A write old life.

Dougie Brimson. Author, screenwriter, serial moaner.

The one fact all authors should know about eBook marketing.

life, work, money, sex, military, football, marriage, kids, writing, ebooks, author, marketing, blogging, Writing is, by its very nature, an odd profession. After all, if you strip it back to basics it involves spending most of your time on your own making up stories.

That said, it’s also a pretty cool way of earning a living not least because I get to spend most of my time on my own making up stories.

Now obviously I am not the only person to see this as a positive attraction because there are seemingly many people out there who wish to follow in my footsteps and fair play to them I say. Indeed, in these ePublishing times, it’s never been easier to make your work available to an eager public.

The problem of course, is that writing a book is only half the story. Or even, as many would have you believe, barely a fifth of the story. Because once you’ve written your book, movie or play, you have to sell it. Yes, that’s right, as a self-published author, everything falls on your shoulders and that includes the role of salesperson.

Personally, I love this side of the job because it provides me with the perfect excuse to piss about on the internet and whatever I am doing seems to work because I am, apparently, doing OK. I could possibly be doing better but I have no way of knowing that for sure because I’d much rather be writing, watching TV or riding my motorbike than writing ‘guest blogs’ or taking part in blog tours (whatever they are) which are both apparently obligatory for authors who want to sell eBooks. Or at least it is according to the so-called experts.

This leads me nicely onto the point of this blog because yesterday I read an article about writers marketing their work which left me not far short of incensed. It wasn’t simply the subject matter which was actually about screenwriters putting their screenplays for sale on Amazon (although if you need me to tell you why that’s a bad idea you deserve everything that could possibly befall you) it was the bit at the end about the author of said article. This bit in fact: (I have deleted her name because I refuse to give her any publicity)

XXXXXX XXXXXX is an author and screenwriter. She is the author of “Publish Your Screenplay on Kindle.” She plans to publish several of her screenplays on Kindle before year’s end.

So, she’s written a book and an article telling us to do something which she hasn’t actually done herself… yet. Do you really need me to tell you what I think of that?

The sad thing is that there are thousands of people like this who are making money off the back of the writing community by selling experience that they do not actually have and indeed, there are plenty of so-called ‘professional authors’ who actually derive most of their income from talking about the subject of being an er… professional author as opposed to earning money from actually selling books. Or to put it another way, frauds.

This is especially true of the subject of eBook marketing because take it from someone who actually knows, the truth is that whilst the web is awash with articles telling you how to do it, there is actually no magic formula. More often than not, what decides if an eBook is going to sell or not is good old fashioned luck.

Yes, of course there are things you can do to help get the stars if not aligned at least visible and these range from exploiting social networking to writing ranting blogs but the bottom line is that the fundamentals of eBook marketing are exactly the same as they are for traditional publishing. For an aBook by a relatively unknown author to be a success it comes down to the same old thing; right book, right time, right reader, etc, etc.

And that my friend is the secret. You can have it for free.


football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritanceDougie Brimson is an author and screenwriter. Thirteen of his fifteen books are available in electronic format including The Crew (which was the most downloaded football title of 2012 and has held the #1 slot on its Amazon and iTunes chart for almost 18 straight months) and his latest comedy, Wings of a Sparrow.

His screen writing credits include the multi-award winning feature Green Street and the forthcoming adaptation of his own novel, Top Dog.

11 comments on “The one fact all authors should know about eBook marketing.

  1. Winfred Cook
    March 9, 2013

    Hi Dougie, I couldn’t agree more! I’m a lazy blogger but I guess it’s a necessary evil. Both of my novels, “Uncle Otto” and “Wayfarers,” are in e-book format and that’s a good thing. However if you don’t do the necessary promotion nothing will happen. What has become abundantly clear is that there are plenty of phony marketing schemes out there for unsuspecting fledging writers trying to get their work out there; I know because I was one of them. Unless you do the foot work, as you suggested, none of those quick marketing scemes will work, and they all cost. What has been helpful for me is getting as many reviews as possible. That’s when I get the most responses, and hopefully the right eyes will happen upon one or both of my books. Check out my website; http://www.winfredcook.com

  2. Dougie Brimson
    March 9, 2013

    Thanks Winfred. Word of mouth is the ONLY tool that works for 90% of ebooks and you’re right, it’s all about getting as many reviews as you can and in all the right places.

  3. MarcNash (@21stCscribe)
    March 11, 2013

    Hey Dougie these people make me laugh (through gritted teeth admittedly). it’s really just a form of pyramid selling – buy my book for the secrets of how to sell millions of your book – Buy their book and help propel them towards selling millions of theirs more like it… Their secret, write your own book telling people how to sell millions of books and thanks for your paypal payment into the account… Seth Godin seems to have built a career as an author on the back of it, but what he does is write about marketing techniques. I thought we outlawed this sort of dodgy dealing in the 80s, but maybe that was just for postcard adverts put up in the windows of newspaper shops offering ‘work from home’…

    • Dougie Brimson
      March 11, 2013

      I think you’re spot on Marc. The problem as I see it as that the whole ‘industry’ of self-publishing is so new, no one actually fully understands it or how it works. Yet.

      Much of this, I suspect, is that far too many people have forgotten that the most important person in the whole process is actually the reader.

      The sooner authors wise up to that, the better.

  4. lkwatts
    March 12, 2013

    Hi Dougie,

    I love this post! Marketing has always been a struggle for me as no matter what I do, I always seem to sell the same amount of ebooks. I could spend 40 hours per week networking and Tweeting etc and still not sell any more books than if I’d only spent 5 hours a week online. I’m going to concentrate on finishing my fourth book and then have a crack at some serious marketing.

    • Dougie Brimson
      March 12, 2013

      I think pretty much 95% of authors could say exactly the same thing. The balance between marketing and writing is one of the great struggles facing everyone these days (remember not so long ago, people were claiming the 80/20 split was the only way to go!) but I think increasingly, writers are waking up to the fact that building a platform coupled with a steady supply of books is the only marketing tool that actually works.

      That of course, takes time although I was lucky in that I came into epublishing with a hefty backlist but I still have to let people know that my books are now electronically available and that involves many hours spent at a keyboard.

      On the plus side, you get to see the rewards of your efforts much faster than you would if you were promoting traditionally published books and in that sense, it has to be worthwhile.

  5. Pingback: How I discovered the most unique eBook marketing tactic ever. | The Thoughts of Chairman Doug.

  6. Christopher Hudson
    March 13, 2013

    Well, I can’t argue with the secret to success you offer, or, more importantly, the price … however, I do take exception with the notion that Ms X should be chastised for her enterprise … the only thing that irritates me about scams like that is that I never think of them first.

    • Dougie Brimson
      March 13, 2013

      I can’t agree Christopher. As I said, trying to sell expertise you don’t actually have is shameful.

  7. Kent Johnson
    March 15, 2013

    Nice post Dougie. I know many people spending bucks on dubious editors, doing the blog tours, posting advertisements and in the end, they may break even on a book with a few hundred in circulation. Not to say I’m a shrewd marketer either, with three novels in editing, none sold. I do have a number of short stories published, which help spread my name, so I guess, all is good and one day when luck shines on me at the same time my edit is finally finished, perhaps the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow will cover up my mixed metaphors and run on sentences.

    Saw you on a Goodreads post. I saved you in my list of of favorites. Thanks.

    • Dougie Brimson
      March 15, 2013

      Thanks Kent. This whole subject is a source of both angst and debate to me. But as I said earlier, the people ultimately to blame are those who hand over cash. Why do they not check the people they are hiring?

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