How to sell books online
If you are an author or a publishing company, you want to sell your book online and also in physical stores. When it comes to online, you have a wide variety of options as there is no geographic limitation. You can sell books on Amazon with PublishDrive to 69 countries, but also you can step into over 40 other markets like China today. There are more than 400 stores and thousands of digital libraries worldwide included in PublishDrive's network with major retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Google Play, or Kobo, but to subscription services like Scribd as well.
Also, if you are looking at different formats, like print-on-demand, audiobooks or ebooks, you are in the right place at PublishDrive. You can handle all of these formats, and also, you can get access to promotional tools as well.
If you are struggling with increasing your sales on PublishDrive, this article is for you. You can read the top five tips how to increase your book sales by leveraging the power of your PublishDrive platform.
Tip 1: Research your market.
Whenever you launch or re-launch a book or a series, you should look at the market and research what was working for comparable titles within your genre. That will help you to give a lot of fresh ideas on how to improve your strategy and also, you can avoid making some mistakes with your book launch.
What should you look for when doing market research for comparable titles?
Identify bestselling titles in your genre.
Find your category and look at the bestselling titles there on Amazon or another store.
If you have a PublishDrive account, you can have some recommendations for this purpose hidden in the built-in Amazon Ads feature by PublishDrive. PublishDrive's Amazon Ads feature powered by the AI categorization tool, Savant helps you categorize, but also, find comparable titles. Just simply upload your book as a draft (the content file is needed, so Savant, the AI robot can read the content itself), and start scheduling a campaign. When you click on Product Targeting, Savant will recommend you some comparable titles for your convenience.
Look at bestselling books' titles
- You should look at the length of the titles, word count, character count, and also, whether they usually use subtitles. It is a good idea to use subtitles as search engines might leverage from that as well.
Look at bestselling books' covers
- Covers are an essential commercial element of your title. Research what colors, figures, typographic, or other symbols they use on their covers, so you and your designer can get some inspiration! :)
Look at bestselling books' descriptions
- Descriptions can make or break a purchase when it comes to books. Analyze their structure, their length, and also, whether they use emotions in the blurb. That could tremendously help in optimizing your description.
Look at bestselling books' price
- Prices can differ based on whether a title' genre (non-fiction books tend to be pricier), whether it is self-published or traditionally published or whether it is from a debut author or a more experienced author with a lot of published book under her belt. Look at the most widely used price tiers and also, whether they use occasional price promotion campaigns.
Understand your readers
It is even more critical to understand your potential readers. Don't forget that at the end of the day, they will be buying your books! :) Research and even envision a reader profile (be as specific as you can get), understand what they like, where do they hang out, so you can reach them more effectively.
I know all of the above is easier said than done, but this will help you to fine-tune a strategy.
Tip 2: Analyse your book.
Production is super important in the case of books, so you should ask the questions from yourself:
- Have you used an editor?
- Have you used a beta reader?
- Have you read PublishDrive's formatting guideline? Have you taken a look at your books in different e-readers or how it looks like on your phone?
- Did you Google your title?
It seems to be banal, but I've seen so many people making this simple mistake: please Google your title and author brand. There are 7 bn other people on our earth today and even many more from before. So there is a high chance that you chose a title, a pen name, or you inherited a name from your parents that already exists. You should research whether those other associations found online can help your goals, or prevent you from achieving them.
But also, you should never underestimate the power of packaging. 'Don't judge a book by its cover.' - but still, everyone does. So when you invest in your title, a professional cover design, should be among the things you want to spend on. Also, ask some of the questions from yourself when you are uploading a book to PublishDrive or when you would like to re-optimize your metadata:
- Did you use a professional designer for your cover?
- Have you taken a look at other descriptions in your genre?
- Did you choose three categories to place your title in?
- Did you add an Author Bio to your description?
If you are getting confused about what you should do, don't be afraid to ask for an expert's help. An outsider might have a fresh pair of eyes on your title and might find other things to improve on. You can ask for a Book Analysis from PublishDrive.
Tip 3: Sell your book everywhere.
PublishDrive gives you access to over 400 stores and thousands of digital libraries. PublishDrive not just gives you exclusive access to some stores and markets, but also, it gives you the best royalty rates and unique promotional tools with stores to increase your sales. If you already use PublishDrive, the best way to increase your sales is to switch on more channels.
Do you know which stores your books go to? Simply go to the book page or to 'Stores' to see where PublishDrive will distribute your book. You can simply switch on any of the channels to enable selling on other stores as well.
If you have published your book through another distributor or direct before, no worries, PublishDrive got you covered. There is a smooth transition for your title to make sure you can keep your reviews, and your book will find its new home at PublishDrive.
We've found that publishers who switched from other aggregators can save at least 14% on their distribution costs with PublishDrive and also, can increase sales by 27% compared to going direct and by switching on all stores. So there is always worth to switch! :)
Tip 4: Use Promotions.
Promotions are essential elements of your book marketing strategy. Have you checked out PublishDrive's Promotions to help you sell more books?
You should ask the following questions to make sure; you did not forget the essential things about book marketing:
- Did you start collecting reviews?
PublishDrive's Free Review Copy tool helps you send free DRM protected review copies for bloggers, journalists or anyone else who you'd like to get a review from.
- Did you submit your book into store-specific promotions?
Use PublishDrive's Featuring to get featured in the front page or specific categories of your favourite stores like Apple, Kobo or even in newsletters with digital libraries. PublishDrive helped over 100 authors in the last few months to get 5x more sales during the period of getting featured in stores.
- Did you schedule any Price Promotion?
PublishDrive's Price Promotion tool makes it easy to schedule any special deal for holidays or for any specific Bookbub or other campaigns.
There are some other tactics you should consider for your book marketing:
- Did you start building your email list?
- Do you have a Goodreads profile?
Also, when you are ready to spend some marketing dollars, you have to take a look at the different advertising platforms. Based on our experience, Amazon Advertising works the best for books, and Facebook advertising is extremely beneficial for list building.
- Did you start an Amazon Sponsored Ads campaign for your title?
PublishDrive's integrated tool gives you a quick access one of the most robust tools in book marketing.
- Did you start any lead collection campaign on Facebook?
Set up a campaign to collect emails instead of directing people to a purchase site. You can still get them on board by sending them a free reader magnet - readers love more content!
- Did you check out promotional sites for your genre?
Promotional sites enable you to reach a new audience by paying for a specific promotional deal. Check out Written Word Media for some great options for you.
Tip 5: Analyze your sales data
You can always do another round of marketing campaign, but you need to make sure that you understand what works for you and what's not. Use PublishDrive's analytics tool to filter your sales based on countries, stores, and any timeframe.
Did you know you can view your Amazon and Goodreads reviews and ranking for your books in PublishDrive's platform?
Also, check your sales tab in PublishDrive to see realtime sales data for Amazon, Apple Books, Google Play, Kobo and Barnes & Noble. As not all the stores provide realtime sales data, please make sure that you check back after your monthly official earnings report was published as well, so you can see all sales in your dashboard.
Analyzing your sales data will help you identify the best tactics, so you can laser focus on the things that work for you and gives the best return on investment for you.
+1: Ask for expert's help: Publishing Consultancy
As mentioned earlier, there are times when you need external help to have a fresh pair of eyes on your book strategy. You can ask for a paid Publishing Consultancy help from PublishDrive here, where you'll receive a custom-tailored marketing strategy for your titles. Also, we can help in the execution, and we are happy to provide you with a list of trusted third-party providers for other services as well.ú
When you are in the process of publishing or optimizing a book with PublishDrive to sell more, make sure you go through the following steps.
Tip 1: Research your market.
Tip 2: Analyze your book.
Tip 3: Sell your book everywhere.
Tip 4: Use Promotions.
Tip 5: Analyze your sales data.