It may seem like all authors want to make a profit, but this is not always the case. However, for the purpose of this article, let’s assume your reasons for writing include making a profit. In this case, there are plenty of ways to increase your revenue-generating opportunities.
Three primary ways to generate revenue are:
- Direct sales
- Affiliate sales
- Back-end sales
Direct sales are exactly what they sound like—selling directly by way of Kindle, another online bookstore, and/or your website. You make money based on immediate sales. How much you make is determined by what you charge and the number of buyers.
If you rely solely on your book being listed, with no effort on driving traffic, you will have minimal success with sales.
Send promotional messages to your current list of subscribers. Offer some type of incentive to encourage people to buy immediately.
Announce the book on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social network locations.
Create short articles, 300-500 words, from the book content. Post in article directories such as EzineArticles.com. Include a resource box at the end of the article to drive traffic to one of the purchase locations. The resource box is the section at the very bottom of an article that encourages readers to take another action, such as buying directly or opting in for something.
A resource box is where you promote yourself, your product and your website/blog. The aim of a good resource box is to do all three, when possible. The best use of a resource box is to get readers on your subscriber list, rather than trying to sell them immediately. This allows more long-term opportunity. You WANT to get buyers to take the action of getting on your subscriber list.
It is easy to follow up with a buyer when they buy directly from your website. It is slightly more challenging when they buy directly from Kindle because you have no way of knowing who bought, unless you offer an incentive for the buyer to let you know who they are.
The process includes the buyer submitting his or her name, email and order number on a landing page, in exchange for some type of bonus gift (incentive).
Position Your Expertise
Although you may be known to your current market, those not familiar with your work will not be as inclined to make other purchases from you unless they believe you to be an expert.
The reader needs to know you are an authority on the topic you write about. You can establish expert status through the dedication in the front of your book and by your bio.
One client of mine has worked with thousands of dog owners over a 35-year period. Rather than simply writing “This book is dedicated to dog owners everywhere,” my client could write the dedication to include the following:
This type of a dedication accomplishes two primary outcomes:
1. The reader will see and feel her deep gratitude for them and what she does as a dedicated expert.
2. For those new to her information, this positions her expert status, credibility and expertise by virtue of the thousands she has worked with in the decades she has done so.
Some authors make a great living with direct sales. It’s likely those authors have a loyal fan base, and they proactively promote their books. However, to rely solely on direct sales limits an author’s success and leaves lots of money on the table.
To generate greater revenue opportunities consider both affiliate and backend sales.
Affiliate sales are generated in two primary ways—others selling your ebook or your placing affiliate links inside your ebook.
Depending on the topic of your ebook and how well written it is, there are likely to be lots of people who would like to sell it. If it is sold directly from an affiliate’s website, a standard commission is 50%.
You can also list the ebook on Clickbank for even more exposure to potential affiliate sales.
When you are the affiliate, you can have several links inside your ebook. Make sure whatever you promote inside your book is directly related to the topic of the book.
For example, if your book is on raw-food eating and you are reviewing various food processors, you can add in an affiliate link for your favorite processor in this section of your book.
In the case of my dog training client, she refers to various types of equipment the dog owner needs to use to get the most out of training. When referring to a specific type of equipment, such as leashes, collars, toys, etc., this is where she can begin selling within the ebook.
She can have affiliate links that lead directly to a company sales page for any one of these items. She can also have a link that leads to a page on her website, offering several choices for the reader.
Depending on how many people initially bought her ebook, this can be either a small or substantial revenue stream. The beauty of selling items inside your ebook is that you can have live links that go directly to a sales page.
Backend sales are the revenues you generate after someone purchases your ebook. Backend sales include other products and services.
The only way you can do backend sales is if you know who the initial buyer is. Again, when someone buys directly from your website, you do have immediate access to the buyer’s information.
When they buy from Kindle, another online bookstore or an affiliate you may not have this information. Thus the reason to drive buyers back to a landing page to opt in for something based on proof of their initial purchase of your book.
To optimize backend sales you must be very strategic and think in terms of ‘what comes next’ for the reader.
To get the most from direct, affiliate and/or backend sales you absolutely must think beyond writing your ebook. I’d love to hear your thoughts on generating revenue from your ebooks in the comments below…