Note from me: I will be away this week speaking in Kenya, Africa. My good friend Dan Black will be moderating my comments. Thank you Dan! Be WARNED! This is a long post and as a result it will be my only post this week.
On a daily basis I get at least ten emails asking me how I sold my ebooks and how someone can sell an ebook they just released. I understand wanting to know how to sell because self-publishing is VERY HARD! You would think there would be people out there willing to get the valuable information we write and put out to the world, but it’s not easy to get their attention. This post is meant to be a help with that.
I have spoken literally all over the world about the two main components of successfully self-publishing: using the power of your story and making REAL connections with people. Unfortunately I had to learn this lesson the hard way when I first started out.
I wanted so badly to sell my ebook so that I could get away from a job that I absolutely hated and live a life I only dreamed about. So instead of making connections and spreading a message, I became a spammer. I flooded social media and even my real life relationships with my book, I told everybody that would listen that I had a book and why they should buy it.
If you have followed me for anytime then you know my story, if not you can go to my about page and read my story or listen to the many interviews I’ve done and get the full story :) for the sake of time I will move on.
After the first two months of my book being released I sold five (eight total but three were from friends) copies and not only was I crushed, I couldn’t figure out why. It took me two weeks before I even looked at a computer again and got back to trying to make my dream a reality. I did some research and this is what I found:
What I did wrong
- I was a spammer. I mentioned this a little but I really tried to cram my book down people’s throat. I would post once every hour on Facebook and twice an hour on Twitter. I called people I hadn’t talked to in ten years and told them about the book. I told anybody I saw at work or anywhere I went about the book, everybody in the world knew about my book
- I only focused on the money. I had to get away from this miserable job and I needed income ASAP! The money was all I could think about and it motivated what I did. Every post I wrote on my blog led to buying the book. Every post I had on social media led to a link about the book. In the end I lost most of my readers and most of my friends and fans on social media. When the money didn’t come I was crushed and wanted to give up, I lost faith in my dream.
- I was impatient and took shortcuts. The process of successfully self-publishing requires a lot of patience and time, it’s just not going to happen over-night. I read so much information on how to do this so I thought I could speed up the process. It really made everything I did very sloppy and it wasn’t even close to my best work. When the sales didn’t come right away, I would go back to my default move: spamming.
- The 20 reasons posts. I’m a writer so I was convinced that I could write my way into some books sales. I would write posts like “20 reasons to buy my book” or “1o reasons you can’t live without my book”. These posts were a completely FAIL! I know you want to sell your book and you want to write to show people the benefits of your book but this kind of writing completely turns people off!
- I lost sight of the message. I originally started writing to help people and show them that there is hope. I wanted to be a voice for the little guy and give them options. When my book came out I lost sight of that message and just focused on selling the book. The message was lost for a long time and it makes me wonder how many people I missed out on helping.
- I didn’t have a real campaign. When the book first came out I would promote it hard-core, two weeks later I didn’t bring it up at all. Then I would read a story that inspired me and I would be back to promotion mode. I continued this see-saw ride and promoting and forgetting, there was absolutely no consistency. If your book is going to be successful you must have a consistent way to promote the book even going forward. (more…)