Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Generating eBook Sales - Guest Post by William D. Hicks

Welcome to Reading It All's stop on the William D. Hicks tour presented by Sizzling PR! I would like to welcome William D. Hicks with his guest post Generating ebook Sales.

Generating eBook Sales
By William D. Hicks

The only way to get noticed as a writer is to get read. But how? With a couple eBooks out I decided to start promoting myself. I hired a PR company who booked a publicity blog tour. It’s the electronic equivalent of a multi-city book signing.

While reviews and interviews and blog posts would likely get me noticed I wanted to generate sales. In my mind more sales = more readers.

I had recently noticed that my eBook sales to libraries were slow but steady. I wondered if I could ramp them up and asked my publisher how. He gave me several suggestions which I followed. I also figured out some short cuts along the way. And it worked.

Over a three day period I got commitments from 5 libraries to buy 2 books each. While it’s not much money, I’m hopeful my eBook sales will spike from these efforts. Because it’s not really about the money; it’s about getting my stories read.

As a disclaimer, before doing all this work be sure your publisher is authorized to sell eBooks to libraries. This usually means they sell through Overdrive. If not, you probably should wait until they do before you put out the all this effort.

Write a “form” letter to the library. Use below as a template:

Dear (Sir/Madam/Librarian/Name of Person—especially if it’s the director or the email is directed at specific person),

Note something interesting about yourself, plus a request for the library to purchase your eBook.(Mention the state you’re from to libraries in your state, mention the state the book is set in to all the libraries with that connection, mention you’re an alumni to the college you attended, you get the idea. If there is no connection you might avoid specific state references.)

eBook Title
Genre, a little about the book
ISBN or other Identifying Number (e.g. ASIN-Amazon Standard Identification Number)
What Language the eBook is written in
Publication Date
Price (especially if you know the price the library will pay, this isn’t necessary but it’ a nice to have)

Mention that your publisher is authorized to sell your books to libraries and they sell on “Overdrive” and any other e-tailers of note (e.g. Amazon).

Publisher Name
Publisher Address
Publisher Phone
Publisher Email

Ask the librarian to contact you with a decision and thank them for reading your email (politeness goes a long way).

Yours (some ending),
Your Name

Figure out which libraries you want to target.

It’s often worthwhile to submit queries of this kind to all the libraries in your state, but first target those nearby as they will more likely pick up your eBook. When I suggested my suburban library should purchase my eBook and told them I was a resident they instantly purchased a copy.

Check out the library’s URL

Before sending the email letter above, check out the library’s site. Some will have a “Purchase Suggestion” option, while others might have an “Ask a Librarian” link and others still might have a “Contact Us” section or “Email” address. You can use one of these more generic options or you can do some further digging and find information on the Library Director/CEO. If the email is directed to a specific person (e.g. the director) always personalize the salutation. Be aware that often the Director’s email address is not easily found and it’s best not to spend a lot of time searching for it.

Send the email and wait for a response

Not all libraries will buy your book. Sometimes you hear back from them weeks later; sometimes not at all. When a library buys an eBook, celebrate your win.

I want to thank William D. Hicks for guest posting here today! Be sure to check out his two short stories.

Title: Twist
Author: William D. Hicks
Publisher: Spectres
Publish Date: August 19, 2011

Synopsis: As a boy growing up in 1953, Kevin Hull enjoyed playing games with his group of boyhood friends, like the game of "ledge." After one such game with his friend Billy Hawkins, the two find themselves involved in a terrible accident that will forever change their lives.

A work of short psychological horror from our Spectres line.

Title: Killer Flies
Author: William D. Hicks
Publisher: Spectres
Publish Date: January 11, 2012

Synopsis: The Army plans to use a new breed of flies to protect combat soldiers. But Dr. John Pankow, their creator, is worried that his killer flies are uncontrollable. Will Mother Nature's most genetically-altered weapon be the ultimate armor, or the potential ravager of the entire world?

A work of short horror from our Spectres line.

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