We can talk all day about the importance of good writing/editing, good cover art, and good blurbs when it comes to selling ebooks, but obscurity is the toughest thing for us to overcome. Whether you’ve written a thrilling science fiction adventure or a manual on dog training, nobody is going to line up to buy it if they don’t know it exists.
Advertising is one way to create awareness of your ebooks.
Advertising can be hit or miss, though, and many authors end up spending more money on the ads than they recoup in royalties. Two decent places I’ve found are Kindle Nation Daily (a blog that specializes in writing about ebooks available for the Kindle) and Goodreads (a huge community for book lovers).
Over on my e-publishing blog, I’ve written posts on my experience with each venue:
Goodreads has been a steady performer for me. It’s a pay-per-click advertising system, meaning you cough up coins every time someone clicks your ad, so you have to be careful to word things carefully so you don’t get the window shoppers. This is especially true if you’re strictly an ebook author and don’t have print versions of your books. You want to make sure the only folks clicking your ads are the ones with ebook readers (or who are at least willing to read on screen).
With Kindle Nation, I broke even or thereabouts on my sponsorship, but it’s worth mentioning that I write high fantasy, which isn’t the most popular genre. KND publishes a spreadsheet, and you can see how well the more popular genres, such as thrillers, do over there. There are definitely folks who have been “made” by paying for a sponsorship here (there are several options with prices starting around $80).
If your one-day KND sponsorship gets your ebook enough buyer love in a day, it might be elevated into bestseller status (Top 100) at Amazon for the categories it falls under. Being in one or more of those bestseller lists can help people find you (and keep your ebook selling well enough to stay in those lists).
Other advertising options
There are other online advertising venues for ebooks as well, though I’ve had less success with theses (and I’ve read similar reports from others). If, however, you fall into the camp of just wanting to get your name out there (creating “brand” familiarity), you might give these a try.
There are a couple popular forums devoted to ebooks that offer advertising, usually by means of a banner. Two biggies are the Nookboards and the Kindleboards. With the Nookboards, you pay for a certain number of impressions each month. With the Kindleboards, you buy a one-day sponsorship.
I’m not going to mention specific blogs here, but quite a few are popping up that offer daily or monthly advertising options. If you’re going to consider this, try to find blogs that cater to your genre, rather than simply to a certain model of ebook reader, and make sure they have a decent number of daily visitors. You can check the Google PageRank and Alexa Rating with tools online, but you can usually gauge popularity, too, based on whether the blogs receive comments or not.
So, there you have it: Goodreads, Kindle Nation Daily, forums, and blogs, all advertising options you can check out to get rid of the obscurity-tag sticking to your ebook. Thanks for reading!