Learn About eBooks

Marketing eBooks

A big part of the success of any publishing project lies in marketing. There are a lot of ways to market your book, but the key is to know your readers and learn how to get your book in front of them.


The Basics

Any book marketing plan should include the basics of marketing: a good website and a social media presence.

A book’s website will become the center point of its marketing and reader engagement. It will be where readers learn about the book: the plot, the characters, the author, and how to buy it. If you have a publisher site, then set aside some pages for your book, with extra information and details that will draw people in. If you do not have a website, or if you want the book to have its own site, setting one up does not have to be difficult. There are services and tools like WordPress.com, WordPress.org and Blogger that can be used for basic websites or blogs, though you might need some experience with HTML or some outside help if you want to do something more custom. We recommend you look into SquareSpace, a paid website service that has amazing template designs, full support, and a variety of helpful features built in and ready to be used.

Social media like Facebook and Twitter are useful for connecting with some readers, but only if you use them well and don’t over-do it. Some recommendations:

  • Don’t use your personal Facebook account for book marketing. Instead, set up a dedicated page for the book so that you can keep your personal information private.
  • Don’t post junk on your social media accounts. It is best to keep these accounts/pages dedicated to talking about the book itself: release dates, high points, questions from readers, interesting tidbits that are not in the book, character backstories, links to related articles or information, new data, etc.
  • Be real. Don’t use your Twitter account to spam your followers with links to buy your book on Amazon. Just talk about your writing, the book, and related issues and be real about your engagement.
  • Don’t engage the trolls. There are lots of people who will try to pull you into debates or engage you in fruitless discussions. Be willing to step away from those conversations, ignore them, or, if necessary, block the trolls.

NetGalley

PrintNetGalley, a sister company to eBook Architects, is a service to promote and publicize forthcoming titles to readers of influence. Reviewers, bloggers, journalists, librarians, booksellers, and educators use NetGalley to request, read and provide feedback on new titles. There are more than 250 publishers using the NetGalley service.

Publishers and authors upload titles and interact with members in two ways:

  • By approving member requests
  • By inviting members to view titles using the NetGalley email invitation widget.

There is no charge for readers to use the service; publishers pay a set-up fee plus a monthly cost depending on the number of titles they have on the site. We offer an easy connection to NetGalley for our clients, whether they have one title or many, with lower prices than placing a single title on NetGalley directly. Learn more on this page.


Marketing Packages

greenleafAs you can see above, eBook marketing is an extensive process that requires a lot of work. eBook Architects is not a marketing company, but we have joined forces with Greenleaf Book Group to give you more assistance and options when building your book marketing plan. The packages described below are available from Greenleaf to any of our clients, and they make a great addition to the overall quality of your book marketing plan. Note: these services include NetGalley by default, so if you choose to use Greenleaf you should not sign up for NetGalley through eBook Architects.
To receive more detailed information about these packages, or to get in contact with the right person at Greenleaf, please email Nick (nick@firebrandtech.com).

Discoverability

Cost: $3,500
Book discoverability—how and where consumers find and purchase books—is a priority in any good book marketing plan and happens in a multitude of ways. This package focuses on the basics of a good book discoverability strategy by optimizing your Amazon book detail page, building consumer interest by making your title available to influencers via NetGalley, and working with you to answer any questions about marketing your specific book or the publishing industry as a whole.

Discoverability & Consumer Buzz

Cost: $4,500
25 physical books required – author to provide and ship
Go beyond basic book discoverability—how and where consumers find and purchase books—and start building consumer buzz with this next level marketing package. After optimizing the discoverability of your Amazon book detail page, we work to build consumer interest by making your title available to influencers via NetGalley and the active Goodreads and LibraryThing reader communities. We also include one-on-one coaching time to answer any questions about marketing your specific book or the publishing industry as a whole.

Discoverability, Consumer Buzz, & Promotion

Cost: $7,000
25 physical books required – author to provide and ship
This top tier marketing package aims to optimize the discoverability of your Amazon book detail page, build consumer interest by making your title available to influences via NetGalley and the active Goodreads and LibraryThing reader communities, and promote your book to the general public through a limited time price promotion and targeted online advertising. We also include enhanced one-on-one coaching time to answer any questions about marketing your specific book or the publishing industry as a whole.


Public Relations

If you have the need for a more extensive public relations campaign, it is good to consider contracting with a public relations company, preferably one that has expertise in print book and eBook marketing. They will usually be able to help you with a variety of services, including:

  1. Website design and hosting
  2. Social media marketing (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  3. Public relations campaigns
  4. Interviews
  5. Book readings

These services are usually very expensive, but if you are serious about getting the most out of your publishing venture the cost will be worth it. We highly recommend two PR companies based here in Austin to all of our clients. Both of these firms are highly successful at book marketing, and they will work with you to find the best solution to your marketing needs.

Shelton Interactive

Shelton Interactive logoShelton Interactive is a digital agency founded to help authors and publishers design and develop digital platforms focused on generating more media attention and building better social media buzz. Since its founding in the summer of 2010, the company has generated significant momentum, representing eight New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Inc Magazine bestsellers, inking long-term deals with some of the biggest brands in publishing, including Chicken Soup for the Soul, Cave Henricks Communications and Harvard Health Publications, and handling the digital piece of IBM’s 100th anniversary book. The companys passion is working with those who have a meaningful message to convey to the worldsomething that will impact lives in a positive mannerbut need an experienced partner to help them navigate the often time-consuming and confusing world of social media and digital marketing.

PR by the Book

PR by the Book logoMarika Flatt and her team at PR by the Book fill the need fo a stable, informed guide to help you get the word out about you and your content perfectly. With a variety of publicity options from local news sources, to journals, magazines, online, television, radio and other outlets, Marika’s team has you covered. They can help you construct a plan that fits your budget and your goals, and help you implement that plan to see the most success for you and your book.


Book2Look

book2lookBook2Look is a viral marketing tool. The Book2Look widget displays selected book content for publishers and readers to promote and share throughout their networks. Built into the Book2Look widget is the ability to read content within the book, view pertinent book information, share via social media platforms, rate and comment on books, embed on websites and blogs, email to others, and actually buy the book using the built-in shop links. Book2Look is being used extensively in Europe and is now offered in North America by Firebrand. Here is a working sample of the widget featuring Untethered Soul, from New Harbinger Publications. Contact Steve Rutberg for more information on Book2Look.

FAQs

Is it a good idea to put my Table of contents at the end of my eBook?

Some people do this to increase the size of the free samples automatically generated by the eBook retailers. However, the Kindle and other devices will re-set the “last read location” to the end of the book if you have your Table of Contents there, so we normally recommend against that practice.

What is the difference between HTML5 and XHTML5?

HTML5 is the latest version of the HTML standard used on the Web and in eBooks. XHTML5 is a stricter and cleaner version of HTML5, with rules from XML imposed on the code. For example, when a tag is opened it has to be closed, and all of the tags have to be properly nested. XHTML5 allows the code to be more easily interpreted by the display engine, and it keeps the code more consistent and easier to edit.

I have heard you can’t use color in eBooks. Is that correct?

No, that is absolutely incorrect. eBooks look great with color, and we highly recommend using color images and even colored text (within reason) in your eBook files. Some devices have grayscale eInk screens, so the color will not show up on those devices. However, the color will be in the file, and it will work on all of the color devices. We do recommend you test colored text on a device with an eInk screen and ensure that the text will not be too light to read.

Do you need to have a separate ISBN for each version of the eBook for different companies?

Technically, yes. See an extended answer on our ISBNs page.

What is KindleGen?

KindleGen is Amazon’s eBook creation/compiling program. It is used on the KDP website to auto-convert files uploaded into the Kindle store, and it is also integrated into the Kindle Previewer program to handle the conversion of non-Kindle files loaded in that program. You can download KindleGen and get access to other Kindle creation information at amazon.com/kindlepublishing.

What is a fixed layout eBook?

Fixed Layout eBooks are HTML-based eBook files that are usually designed to match the layout of a print book. The key difference between fixed layout files and reflowable files is that reflowable eBooks allow the reader to have more control over the reading experience, such as changing the font size, background color, etc. For more information, please see our Fixed Layout Children’s and Non-Fiction pages.

Does Amazon sell HTML files or only Kindle?

Amazon only sells eBooks in the Kindle format, but that format, just like ePub, is built using HTML and CSS files.

How is fixed layout different from a pdf of the book?

Fixed layout eBooks are built using HTML, so they have more functionality than PDF files. For example, the narration overlay functionality used in many children’s eBooks is not possible in PDF files. In addition, none of the eBook retailers sell PDFs, so fixed layout eBook files offer the best sales opportunities.

A university librarian told me they are not acquiring any Kindle books but only HTML5/ePub. Have you found that to be common with other libraries? I know our local public library does buy Kindle books.

Libraries acquire their eBooks from services like 3M and Overdrive. These services sometimes offer an option for Kindle checkouts, but typically they are limited to ePub files because of the more common use of the Adobe DRM.

Has the Kindle format gotten any more sophisticated in how it handles tables or floating images?

Yes, Amazon’s Kindle Format 8 has support for many great design features, including floating images, tables, color text, embedded fonts, and more.

Do the eBook files you create include a linked Table of Contents?

Yes, all of our files include the proper linking for the Table of Contents, index, and other elements.

How are page numbers handled in an eBook?

Print book page numbers are included in the HTML code of both the Kindle and ePub formats as anchors. They are also listed in the PageList section of the NCX or Navigation file. The PageList is used by some reading systems (like the Kindle and iBooks) to show the reader the print page numbers of the book as they read.

How are page headers created in eBook files?

The different reading systems control what shows up in the header of your eBook. Most will display the title of the book, and some will also display the author name. That text cannot currently be set to display the chapter name or other information about where the reader is currently reading in the text.

How do eBooks handle hyphenation of long words?

Some eBook reading systems will apply hyphenation to longer words to make the text better fit on the screen. This is typically controlled by the reading system, and will change depending on the font size and other settings the reader has set on their device.

What about protecting the file?

eBook file protection is called Digital Rights Management (DRM). Please see our DRM page for information on how it works and suggestions on how to use it.

Do you build websites?

No, eBook Architects does not currently build websites. We recommend you contact a local website design company or use a service like Squarespace.

Can I sell my eBooks on my own website?

Yes! You are certainly able to sell your eBooks on your own website. For more information, please see this page.

Should I have you create a Web PDF of my book?

For online viewing, there is no a system that can read a PDF that cannot also read an eBook. While we do offer PDF creation services, we do not create these files in-house, but rather outsource the work to an overseas vendor. The turnaround is about a week, and before they start, we will need to know the specifications you need to PDF to match. The flat fee for any PDF is $150.00, but most of our clients end up not needing it.