This article isn’t going to be about non-fiction ebook marketing, as these ebooks will be marketed along different channels, depending on the niche that the ebook covers. Many non-fiction ebooks are related to marketing itself: Marketing Secrets Revealed! While this is a valid way to make money online and is an extremely low cost way to distribute a book (free, short of design and hosting), it is a different process to market an ebook to fiction readers.
For one thing, many non-fiction ebooks are overloaded with affiliate links. In this way, they’re not much different from a website. So whenever anyone says you can make big money with ebooks, it’s not just a case for the sale of the ebook itself, but for the links to products and services within the ebook. Fiction ebooks are a little more pure than that, which makes it more of a struggle. There are more people searching for ways to get rich quick online than there are people seeking to read your magnum opus. But for fiction self-publishers, an ebook makes sense. After all, a printed book is mostly going to be available online, so the computer is the main place where a book is going to be accessed.
Setting a Price for an Ebook Novel
This is really the author’s call, as the ball is totally in your court. A self-publisher does not have to absorb the cost of printing an ebook, so the profits for the book are yours alone. Setting a price of $10.00 for an ebook will net you most of that $10.00, short of a possible commission, depending on the self-publisher. For a printed book, however, a $10.00 book might only land you $1.00 in total profit for that sale. That means that you can be a little more generous when setting the price for an ebook: $5.00 or even lower.
There are a growing number of authors who give away the ebook for free and charge only for the printed book. Cory Doctorow is one writer who does this, as does the publisher Another Sky Press. This can be seen as a way of spreading word of mouth for a book.
At least that’s the ideal scenario. You can set a price to free and still receive no takers. It’s not that people don’t trust something that is being given away, it’s that people aren’t finding the book. Creating an ebook is an important part of marketing because it opens up totally new channels to list your book – as well as a cheaper alternative to sending out a book for reviews than sending out a printed book to every reviewer.
Places to List an E-book
An advantage of listing an ebook for free is that you can open up the number of places it can be listed. For example: a site like Free-ebooks.net or free-ebook.biz. Fictionwise also lists free ebooks, as well as ebooks from mainstream publishers. Diesel eBooks is another. Keep in mind that Fictionwise has some stringent submission rules – they claim to not allow self-publishers, but they do have books put out by publishers that use print on demand technology.
Some other places that list free ebooks are:
- Free Book Spot
- Get Free EBooks
- Scribd (Unique, a document-sharing site)
- Novel Maker (A fiction review site)
- The Online Books Page
- Wisdom Ebooks
- Ebook Jungle
- Ebook Directory
- Many Books
- Book Glutton
- My Ebook
Given the number of places to promote a free ebook, offering a free download for a book is something to seriously consider. A $5.00 ebook from an unknown writer is not likely to have many buyers – so you have to weigh which is more important: spreading the book via word of mouth or making a profit on the ebook, which may be limited.
In terms of getting reviews, if you read the SPR’s list of self-published blog reviewers or other self-published reviewers, the majority of these places will accept ebook submissions. Most reviewers prefer print submissions (as does the SPR), but you can save money emailing a book, as opposed to paying for books, mailers, and postage. Otherwise, marketing efforts for an ebook aren’t much different than marketing a printed novel, as on the web both print books and ebooks appear the same in listings and reviews.