Tag Archives: ebook sales

Market Your Book First – Write it Later


Author Nick Russell who has just sold 33,000+ books last month in an interview:

While I have been a self-publisher for many years, I’m still relatively new to the whole e-book thing. But every day I sell a few books, and my sales numbers have been improving every week. While I’ll probably never make it into the exalted neighborhood of e-book authors like John Locke, who recently became the first independent e-book author/publisher to sell one million copies of his books, my experience so far has been very positive.

Some e-book authors or wannabes have asked me how I have gone about marketing my e-books, and for advice about how they can help their own sales. Some of these questions and my answers include:

Q. Do you feel that your blog followers provided a ‘platform’ which purchased your novel as well?

A. There is no doubt that my initial sales came from existing blog readers. As soon as I announced that the mystery was available on Kindle, people started ordering it. In fact, before I ever published it on Kindle, I sent out free copies by e-mail to a large number of blog readers and asked them for their feedback. Many of those same people went to Amazon and purchased an “official” copy once it was available. 

Q. Do you think you would have done as well had you no following?

A. I believe in my work, so yes, I do believe that I would have done as well, eventually. But there is no question that having those blog readers as a base certainly made things happen a lot faster.  

Q. Has social media helped your e-book sales, and how?

A. I made a couple of posts on Facebook and Twitter about Big Lake, as well as on the popular Escapees RV forum, which I frequent. And from there the momentum picked up.

Somebody on Facebook, Twitter, or the RV forum will say they read the book and liked it, and somebody else might make a follow-up comment in agreement, and from there a couple more people order it. They in turn might post a comment, and the process repeats itself.

Q. Do you have any ideas for those of us who have no or a small platform and following?

A. My advice for those who don’t already have a platform or following is to develop one. Start a blog, work at making it a good blog, and develop a following. That doesn’t happen overnight.*

I approach publishing as a business, and nothing in business happens overnight. I have been blogging for several years, and every year my following has grown.

* probably a year or longer

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Publishing Headlines in 2011

Looking back, 2011 will be remembered as the year when publishing was turned on its head.

Self-published authors, once the pariahs of the book business, gained credibility — outselling many established names and giving hope to would-be authors everywhere. Borders, the second-biggest bookstore chain in the country, went under, signaling a shift in priority from print books to e-books.

Headlines in 2011:

Steve Jobs: In 2010, Steve Jobs promised to revolutionize reading with the introduction of Apple’s iPad; in 2011, concurrent with his passing, he became the subject of possibly the bestselling book of the year: Walter Isaacson’s 656-page, $35 biography Steve Jobs. Jobs knew in life — and now in death — how to wow an audience and get people to open their wallets.

Self-publishing: Prior to 2011, the road to becoming an author was arduous, requiring a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck. Self-publishing was seen as the option of last resort. Now, dirt-cheap self-published books are topping bestseller lists at and elsewhere. In 2010, there were 133,036 self-published titles released, and when the numbers come in for this year, that figure is expected to double or triple. It’s said that everyone has at least one book in them, and now we can buy them.

Borders:  In 2001, Borders had more than 2,000 bookstores in the United States, 50 overseas, and earned more than $3 billion in annual revenue. In July this year, the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based company went bankrupt, shuttering hundreds of stores (including several in Dallas), putting 10,000 people out of work and leaving book lovers everywhere bereft.

Barnes & Noble:  The growing popularity of e-books is credited with killing Borders (note: there was a lot of human error involved as well). Determined not to suffer the same fate, Barnes & Noble aggressively pushed e-books and put its Nook devices front-and-center in their stores. Throughout 2011, they beat arch rival Amazon to market with several innovative devices, including updated touch-screen e-ink devices and color Android tablets. The company, previously seen by many as a villain blamed for the closing of many independent bookstores around the country, became the last, best hope for those who like to browse and buy physical books in real stores.

Amazon: Ask booksellers who the biggest bully is now and they will likely tell you it is our “friends in Seattle,” as Amazon has euphemistically come to be known. The Voldemort of the book business not only controls an estimated 60 percent of e-book sales and a significant chunk of print book sales, it has now become a publisher, establishing imprints for everything from romance novels to children’s picture books and putting out more than 100 books of its own in 2011. It is even competing with the big houses in New York to pay top dollar for authors, as it did when it ponied up $800,000 to acquire a memoir by the film director Penny Marshall.

Amanda Hocking and John Locke: That generous sum falls well short of the reported $2 million paid by St. Martin’s Press to Amanda Hocking, the 27-year-old Minnesota author who became a hot commodity when her series of inexpensive, self-published novels about attractive magical trolls became a phenomenon. She joined thriller writer John Locke as the second self-published scribe to sell more than 1 million e-books on, alongside mega-bestsellers James Patterson, Nora Roberts and Janet Evanovich.

Excerpt from Publishing Perspectives



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How Many Books Have Been Sold?

Book Staple

In 2009 the number of books published by the big six traditional commercial publishers in America was 302,000, a number that had been holding steady for many years.  
In 2010 there was a modest 5% growth to 316,000 titles.

Print On Demand titles, which didn’t even really exist 10 years ago, shot up from 1,033,000 titles in 2009 to 2,776,000 in 2010.  It seems like almost everyone is a published author now, almost tripling the number of self-publishing.

Since 2008, e-Book sales have went up by 1039.6% (more than 300% in a given year), while revenue in the same period was also increased by 1274.1%!

E-books vs. Print books
The question about e-books is not if they will pass print, but when.  The short answer is … not yet, but we’ll have a much better idea in January.  Buzz around the young format has been building since the first mass-market e-Reader, the original Kindle, sold out in less than six hours in 2007. Amazon, which has estimated it holds over 70% of the ebook market, has stayed in the spotlight with new devices like the Fire tablet.

Amazon said in May that its digital books were outselling its print books, some pointed out that the company’s numbers refer only to unit sales, which could easily be swayed by the thousands of cheap titles available, many for less than a dollar. In July, Amazon said its Kindle store had 950,000 books on offer – 800,000 of which were $9.99 or less.

The Association of American Publishers, whose membership includes the country’s major publishing houses (only!  not counting smaller presses or POD), released a report on the first five months of 2011, showing that ebook sales had risen to about a fifth of the overall pie during that span, soaring 160% in five months, while total hardcover and paperback sales were both down nearly 20%.

The trend will accelerate as more readers buy dedicated e-Readers as well as tablets and phones that can display the books, which is why this holiday shopping season is important. Analysts have long held up $100 as the line for general acceptance for such devices, and while Amazon’s $199 Fire tablet has drawn much of the attention because of its matchup with the iPad, the company’s two new kindles are $79 and $99 when purchased with advertising.



Hyper Smash


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