21st February, 2018
4 min read
Maximising Ebook Visibility
One of the most useful forms of ebook publicity revolves around reaching reviewers and gaining new readers - but how can indie authors go about persuading retailers to push their ebooks as well, in effect reaching a whole new audience of potential customers?
In many ways, this is a tougher task than approaching readers directly, and it's just as important. Research has shown that consumers pick their next read through a combination of recommendations from friends, social media posts and retailer suggestions. It makes sense; the more prominent an ebook is on a website, the more likely a customer is to buy it. Retailer perceptions about self-publishing are changing, although some retailers are still a step behind readers, who don't tend to be as strongly influenced by the publisher name on a book or ebook.
There are, however, ways to combat this remaining hesitancy. Ebooks produced through Troubador are of a high quality and are compatible with all major retailers, and this goes a long way towards encouraging retailers to promote our titles. Similarly, working with a self-publishing company to help publish your ebook can work to your advantage in that the company will likely have long-established relationships with retailers, and this can have a big impact on their willingness to feature your ebook in their promotions. It's worth noting that some retailers will only work with titles published by a publishing company.
Types of Promotions To Enhance Ebook Publicity:
Topical: Retailers run promotions to coincide with holidays and events, eg. Christmas or the summer break. The benefits of these features are twofold: firstly, readers have your titles marketed to them, often at somewhat reduced prices, in an email list that goes out to a lot of people, meaning that retailers are doing the hard work for you. Secondly, the promotions are often devised to fall at times when ebook sales tend to be higher anyway, over public holidays or at other peak sales times eg. January ('Back to Work sale'/'New Year, new you'). This means that you'll see increased momentum at a time when you'd probably have seen a bit of a sales spike anyway.
Kobo is the retailer that runs the most topical promotions that we as a publisher can get involved with. We are regularly in touch with their merchandising teams regarding upcoming sales and campaigns that they are running, and they will invite us to put suitable titles forward for consideration. Some of these promotions are sales and so require a price reduction, whereas with others, Kobo are happy to promote a title at its current price. It's worth noting that if Kobo needs to drop the price of your ebook in order to feature it in a sale, the price will also drop on Amazon as Amazon will not sell an ebook for a higher price than another retailer.
Regular Features: Some retailers run ongoing features that you might be eligible for. A classic example is Amazon's 'Kindle Daily Deal' which sees a title placed in a prominent position within the Kindle Store so that it enjoys maximum exposure. It can be difficult to be accepted for these promotions with Amazon, as they make their decisions based on the number of reviews and star ratings a book has. If Amazon's algorithm shows that there has been a lot of traffic to a particular book's page, or that it's ranking highly within categories, this can also help to influence their decision. Amazon doesn't tend to factor in whether or not a potential Kindle Daily Deal title is traditionally published or self-published, which is great, but they do need the ebook file to be well formatted and professionally created (something we take care of at Troubador).
Multibuy deals: If you have written multiple books that are all part of the same series, some retailers allow us to group these together and offer readers a multibuy discount, where they will receive all of the ebooks in the series at a slightly reduced rate. This can be a great marketing tool when you're releasing the latest instalment in the series, as you can give the older titles a boost as well as the newest one. Whilst going down this route would lower the royalty that you would receive per ebook, it could have a positive impact in terms of reviews and generating traffic to your ebooks' listings on that retailer.
Google Play, for example, allows publishers to set up bundle discounts for titles in the same series which can be a great way to promote both your books and yourself as an author. The reason that retailer promotions have become so important for ebooks is because it's the way that consumers have come to expect to buy their content and to have it displayed. Some readers will be happy to browse through pages of search results for their next read, or they may have a specific title in mind, but many will not know what they want to read next and are looking to browse.
Titles featuring in prominent positions on the homepage or category homepages will instantly grab their attention; an ebook that is easily discoverable is likely to get more interest and engagement than one hidden on page fifty of the search results!
Each ebook retailer offers different types of promotions and different opportunities for authors and publishers to get involved. At Troubador, we're regularly in contact with retailer merchandising teams (if they have them) and keep an eye on any new marketing and promotion opportunities that we can offer to our authors.
Your best chance of making sales and spreading the word about your ebook often comes from self-promotion and being proactive with your marketing, but it's always worth checking in with retailers or your publisher to see what opportunities are out there for making the most of your ebook's presence on retailer sites.
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