A very experienced information marketer I know has ventured into Kindle publishing of both fiction and nonfiction. When I asked her what she was doing off Amazon to promote her Kindle ebooks, she said that aside from enrolling her works into Amazon’s KDP Select program, which allows her to make her books free five days every 90 days, she was doing nothing and had no plans for off-Amazon marketing.
Amazon’s KDP Select program does give some Kindle authors a huge sales boost by providing a way for shoppers browsing for reading material to try an author who’s new to them without risk. If they like it, they become evangelists for that book and future ones by the same author.
In addition, the more free downloads an ebook in the program has had, the more likely it is to show up on Amazon bestseller lists and in “People who bought this also bought…” displays on other book pages. Both of those advantages help generate additional sales.
However, relying completely on that program to reach readers for your Kindle ebook is extremely foolish. First, Amazon has the option of eliminating the KDP Select program at any time. It’s never smart to make your own success contingent on the decisions of one large company over which you have no control. Second, and more importantly, by letting Amazon market you, you are contenting yourself with missing a huge number of potential readers who won’t find out about your work because they aren’t looking for it in the ways Amazon offers.
I’ve published 16 print books since 1986, and if I had to give up all the readers who found out about my work through media coverage, speeches, seminars, blog posts, radio shows and newsletter articles, I would be significantly poorer. Remember that just because nearly everyone seems to have Internet access these days, it doesn’t mean they’re looking around on Amazon all the time for new ebooks to buy. If they find out about your ebook on a favorite blog, from a YouTube video, from a radio show they hear while commuting or while reading a magazine at the doctor’s office, they can pop over to Amazon and give you sales and further word-of-mouth publicity you would never have had otherwise.
If you agree with my reasoning, then use the following list to create a marketing plan for the release of your next Kindle ebook. Choose at least six tactics from the list to give your ebook sales a sizable and often lasting boost.
1. Media coverage. Approach your local newspaper, magazines in your industry, radio and TV shows that discuss your subject matter, via a press release, phone call or email describing how your new ebook is relevant to their readers, listeners or viewers. In some settings, the fact that you’ve created a digital-only product will come across as newsworthy. In other venues, you may need to highlight something controversial within your content.
2. Personal appearances. Give talks at trade shows, conferences, libraries and adult education centers, giving attendees a handout, postcard or bookmark containing either a QR code that goes to your Amazon sales page or a link to your website that people can type into their browser, or both.
3. Social media. Use your existing social media accounts to connect with your Facebook fans and groups, LinkedIn connections and groups and Twitter followers, letting them know about your new ebook. Do the same on online forums and email groups that allow member promotions. Contact those on your own list, too, of course, if you have one.
4. Book trailers. Create a short video, less than two minutes long, presenting your Kindle ebook in dramatic fashion. Video options include you talking directly to the viewer, you being interviewed on camera by someone else, a photo montage with a voiceover (not necessarily you) or a photo montage with narrative or commentary integrated into it.
5. Blogs. Create different pretexts for mentioning your ebook numerous times in your own blog, and submit guest blog posts on aspects of your topic to popular blogs that accept guest posts.
6. Podcasts and online radio. Get interviewed! Provide the interviewers with the graphic for your Kindle cover, and their promos for podcasts or online radio interviews will often contain the cover and a link to your Amazon sales page.
7. Articles. Submit excerpts, outtakes and commentary related to your ebook to article syndication sites, which make them freely available for reprint to email newsletter and online publishers.
8. Teleclasses and courses. Offer free teleclasses or paid courses on the topic of your ebook. Give great content but not everything you know, so attendees will purchase your ebook to learn more. There are free online directories of upcoming teleclasses where you can list your program. For paid courses, create joint ventures with a commission to partners who help you sign up attendees from their own lists.
9. Discussion guide. For a self-help or how-to topic, offer a free supplementary guide for people using your ebook as the central content of a discussion group. For example, a parenting group might develop around your book on raising happy kids, a cooking klatch might convene to try the recipes in your cookbook, or a study group might meet to discuss the implications of your paranormal experiences. Often all the members of such a group will want to have their own copy of your product.
10. Email correspondence. Include the Amazon link for your ebook in the email signature you use on a daily basis. This will probably take you less than a minute to set up yet continue sparking the curiosity of those who correspond with you for years to come.
The author of 16 books and nine multimedia home study courses, Marcia Yudkin has also been selling ebooks on Kindle since the summer of 2011. Her Kindle ebooks include Kindle originals like Marketing for Introverts, Bullets With Bite and No-Hype Copywriting as well as digital versions of her paperback books. Check out her three-week teleseminar course for first-time Kindle authors at http://www.yudkin.com/kindle.htm .