Let’s face it. Ebook marketing isn’t an exact science. Sure, there are some best practices out there that help. And, of course, there’s no substitute for the wisdom and experience you’ve gained over years. But at the end of the day, the results of your marketing are often still not what you’d hoped. Some things work, some don’t, and there’s often doesn’t appear to be any clear reason why.
While there may not be a silver bullet solution to your ebook marketing struggles, there is a way to drastically reduce the trial-and-error that goes into your standard practices. And that way lies in your backlist.
Before we dive into a solution, let’s ask a more basic question: What is your backlist? Content, that’s what. And like any good content marketer will tell you, repurposing old content is a great but often overlooked way to market new content. Repurposed content--your backlist--reminds your audience of the value of your past books and, if used properly, can drive sales to your frontlist.
Using your backlist to market your frontlist, and ultimately drive sales, is exactly what we’re here to show you how to do.
We’ve already talked about how much eBook technology has improved and the exciting opportunities that opens up for publishers. One of those opportunities is the kinds of print books you can now convert to digital. Cookbooks, children’s picture books, educational textbooks--it’s now easier and cheaper than ever to convert these traditionally glossy books into high quality eBooks.
So the first step to using your backlist to market your frontlist is to rethink the types of books you convert to eBooks. If you have cookbooks or picture books or any other type of glossy book that you’re not converting to eBooks, you need to look into doing that asap. Doing so could mean a nice bump in revenue for you.
How much of a bump? We recently worked with a publisher to convert their print cookbooks to eBooks. Four of those books we did conversion for are now among this publisher’s top 20 sellers and contributed nearly 7% to their revenue in the last year. Overall, eBook versions of their cookbooks have contributed 11% to this publisher’s 2015-2016 earnings. Not too shabby, if we do say so ourselves.
Recommendations like Amazon’s “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” feature are fine as far as they go. But why should retailers be the ones to tell your readers what to read next? Shouldn’t you, as the publisher, be able to recommend other books from your list to your readers? The answer is, Yes, of course! Here’s how.
At the end of each book, add in sample chapters from another book by the same author. If a reader likes one book by an author, chances are they’ll like another. Giving readers a chapter or two for free will draw them in and give them good reason to click the buy button for that title.
You can also use the end of your eBooks to drive traffic to the author’s blog, social media accounts, YouTube videos or to your own site. Think of it like bonus material on a DVD. It’s after you’ve just finished a great movie that you’re most engaged and eager to find out how they did those crazy effects, or what the actors went through to create their characters.
The same is true for readers. It’s when they’ve just finished a book that they’re most curious about the author’s life, how they got the idea for the book or what other books in your catalog are similar. Having bonus material at the end of your eBooks is the perfect way to capitalize on the reader’s attention and natural curiosity. Plus, eBooks aren’t limited by page count or costs in the same way as print, so add as much extra material as you like.
Justin Marks is a Content Marketing Manager at Vearsa. When he’s not helping publishers run and grow their eBooks businesses, he’s busy running his own small publishing company. Oh, and he loves cookies.
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