My eBook Is Not Selling – Can You help Me?
As they say, if I received a dollar for every time I was asked this question then I would be a millionaire! This is one of the most common questions I have been asked over the past ten years and a question that consistently pops-up in forums, community discussion groups and in person.
With the popularity of self-publishing growing, I only envision that this question will be asked many more times by frustrated and discouraged authors. Honesty and accountability are two traits I often write about in succeeding as a self-published author. You must honest about the effort you are putting into marketing and promoting your eBooks and you must be accountable for your own success.
Below are 10 questions you must honestly answer if you wish to sell more eBooks.
More often than not, the reason why no-one is buying your eBook is quite obvious. It may not be obvious to you, but it is to a person looking to buy your eBook or a seasoned author who has made the same mistakes as you along the way.
In my eBook, ‘How To Sell More eBooks – Self-publishing Millionaire’ I go into detail on how you can identify your target audience, successfully get your eBook in front of your ideal readers and sell more eBooks.
I am constantly updating this eBook as the world of digital publishing is always changing. The 10 questions below are often the most common reasons why authors fail to sell any eBooks.
1. Did You Get Your Cover Professional Designed or Did You Produce it Yourself?
I have put this reason at the top of the list as when a potential buyer scans through the thousands of eBooks available for sale in Amazon or another online store, the first thing they often see is the cover. If your cover does not capture their attention and generate instant curiosity then they will move on and continue scrolling down the page until they come across an attention-grabbing cover.
I designed the cover for my first few eBooks and looking back now I can see why I initially failed to sell many eBooks. I thought the cover looked good but how wrong I was. It was not what I thought but more importantly what my potential readers thought. When I replaced my home-made covers with a professionally made cover the sales of this eBook immediately started to increase.
People looking to buy an eBook often know what eBook they want when they visit an online store because it was recommended to them or they found out about your eBook through one of your online marketing campaigns. This type of customer is ready to buy so you need to make sure you do not put anything in the way, such as a bad cover, that will change their mind.
Have You Used a Professional Graphic?
- Does the title stand out?
- Does your author name stand out?
- Do the colours match your topic?
- Does your cover look just as good when reduced to thumbnail size?
- Is your cover too buys?
- Is there too much ‘unreadable’ text on your cover?
- Have you research best-selling eBooks in your genre to see which covers sell?
- Have you used the best font style and size for your cover?
- Does your cover send the message you want it to about your eBook?
If you are committing a major mistake with your eBook cover, then immediately source a reputable graphic designer to produce a quality cover for you. It will be money well spent!
2. Is Your Book Available as an eBook? Or is Your eBook Available as a Book?
This is a ‘what comes first – the chicken or the egg?’ type of question. Did you publish your manuscript in eBook format first or did you publish in print format first? Or did you publish both simultaneously?
From experience, I would say you are like 90% of most self-published authors these days in that you are only selling in eBook format. If this is the case then you need to consider getting your eBook into print and selling it as a book.
By selling in both eBook and book you will open up your market and reach a greater number of potential readers. Not everyone likes reading an eBook, some still prefer a printed book.
3. Did You Get a Professional Editor to Read Your Manuscript Prior to Publishing?
Just because you were a good student in English class does not mean that you make a great editor! There is so much more to editing than just checking spelling and grammar. A professional editor will critique your storyline, plot, characters, introduction, chapters, ending, and readability, flow of the eBook, remove unnecessary text and so much more.
4. Have You Optimized Your Sales Page?
Your sales page must sell your eBook! You must convince the reader that your eBook is for them. You must convince the reader that they will want to read your eBook.
Your Sales Page:
- Must contain the right tags and keywords.
- Must have a ‘description’ that sells.
- Must have a hook or call to action that gets the customer across the line.
- Must have positive reviews.
- Must be error-free from spelling mistakes or typos.
- Your description will reflect the quality of your eBook.
5. How Have You Promoted Your eBook?
I cannot emphasize enough that one marketing strategy and campaign does not fit all! Every author must create a marketing campaign based on their eBook, their topic and how best they can reach their target audience.
If you have failed to promote your eBook and get it in front of those readers who would want to buy your eBook then this is why you have not sold many eBooks.
I won’t mention all the marketing tools you can use as they are listed in our eBook Marketing department. Visit this department and select the best tools and platforms for you and your eBook.
I will say that whichever tools you choose, your main goal is to build a list of your ideal readers. So when you publish your eBook you can send out an email and have a ‘ready-to-go’ list of customers.
6. Have You Priced Your eBook to Sell or to Fail?
Deciding on a price for your eBook is one of the more difficult tasks for self-published authors. There are so many factors to take into account. If you are an unknown first-time author you cannot expect to charge too much.
Many of the successful self-published authors such as Hugh Howey have priced their first eBooks at 99 cents. Once they established their credibility and following they were then able to sell at a higher price point.
- Is your eBook priced too high?
- Is your eBook priced too low?
- Have you tried selling your eBook at various price points?
- Have your tried price pulsing?
7. Have You Written More than One eBook?
This is a question that often draws a puzzled look. Why would I write another eBook if I cannot sell my first eBook? The more you write the more chance you have of writing a best-seller. It may be your fifth eBook that hits the best-seller charts and when it does then you can sell your back-list.
Think about the best-selling eBooks in recent times:
- Hunger games
- Divergent series
- Fifty Shades series
They are all series! If you have captured the attention of your target audience and they enjoyed your first eBook then they will be hungry to read your other eBooks immediately. if you wait another six months to publish your next eBook then you will have lost the moment and spontaneous purchase.
Have a look at the best-selling authors of all time as see how many eBooks and books they have written. They are prolific writers often with multiple eBooks on the go at one time.
- James Patterson
- E.L. James
- JK Rowling
- Hugh Howey
8. Do You Have Reviews? Are they Good or Bad?
A major turn-off for potential buyers is when they go to the sales page for an eBook and notice all of the mediocre or bad reviews. They will likely hit the ‘back’ button and continue searching for another eBook.
While you cannot control what reviews people make, you can tick all the boxes before you publish your eBook to ensure that you give your eBook the best chance of receiving positive reviews.
An eBook without any reviews at all is also another turn-off. It sends the message that no-one else has been interested in your eBook or felt compelled to write a review. Stay away from sourcing fake reviews or paying for reviews. Amazon does not look kindly upon eBooks they believe are sourcing reviews for their eBook.
There are a number of techniques you can use to get a jump start with good reviews. One is to send out 100 free copies of your eBook prior to publication to your fans. In return, if they enjoy your eBook, ask then to leave a review on Amazon. This will ensure you start off with some good reviews.
9. Have You Selected the Right Categories for Your eBook?
For many authors their eBook fits into a specific category. For others, their eBook may fall into multiple categories. Readers know what type of eBook and what category they like when searching through an online store. If your eBook is not in the best category for your topic then you will be losing sales.
Most stores only allow you to select two or three categories so make sure you select the best category for your eBook which attracts your target audience. This is why the research phase is so important as you must know who your ideal readers are!
As you will notice with the best-seller lists; there are some categories that attract the best-sellers. From YA fiction, crime fiction, romance, fantasy to Adult fiction are just a few. If you try to select a category based on the biggest audience or where the best-sellers come from then this will be a big mistake.
If you are unsure of the most appropriate category for your eBook then:
1. Ask fellow authors or your editor
2. Find eBooks that are like yours and see what category they are in.
3. Research your followers or friends on community sites and see what categories they enjoy. This will usually correspond to your eBook’s content.
10. Once Published, Have You Put Your Feet Up?
When I wrote my first eBook I truly believed that I had produced a great eBook that would sell like crazy once I published it. When I did publish it I sat back day after day, week after week only to experience the deflating feeling that no-one was buying my eBook.
The hard lesson I learned here was that you must never stop promoting your eBook and trying to sell it to your ideal readers. Once you stop working, then your eBook will stop selling!
As well as setting some goals for writing, you must also set goals for marketing and promoting your eBook post-publication.
You Must Also Book Time into Your Calendar to:
- Write more.
- Engage and connect with your target audience.
- Meet and communicate with your target audience online.
- Keep promoting your eBook.
- Build and improve your platform.
- Connect and partner with the ‘influencers’ in your category.
- Post fresh content on your blog.
- Conduct interviews.
- Add fresh content to your social media accounts.
When I first started writing eBooks back in 2004 I was caught up by the eBooks being promoted online stating how I could write an eBook in one week, make a million dollars from information products, become a guaranteed best-selling author and quit my day job.
I was sold on all the convincing sales copies being thrown my way. Let say that writing an eBook will not guarantee overnight success and will not guarantee you becoming a best-selling author despite what all the online marketers will tell you.
What I can tell you is that you will give your eBook the best chance of selling more copies when you tick all the right boxes and can honestly answer the above questions. Then make the required changes.
I look forward to hearing your ‘turn-around’ success story in how you went from being unable to sell any eBooks to selling more because you made a few changes.
I recently helped an author who asked me this exact question; ‘My eBook Isn’t Selling – Can You help Me?’ This author happened to be a friend of mine so I had a look at where she was going wrong. At first, I was a little baffled as she had done everything she had learned from our Author Academy.
The eBook cover was great, the title was unique and memorable, the colours matched the category, a successful pre-launch marketing campaign was conducted and initial sales were strong. Then sales came to a halt all together.
The result was that Amazon had suspended this author’s account and was not selling her eBook because she had not filed the appropriate tax documents (non-U.S. author) within the expected time frame. So another lesson learned to complete all admin work required. And to regularly check your eBook’s sales page to make sure it is still available for purchase!