|How to market my book online|
I'm new to eCommerce and am trying to market and sell my very first book.
Title: 2 popular keywords (i.e. something similar to "American Dad")
Domain: is the .com version of the title
SEO: the site already ranks #1 when googling the title
Topic: tidbits of advice
Non-famous Author: myself ;)
Published by: myself/POD (Print On Demand)
Monetizing the website by:
1) Obviously selling the book
2) Google Ads
3) CafePress (posting the title along with the cartoon characters in the book) on mugs, and other products
4) Allowing users to submit pictures, poems, etc under the "Father of the Week" section
5) Amazon Commission on selling other related books under the "Link" section
1) Initial investment
2) 5% donation on each sale (to an organization to support the poor)
3) 50% of profit on each sale goes back to advertising
3,000 sales within the first year.
I currently manage over 5,000 visitors/day through several websites. I think I can send about 500 visitors/day to this site and assuming 1% actually purchase the book that's about 5 sales/day for the first few months. And then I am hoping to see a trajectory through referrals.
Am I being too optimistic?
The book is almost ready to be published. I have spent several thousand dollars on editing the manuscript and designing the layout. I also put aside $2K for the initial launch (one month worth of advertising on 2 very popular websites).
I plan to fully develop the website by mid March and launch the book by April.
I would appreciate interesting links & articles, suggestions and advice. Where do I start? Any faults in my plan? What other tools would you suggest to better market my product and also better monetize my website?
Thanks in advance,
The main flaw in your plan is the self-published bit. It's entirely typical for self-published books to sell fewer than 100 copies. I've seen authors beat this trend, with a lot of work, but the difference is they had a plan and did a lot of legwork.
I wouldn't be over-optimistic about your chances of converting a lot of website visitors to buyers, unless it's a topic that does pretty well in any case. While you're getting ready to publish you could put those related book links up on your other sites and see how well they do, and that will give you some idea of how your book might sell.
Before you do this, ask yourself where your audience is. Are they mostly on the web, or is there another way you can reach them such as through schools, clubs, conventions, meeting places, or something else? Just because you're a webmaster, don't assume the web is the best or the only way to market your book.
|Non-famous Author: myself ;) |
So, how are you going to make yourself famous?
When authors make appearances on talk shows and promote their book, it is because the publishing companies have some sort of relationship with the producers of the talk shows. In some cases, the company that owns the talk show also owns the publishing house, so it is in their best interest to promote the book.
You don't have that sort of access, so I think that at the minimum you are going to have to figure out where your potential customers are, and start getting your name in front of them.
There are many websites where they are looking for free content, so it may be that you need to find those sites and start writing content for them in exchange for them linking back to you and mentioning your new book. You might do this with guest posts on blogs, or something along those lines.
The other road is to take on more of the role of a publisher. Yes, you can promote your book, but you might also start providing free content (blogs, articles, book reviews) of OTHER authors that have content that matches your target demographic.
In that case, you would solicit other authors to guest blog, which would provide them with an outlet to promote their work. You could monetize through affiliate links / adsense / the usual suspects.
In that case, you could still promote your book heavily but also promote their books as well.
Hope this helps.
Sounds like you've made a good start. And congrats. And, good advice so far ^. I just finished my 4th self-published book, in addition to 8 or 12 done via traditional large publishing houses. PM me, if you like, and I'll take a look at what you are doing if you give me the url.
As for goals, yes, 3,000 is probably high for just a print version. If you haven't done so yet, get it done for the kindle and other e-readers. If you published to benefit financially, rather than just because you always wanted to write a book, it might make more sense to set a FINANCIAL goal instead of numbers sold.
If it's for business, measure it like a business. There's a lot to all this, pricing, where it's distributed, and it all connects in to marketing.
I think I can sell that many via family and friends.
|The main flaw in your plan is the self-published bit. It's entirely typical for self-published books to sell fewer than 100 copies. |
Mostly on the web, especially considering that I'm selling in the US/CAN and Europe but currently living in the Middle East.
|Are they mostly on the web, or is there another way you can reach them such as through schools, clubs, conventions, meeting places, or something else? |
I'm not the best writer. I had family and friends edit the whole thing. I also hired 2 editors which unfortunately they didn't help much!
|There are many websites where they are looking for free content, so it may be that you need to find those sites and start writing content for them in exchange for them linking back to you and mentioning your new book. |
I think my idea and brand will sell. I'd say I've been very patient on this project. I planned and worked on it for about a year.
In short, I'd like to think of myself as the project manager where I originally had an idea and then outsource the printing (to sites like LuLu or CreateSpace), Marketing (to my partner sites), Sales (through Amazon), Payments (through PayPal), Editing (through 2 editors and family and friends), Layout and Graphics (via my designer)
My forte isnt writing, but planning and marketing.
Very good advice! I know how difficult it is to sell via amazon. Unfortunately I wasn't able to sell even 1 webcam via my video-chat website which has around 200-300 visitors/day despite my Google Adsense having a decent CTR. (I should mention that my goal wasnt to sell via amazon, I simply had a link to Amazon as one of the advertising blocks)
|I wouldn't be over-optimistic about your chances of converting a lot of website visitors to buyers, unless it's a topic that does pretty well in any case. While you're getting ready to publish you could put those related book links up on your other sites and see how well they do, and that will give you some idea of how your book might sell. |
|So, how are you going to make yourself famous? |
1) I've shared many interesting photos from the Middle East and posted them on popular websites. (I had my signature on all photos)
2) Via 1,500 FB friends and 2 Facebook pages I manage (First has about 2,000 members and second has around 80,000 members) Every time I post a link on the second FB page, I get about 300-400 likes and 200-250 comments. I haven't advertised on these pages yet and have kept myself anonymous (as one of the admins) and plan to keep it that way.
3) Placing banners on most of my sites. (on average about 5k visitors/day).
4) Advertising on my partners website (he manages about 60K visitors/day and at a decent price I usually get around 2-3k visitors/day referrals.
I have both goals in mind.
|If you published to benefit financially, rather than just because you always wanted to write a book, it might make more sense to set a FINANCIAL goal instead of numbers sold. |
I will update you guys on the number of sales, earnings, etc... And if anyone else has statistics he/she can share, I would appreciate it. I'd like to get a better image of what may happen or what to expect.
If I were to grade my project I would say:
Book Layout/Design + Graphics = 98
Content = 70
Idea = 70-75
Marketing strategy & strength (based on my low budget) = 70
Title = 80
Website Design = 80
I consider our sales figures proprietary, so I can't share actual numbers. If you have some specific questions about sales that do NOT require proprietary information, I can try to answer.
I notice you didn't take me up on my offer PM me, to look at what you are doing (which is fine), but I don't know how anyone can give you concrete help without looking at the book, topic, sites, etc. All you can get is general stuff, and I doubt that will really help.
thanks for the offer but my site isnt ready yet. I am currently working on it and will send you a message by next week (site should be completed by 3/15). I would appreciate your help.
|I notice you didn't take me up on my offer PM me, to look at what you are doing |
As your promotion seems to be web centric, why not search out bloggers/webmsters in related niches and give them a free copy of your book for review?. When talking about selling the book, do you sell it via Amazon? If yes, make each and every sale go through Amazon, especially during the launch phase, as it well help increase your sales rank.
Did you also think about selling a Kindle version? Three benefits could come from that: instant gratification on customer side, lower cost for you, two amazon listings (book + kindle)
Yes, but I plan to sell the Kindle version and app later on. Probably next year.
btw, I read on another forum that someone made more money selling the ebook/online version. Profit margin was low, but sales were extremely high. Interestingly enough she advised to sell it at $0.99 rather than $3.99.
When do people start selling the online version?