At last, here is the first part of the series How To Sell 20,000 Ebooks in 2 Months. Actually, it took 4 days longer to sell that first 20,000, but I decided to exercise some literary license so the long title wouldn't be even longer.
To the left, you'll see the covers of my 4 ebooks, displayed in the order in which I published them. They are: Just One Look, The Trouble With Love, Still The One, and Jane (I'm Still Single) Jones.
Each book is priced at $.99, and they are all available on all the various countries' Kindle Shops, Nook, Smashwords, XinXii, iTunes, as well as on various bloggers sites that are Amazon Affiliates. More about these books later.
How Did I Sell So Many Ebooks?
I'm tempted to say, "I haven't a clue." I say this because I'm still kind of stunned that my ebooks have taken off the way they have even though I spent 9 months of analysis and research into ebooks prior to publishing the first one.
I have no pretensions about these books -- they're pure escapism that provide a fun, entertaining read. Yes, they're well-written for their genre, but they are not deep books. They're books designed to make you feel good and, hopefully, laugh, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that.
They have much in common with modern romantic comedy movies like those starring Katherine Heigl. Sure, they have some old-fashioned "home truths," but, for the most part, I describe the sexy, funny romances I write as "a little vacation from reality via the pages of a book."
However, that's not what you want to hear. You also don't want to hear another truth, "I was lucky." Why? Because giving good fortune the responsibility for success means it's something you can't duplicate. No one can tell another how to "be lucky."
I want to give you something you can use to help you find this kind of success. This is a long post today. I'm going to list my Golden Rules for Ebook Success toward the bottom. Then, I'm going to break each one down into its components. Next Monday, look for Golden Rule #1.
My Ebook Cred
I published my first ebook 2 months ago. Just One Look was previously print pubbed. I loved being able to give it the cover it deserved. I think the cover helped get it moving. It went on and off the top list during the first 30 days before finally settling on and spending 27 days on the Top 100 Paid Bestseller List. It slid off this week, but it's still on all the Kindle Contemporary Romance Bestseller lists.
Two weeks later, I pubbed the second ebook The Trouble With Love, to which I'd sold serial rights for a website that used it as a very successful hook to pull in visitors. It was never print pubbed because NY editors and agents said it didn't have a strong marketing hook.
This is the first book in a series Texas One Night Stands. I'll be publishing the second book in the series, Romeo and Judy Anne, in July. These are much longer books than the other short, fun reads. By the way, that so-called lack of a strong marketing hook doesn't seem to be holding it back with readers. It too is on Kindle Contemporary Romance Bestseller list.
My 3rd ebook Still The One, previously print pubbed, went live about May 11, and it's another Kindle Contemporary Romance Bestseller . Again, great cover.
My 4th ebook Jane (I'm Still Single) Jones (also formerly print published) went live over Memorial weekend and took off faster than the previous 3. Today, it's #62 in Kindle Store / Kindle eBooks / Fiction / Genre Fiction / Romance / Contemporary and #72 in Books / Romance / Contemporary.
Books 2 through 4 improve in ranking each day, and I hope each will make it onto the Top 100 Paid list also. With each succeeding book, sales started faster and the existing books showed an uptick also.
All 4 books are starting to sell well in the UK, and I have even made sales in Germany. The first 3 are in the Smashwords Premium Catalog and will be distributed to the other major ebook outlets like the Apple bookstore, Sony, Kobo, Diesel, and smartphones via Scrollmotion. The 4th is still pending approval but will be there too eventually.
Joan's Golden Rules for Ebooks
Isn't that a lovely pretentious title? *VBG* Actually, my rules are things you've already read from Joe Konrath, John Locke, and so many other successful ebook authors. The only thing different is my spin on them. When I first started distilling my thoughts, I had 3 rules, but I've added to them as the weeks have passed, and I've gained more experience in seeing how things sell.
I read dozens of successful ebooks in every genre, and I researched the subject of ebook writing, publishing, and marketing exhaustively for nearly a year before I published Just One Look.
When writing about "rules" -- either real ones or those I'm "creating" -- I'm always reminded of what W. Somerset Maugham said about rules for writing a novel. In a speech he gave to eager students, he stomped up on stage, glared at the audience, and growled: "There are 3 rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are."
So don't take what I say as gospel. Use it as a guideline and try what I, and others, recommend. See if it works for you. I'm going to explain how I interpret each of these elements because I've already learned that I can tell someone one of these foundations of ebook success, and that person can come away with an entirely different idea of what it means. Or how he implements the rule just doesn't work because he perhaps doesn't have a good grasp of what constitutes good cover art for example.
Let's assume that you have a finished book, ready to go. I know you've read all these rules before on other authors' blogs, but here are the 8 elements I'll cover:
1. Get educated.
2. Write a business plan.
3. Choose cover art wisely.
4. Write professional ad copy.
5. Choose price wisely.
6. Give a smart sample.
7. Write a good book.
8. Customize Marketing and Promotion.
When I told my friend Cynthia Wicklund, author of The Garden Series, about this blog series I intended to write, she said: "(you) had the perfect storm of events--great cover, excellent promotion, pricing, appealing story--I could go on. I think luck has a hand in it as well. Most Indies will tell you that (your) near-instant success is highly unusual unless you have a famous name."
Cindy is right about the luck, but I like to think luck is when opportunity meets preparedness. The opportunity was there because of the digital publishing platforms, and I did all I could to be prepared.
Join me Monday for Joan's Golden Rule #1: Get educated.
I invested time, attention, and money into learning about every aspect of ebooks. I've distilled my thoughts into 8 Golden Rules. What I did, and how I did it, is something that can be replicated. In other words, if I did it, so can you.