Whether you’re an experienced author or you’ve just finished writing an ebook for the first time, getting your work into readers’ hands can be a mystifying process — especially when there’s a digital component involved. Yet at the same time, you owe it to future readers to try; there’s nothing more tragic than a beautiful story never reaching its intended audience.
But don’t worry, because this post has got your back. Though book marketing definitely comes with a learning curve, these five hacks will get you that much closer to making your ebook a bestseller! We’ll start with a tip that might seem obvious, but is absolutely crucial…
Many authors make the mistake of only beginning their marketing journey once their ebook is about to launch. This is understandable, since as an author (not a marketer), you’ll likely be pretty absorbed in revising — particularly if it’s your first book.
That said, if you want people to see your book, you need to start getting the word out as early as possible! Start by creating social media accounts (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, even YouTube) where you can share your progress with potential readers and fellow writers.
You’ll especially want to build connections with writers, beta readers, and reviewers who are enthusiastic about your genre, as you can offer them advance reader copies (ARCs) once your book is edited — ideally, a few months before your launch. These people can then provide blurbs for your ebook’s description and cover, plus promote it through their own channels. This will drum up pre-launch hype and attract readers before your book even hits the (digital) shelf!
You’ll also need to make sure that your engagement is purposeful and personal. In addition to spreading the word about your book, your social media presence should show who you are — the person behind the publication.
Talk about your interests and inspiration, especially in relation to your upcoming book. The more specific, the better! Posting “writing again today” with a picture of your closed laptop will not have the desired effect… but posting an actual excerpt of your WIP, with a question like “Which word would you guys use here?”, is much more engagement-friendly.
Another excellent social media strategy is to schedule interactive events with your followers — think Q&As or readings with live reactions. Try to intrigue readers with some of your best work, while also leaving them wanting more!
Finally, don’t forget to listen to your audience: their questions and feedback will give you a great idea of what they’re looking for. Who knows? One of these sessions might even be the source of your next book idea.
Most writers have heard of Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), Amazon’s self-publishing service. But did you know that there are two routes that you can choose within KDP: KDP standard or KDP Select? If you enroll in the KDP Select program, your ebook can only be sold on the Kindle Store — but you’ll get some pretty sweet marketing benefits in return.
The main perk is that your book will become available on Kindle Unlimited (KU). Dubbed “the Netflix of books,” this service provides a vast selection of indie ebooks to KU subscribers — most of whom are voracious readers! Though you won’t be selling whole books, you’ll get paid by the number of pages read, which can be much more lucrative in the long run.
On top of that, the KDP Select route also offers the opportunity to discount your ebook for one week every 90 days, while still earning 70% royalties. Alternatively, you can set up an ebook giveaway, which will get your book on the Kindle Store Deals page!
Many writers are hesitant to give away their hard work for free, but it’s worth it for the promotional boost. If you do a giveaway in the first three days after publication (the most important days of your Amazon campaign) your book will skyrocket up the leaderboard. Visibility breeds visibility, and you end up with a beautiful book-selling cycle.
Once you’ve nailed down the previous elements, the next thing to do is contact book review blogs, publications, and other websites. Blogs and websites are particularly likely to promote your book if you’re doing a limited-time giveaway — after all, everyone loves a free book, and the added sense of urgency will have them rushing to your product page!
You’ll want to focus your publicity efforts during these discount periods to drive your sales numbers. Remember, keen readers are always on the lookout for their next book… and if they like your ebook, they’ll recommend it to their friends as well.
If you want to attract a more literary audience, submit your ebook to professional book review communities like NetGalley and Reedsy Discovery. These will assign pro reviewers to your book and provide editorial reviews, which you can use to promote your ebook on Amazon.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the more people you can get to download your ebook in those crucial first three days, the better your overall sales will be in the following period — and soon you’ll reach that coveted bestselling status! As such, don’t skimp out on your publicity, and definitely don’t leave it until the last minute.
Last but certainly not least, the best way to market your book is to work with a professional. It might seem faster and cheaper to do it yourself since, but professional book marketers have years of knowledge and experience to help you earn more in the long haul. Indeed, marketers tend to have contacts in publishing and in the media that most authors simply can’t access; this makes them invaluable during the publicity stage.
Some authors might worry about marketers twisting their work and pitching it as something it’s not. But this couldn’t be farther from the truth — professional publicists and marketers only want to understand your book and what makes it unique. They’ll interview you and consult you before developing a plan of action tailored to your needs. Ultimately, they’ll help you both enhance your brand and gain much greater reach than you would have by yourself.
All these tips should help you out, but at the same time, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to how to sell an ebook; some methods that work for one author might not work for another. The important thing is that you try out different strategies and figure out the right balance.
Savannah Cordova is a writer with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects self-publishing authors with the world’s best resources and professionals. In her spare time, Savannah enjoys reading contemporary fiction and writing short stories.