Ebook Marketing 101

I recently had an email from a customer, Jefferson O I, which I answered and thought might be useful to other people who have the same interests.

He’s asked if I knew about any software that would help promote and assist in the sales of books, and this is my reply. I’ve also added a little bit more content to this version you’re reading here.


I don’t have or know of any software that directly markets your ebooks. My personal approach to this though is to create a publishing site and send all traffic there.

I know that doing it this way is very important as its Marketing 101. You own the site and you control what’s going on and not Facebook or Amazon or anyone else.  😉

The reason is, if you don’t own the site then any work you may do is building content on their sites and they can pull the plug on you at any time and there’s nothing you can do about it.

I also recommend you build a publisher site rather than an author site as that then gives you room to produce multiple types of books using pseudonyms. You can then allocate a portion of that site to each author.

To me this looks much more professional and lends an air of credibility to your site even if you’re a one-man-band.

Very importantly, you MUST start list building immediately if you weren’t directly planning to do so. Everyone that even looks at your ebook you want to attempt to capture on one of your mailing lists.

What I mean by this is that assuming you’re selling on Amazon, then when people take a peek inside your book, then right in the first few pages should be a nice big graphic that can’t be missed and a call to action to join your list to get a free something that you know the person would want.

It has to be a high perceived value to the reader. Anyone clicking through would then get an optin form to get their freebie, and right away you have a freebie seeker on your list that could potentially be turned into a customer.

Anyone that does buy your book should also see another call to action at the end of the book to get them to sign up to a customer list – give them something useful and related. You know they’re a customer because a freebie seeker can’t see the end of the book on Amazon so couldn’t possibly join your customer list.

You should have different prospect and customer lists for every book so that you can address each list correctly.

You can then send emails to the freebie seekers to gently ease them into buying your book(s).

Of course you should be list building on your site too and enrolling anyone that visits it by offering them a relevant freebie.

As you release new books, then you can write to the relevant prospect and customer list and tell them there’s a new related book available. Instant sales!

These are the two most important aspects of your marketing and will account for 80% of your marketing success.

#1 – Own the site.
#2 – Build separate prospect and customer mailing lists.

If you don’t do these two things, then everything else will almost be a waste of time as you’ll be constantly relying on new customers when your existing customers will be there and waiting if you can contact them.

I’ve seen lots of author sites located on WordPress.com or other free web sites, and not one of them has had an optin form, let alone a strong call to action.  So they don’t own the site and they’re not building a mailing list.

Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.

Many of these authors have several books released and they’re struggling, some without sales for months unless they’re paying for promotions. Crazy.

In the early days if I was you I wouldn’t bother with any kind of social marketing until you have a substantial list of several hundred customers and prospects – it’s just not worth the effort. Maybe a Twitter account would do as an announce method, but it really isn’t necessary if you have customers on your mailing list.

Get your customers to leave reviews and also to socially share your site and Amazon pages – tell them it all helps to motivate you to write more and that you’d really appreciate any help that they could give you. Some people WILL always help if you ask nicely, and be more motivated if you give them something useful, and speak to their hearts.

One other thing.

Your sales page on Amazon is exactly that – a sales page.  Make sure you have a very interesting and intriguing description of your book and that you get people *excited* about owning it.

Again, this is Marketing 101.  😉


I hope this helps give you a better perspective of the first steps to take to market your books.

-Frank Haywood

Posted by Frank Haywood


What a great post Frank. I guess that this will inspire quite a few of your readers to dash off and start a website along the lines you describe above.

Frank Haywood

Hi Geoff,

Thank you. In one way it’s a shame that many authors don’t have the marketing know-how and end up in dead ends, but in another way it’s good for you and me wanting to enter the market as their lack of knowledge makes it easier for us. 😉

Of course that won’t last as authors generally become more educated in marketing, but at the moment it’s a bit of a wild west and the opportunities are great for anyone wanting to give it a go.