19 May 2011

There is no easy way to sell eBooks. Whatever you may read about multi thousand downloads, and eBook millionaires, in order to sell eBooks to those outside your family circle, you need to plan carefully and then, crucially, you need to commit to executing that plan with energy and enthusiasm.

The plan may include just five action points to begin with, but that is sometimes preferable to a ten page marketing schedule, that is then so daunting that it gets filed and forgotten. Start somewhere, and then follow the productive paths, and do something every day.

Social media is very powerful, but there are many opportunities to build awareness of a new book, via traditional media promotion as well. However, it can be just as important to find one person who is excited about your book, and who will spread the word on your behalf, as it is to Tweet like a maniac, and hope for the best.

I would recommend first taking a step back from the computer, and sitting in a quiet place to think carefully about the best way to promote your eBook. Make sure you have familiarised yourself with some of the tried and tested tactics (see our ‘Promoting Your eBook – Resources‘ blog post). Start your promotion plan with just one person in mind – someone who might eagerly anticipate the book, read and ‘get it’ straight away, and then find other readers for you, by reviewing and recommending it.

Of course, friends and family can do this – but for the purposes of wider promotion you need to consider this reader as someone you do not know personally, but that you think might love to read the book. Whether you write romance or crime, business or history books, you should be able to focus on your target reader as a starting point.

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The Past Was Always Present by Helen HunterWe are delighted to be working with first time author Helen Hunt. She won’t mind me telling you that she is 79 years old, and has just e-published her first book with us, The Past Was Always Present. We have been talking about the best way to promote the book, in which Helen recounts a harrowing tale of World War II evacuation from Scotland to America.

As well as the vivid account of her years in America, Helen also describes her life after the return to Scotland, and the challenges she faced subsequently. A promising career in nursing was cut short by another event, which led to further heartache. Many women will identify with her struggle to break free of a relationship that caused anguish, and prevented a young woman from achieving her full potential.

Helen remembers visiting the Imperial War Museum in London a little while ago, and picking up a leaflet that encourages wartime evacuees to get in touch with their stories. We will do that, see if the Museum will sell Helen’s book on their website, and ask their advice as to other ways to bring it to the notice of people who are interested in this period, and want to read first hand stories.

We contacted Jessica Mann, author of Out of Harm’s Way: the Wartime Evacuation of Children from Britain, a chronicle of the experiences of WW2 evacuees. Jessica was kind enough to read The Past was Always Present and commented,  “The book is very interesting and well written, and also very disturbing. Helen’s was one of the nastiest evacuee experiences I have come across, and my heart bleeds for those poor children.

It’s Helen’s triumph that she managed to make a good adult life for herself. And I greatly admire her for so lucidly recording what happened to her as an evacuee and when she came home again. It’s a book that needed to be written, and deserves to be read.”

Fellow authors are often generous with advice and contacts, but time is particularly precious to writers, so be mindful of this when making an approach. Make sure you have a valid reason to make contact. Don’t blanket email authors and hope one might find it of interest.

Helen’s story has several strong elements, and will appeal to a wide audience. Starting small, with a few targeted enquiries, we can spread the net wider as we go, and build momentum by encouraging advocates, who we hope will enjoy and recommend.

I will look out for opportunities to recommend Helen as a speaker on the issues she writes about, on local radio and TV, at events, and we can also participate in forums and comment on blogs where appropriate.

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At eBookpartnership.com we help authors to create and publish eBooks, converting from print copies, or electronic versions of manuscripts. Increasingly, we are asked to clean up eBook versions that were badly formatted previously. View our eBook conversion and publishing Packages and Prices.


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