8 Tips for Marketing an eBook from an average-sized platform

Jul 5, 2011Work Uncaged, Write!

Author Brooke McGlothlin wrote this amazing article (oh so helpful & needed) and sent it my way. I think it will really bless those of you who want to e-publish but don’t have a gigantic platform. (I would put myself in this category.) Anyway, I know this will help you! Please pass it on to anyone you know who is creating an eBook.

And now, here’s Brooke:

Self-publishing success stories are everywhere these days. I admit, I’ve bought the how-to books and prayed they would work for me. But there’s one issue that makes me a skeptic when it comes to putting my hope in others’ success stories: I don’t have a huge platform.

In her recent Kindle book, 11 Secrets of Getting Published, Mary says that most self-published authors, like me, only sell around 500 copies of their books. Within weeks of releasing my eBook, Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most, I had sold a few hundred copies and was getting new sales daily. Now, four months later, my sales are in the thousands. I have almost no experience in marketing and started with an average-sized audience. So how does an average Joe sell a self-published book?

Here are eight things that worked for me:

1. I prayed for God’s leading. Appropriate for a book on the topic of prayer, no? But don’t underestimate it even if your eBook isn’t intended to reach a Christian audience.

If God wants your book to succeed, it will, no matter how it’s published. Ask Him for help.

2. I began writing a monthly feature on my topic for a site I co-founded for mothers of boys called the M.O.B. Society. The reception my feature received there was consistently good and encouraged me to think this content was blessing my intended audience.

Test your eBook in a blog series before publishing, and begin the hard work of building a community around your topic.

3. I created a Facebook page for my content before I released my eBook. Now, just five months later, I have over 3,000 followers praying for the hearts of their sons.

Find ways to engage your audience frequently. Keep your content in front of them as much as you can without being annoying.

4. With the help of designer Erin Ulrich, of Design by Insight, I created a beautiful cover design for my eBook. I cannot stress the importance of your design highly enough. It was important to me to keep the price of my eBook low so that any mom could get it, so in the beginning, I was hesitant to put a lot of personal money into it. But it was worth every dime.

Pay someone to do it right. You’ll quickly recoup the cost of this investment.

Cover design by Insight Blog Design

5. I gave away eBooks in return for marketing help. Over a thousand, to be exact. Some were in the form of reviews and giveaways on personal blogs. But the best thing I did was to offer a PDF version to anyone who would help spread the word via Social Media. I got this idea from my friend, Sarah Mae, of Like a Warm Cup of Coffee, who did something similar with her eBook. The goal was to move my eBook beyond my sphere of influence, and boy, did it work! I gave away over 700 eBooks from that effort alone, and was able to move news of my eBook effectively toward other audiences.

Give it away!

6. A friend of mine offered to have his network of 10 influencers (who reach over 1 million people together) tweet about my eBook. I was thrilled, selling some books as a result of this favor. But I quickly found that asking for reviews, and even paying to advertise on sites that reach the audience I was targeting, was more effective.

Don’t say no to favors, but realize that influencers who can reach your target audience are more important.

7. To keep it from getting shelved forever, I created a way my reader’s could actually use my eBook…the 21 Days of Prayer for Sons challenge. Over 1,300 moms in seven countries prayed purposefully and passionately for the hearts of their sons during the last challenge using my eBook as their guide!

Create a unique and meaningful way for your readers to use your eBook.

8. One word…Kindle. On the day I released the eBook on Kindle, I offered to give a copy of the PDF version to anyone who would post an honest review of the eBook on Amazon.

Ask for help from loyal readers and get your book on Amazon!

Marketing my eBook has been exhausting, but I know the experience I’ve gained will benefit me as I continue in this industry whether self or traditionally published. Through hard work I’ve successfully moved outside of my sphere of influence and, in the process, encouraged the hearts of moms all over the world. One reader enthusiastically remarked, “we’ll change the world through prayer for our sons!”

I wholeheartedly agree.

Brooke McGlothlin is an aspiring writer, prayer warrior, boy mom, and author of the new eBook Notes to Aspiring Writers: Your Dreams, God’s Plans (releasing July 26th for just $.99! Get a free chapter by clicking here!) and the well-loved eBook Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most. To read more of Brooke’s work, visit her website, or follow her on Twitter as @BrookeWrites.