Indie Authors’ FAQ on Publishing and Marketing

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10-27-14 Indie Authors FAQ by Frances CaballoI’ve accumulated a list of questions that Indie authors ask me at conferences, workshops and even on the bus to the San Francisco Airport. I finally decided that it would be a good idea to answer these frequently asked questions about book publishing and marketing.

How Should I Price My eBook?

Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, has probably conducted the most exhaustive studies on how to price eBooks.

He discovered that the price that sells the most books is $0. Free is hot when it comes to generating eBook sales and building your platform.

The only problem is that after working so hard on our books and paying for the layout and cover, it can be difficult just to give away our work for free, right?

A recent post on The eBook Author’s Corner had some interesting thoughts about giving away books for free.

In that post, James Moushon interviewed authors about how they felt about free books. R.S. Guthrie said that selling his book for free a few days and purchasing a BookBub ad resulted in tens of thousands of downloads of his book.

If you’re looking to boost your rank on Amazon and become better known, free is a good option.

Can I Exchange My Books for Reviews?

Some authors give books away in exchange for reviews. It bears mentioning that you can’t stipulate what type of review you expect and you shouldn’t worry if you receive a few bad reviews. There’s nothing wrong with controversy or stirring people up.

Rachelle Ayala noted that exchanging books for reviews was the most successful strategy she used for generating up book reviews.

But providing books for free doesn’t always work. For example, Alan Orloff said that he gave away First Time Killer for five days and generated 47,000 downloads. What did he receive in return? A modest jump in sales and “a ton of reviews.”

If you’re trying to become known as a writer, occasionally offering your book for free is a tactic to use.

Will Pricing My Book at $2.99 Boost Sales?

Coker also discovered that the $2.99 to $5.99 price range is the sweet spot for eBook sales, so consider pricing your eBook within this range.

But that’s not all.

According to Coker, an author will earn as much from a $2.99 price point as $9.99. He insists that you’ll reach more readers at the $2.99 price, and if you’re trying to expand your audience, it’s better to select the lower price.

The price range you want to avoid is the $.99 to $1.99, unless you write Romance. Coker says that this price range won’t improve sales. In addition, Coker believes that this price point is a disservice to writers, and I tend to agree.

I was selling my eBooks Social Media Just for Writers and Avoid Social Media Time Suck for about $7.99. Then I lowered it to $5.99.

When I complained to Penny Sansevieri that the eBooks had dropped in sales, she recommended that I lower the price to $2.99. What happened?

I immediately saw a bump in sales, especially for Social Media Just for Writers.

What Should I Blog About?

I think this is the most common question I hear. I understand why it can be hard to determine how to structure your blog because you just wrote a book, and you probably feel that you’ve said everything you wanted to say, right?

No. Readers want to hear from you. They want to get to know you. They want to know what you care about.

And you want to provide them with the information they crave.

You’ll want to refer to an earlier post I wrote, 34 Blogging Topics Just for Writers for a list of topics categorized by genre or my book, Blogging Just for Writers.

10-27-14 Frances CaballoHow Can I Encourage Sales?

Here are a few truths I know. Nonfiction, especially how-to, books sell well. So do romance books.

Of course, if you’re Stephen King or Barbara Kingsolver, everything you write sells well.

But how can Indie authors who write memoir, fiction and poetry encourage sales?

It takes time, practice, and work. Here are some suggestions:

  • Think hard about the audience you’re trying to reach and then find out which social media networks they use. You’ll want to refer to my post How to Target Your Readership.
  • Start a blog. I wrote a post on how to blog like a pro that you’ll find interesting.

I also wrote a book on this topic.

  • Be consistent in your social media posting. On Twitter, tweet at least four times daily. On Facebook, post one to two times daily on your Page (different than your Profile.) Share information at least once daily on Google+ and LinkedIn. Spend time on Pinterest. On Tumblr, post several times a week.
  • Be social; don’t broadcast. Don’t use social media as an advertising medium. Endeavor to build relationships, share your colleague’s information, and make time to engage with your followers and fans.
  • Rethink how you price your books.
  • Sign up for Goodreads and initiate giveaways.
  • On Wattpad, Scribd and Goodreads, provide a chapter of your book for free.
  • Ask local bookstores to carry your book.
  • Organize a launch party.
  • Schedule a blog tour.

What strategies do you use to boost your book sales?

Related Reading

Blogging Just for Writers

Avoid Social Media Time Suck


Frances Candid Shot 12-5-13About the Author: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. You can receive a free copy of her book Twitter Just for Writers by Clicking Here. Connect with Frances on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+.

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