Before 2007, the dream of becoming a published author was associated with the dread that was the publishers. They had a certain monopoly in the market, despite there being so many out there. There was a lot of money and politics involved, especially if you wanted to become a bestseller.
Writing, editing, printing, and publishing was one thing, marketing it was entirely another, which is why you needed a reputable publisher. eBook writers, on the other hand, uploaded their books on random platforms with limited protection against piracy, thus the market solely relied on giant publishers.
But when Amazon released Kindle, everything changed. At first, the market for eBooks was slow, but once the idea caught on and gained traction, there was nothing stopping the idea of eBooks and self-publishing.
Where just the name of the publisher used to be enough, the world has evolved now and moved towards self-published eBooks, where how you market the book has a direct bearing on sales. However, marketing ventures become more and more expensive with each passing day, be it a PPC ad campaign, banner ads, pamphlets or plain promoted posts.
So how can eBook writers publish their eBook and market it within your shoestring budget? How can you capitalize on the lucrative market if you don’t have enough to pay a full fledge marketing agency to spread the word about your eBook?
Here, we shall address that very question and help you get the word out about your eBook.
Creating Your eBook on a Small Budget
Before we get into marketing your eBook, you need to create one. This is the (financially) easy part, so just brew a cup of copy, sit on your favorite chair, and open your laptop. It might be financially easy, but it’s a grind nonetheless. It’s brains you need to use here instead of your wallet.
Read Your Audience
Yes, it’s important to have a story, but it’s more important to have a story that connects with your audience. That mostly happens if you not only have a story that appeals to your audience but also the writing style. For example, a romantic eBook written for adults but with teenagers in it might not be the best read for them.
You need to make sure you know your customers and overall audience well enough, and write something they can step into. Now is the time to conduct research. This will also help you later on when you’re marketing your eBook.
The most important thing you need to know is what their favorite book is. After that, try finding out:
- What they find interesting
- What they like
- What they dislike
- What they are offended by
- What they look for in a book
- What problems they’re facing
- What type of story they’re looking for
- What sort of solutions usually appeal to them, and other similar points.
Once Done, Choose a Topic & Style That They’ll Like
Remember, as much as the eBook is going to be your story, it’s not about what you want to say as much as it is about what the audience wants to read. Your eBook should trigger memories, nostalgia, fear and more – just as a story about their past would.
The more you relate, the more people will like your story.
So when choosing your story or your title, choose something that will pique your readers’ interest and is easy to read. I’m not saying you shouldn’t use difficult words, mind you. Go for it. In fact, look at Bapsi Sidhwa – a best-selling writer – who uses words that even bookworms might have difficulty understanding.
And it works for her. It could work for you too.
However, I recommend not going overboard with it, since the more complex words you use, the smaller your audience becomes. So choose your topic and writing style according to the audience range you select.
Pen It All Down
Next up, writing.
If you’re hiring an eBook writing service, well done, you. You can skip this section. If you’re writing it yourself, you should keep in mind that there is no shame in asking for help. The thing about hiring a professional service is that they don’t just help you write your eBook, they publish and market it as well.
Anyway, back to writing your eBook.
This is the lengthy bit and a grind, if I’m being honest. You put in words, you erase them, and you put them in again. But at the end of the day, the grind is well worth the effort, offering rewards and incentives left and right. You don’t have to be like Arthur Conan Doyle and write your first Sherlock Holmes book in just 3 weeks.
Remember, the legendary George R. R. Martin is a live example of “taking his sweet time”, as he hasn’t completed any more Game of Thrones books. There are bound to be a lot of distractions keeping you from working on your eBook, your job being the biggest hurdle. Here are a few steps you can take to tackle that issue.
Stick to Your Outline
Begin with the end in mind.
This piece of advice isn’t just for fiction writers but also for non-fiction eBook writers. This is employed by many eBook writing services out there, and has been known to yield good results. Finding the perfect ending can be hard, but can make the process a lot quicker.
If you have the ending in mind, it will help you shape the rest of your eBook accordingly. Once you’re there, you can always make changes to the ending as you see fit. Try not to make too many changes as you work on your book though.
Writing the First Draft
Now that you have your outline ready, fill in the blanks. Let your fingers lead and take your eBook in the direction it wants to go (within the outline).
You can always make changes and go deeper as and when you please. Nothing is off limits. Make your protagonist two barrel rolls in a car made of bread, and no one will judge!
Create a Design That Speaks to the Audience
Once done, it’s time to edit. I’ll leave that bit out and would only like to say that editing your own eBook is a lot of work for not a lot of rewards. It will take you much longer if you decide to do it yourself. Hire an editing service or ask your friends for help, considering you’re on a tight budget.
While your book gets edited, you can now focus on marketing.
The first step is to make a book cover that compels readers to click on it but also relates to your book one way or another. For example, nothing draws clicks better than a fierce dragon on a book cover. How do you think the Eragon series found such a hardcore fan base?
However, putting a dragon on an autobiography or a book about Diabetes, or perhaps a crime novel would do nothing but ‘clickbait’ users and put them off. Your design needs to hit the right spot not just for people looking at the book on Amazon or other publishing platforms, but also on social media, ads and other areas where you intend to market the book.
Remember, we are visual creatures, and one of the most important features that we consider when making a decision about what we need and what we don’t is how beautiful or eye catching it is.
Think about it; what use does a diamond have on our finger except to look good?
Make a cover that converts, and half of our marketing work will be set out for you on a silver platter. It’s not just about making a front cover that sells but also other design elements such as the spine, section breaks, and overall layout of the book. This includes formatting as well.
Thankfully, when you hire an editor, most eBook writing services also format your book along with it without you having to pay more for it – or even asking for it.
Budget Friendly Ideas to Market your eBook
Once edited, formatted, and compiled, publish your work. Next up, you need to start marketing. For the sake of this article, you’re on a shoestring budget, so hiring expensive marketing agencies is out of the question. But hiring eBook writing services is still a viable option. Since they aren’t dedicated marketing agencies, they don’t have to stand by the industry rate.
Considering your situation, these services have been known to lower their prices.
One of the first things you need to start out with, is enhancing your social media presence.
Social Media Engagement
Everyone is on social media, and not just on one platform, either.
Build anticipation before your book is published and use that anticipation to sell once the book is out. Write compelling posts and tell your followers what they’ll get by purchasing this book. Tell them why they need the book in their lives. Here are some tips to help you market your book on your limited budget.
- Post more and more on social media platforms about your book. Tell them what value they can expect.
- Keep followers up to date with the book’s progress
- Incorporate a countdown or create an event
- Make a ‘behind the scenes’ post and tell the world about your struggle. Include the fact that you are on a limited budget
- You don’t have to mention that you hired an eBook writing service
- Engage with your audience. Ask them questions and answer their concerns
- Host a giveaway or trivia with a compelling prize once the book is out.
If you went with traditional print publishing, you will have to wait a few months (4 to 6 or more) before you can even think about the prospect of seeing your book in a marketplace. However, you won’t have to worry about marketing costs. Your publisher will take care of that.
Optimize Your Book’s Title
Keep Google’s latest 2020 core update in mind when optimizing your book. Remember, Google wants you to E.A.T. this year, meaning you need to focus on Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.
Use keywords when marketing your book, not just in posts but also in your book’s title. Don’t make yourself valid just for search engines, but your readers too. Remember, search engines can turn on you pretty quickly if you fail to give readers the value they need.
Never sacrifice on reader satisfaction.
Once your book is published, keep in mind that you cannot make any further changes to the book; hence it is called a book, not an article. If you hired an eBook writing service, let them handle the publishing and marketing. It’ll be cheaper and less effort intensive.
Optimize eBook’s Description and Other Tags With Keywords
While your titles can’t be too generic or filled with keywords because of your audiences, descriptions and meta tags are a separate story.
eBooks aren’t like webpages or articles, where people open the first SERP websites and start reading the top ones. Instead, readers take their time. But then again, they seldom go past the first 3 pages of Google results, either.
So, optimize your descriptions and tags with keywords, but don’t overdo it. Even if you’re on the second page, chances are that a reader looking for a book to read will open your eBook’s page. At that point, a keyword-stuffed or generic description will only put them off.
So, optimize, but keep it balanced.
- Long titles or descriptions are an instant put off.
- Keep ‘em short, keep ‘em simple.
- Make sure your book’s description covers the essence of your content.
- Conduct relevant keyword and audience research again before writing. Things change very rapidly in the 21st
Add Keywords in Amazon Kindle
Keywords change from time to time as trends change, so keep checking for any changes regularly. Reevaluate your keyword research and implement any changes, if necessary. Doing soon Amazon Kindle is simple. Simply:
- Sign into your Amazon Kindle Account
- Go to Bookshelf
- Click on the “…” button under the Kindle eBook/Paperback Actions menu
- Click on “Edit eBook/Paperback Details“
- Head to the “Keywords” section
- Add any new ones you found or remove older, irrelevant keywords. Use long tail keywords for better results
- Save and Continue
- Republish your book for changes effect.
Amazon gives you a character limit, so use it wisely. Try to use it up as much as you can when choosing keywords, since longtail keywords yield many more leads than shorter ones. People who search for long-tail keywords are usually half sold already.
This is all you need to market your book on your own or a limited budget. In the above guide, you will only need to spend money once; on editing, if at all. All other steps, you can do for free. However, publishing an eBook in 2020 alone is like taking an angry bull for a walk where people are going to do nothing but tease it.
You are asking to be thrown around by that bull.
Your eBook will do something similar with you, considering that there is a lot of competition out there, especially when marketing. I recommend that you take the help of professionals; a few dollars spent here will go a long way.
Hiring a marketing agency is one thing, but hiring an eBook writing service that can help you not just publish but market as well is entirely another. Having one team throughout the process can save you heaps of trouble in the future.
We hope that this post helped you get an idea of how you can write and market your eBook on a limited, ‘shoestring’ budget. Just don’t be afraid of asking for help when you need it, and you’ll be golden. If you think we missed out on something or would like to get in touch with us, leave a comment down below and we’ll get back to you! We’d love to hear your thoughts on this.