You’re sitting with a blank sheet of paper, an ebook on its way, and you don’t know where to start. How do you market this thing?
Take a deep breath, and start with the big goals. There are three of them: key objectives that underpin a digital marketing plan for ebooks. Once you have these, you can start to add the detail, a layer at a time.
When there is no physical book for sale, the marketing changes significantly. However, most of the principles and techniques you’ll learn will also be useful where a print and a digital book are promoted together.
Let’s start by looking at the major goals and the challenges we face when successfully building a digital marketing foundation and getting new ebooks to the market. As you’ll see, these are similar to the big challenges publishers face selling print editions but how they meet the new digital challenges is often very different.
To understand how things are changing, we’ll look at how these challenges are met in the print and ebook worlds.
A marketing strategy for ebooks should cover three major components:
Develop online connections with people who will buy or influence buyers of your ebooks.
Send customers to online ebookstores (or your website or other channels) to buy your ebooks.
Convert casual browsers and searchers in those online ebookstores into buyers of your ebooks.
The staples of traditional book promotions — bookstore merchandising, reviews in newspapers and magazines, author tours, book signings, retailers’ catalogues — require a physical book to review, display, or sell. Consequently, few of these tried-and-proven techniques and channels to the reader are available for ebooks. So digital marketers need alternatives.
When books are digital, two things change significantly in their marketing:
As we look at the techniques and tools to market ebooks, you’ll see these two themes coming up constantly. And, while traditional book marketing skills can be helpful, it’s now far less of an advantage than it was because so much happens online.
Book marketers — both publishers and authors — now need a new set of skills and a new ‘platform’ on which to base their marketing.
Here’s a snapshot of some of the ways that print and ebook marketing differ as they tackle the same challenges.
In the following sections, we’ll look at how each of these challenges can be tackled in the digital world.
Find out more about this topic on our Digital Publishing 101 useful resources site.