Digital book sales increased by 69% in 2020, achieved by indies selling and promoting their best through PublishDrive. This year, more people are seeking digital books. From audiobooks to subscription services, online content and platforms are booming. And English-language books are wanted most around the globe.
The PublishDrive team held a free live webinar with CEO Kinga Jentetics and Publisher Manager Abhishek Sehgal with the author and publisher community.
Recap how to increase your book sales:
We also held a short Q&A session – check the very end of this post for insights straight from the indie community.
If you’d rather read about the tips and tricks mentioned in Kinga’s presentation instead of watching the video, we broke them down below into five easy steps.
(P.s. If you’re not on PublishDrive yet, try out the self-publishing tool free for 14 days. Easily distribute ebook, print, and audiobook formats to thousands of stores worldwide. ↓)
1. Distribute not just ebook, but print and audiobook
Our most successful indies are publishing all book formats: ebook, print-on-demand, and audiobook. It’s all about using your original content and duplicating it to reach different kinds of readers.
It’s very easy to distribute and manage all formats on PublishDrive (we’re the first digital publishing platform to do this!) The main thing to take care of is formatting your book file correctly. PublishDrive helps guide you through that process. Then, it’s a simple upload to the platform.
2. Optimize your metadata, like book categories
Metadata contains elements like your title, description, book cover, categories, and pricing. It helps engage potential customers when they view your book info (like having a bomb cover design). Plus, accurate metadata helps rank your book higher in search engines (including in-store searches).
One of the ways PublishDrive helps is with book categories. When you upload your manuscript, there’s an AI (called Savant) that suggests the best categories for you. Most stores use BISAC categorization which has over 4,000 categories. Our AI helps sift through them all.
3. Publish wide to stores around the globe
Don't limit yourself by selling only to KDP Select. Our distribution network not only includes Amazon, but other major retailers like Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, and Google Play Books. With 60% of our sales coming from outside of Amazon, expect to boost your discoverability and royalties with thousands of other channels.
Trust us, our indie authors increased sales by 69% this year with numerous markets and store types. We got subscription-service platforms like Dreame and Scribd. We got thousands of digital libraries. And got niche but ginormous markets like China.
4. Market with online book promotions
This year, it’s been harder to promote with in-person activities like book conferences or launch parties. But digital ways to promote your work are delivering. You can run a blog, send out daily emails to your email list, or regularly post on your Facebook page.
Use PublishDrive tools to get placed in store promos and newsletters. We compile all opportunities in one place, from thousands of our store partners. Then, you can easily submit your work for a chance to get featured (we have a 90% approval rate!) We also have tools to collect review copies, run Amazon ads, or set up discounted books.
5. Track and analyze your sales
This final step is what ensures the longevity of your publishing gig. We can’t stress enough the importance of reviewing your sales and seeing what works and doesn’t work. Your time, money, and energy are precious – don’t waste them!
Use PublishDrive's sales tools to see what’s happening with your book sales and other market trends. See real-time sales and charts filtered by country, title, contributor, or stores. Look at best price tiers, categories, and countries.
We have plans to dive deeper into topics such as manuscript conversion, distribution, promotion, and beyond. Stay tuned for future online events.
Try PublishDrive free for 14 days and publish in 5 easy steps.
Webinar Q&A from the indie community
Q: Does PublishDrive have any programs that help writers get book reviews? A: Yes. We have a built-in tool for sending protected review copies to friends or influencers directly on Apple Books or Google Play Books. More info.
Q: Can you get the pages you are showing before we upload a book? A: On PublishDrive’s book upload page, you see store previews for Amazon, Apple Books, and Google in the upper right corner. To check your epub file before publishing, see our tips.
Q: How can authors set themselves up to have titles accepted for features? What are the main criteria you are looking at? A: The main criteria is for you to pick relevant titles for specific promotions. If it’s a price promotion, the reduced price should be set in place. Usually, 90% of our submissions for free promotionals get accepted.
Q: Can we cite the book price both in USD and our local currency, or even add the third price in EUR? A: You will first need to enter your price in USD, then you have the option to enter it in EUR, GBP, or several more currencies by clicking ‘Show more currencies’. You also have options for territorial pricing and pretty pricing. More info.
Q: What can I expect in terms of communication from PublishDrive? A: The PublishDrive team is usually available Monday to Friday from 8 am to 5 pm CET (UTC +1). You can send us a message here at any time. We do our best to reply within 48 business hours. Currently, we can only deal with inquiries written in English.
Q: What is the recommended time frame for updating book descriptions, categories, and pricing? I’ve been reluctant to do it too often, but I think we would benefit from testing. A: Not too often since your updates can overwhelm stores and get lost after the 4th-5th time. We recommend a minimum of once a week.
Q: For review promotion, does the platform require a blog or media address? A: No, but it’s great if you do for brand credibility.
Q: How does print book distribution compare to Amazon’s? A: You can reach more markets like China (and China’s giant retailers like DangDang and JD.com).
Q: I’m at a stage where I need info about mobi, epub, jpegs, pdfs, etc. before submitting my books. What help can I expect? A: We have multiple resources for manuscript conversion: article about file-types, tutorials, conversion services, etc. You can browse through more help guides about ebook creation here.
Q: Are the Written Word Media promotions discounted through you guys, or are they at the regular price? A: They are at the regular price. But our partnership with book promotion site Written Word Media means you get free book promotion opportunities in NewinBooks, Freebooksy, and Bargain Booksy. For this, you can nominate your title under the Promotions Featuring section.
Q: Where is the traffic of book lovers apart from Amazon and Flipkart? A: Great news – across international markets and different digital channels like subscription-based stores (digital libraries are seeing huge booms this year too).
Q: Can the same book publish in print, ebook, and print-on-demand? A: Yes! And it’s super easy to do. More info.
Q: How does your firm prevent piracy of books? A: We don’t add exclusive protection to books, but many of our stores do. The most common way stores protect your books is with DRM (Digital Rights Management). Some use watermarking technologies. We think that the best way to prevent illegal copies is to offer your content legally in as many stores as possible. If you think your content is being offered illegally please check this article for more help.
Q: Do PublishDrive promotions work effectively for ebooks and audiobooks as well? A: Yes, and you can track your promotions under the Sales tab.
Q: Are there categories with subcategories? A: Yes! During book upload, select the main category your book belongs to and then the subcategories until you find books most similar to your own. See best practices here.
Q: Does Amazon match my price promotions automatically or do I need to inform them separately? A: Unfortunately, it’s not guaranteed. If you contact us three days before the planned price promotion, we can handle it for you.
Try PublishDrive free for 14 days and publish in 5 easy steps.