Because of the internet, marketing has become more complex than ever. This is especially true for magazines, newspapers, and books. When you released a book before, it was all about interviews and media appearances. Now, you also have to consider your online presence. It might even surpass traditional marketing in terms of importance. Whether it’s a book by a self-publishing vs. traditional publishing company, the instances are similar. While it’s much easier to reach people now, it’s also more complicated.
Here are the five main factors that affect a book’s appeal online:
Ratings and Reviews
Numbers matter even in the literary world. When people see a book in store or online, one of the first things they’ll see is its rating. From Amazon and Google to Apple and Kobo, most of the biggest online bookstores use a 5-star rating system. So, the closer the figure is to five, the better. But there’s another platform where authors can make a good impression before their book has even been released. This is possible because of Goodreads. It’s where people can post ratings and reviews about the books they’ve read. They can also share recommendations and send messages to other readers. It’s kind of like a social media site exclusively for readers of all kinds of material. The site plays a big part in a book’s marketability because it boasts 90 million users. If you want to build hype for a book, it’s the site for you.
Most authors provide bloggers and other authors with an advanced readers copy or ARC. Because of this, the first readers can post ratings and reviews months ahead of the book’s release. Early reviews can help boost pre-order numbers and gain popularity. ARCs can also help authors correct any errors before a book is available to the public.
In the age of the internet, it’s hard to imagine that availability would be an issue, especially for books. But it can definitely affect how a novel sells. Because of the internet, there are several mediums how a person consumes media. Years before, it was all about radio, TV, newspaper, and magazines. Now, there’s a variety of options. You can prefer one social media site over another. Besides that, you can also be a subscriber to a streaming service and a podcast. This applies for books as well. People can now read novels using an e-reader, smartphone, tablet, or computer. This means that there are different online bookstores as well.
If you’re going to publish something, you should focus on two of the biggest online bookstores. One of them is Amazon’s Kindle store. Back in 2014, it’s been estimated that Amazon has sold 30 million of Kindle devices. If you add the number of Kindle readers that use the app on their phones, the total is astounding. The other big online shop is Apple’s Book Store. Unlike other book apps, Apple Books is only available for iOS devices. But this doesn’t mean that the audience is something to scoff at. Four years ago, Apple said that they were receiving 1 million new users every week. More recent figures show that there are 1.4 billion Apple devices that are currently in use. So, if you make a book available in those two stores, it’s already in reach for millions and millions of readers.
Whether it’s offline or online shopping, one thing is constant. The price always matters. Too high and it won’t attract a lot of consumers but if it’s too low, you won’t get much profit. When you’re setting up the price, make sure to check out the competition. Look at other books in the same genre and note the length of the material. It’s also important to look at the pricing of the best-selling books. Online bookstores often have charts for each genre so you can see the top sellers per week.
There’s also the option of selling a book for free. Amazon has a subscription service called Kindle Unlimited. It works like an online library. For $9.99 per month, subscribers can borrow up to 10 books from their selection. This is great for avid readers but there are downside for authors. Depending on the pricing, Amazon receives up to 70% of the royalties. Plus, they only pay authors per new page read. This means that even if someone has read a book several times, an author can only get paid for their first reading.
It has never been easier or more accessible to sell a product than it is now. But with its benefits, there are also disadvantages. You have to consider several things to be able to sell successfully.