2011 was a huge year for the indie author, and 2012 is so far looking strong as well. Unfortunately, ‘indie’ still has a bad name, with people who are just hoping to earn a quick buck or two hopping on the bandwagon. So in this new publishing world, free of gate keepers and quality control, how can we make our eBooks stand out in the ever-growing crowd?
1. The Cover.
Anyone in the publishing industry (and readers alike) know the old adage ‘you can’t judge a book by its cover’ is rubbish. A cover is the very first thing your book will be judged on. If your cover isn’t eye-catching—particularly as a thumbnail—then the reader will by-pass it without a second glance. You can buy a decent eBook cover for as little as $40. if your eBook isn't selling, why not try a new cover? Money well spent!
2. The Price.
This has always been a controversial topic. Many indie authors have seen success because we’ve been able to undercut the big boys. The $0.99 price tag has been losing some of its allure as readers are lining cheap up with rubbish. However, the $0.99 price tag does have its place, as does the ‘free’ price tag. I’ve had great results offering both the first book in my series as $0.99 and now as free. Short stories involving the characters from your novel can also be offered for $0.99 and free in order to drum up interest in your novels. However, don’t under price your work. I now offer all of my novels for $3.99, my novellas and short story collections for $2.99 and short stories for $0.99.
3. The Blurb.
So your cover has enticed the reader in and the price tag has them thinking they might just take a chance on an unknown author. Now they’ll move on to check out the book itself. The first thing they’re going to read is the pitch. You want to sell your book to that reader. Make it concise and exciting. I read too many blurbs that start with ‘this is a story about...blah blah blah’. Seriously? Read some of the blurbs of best-selling novels in your genre and copy their style!
Most likely the next thing a reader will do is check out the ‘look inside this book’ option Amazon offers. Make sure your book looks like it’s been put together by a professional. Include a proper title page. Check your formatting hasn’t gone screwy during the conversion process, leaving gaps and different font sizes where they shouldn’t be. Smashwords has a good guide on formatting which is free to download.
5. Write Another Book.
One of the great things about the eBook market is that readers can get a quick and immediate fix and when they’ve read something of yours they've enjoyed, they can easily buy something else at just the click of a button. A collection of short stories at a low price is a great way to introduce readers to your style. Not only that, it doesn’t cost a fortune to have a short collection edited and doesn’t take the best part of a year to write. Short stories will increase your virtual shelf-space and make you more noticeable to the reader.
I hope these five tips have helped if you’re thinking of getting into the eBook market or if you’ve got a book which hasn’t made many sales! Happy writing everyone!