog/how-to-fin … oreboards/ ) actually has some great information about book marketing and the discipline and strategy that one might follow to achieve such a thing - and if you cared to look you would find his hub portfolio has always had many useful resources around such concepts.
In short - it would be damn silly to discount anything Shadesbreath shared with you here
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