Ebook Marketing Basics: Know How Ebook Buyers Discover New Ebooks
As a voracious reader of books, I am also highly interested in the authors of those books. I always visit the websites of authors to learn more about them. Always. One of the common threads I have found with authors that I have thoroughly enjoyed is that they ALL were also voracious readers. How do I know? Well they mentioned how much they read on their sites, Facebook pages, or Twitter accounts. They also tended to have discussions on other books in their genre (or books in other genres for that matter) that they enjoyed and wanted to recommend to others. I think that this common love of reading is the foundation of an excellent writer– and an excellent writer sells books.
Rule #1 – Research and Read Books In Your Niche
You’d be surprised how many new authors have not read many other books on their topic or related to their topic. I’m not 100% sure what that is about, but if I had to guess based on experience, I would venture to say that the first problem is that some authors think that they are way more knowledgeable and/or experienced then the authors of the other books in the marketplace and don’t feel the need to read them. Other authors are in such a rush to write and publish their book that they don’t want to take the time to do the “research” on their competition. And maybe another reason is that the author picked the topic of their books solely on it’s popularity factor and are trying to make a quick sale. They aren’t even that interested in their topic. (Big Mistake!)
So the first rule of understanding how an ebook buyer will search for and purchase an ebook on your topic is to read other ebooks in your niche. Obviously the first step for this is to do the research online (Amazon, B&N, NYT BestSeller List, Clickbank, Goodreads) and take a look at what are the top-selling books and/or well-reviewed books in your niche. Pay very close attention to the keywords you use to search for your topic. That’s probably how other readers will search for your topic as well. Invest in yourself and buy several of them. It’s important that you know what authors have already said on your topic so that you can say something new or deliver the information in a different way.
Rule #2 – Consider The Process Of The Search (Author SEO)
Now that you’ve purchased a few books, it’s time to dissect the process that you used to find your book. There are two major ways that non-fiction ebook buyers find books.
Buyers of non-fiction are typically looking for information, for answers, solutions. So they search for those solutions using keywords and keyword phrases on your topic. (Ex. How to cook lobster) And that search is typically going to be done through a mobile device or on their tablet or computer using Google or Bing. This is called an organic search and this is where your author seo (which I plan to write a more intensive piece on soon, so be sure to subscribe) becomes seriously important. Will people find your website, blog, or book in a search on your topic.
When I use organic search, I typically search for a keyword phrase and take a look at the top 3-5 sites in my results. I weed out any sites that I don’t think will have what I need such as big magazine sites (ex. About.com) or information sites like Wikipedia. I’m looking for speciality sites or boutique sites that specifically focus or seem to have authority on my topic. Those are the types of sites that tend to publish ebooks on niche-centered topics. You want your website/blog to show up in these results.
Big Retailer Search
Another place that your buyer will look for answers is on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iBooks. When I search on these retailers, I type in my keywords and typically base my initial interest on several things: the cover, the synopsis, and the reviews. It’s important that you get at least 2 of these 3 things right to grab the readers’ attention.
Then depending on time, I will either “take a look” inside the book and read the front matter (that’s why it’s essential you don’t waste a lot of space in the front of your book with dedications, title pages, etc.) Just get straight to the meat. A descriptive table of contents is very important with a non fiction book. If I’m short on time, I may download a free sample of the book straight to my iPad (I use the Kindle App for iPad), so again that sampling of your book needs to be really good. But I don’t do this very often. Books under $5 are impulse buys for me and I suspect for most buyers and so if you wow me immediately with your cover, description and/or reviews then I’ll probably buy immediately.
Social Media Search
Another place where readers may find your book is through word of mouth in social media. People are always sharing books on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads so it’s definitely a good idea to have a presence there and start connecting with people who may be interested in your writing. It’s been in social media where people that know my work have recommended it to others. Don’t dismiss the power of “word of mouth”. You just have to make sure you have a presence where it counts so that you can be found when they actually do start hearing about you.
Rule #3 – Read Your Books On A Digital Device
No disrespect to my over 55 crowd, BUT many of you are looking to build a side income by getting into ebook publishing and you don’t even own a digital reading device. I know this because many of you are my clients:) This makes zero sense. If you want to earn even one dollar in digital publishing, you need to understand how your readers will consume your work. How your books will look on e-readers.
You need to make sure that you are formatting your books or that the person you hired to format your book did it correctly. The reader experience needs to be flawless so that they won’t leave you the dreaded “I liked the content but the typos were distracting” review. This goes for ebooks sold on your own site or through big retailers (Amazon etc.). Personally I own a Kindle, an iPad, and an iPhone. I read books on all three of those devices as well as on my iMac computer. And I definitely test my own books on those devices and you should do. It’s how I’ve caught formatting errors during the editorial process.
What about you? Is there a special way you find and purchase ebooks? Are there other suggestions you can share with authors on how to make sure that their books are seen by buyers? Please leave your input in the comment section below and get a nice juicy link back to your site via CommentLuv:)