Turning an idea for a book in your head into a successful digital publication requires co-ordinating a whole lot of different steps to create that one hit. Tens of thousands of digital books are published every month, but only a fraction of them will sell more than a thousand copies.
How do you make sure your book is one of the few that succeeds? How do you hit the top charts? How do you sell and sell and sell your books, even if you don’t have a brand or a reputation to rely on now?
These ten digital publishing tips will help you do just that.
No 1: Everything You Need to Know About Pricing
How you price your book makes a big impact on your sales and your ultimate profits. Here’s what you need to know about pricing.
Most first-time authors should price their books at around the $2.99 price range. Go a little higher if you’re in a high end market or if your book is especially thick.
On the other hand, if you’re a well known author or if you’re publishing highly specialized knowledge for which there are no other alternative titles, then price your book more towards the $9.99 range.
If you’re looking to use your book to get as many readers as possible without much care for how much profit you actually make, then by all means go ahead and publish it for $0.99 cents or for free.
No 2: More on $0.99 Cent Books
It’s very difficult to make a profit on $0.99 cent books. The commissions you’ll have to pay to the bookstores will cut your profits down even further until the amount you make per sale is completely negligible.
For example, on the Amazon Kindle store when you price your books at $0.99 you’ll only get paid a 35% royalty. That means that when all is said and done, you’ll only be making around 30 cents per download.
If you plan on making a living selling books, this price point just doesn’t work.
However, the one notable exception is if you want to use this price to get more people into your sales funnel or brand umbrella. For example, you might sell your primary book for $8.99, then publish 5
much smaller books on specific topics all priced at $0.99. People who buy your cheaper book who want to learn more can do so by purchasing your more expensive book.
Use the $0.99 price point as a marketing tool, rather than as a profit strategy.
No 3: Hire a Professional Proofreader
Proofreading your own books is not a good idea. Neither is sending it to your friend to see if they spot any mistakes. A professional proofreader can turn a good piece of content into something truly phenomenal. If you’re serious about your book’s success, hire a great proofreader to look your work over.
There are a few different ways to find proofreaders.
For one, you can use a service like Proofreading Pal (http://www.proofreadingpal.com) to do it. These kinds of companies hire dozens of proofreaders and make them available for projects for a small markup.
Alternatively, you can head over to a freelancer marketplace like eLance (http://www.elance.com) and find a proofreader to hire. Make sure you look through their before and after samples before making a decision.
No 4: Read it on the Digital Device
If you’re publishing your book on the Kindle, read it on the Kindle. If you’re publishing it on the Nook, read it on the Nook. The same goes for an iBookstore book.
Just because your book looks great on screen doesn’t mean it’ll look good on a digital device. Make sure you read your book the way your audience will be reading it.
Both Barnes & Nobles and Amazon have basic devices you can purchase for under $150. If you don’t care to own the devices, you can just buy the device and sell it on Craigslist or eBay immediately after testing your books. The difference between purchase price and sale price usually won’t be more than $40.
No 5: Plant a Teaser for Your Site
Put a teaser for your site in your book. For example, let’s say you’re publishing a book about fishing. Your book goes in depth into details on everything from rod selection to actual fishing techniques.
However, there are a few things you don’t cover. You don’t cover how to choose a fishing boat. You don’t cover how to predict the best weather for fishing.
Instead of putting these things in your book, you tell them you’ve put them in a separate report that’s available for free on your website. People who read your book will then go to your website to get those freebies.
You can require people to give you their email address before they receive the freebies. Because they’ve already paid for your content and already have a level of trust built in for you, your opt-in rate will be very high.
No 6: Make Your Samples Pack a Punch
It’s not uncommon in physical books for people to spend the first few pages ramping up. You might talk about fundamental concepts or use the first few pages to get your readers in the right mindset to learn.
With digital books however, this is a bad strategy. Your first few pages are going to be your preview pages, which means that for first few pages have to pack an emotional punch. People who read just your first few pages should feel inspired or excited. They should want to get the rest of your book.
Don’t write your first 5 pages for people who’ve already purchased your book. Instead, write them for people who’re considering buying your book. Consider it a sales-oriented piece of high quality content.
No 7: Outsource the Formatting Cheaply
If you’re not great at formatting your books, why not just have someone else do it for you?
Head over to Fiverr (http://www.fiverr.com) or eLance (http://www.elance.com) and look for people who offer to format digital book. You can easily find someone who’ll format your digital book for under $20. In fact, on Fiverr you’ll often be able to format your books for just $5.
They’ll insert the page breaks, create the Table of Contents, make sure your chapter headings appear correctly, so on and so forth.
Formatting eBooks is one of the most common obstacles writers face in getting published. There are people who specialize in doing just this. Why not let the specialists handle it (cheaply) so you can focus on writing and marketing?
No 8: Target Peripheral Markets
One great way to get more people to read your books is to target peripheral markets.
For example, let’s say you have a primary book about weight loss that’s selling for $8.99. Instead of just continually publishing books about weight loss, why not target a few peripheral markets?
For example, publish a book about weight loss over 45, publish a book about weight loss for people with diabetes and publish a book about weight loss for mothers who’ve just had a child.
Each of these books can help build your brand, as well as get more people to purchase your main product.
No 9: Participate in Platform Communities
Each platform has a community. For example, there are many places where Kindle authors can go to network with other authors. Be an active member of these communities.
There are a few powerful ways that these communities can help you:
You can learn a lot from past questions and posts. If you have a question, chances are someone else has already asked that question at some point.
You can ask questions. If you ever get stuck in the publishing or marketing process, just reach out for help.
You can ask for feedback. Not sure if your book, your cover or your marketing strategy is up to snuff? You can just ask.
You can find partnership opportunities. If you and another author are in the same market, why not pool your resources so you both come out ahead?
You can ask for reviews. Ask other authors to purchase your book and review you, and you’ll do the same.
The list of potential benefits goes on and on. Participating in these communities is a key to success on any platform.
No 10: Watch Your Reports and Optimize for What’s Working
Watch your sales reports carefully. Track all your marketing activities and try to draw links between your sales and what you did to generate those sales.
If you go on several internet podcasts to market your book and see no spike in sales, you probably won’t want to spend time doing podcast interviews in the future.
On the other hand, if you write a few guest articles for industry websites and suddenly see a flood of sales, that’d probably be a good avenue to focus on in the future.
Watch for unexpected stats. For example, if you’re publishing your book primarily for the US market but suddenly notice an influx of sales from the UK, ask yourself why. Did someone in the UK pick up and promote your book? Did it strike a cord among an unexpected audience?
Try to figure out what’s working and do more of that. Also, try to figure out what doesn’t work and stop doing it.
If you follow these ten tips, you’ll be one of the few self-published authors who knows both how to write a great book and how to run a great book business. Follow these tips and you’ll create a fantastic product that generates sales, month in and month out
What tips do you have about publishing content? Please comment below: