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4 Tips to Help Authors Sell More Books
Want to Attract More Readers? – Publishing Sales Coach Offers Helpful Insight

By mid-2014, self-published authors began taking home the bulk of all ebook author earnings generated on Amazon.com. Meanwhile, authors published by all of the Big Five publishers—Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Hachette, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster—combined slipped into second place, according to the January 2015 Author Earnings Report. As a direct result, more and more authors are in the driver’s seat when it comes to the sales and marketing of their books.

“I’ve received several emails via LinkedIn over the years from newly self-published authors who were promoting their books, trying to convince me to buy them. If you’re one of these authors, I genuinely applaud you for taking that important step toward self-promotion,” says Staflund, founder and publisher at Polished Publishing Group (PPG), www.polishedpublishinggroup.com. “Unfortunately, 99 percent of the contacts you emailed never purchased your book because your message was flawed in one or, perhaps, all of the following ways.”

WIIFM: What’s In It for Me?

This is what all our customers are asking themselves, whether consciously or unconsciously, whenever they consider making a purchase: what’s in it for me? All salespeople need to be aware of the WIIFM acronym and be sure they’re answering that question in all of their marketing materials, in a clear and concise manner that speaks to customers in their language. 

Being “clear” means telling them what’s in it for them in a manner that addresses their needs directly. Will your book increase their joy? If yes, how? Will your book decrease their pain? If yes, how?

Being “concise” means telling them what’s in it for them in as few words as possible. We live in an “instant soup” society filled with customers that want quick and easy solutions to their problems. Your materials are best received when someone makes up their own mind to review them—not when they’ve been interrupted by a long, drawn out, unsolicited email on LinkedIn or elsewhere. 

And “speaking to them in their language” means communicating what’s in it for them in a manner that they will understand and appreciate most. Two of the marketing languages you may choose from are price-based marketing and value-based marketing.

TOMA: Top of Mind Awareness

Your target market is a fluid and ever-changing stream of old and new customers. You need to stay in front of them so that, when they’re ready to buy whatever type of book it is you’re selling, they’ll recall your book ahead of all the others. In the world of advertising and marketing, this is known as creating top of mind awareness.

Some of the traditional ways that businesses create top of mind awareness are to place regular ads on television, radio, and billboards, or in print media outlets such as magazines and newspapers. Repetition is the key to success in any advertising campaign, and this can get pretty expensive in these traditional arenas. We’re talking hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars per month to run enough ads to achieve top of mind awareness with the general public, depending on how large a trading area you’re trying to reach. Luckily, authors have a virtually free online alternative known as blogging that utilizes the power of keywords to draw people in from anywhere in the world that has Internet access. And, authors also have the benefit of free social media websites to super-charge those blogging campaigns.

An Attractive, Accessible Storefront

All your blogging and social media marketing efforts will be profitless unless you’re using those vehicles to consistently redirect people to the webpage where they can buy your book. Make it quick and easy for them to find the place to buy your book once they’ve read that compelling blog post or viewed that interesting tweet on Twitter. Make the page so attractive that they will want the book even more.

Convenient, User-friendly Purchase Options

Some people are more comfortable with online shopping than others. Where one customer may want to pay for a purchase using PayPal, another will prefer to pay via their favourite credit card. Some still prefer an old-fashioned “pay by cheque or money order” option. The more purchase options you can provide, the more convenient and user-friendly your online storefront will appear. It’s the equivalent of casting a much wider net to catch a greater variety of fish.

About Kim Staflund

As the founder and publisher at Polished Publishing Group (PPG),www.polishedpublishinggroup.com, Kim Staflund works with businesses and individuals around the world to produce professional quality audiobooks, ebooks, paperbacks and hardcovers using a supported self-publishing business model. As a bestselling author and sales coach, she shows authors how to sell their books using all the effective traditional and online tricks of the trade. Staflund has a substantial sales and sales management history combined with over 20 years of book publishing experience within the traditional and new publishing markets.

 

article provided by:
Ginny Grimsley
National Print Campaign Manager
News and Experts

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* the following article was contributed by Ginny Grimsley, National Print Campaign Manager @ News and Experts in Wesley Chapel, FL

How To Price An Ebook
Amazon Vs. Kobo: Which Is Better For Price And Value?

By Kim Staflund

Last year, a major milestone was reached in the ebook industry: self-published authors began taking home the bulk of all author earnings generated on Amazon.com, eclipsing those represented by major traditional publishers.

There has never been more opportunity in human history to publish a book. However, many questions linger for how to maximize a book project. What’s an appropriate price point for an ebook?

Many authors incorrectly assume that consumers make ebook buying decisions according to different criteria than their paperback buying decisions—that it’s based solely on price ahead of value because of the format of the book. They mistakenly suppose that the ebook version of a book should be priced cheaper than the paperback version because of its reduced production costs (i.e., no printing involved). This is a flawed premise because buyers have various motives and reasons for buying ebooks.

Some customers buy ebooks based on price:

•  They prefer downloading ebooks to their laptop, desktop computer, or ebook reader that they received as a gift, because ebooks are cheaper to buy than paperbacks or hardcover books.

Some customers buy ebooks based on value:

•  They bought an ebook reader for all their ebooks for the convenience of having them all in one place (i.e., so they don’t have to cart around lots of heavy books with them).

•  They see significant value in the content of the book (i.e., it contains priceless information and instructions that can help them to earn more money or to better themselves and their lives in some measurable way).

•  Going paperless to help save trees is more important to them than saving money.

•  They want to have the latest technology in their hands before anyone else has it. (These people will almost always pay more to stay one step ahead of other people.)

Additional factors for judging an ebook’s optimal price are content and consistency. Readers buy books for content, not paper. An ebook’s content could change a reader’s life, but if no one knows about the content, then it won’t do anyone any good. That’s why authors need to be proactive with a marketing campaign. A key to a successful campaign is consistency of messaging, which is just another reason why authors should consider pricing their ebook the same as a paperback copy.  

Kindle is Best for Price-Based Ebook Marketing

Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform allows publishers and “indie” or self-published authors to upload interior book files specially formatted for their e-readers; and it has a generic, front-cover-generator option available in cases where the client hasn’t already had one designed. This is a prime example of the vanity book publishing model in that vanity publishers promote themselves as the fast, cheap and easy self-serve way to “publish” (or, more accurately … format) a book without any mandatory professional editing, design, proofreading, et cetera, involved whatsoever.

Like many other vanity publishers, Amazon’s Kindle does its best to maintain control and ownership over the files uploaded to its site by enticing authors into an exclusivity contract via its KDP Select program. In addition, Amazon strongly encourages authors to price their Kindle ebooks at $9.99 or lower by providing greater incentives (higher royalties) on the lower-priced books; and they will only allow authors to connect their POD paperback books with their Kindle ebooks online via their “Kindle MatchBook” option so long as that ebook is reduced to as low as $2.99 per copy.

Recently, French publisher Hachette was victorious in negotiating a deal. Now, Amazon cannot forceauthors to price their books on their ecommerce site at $9.99 or less. Amazon, however, continues to strongly advocate for such pricing, arguing that low costs are good for all parties and citing the pre-World War II invention of the paperback, which made books accessible to more people. Opponents to the price ceiling say Amazon’s stance is arbitrary.

It will likely take an author forever to make back the money it cost to properly publish a book if the retail price is set at $2.99 per copy. Additionally, such a low price truly devalues content.

Kindle’s KDP platform not only prices ebooks very low, but it also allows authors the choice of offering their books free of charge for two to five days out of every 90-day period to try to bolster new readership. In other words, interested readers can simply wait it out and get a book for free. For many, a rhetorical adage may come to mind: Why bother buying the cow when you can have the milk for free? A much more effective way to entice new readers into buying a book is with a “Sneak a Peak” option that allows them to look inside a book to read only a small portion of the content for free, instead.

Kobo is Best for Value-Based Ebook Marketing

Luckily, many other ebook retailers out there will happily sell various ebook formats for their clients worldwide without exclusivity contracts, while also letting those publishers (self-publishers) determine their own recommended retail prices. Kobo is one of these retailers. When authors upload files to Kobo Books, they can set their own prices from the start. However, Kobo can put the book on sale if they choose to as it is with all retailers across the board.

This is the traditional relationship of all manufacturers and their retailers. The manufacturer (self-publisher) knows its own production costs and, therefore, sets its own recommended retail price based on those costs. The retailer, in turn, lists the item at that suggested price and may or may not provide discounts based on their own projected profit margins. Obviously, a book that is professionally published by including professional editing, graphic design, and proofreading into the process has a higher production cost (and higher quality) which commands a higher price.

Many Kindle authors mistakenly believe that their books need to be priced low or given away for free in order to become a bestseller, but that’s inaccurate.

The digital POD paperback version of my book, How to Publish a Book in Canada . . . and Sell Enough Copies to Make a Profit!, became an Amazon.ca bestseller only a short month and a half after it was first published, as did my next book titled How to Publish a Bestselling Book … and Sell It Worldwide Based on Value, Not Price!. The recommended retail price for both of these books is $19.99 USD. They reached bestseller status because of their quality content combined with using various online and traditional marketing techniques—not because of low pricing.

Amazon or Kobo?

Authors need to determine whether they offer the best value or the best price. They need to decide who they are early on—what the core intention of their book truly is—and then be true to that vision through and through. Authors should understand their target market—their customers’ preference—beforedesigning a sales and marketing strategy, and then make sure that the strategy is consistent with their preference in every single way, including the retail price they’ve set for every format of their book. By taking these steps, authors will sell far more books over the long run.

About Kim Staflund

As the founder and publisher at Polished Publishing Group (PPG), www.polishedpublishinggroup.com, Kim Staflund works with businesses and individuals around the world to produce professional quality audiobooks, ebooks, paperbacks and hardcovers using a supported self-publishing business model. As a bestselling author and sales coach, she shows authors how to sell their books using all the effective traditional and online tricks of the trade. Staflund has a substantial sales and sales management history combined with over 20 years of book publishing experience within the traditional and new publishing markets.

Living, Breathing, Writing [Kindle Edition]

My Weekly Writing Workshop  (Living, Breathing, Writing) for Kindle has been discontinued. But you don’t have to miss out, go to https://amzn.to/2Tj06HG for a copy of 60+ Days to Live, Breathe, & Write  

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