1. Giving away free ebooks will take away from sales.
On the contrary! Now, don’t get me wrong. Posting your books for free on certain sites can leave you open to fraud. There’s always someone out there who may try to claim your book as their own. Sometimes, they change the name on the book and publish it verbatim. Those people aside, posting your ebooks for free (if only for a limited time) will offer exposure and may entice readers to buy your other books.
The thing about ebooks is that anyone can publish one. Inevitably, this means between the gold there’s a lot of slush. Readers can be wary about paying for a book from an unknown author. Posting your book on a site for free or giving away free copies is a great way for them to experience your writing and will hopefully leave them coming back for more. It can be a promotional giveway or contest or a limited time offer to read the book for free (or several chapters of the book). Or, if you’re wary about posting the book for free, you can even write a short story and post that for free and provide links to your other full length books. Think about it: everybody wants something for free and everybody is more willing to try something when there’s no risk to them. Don’t let the thought of losing a few sales discourage you from giving away something for free. Those few sales you sacrifice could result in 10s to 100s to 1000s more book sales. You never know.
2. Being the author means you don’t have market.
If you think you’re marketing is beyond your expertise or even personality, you better start learning how to market. As with any product, if you want your book to sell, you have to get it out there. Brand yourself as an author. Publish your books on as many sites as possible (Amazon, B & N, Smashwords, Kobo, etc). You may opt to pay someone to market for you, but no one sells the author better than you. Many ebook authors have found that the money they spent on advertising agencies has had no visible spike in sales. Do your research. Find the best bang for your buck and track your sales following the advertisements. Just realize, the best advertisements will come from you. Use social media to your advantage (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Goodreads, etc) Participate in forums and guest blogs, research other ebook authors and see what they did. . . . The opportunities are limitless!
3. Once the book is released, the book will sell itself.
Many authors don’t sell 100 books. Some may not even sell one. Books don’t sell themselves whether they are traditionally published, self-published or published as an ebook. If you want to sell yourself and your book, you have to do the work. It’s as simple as that. No one said it was going to be easy but no one said it wasn’t going to be a lot of fun either. When you publish your ebook, you are behind the wheel. You can choose what you want to do and what you don’t want to do. There are so many ways to market your book. Play with a bunch of different ideas and find out what what works for you.
4. Buying an ad will translate into thousands of copies sold.
The sad truth, whether or not you choose to believe it is, many people don’t make back the money they spend on an ad. Even if its a high-traffic website that attracts millions upon millions, hits on a website does not translate into sales. How many times do you see an ads on these sites? Do you click on them? Does the ad entice you to buy the product? The answer is, probably not. It may sell a few copies but rarely enough to pay for the ad, let alone make a profit. There are so many places to effectively advertise for free, you just have to do the research. Work? Yes, but definitely worth the effort.
5. Once my book is released, I’ll be able to write fulltime.
Every writer dreams of the day their book is released and when they can hand in their resignation. The truth is, many authors hold fulltime jobs and write on the side. Let’s look at the royalties. Since Amazon is the most popular, I use them as an example.
If you choose the 35% royalty option, your ebook must be priced at $0.99 or higher. With the 70% royalty option, your book must be priced at $2.99 or higher. This means the profit from your ebook will be $0.35 (if priced at $0.99 under the 35% royalty option) and $2.09 (if priced at $2.99 under the 70% royalty option). Do the math. How many books per month do you have to sell for you to make a comfortable living at writing?
It’s not going to happen overnight (as much as we want it too!) If you’re serious about writing, you should start saving for the glorious day when you become a fulltime writer. Writing has its ups and downs, books with a great track record and those that don’t so it’s good to have two years worth of salary saved up before you even think about quitting your job. In addition, you should be consistently making enough money from your books per month to support you and have been doing so for the past year.
If you want to be a successful author, writing and marketing must go hand in hand. I said it before but it’s worth repeating. No one sells your book better than you. Not a celebrity, agency or ad can make bigger impact than you. You can’t buy your way through your marketing campaign. The best marketing is free and, in the end, your hard work will pay off.
Here, I’ve covered only five myths. That doesn’t even begin to touch the surface. Feel free to express your thoughts and experiences on ebook marketing in the comment section.