This is the fifth post in my series on how to research and publish an eBook successfully. I recommend you read the first four before proceeding with learning about selling and pricing your eBook effectively to maximize sales:
You now have all the information you need to research and create an eBook. In this article I want to discuss the strategy around pricing your eBook and how to sell it on multiple platforms online.
If you have a website or blog, the first avenue you should consider selling your eBook on is your own web property, providing you have created an eBook targeted for your website or blog’s audience. But do not worry if you don’t have a website or blog.
I am not suggesting that you drop everything and create one now, although creating one at some point will definitely benefit your eBook selling efforts, not to mention build a bigger and stronger “followership” that you can hone and nurture overtime.
I want to start you off with a handful of avenues through which you can sell your eBook. If selling on your own website is your goal, I will write an article on compiling an effective eBook sales page later in this series. But for now, consider the following:
Your Own Website or Blog – There is no better place to promote and sell your eBook than your own web property when first starting out, especially if you have an email list or subscribership of engaged readers. One simple email or blog post to your list can instantly drive hoards of traffic to your eBook sales page. Several Tweets, Retweets, email forwards and Likes on Facebook can also result from this effort.
There are tools such as PayPal and Google Checkout that you can utilize in setting up a payment collection system, but I won’t go there because the whole idea here is to create an automated system through which you sell and distribute your eBook.
What I would like to mention however is that because you are selling on your own platform (your own web property), you will have more flexibility in terms of pricing your eBook to achieve your profitability objectives. This is because other platforms likes the ones I will discuss below keep a big percentage back for every sale they generate for your eBook.
Getting back to your own web property, what I want to focus on in this section is using the biggest and best eBook platform for as long as I can remember – ClickBank. ClickBank has competitors such as E-Junkie and a few other similar platforms, but I like ClickBank the best for several reasons. Three of those reasons are the ease of use, brand recognition and the biggest and most robust affiliate sales marketing force that is waiting to promote your product as soon as you launch it.
Here is how ClickBank works. You first sign up for a free account. Once approved, you login and submit your product (eBook) for review. You will need to provide the URL/web address of your eBook sales page, as well as a page from where your users can download the eBook from. These pages are typically a part of your website or blog.
Once your eBook is approved, you will be provided with a unique link that you can embed in your sales page so that when customers click to “buy” or “purchase” button, this link can take them to the ClickBank payment collection screen. You can specify the product price in your account menu and can change it at anytime.
Here is what the product review screen looks like when you submit a product for review:
Here is a typical ClickBank product link that they provide which leads to the payment collection screen:
The number represents the product in your account. In this case, this link is to the first (1) product I established under this ClickBank account. The next section “rctex” is the account name you specify, and the rest of the URL is a standard ClickBank URL that doesn’t change.
Here is a part of a sales page on which the order button is linked to the ClickBank link above. When clicked, it takes the reader to this payment collection screen that is hosted on ClickBank’s platform (you can try it):
Once set up, this process works like a well oiled machine. You are done and absolutely do not have to do a thing from here on. You can always view your eBook’s sales by logging into your ClickBank account and navigating to the Reporting section which looks like this:
In your account section, you can specify when you want ClickBank to send you payments and how (either check or through PayPal).
That’s really it. You are done and you now have an income generating machine that will exist for as long as ClickBank and the Internet exists. Getting your eBook listed with ClickBank costs a one-time set up fee of $49, which you will quickly make up from just a handful of sales depending on what you price your eBook at. If you have an existing ClickBank account, getting each subsequent product listed only costs $25 instead of $49.
Note: Let me know in the comments section below if you think a full step by step tutorial on ClickBank would be helpful. Maybe the tutorial can be complimented with a video to walk through the process.
But what if you don’t have your own website or blog? That is where the big name brands like Amazon step into the picture.
eBook Stores Online – The advent of big name eBook stores online such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Google Books have enabled self publishers to sell their eBooks online without needing to have their own website or blog.
The registration process on each of these platforms is easy and absolutely free. After registering, you just have to upload your eBook file in either document or PDF format along with your eBook cover. It generally takes a couple days for your eBook to go live subsequently. Sales are then credited automatically to your provided bank account periodically as per the eBook store’s payment schedule or timeline.
The beauty of selling your eBook through gargantuan eBook stores online is that these platforms have thousands, and even millions of hungry readers waiting for the next new release. When you publish your eBook for sale on these platforms, you make your product available to this readership base immediately. This can translate into some quick sales, as well as an ongoing stream of sustainable sales overtime.
The disadvantage of course is that you will have to give up a significant portion of the sales price to these platforms, whereas with your own website or blog you get to keep most of it (close to 98%). This is why pricing your eBook can get tricky with these big names, especially if you have a precise profitability target in mind from every sale.
Social Network Sites – FaceBook, Twitter and LinkedIn are three huge names that are hard to ignore. If you have a solid following on either one of those platforms, you can publicize your eBook link on each. Your fans and followers can then click on the links that would lead them to one of the eBook stores online.
You can especially leverage your social media presence when you are selling an eBook through a third party on demand printing service. Although social media can deliver some powerful results for your eBook business, unlike selling on eBook stores online, it is not a means to generate passive income in my opinion.
Craigslist – Just like Social Network sites, Craigslist is another platform where you can promote your eBook for free. But just like Social Network sites, Craigslist is not a passive means to generate income online either. In fact, promoting on Craigslist requires more work.
Craigslist is an online classified ad site. You can only post your ad in one city at a time, therefore you can imagine the time and rigor it would take to post across multiple cities, states and countries.
All listings on Craigslist expire within 30 days. Moreover, your placed ad moves down in ranking / listing with each passing day as subsequent advertisements push yours down. I am not a big fan of promoting your eBook on Craigslist, but nonetheless it is another method to promote your eBook online.
How much money can you make from selling your eBook online? The answer to that question depends on several variables, including the niche you are in, your audience’s capability and propensity to pay for your products as well as how well your market your eBook.
I personally have multiple eBooks that have sold well over 1,000 copies. I sell some eBooks as low as $9.99 and others as much as $179.99. From years of doing this, my single biggest advice is that the more you understand your audience, the easier and more profitable pricing your eBook will be because . . . .
The two biggest factors that will determine your income potential from eBook sales are how well you price your eBook (providing your audience has the capability and willingness to pay it) as well as how much exposure your eBook receives (your marketing efforts).
Although we have already gone through the most difficult stage of profiting from an eBook (the actual preparation of the eBook and the relevant tools necessary to distribute), pricing your eBook is arguably is a more challenging process because there are no hard and fast mechanical rules unlike say converting a word document to a PDF version. If you price your eBook too high, you may not sell any. If you price too low, you may be giving away valuable information for pennies.
So what is the price at which you can maximize profitability from your eBook? We all wished there was a concrete formula that told us the answer, and although I am not a pricing expert, I can tell you what pricing strategy has worked best for me.
Pricing strategy is a sensitive decision that if gone wrong may be hard to reverse. The goal here is to maintain a healthy balance of sales and price per sale or eventually your profitability from this initiative.
The first step in my approach is to always obtain bench marking information. In other words, what are other similar products selling for on the Internet. Your initial topic research should give you an idea of how much you can potentially sell your eBook for. However price is not always the end all. Try to get an idea of how your eBook compares to the one you are bench marking to. Do you provide more or less value? Do you provide a different kind of value all together?
Pricing your eBook higher than your competition is not necessarily bad, although you must do a good enough job conveying your value to the potential buyer in your sales page, eBook title, description or advertisement. Here is where the pricing game can get a bit creative. You can play some psychology here. If you price your eBook higher, emphasize the out of the world value your eBook delivers.
As much as possible, compare your eBook to your competitors and detail out why yours is so much more superior to theirs. Emphasize the benefits your reader will derive from reading the eBook. In fact, throw in a bonus or two to sweeten the offer.
You will be pleasantly surprised at how many potential customers will not care about the higher price you are charging in exchange for all the value they will be getting in return. If you price it lower, focus on your attractive price as the value proposition. Evidently, no matter what end of the spectrum you choose, you can always put a favorable twist to your presentation.
After setting your initial price, monitor the first few sales very closely. You want to reach out to your customers and personally survey them. Ask them how well they think the book was priced. Ask them whether they feel the value received was worth the price. You will be surprised at the feedback this exercise can provide you with. If your eBook is of high quality and you priced it relatively cheap, your customers will tell you that. Similarly, the reverse is also true. Again, nothing trumps practical, first-hand perspective.
Because it is difficult to get your price just right the first time around, it is very important to go through this exercise before it’s too late. Selling your eBook at a price too low for long may not disseminate the perception you are aiming for. Don’t you wonder sometimes why a valuable product is selling so cheap?
On the other hand, don’t you sometimes perceive a product to be of high value just because it’s priced high? Think about designer brands. Are they truly that much superior? Many are made in the same factories as comparable ones that sell in standard stores at average prices.
Again, human psychology plays its part. We are pre conditioned to think in a certain manner. We tend to equate product pricing to quality. In reality however, pricing is not always proportionate to the value or quality derived from the product. Sometimes raising prices for absolutely no reason not only increases profitability, but also customers.
I know it is counter intuitive but I have seen this happen repeatedly, including with at least two of my eBooks. The point is, do not be afraid to experiment with pricing your eBook. However, keep a very close eye on the results of your experiment so that you can tweak and optimize your business’ performance quickly.
The beauty of doing business online is that you can make changes on the fly. Price too high? No problem. Just change it and the new price will be reflected online immediately. Another reason why I prefer eBooks to traditional hard copy books. Can you imagine discovering a mistake after production and making a change to 10,000 printed copies of your hard copy book? No way.
I want to call out one exception before concluding on this part of the eBook series. As tricky pricing your eBook can be, there is one particular instance that can make the decision very easy for you.
If you want to leverage your eBook to market affiliate products and services by embedding your affiliate links within the eBook, you may be better served by either giving your eBook away for free or modestly pricing it at $1.99 or $9.99, depending on the perceived value you want to create.
I have several eBooks online that follow this strategy. For example, look at my eBook on my paid surveys website. I am selling this eBook for $9.99 because I have some tips and strategies that I discuss in the eBook. However, the real value (for me) that I am aiming to generate from the sale of this eBook is the affiliate commissions I generate when readers click the embedded affiliate links within the eBook.
This eBook has been selling very well for me since its inception years ago. This further validates the claim that publishing and marketing eBooks is truly one of the more turnkey and passive methods of generating income online.
The resources I talked about in this article should enable you to profit from your eBook without owning your own website or blog. The pricing strategy, though effective, is worth reiterating that the methodology above is just one method and is derived from my own experiences online over the last few years.
Whether you apply this strategy or not is a moot point for me. What’s more important is that you do something. Because of the ease and flexibility involved in doing business online, you can always make changes on the fly in the event your efforts don’t materialize in the outcome you expect.
Do not be afraid to experiment. In fact, do so as much as possible until you arrive at the most optimal pricing for your eBook. I hope you found this article valuable and practical enough to start implementing the strategies immediately.
In the next article of this series, I will discuss how to market and promote your eBook.
Readers: Do you have additional avenues where one can sell their eBooks? How do you think one should price their eBooks? What’s the most optimal strategy? What has worked for you? What are your overall thoughts on the methods and strategies discussed in this article?Previous: Professional Indemnity Insurance Cover Explained, Do You Need It?