I spent 5 years in the digital publishing industry helping authors get their books into ebook formats.
I watched as hundreds of would-be authors failed, often selling only a few books to close friends and family. However, I also saw a small percentage of new authors succeed, and make a significant profit selling ebooks on Amazon.
Most authors spend hundreds of painstaking hours writing, rewriting and editing their books to perfection, before finally pushing “publish.” Yet, even the most insightful and well written copy can’t make a book successful, not by itself. One of the best sci-fi novels I ever read was written by a hopeful author, who to this day, has not sold more than a few dozen ebooks.
Here are the 5 mistakes too many authors make when publishing their first ebook.
1. Your ebook cover sucks
Your cover image is a key aspect a potential customer will see when making their buying decision. Your cover needs to convey the quality of your book and convince interested prospects that your content is worth investing in. When someone decides to buy your book they are investing more than just money. They are also investing their time.
Is your book cover professional and engaging enough to sway potential customers?
Authors are often the type of people who think they can do everything themselves, but most writers are not designers. If you want readers to invest in your book, invest in your cover! Find a designer, and get a killer ebook cover designed.
2. You spent how much?
Don’t spend money converting your book into ebook formats. If you have a budget for your book, spend that money on a great cover image, or on marketing or on a pizza.
Turning your book into ebook formats does not need to cost you hundreds of dollars.
In fact, you can get a professional quality ebook for free. It just takes a little effort, and the right tools. If you are willing to go the DIY book publishing route, there are free tools that make the process easy if you know what you’re doing. Here is a video tutorial that shows you how to use Sigil to write your ebook, or convert your book into ebook formats.
3. I don’t know you. Why should I buy your ebook?
Building some form of credibility is absolutely imperative when it comes to unknown or first time authors.
Your customers have thousands of options, why should they choose to read your book? Are you an authority? Can you prove it?
Think about what makes you uniquely qualified to write your content. Do you own a company in the industry? Have you spent 10 years researching the topic?
Make sure your book cover and description builds your credibility. Recommendations and reviews from authors or industry leaders is another great way to gain credibility.
4. I gave up after three lines of your dismally boring book description
The book description you provide to Amazon is extremely important.
If potential readers are not impressed by the first paragraph of your description, they will almost always leave! Make sure your content is well crafted and effectively communicates the nature of your content. What can readers expect if they read your book? You should also include keywords in your ebook description. Amazon and search engines like Google use the keywords in your book to determine when your book should appear for search results.
Some useful keyword types include:
Character types (single mom, veteran)
Plot themes (coming of age, forgiveness)
Setting (Colonial America)
Story tone (dystopian, feel-good)
5. Why can’t I find your ebook?
Unfortunately, just because you wrote a book and published it online does not mean people are going to see it.
According to Forbes, there are between 600,000 and 1,000,000 books published every year. Thats a lot of content!
By the time you click publish and load your new book page, several new books in your category have probably already been published. So how do you stand out from the crowd and get eyeballs on your book?
When companies launch a new product they spent months identifying their target market, crafting marketing messaging and determining ad placement. Yet, many authors don’t even consider marketing until their book has already been published. Do you have a marketing plan? How do you expect to sell books if you don’t have an audience?
Write a book marketing plan that has specific action items and realistic timelines, then hold yourself accountable. Consider talking with local news outlets or bloggers in your niche. Give away some books. Have a contest. Use social media. Create a profile on Goodreads.com. There are hundreds of options, the key is to choose a few channels where you can focus your efforts.
Writing a great book takes a lot of time and effort. Don’t let your hard work go to waste. There is still plenty of success to be had for the authors who are willing to put in the time. If you don’t make these common mistakes, you will be miles ahead of your competition!