Monday, February 14, 2011
Authors Making Money Selling Ebooks
"I can always put my stuff in ebooks."
But most of those people thought that's all they have to do. When I advised they needed social media and online marketing, they wrinkled their noses, talked about a lack of time and fuss about an even bigger learning curve.
Amanda Hocking, however, put her work online and dove into online marketing with everything she had. Read this excerpt from USA Today:
Fed up with attempts to find a traditional publisher for her young-adult paranormal novels, Hocking self-published last March and began selling her novels on online bookstores like Amazon and Barnesandnoble.com. By May she was selling hundreds; by June, thousands. She sold 164,000 books in 2010. Most were low-priced (99 cents to $2.99) digital downloads. More astounding: This January she sold more than 450,000 copies of her nine titles. More than 99% were e-books. "I can't really say that I would have been more successful if I'd gone with a traditional publisher," says Hocking, 26, who lives in Austin, Minn. "But I know this is working really well for me."
What I didn't like hearing from individuals was that they felt ebooks sold faster than paper books. Like many authors used to think about Amazon and B&N, all they had to do was throw them up for people to find, and the product would sell.
No. No. No.
1. You have to market your book, regardless the format. Just because people are excited about electronic reading doesn't mean they are buying anything and everything.
2. You have to write a good book, regardless the format. Don't put all your "stuff" online just because it's easy to upload. If you post anything less than stellar, you eventually disappoint readers, and dampen the sales of your better stories. Eventually you can kill a career.
3. You have to market daily, perpetually, for the long haul. If you listen to press releases and all those infamous "polls", you might wander into a mindset that online means instant gratification. Sales are directly proportional to energy invested until word-of-mouth takes off like a rocket. You have to feed word-of-mouth. It isn't something that spontaneously happens.
4. You have to be hungry for this business. I quit counting the times people said, "I don't have time," when speaking about marketing their book. "I have another job." So do ninety percent of the writers out there. Decide what you want, how badly you want it, and break a sweat getting it.
Yes, you can always put your work in ebook form. That doesn't mean it will sell.