Friday, March 15, 2013

Create Marketing Pieces

(This is step #15 of my How To Publish An eBook thang)

What's the number one thing you can do that will sell your ebooks?

You could get an interview on Oprah Winfrey's show, but that's hard since I think that show is off the air. And all the other forms of mass marketing and merchandising can also drive sales. If you can get Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh to read your book and talk about it on the air, you'll sell a boat load of books to their listeners. Same goes for not just right wing radio commentators, but for anyone who has a big broadcast voice. If you can do this, God bless you. And you're buying lunch next time, OK?

Before I got distracted by that last paragraph I had in mind the simple process of one-on-one selling. You've done a great thing writing a book and you should be proud of it.

If you were raised right, you learned it's not nice to toot your own horn. Let another person sing your praises and all that. Yet there is a time and a season for putting your best foot forward and you've got to be ready where it concerns that ebook you've published.

The big advantage of going with a traditional publisher is marketing and distribution. Amazon has done a good job of empowering you where distribution is concerned, but you still have to proactively engage the demands of marketing.

Even if you are as bad at marketing as I am, someone is going to ask you what your book is about. You will need to have your elevator pitch ready: cast your work in its best light in the span of 30 seconds to 2 minutes. This elevator pitch cannot be composed too early in the writing process. You may run into an editor or publisher with a suitcase full of money to induce you to NOT self-publish your work after you wow them with a boffo elevator pitch.

If that goes well, the person you are talking to may not be able to buy your work immediately.

You want to put something in hand that serves as a reminder so s/he can go back later and buy your work.

For The Aristotelian I had a local print shop make up a bunch of  postcards. That was OK, but I found that most times when I was having a conversation about it were times when I did not have any of those postcards on my person. Thus, when it came time to make up something like that for Finding Time, I decided to have business-cards made up instead.

You'll want to put your cover art on the front, and you'll want to put some kind of contact info on the back. I was going through a QR code kick a year or so back and I decided to have the hyperlinks in the last two paragraphs encoded as QR codes and fit my name and email beside it. Next time I'll probably quit the QR code business. It's cool, but nobody uses it.

It's very easy to keep a dozen of your work's business cards in a holder you keep in your coat pocket so that after you deliver your elevator pitch, you can give out your card.

Someday, you may find yourself manning a table at a book fair, trade show, or convention. You might want to get bookmarks printed up. I haven't done that, but some of my friends have. Other writers I know have had pens, calendars, and key rings made. You'll want to have these little bits of swag for you to hand out. It's also a good idea for you to have a few book-on-demand printed paper copies of your book for sale. If you're really ambitious, you can have those huge six-foot-high by two-and-a-half-foot-wide banners made to hang up behind your table. Or maybe set up a big-screen TV with your book trailer running on continuous loop.

(You can find the bullet-point outline of How To Publish An Ebook here.)


  1. NOTE: when making the business cards, I have found that having a pic of the book on the card, your primary website (and/or Blog site). The ISBN# of the book in print, and ebook, as well as the books website and maybe a quick 1 to 2 line description of the book itself. I Also have the postcards, Bookmarks, banners, ect. For each book I write I havea marketing page made up that has the book cover, the ISBN numbers for e-book and print. The basic Description, the Genre, tags, primary web-bookstores it can be found. A blurb describing the author, and, if possible, 1 or 2 small reviews of the book itself. These can then be handed out at book fairs ect.

    1. This is great advice I should have included in the body of the article.


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