written by
Mohamed Tahboub

Ebook marketing - how to market, distribute and sell your ebook [Ultimate Guide]

Cart Software Internet Marketing 17 min read

One of the things most people that write an ebook struggle with is how to market it. Today, hundreds of thousands of people write ebooks and just writing an ebook that is objectively good is simply not enough to get people to read it. You can be sure that someone somewhere (right now, you just do not know who and where) wants to read your book. They want to read it even if they still heard about it yet. To get people to talk about your ebook and get them interested in reading it, you need ebook marketing. Marketing helps you reach people, your potential reads and you need it, no matter how you are publishing your ebook - be it independently, or through a publisher - big or small.

Marketing an ebook can feel like a daunting task, no matter if this is your first or 100th ebook. Standing out from the millions of other ebooks is tough. You can be sure of it. However, that should not discourage you from doing it. Another thing you can be sure of is that your ebook is unique. No one else wrote an exact copy of your book. That means that your readers will want to read it. You just need to reach them.

All people read books to satisfy their aspirations. These aspirations can be intellectual - when people read books to learn something, or they can be emotional - when people read books to feel a certain emotion. People who read books may seek a strong and powerful memoir today and a fun and casual adventure novel.

Now, ebook marketing is here to help your potential reads cross the bridge between what they are looking for and a book and your book’s ability to satisfy those needs.

In this ultimate guide, we will be looking and the ways you can marketing, distribution, and sales tools and techniques to get your ebook in the hands (or onto the screen) of your readers.

Market your book before you publish it

After finishing writing your ebook, you still have a lot of work to do. Your ebook needs to be edited (preferably get at least one person to read it during the editing process), you also need to come up with the title of your book - this is important both for selling your book as well as SEO), and you need the get someone (or it could be you) to design the cover of your ebook, as you know that people do judge a book by its cover. Other than these three things, there are a couple of other things you should do to market your book before you launch it to get people interested in it.

The power of your email list

Every author knows (or should know) the value of building up an email list. You should start building your email list long before you start to publish books. Collecting people's emails is one of the most effective ways to keep in touch with your future readers. It is also a genuine way to start generating interest in your book with the help of pre-launch promotions. One of the best pre-launch promotions are e-mail exclusive landing pages which you use to create various pre-launch campaigns.

Landing pages are necessary to build hype, give you a place to collect emails from interested readers for your email list (you can have people sign up for the book either before or after it is launched to get their email which you can then later use for various marketing purposes). Once you have created a landing page (you can use a tool like Instapage or Unbounce for creating your landing page), you can start making those pre-launch campaigns.

For example, these pre-launch ebook marketing campaigns are intended to get people excited about your upcoming book:

  • Engage your audience by asking for their input about certain characters, ideas or topics you are exploring in your book. You can do this by offering them to read either a few paragraphs or maybe an entire chapter of your book and then taking them a series of questions using a survey.
  • Get people to vote on the cover design of your book. You can do this by emailing them a few options and asking them to reply to you with their favorites or use an online vote contest.
  • Host an exclusive sweepstake for the people on your e-mail list and give away a couple of copies of your ebook once it has been published.

Create your website and sell your ebook on it

Hopefully, at this point, you already have a website and a blog and you regularly write articles that are related to the subject matter of your books. If you are not writing blog articles, start now. Your website is your online home. And these days, creating your own website is very easy, as there are loads of services and apps which you could use to create your website. Most of them cost as little as two iced lattes per month at your local Starbucks.

Another huge benefit of your website is that you can use it to directly sell your ebook and any other products - both digital and physical you end up creating. Why should you sell your ebook on your website instead of a marketplace like Amazon’s Kindle? Here is a brief summary of the advantages of using your website for selling your digital downloads.

1. You get to keep the profit

Most, if not all, third-party marketplaces charge a hefty price for listing your ebook on their platform. Shopify charges $29, $79, and $299 per month for one of their plans plus additional fees that range from 0.5% to 2%. Amazon charges $0.99 per transaction or $39.99 per month to list your ebook.

But, if you choose to list your ebook on your own website, you get the advantage of choosing your own charging model and there are no miscellaneous fees that the aforementioned marketplaces tend to charge. Also, you will not have to pay a monthly membership fee just to sell your ebook.

2. You are flexible and independent

If you sign up for a marketplace, you also agree to follow their rules when it comes to the amount and type of products you sell, as well as some specific rules and parameters. By using your own website to sell your products, you have the total freedom to customize the product you offer in any way you want.

By having your own online store on your website, you can implement some tools that are designed to help entrepreneurs like yourself get more sales and of these tools is LeadCart. LeadCart is a simple shopping cart software that was specifically created to help people like you get more sales from their products and maximize their profits.

Basically, writers and entrepreneurs like yourself usually do not have the time or knowledge to write the code on their website. Who is going to write all those books, if you are busy with code? With LeadCart you will be able to create cart funnels and checkout pages that are battle-tested and are guaranteed to increase your sales and profits.

For example, if someone has decided to buy your ebook, you can use LeadCart to lead your future readers step-by-step to an easy checkout process. This is very important, as sometimes people get confused with complicated checkout processes, they get lost on a website and simply leave it altogether.

Another example would be if you have only one product in your store - your first ebook - you can show it to your visitor and help them bolt through the entire buying process with ease. If you are selling something else, maybe a different ebook, or something completely different, you can upsell your audience on those products and earn more profit.

If you have multiple ebooks that are related by topic or in any other way, you can use LeadCart’s conversion booster (which are well-researched features designed to help you sell more) called 1-click upsells that, as the name says, upsell additional items with a click of a button. Those multiple ebooks can be sold as a bundle, or you can sell an ebook plus a whitepaper, or something else. The possibilities are endless.

Start writing a blog

After you have created your website, make sure it has a blog on it. Your blog is one of the most important mediums as a writer. A blog gives you a chance to showcase your writing, engage with your current and future readers, and once you publish your ebook, drive traffic both to your website and to your ebook landing pages. Your blog also gives you a great outlet to flex your writing chops. Make sure you enable comments on your blog and include social media share buttons all over your blog. This will encourage your audience to engage with you and your work.

When you combine your blog with your e-mail list, you get a pretty powerful pre-launch interest in your book. Generating that buzz is very important because the more excitement you generate leading up to the launch of your ebook, the better the chance for success will your ebook have.

Also, if you are publishing your book on Amazon, keep in mind that they have a top list of the bestselling books. If you can generate a lot of interest leading up to the publication of your ebook, you just might make it onto their list. Getting onto a top list will definitely help you sell more of your books, as people that are looking for a new read are more likely to buy a book that is charted on a bestseller list.

Advertising your upcoming book on social media

Before you start thinking about how to best utilize social media ads to get more people to interested in your book, you first need to have a Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter author profiles. Creating a profile on Goodreads would also be great. Updating your fans regularly about your work on all of these platforms, as well as networking and engaging with your audience is a good start to generate a bit more interest in your ebook.

Those social media share buttons on your blog may get some (or a lot of) engagements, but what you want are more website visitors. This is where social media ads come into play. Only if you are serious about selling your ebook, we recommend you spend money on social media ads. Why? Well, the average ad on Facebook costs about $0.5 per click, meaning that only those that are ready to invest in the ads should actually do it.

However, social media ads can be a super-effective way of promoting your pre-launch ebook marketing campaigns, getting more likes and engagements on your author profile, and generally raising awareness about your ebook. All these are there to help you built general interest in your book.

We recommend you start with Facebook ads, as Facebook enables you to hyper-target your ads to help them reach your exact demographic. You can target Facebook ads using tons of different parameters. Use Facebook ads to drive likes on your page, as well as traffic to your email-exclusive pre-launch website landing page we already talked about.

Create email marketing campaigns

Okay, so now that you have gathered leads and see that there are people who are genuinely interested in your upcoming ebook, it is a great time to stay in touch while you are in the final stages of launching your ebook.

We suggest you start sending out regular updates and keep people posted on the progress of your book, talk about your new blog posts, including in your pre-launch campaigns you are running, and always make sure you ask people to connect with you on social media.

You should do this because the more people get to know you and the book you are publishing, the more likely will they be inclined to purchase it once it is published and support you and your work in that way.

These email campaigns keep building up the buzz about the launch of your book. If you do this well, more people will want to purchase your ebook on launch. The more books you sell in a short time span, the better chance you have to land on a bestselling list.

Continue marketing your ebook after it has been published

You published your book, congrats! Once your ebook is published, you still have loads of ebook marketing opportunities and to continue promoting your work.

There are hundreds, maybe even thousands of ways to do ebook marketing after publishing. We will give you the best ones to promote your book to the right audience which should, in turn, lead to more copies of your ebook getting sold.

Promote your ebook on social media and to your email list

Once you have officially published your ebook, make sure you send an announcement email to your entire email list.

You could even send an email just before your book is launched. This lets your most loyal readers know that your book is close to being published and that they should get ready to buy it. This builds anticipation that could lead to more sales.

As soon as you publish your book, send a second email with the link to the purchasing page. This will encourage your audience to buy your book right away.

Over the course of the next few days, send a couple of emails (but do not send too many - as it will annoy people). Share any updates about your book with your audience.

Do not forget about your social media! Promote the launch of your book there, too. Make sure you always include the link directly to your sales page to make it easy for your audience to purchase the book.

Announce your ebook release

You should promote your ebook with a press release or an article on your blog officially announcing the launch of your ebook. You should also pitch your book to publications that your specific audience reads.

These publications could include popular blogs and other ones like magazines that write about subjects related to your book, and online publications in your niche.

A great tip for PR is to try and syndicate your press release through PR sites or HARO to pitch your ebook to journalists directly. Once your ebook gets a bit of press, make sure you let your audience on your social media and in your email list know about it.

Seek out reviews

As you start selling your ebook, your focus should be on getting more people to talk about it. One way to do this is to get someone to review it. Reviews can be the deal-breaker whether or not a book succeeds but that does not mean you should hide from the reviews, you need to focus on getting the reviewers on your side. If you can afford it, consider pursuing paid book reviews. Paying for a review is not about getting a positive review, but is about making sure your book gets enough reviews for people to take notice. You can also give out your ebook for free to anyone that provides you with an honest review.

Another way to get more reviews of your ebook is to give a gift to the person who submits the best review. The gift could be a different book or a gift card or some of your merchandise (if you have it, of course).

Get influencers and podcasts involved

You could also pitch your book to podcast hosts, content creators, and influencers to see if you could get them to read your ebook and talk about it in their videos or shows.

Write a few blog posts on authority blogs

Guest blogging is one of the most popular ways for authors to promote their ebooks. Writing guest posts on blogs enhance your reach and build your authority, as well as promoting your ebook to those that share your passion or interest in a particular subject. To find blogs to write for, simply start by the search for a keyword from your niche and add the phrase "write for us". See what you get. Put all the interesting blogs in a list and then pitch a guest post.

Make sure you carefully read the posting guidelines and do not pitch to those websites which will not provide a direct backlink to your website because the reason why you would guest blog in the first place is to bring readers to your website.

Coupons and promotions

Do you know what people love? Coupons! Everyone loves them, and they can be a great way to boost your sales and create additional buzz. You are familiar with the concept of referral coupons from large retailers. They work because they motivate people to spread the reach of the product which brings in additional new customers.

You can make them yourself, or use a software like Leadcart to help you out. After creating your coupon, set it up on your website and let your audience know about it. Offer to give away your book for free if a participant refers and gets, for example, three people to buy your book. This is one of the best ways to generate more word-of-mouth-marketing, as your dedicated audience will for sure tell their friends about you and your book.

Repurpose your ebook

This is a great ebook marketing tactic not used by many people but can be so useful. You do not have to repurpose your entire ebook but you can (and should) repurpose:

  • Some of the visuals in your ebook to create a summary infographic about the main topics you have covered in the ebook.
  • The takeaways from your ebook and create a Slideshare presentation using some of your own words.
  • Highlighted stats which could be both used in the aforementioned Slideshare presentation and the summary infographic

Create videos

A free marketing tactic to generate more interest in your ebook is recoding videos for your readers. We say it is free because all you need is a smartphone or a camera and access to the Internet.

If you published a fiction book, you can read experts for the book, or read some of your other work, like those short stories you never published. You could even share personal stories about how some of the books came to be.

If you published a non-fiction book, you can simply take the most popular questions you get about either your book or the topic you have covered in the book and answer them in video form.

You should do this because at the end of the day, your readers want to connect with you, the author, and video is one of the best ways to do just that. By creating entertaining or helpful videos for your audience, they will for sure love it which should end up in them getting more of your books and products.

Create a publishing calendar

It is a good idea to preplan when you are going to release a free chapter or an updated edition of your ebook as well as any of your future marketing endowers you plan on doing. By releasing free chapters and updating your ebook, you get to promote your book to a different, maybe more targeted audience.

Email outreach

Email marketing has been one of the staples of marketing for so long and it is still so influential in 2020. If the goal of your ebook is to get more leads for your business, you can promote your ebook instead of your main service offer which will make you look less like a salesman and more like someone who is looking to help out other people.

Bottom line

So, there you have it. The ultimate guide on the best practices of marketing, distributing, and selling your ebook. The above tips and strategies can be helpful in getting the word out about your ebook. Some of these strategies work better for one type of readership and some work better for another, but all of them should work for you and your audience - no matter what your niche is. Following the tips laid out in this guide will ensure you are focused on the right strategies that work and hopefully, you have gotten an idea on which tips and tricks might work for your audience.

However, you need to remember that marketing your ebook comes second. The quality of your ebook will always come first. The better your ebook is, the easier it will be to build a marketing strategy around it. You can try all sorts of strategies, even some we did not mention on this list, but if your ebook does not offer quality for the reader in terms of an emotional experience or provide value, you will not be able to sell enough copies.

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