What I Hate When People Market Their Ebooks

Books in shopping box

Selling Books Online *

As I’m thinking about self-publishing, I’m also trying to get a feel for how to market my future bestseller upcoming short story. And I’m stumbling on things that make me, as reader, rather angry.

In fact, I think the last thing I should do as author is to make my readers angry at me. That translates in less buys, less reviews and at the worst, bad rep. So, I’ll try to stay away from whatever makes me angry. And just to share what I figured for myself, here are a number of things that I dislike …

1) Make the ebook just a little bit cheaper than the paperback but still over 10 bucks
This is a rather German thing, I suppose. I’ve seen it time and again, and it doesn’t seem fair. After all, even though there is cost for the cover picture and layout – which accrue only once, mind you – the book doesn’t have to be printed. It also doesn’t have to be shipped to wholesalers who then distribute copies to bookstores or online sellers, generating even more cost. So while an ebook is not “free” to set up from the print layout, it still costs a lot less than a physically printed book. And there is no limit to print runs, either. I believe the price should reflect that.

2) Break a novel into several parts and sell them all individually
Again, that feels just like cheating. I’ve just seen it by a somewhat famous author, and I was rather disappointed when the whole “series” ran to over 20 parts. I was willing to give it a try, but when I discovered they were selling a novel by the chapter, I was more than ready to drop it.

3) Call an end to a novel willy-nilly and then try to sell the continuation as second part
Another level of cheating, to me. One of the first rules of writing is that a story has a Beginning, a Middle and an End. This is different from a cliffhanger (which also is somewhat irksome to me, but at least has tradition), in this case I mean a novel that breaks off in mid-travel, with the author mumbling something like “this seemed like a good place for a break”.

4) Try to sell rough drafts or even worse
I’ve had my fill of these, lately. Guys (and gals), if you want to sell your novel, you need to have it polished. Do invest in a copyediting and/or proofreading service. And seriously, take writing 101 somewhere. At the very least, read your first page out aloud to a friend and wait for their reaction. I’m too polite to review novels that fall in this category.

5) Shove your novel in my face on FB every other day
I love my FB friends. And I appreciate the work that goes into a novel and its marketing. I’ve been there. But hey, we’re your friends, we’ve seen this. Let us know something new, tell us about background, new ideas, and keep the interest up. Seeing the same old link every day or two is getting annoying fast.

Now, this is how you sell your novel to me:

Make me love your characters, your plot, and your world and I’ll be back for more every time. Share your writing woes and yays. Let me watch the new work develop, show your enthusiasm and delight with your world. Link your blog posts, if that’s where you prefer to be. I love “being part” of such events. I love watching a world grow. That’s the good kind of interaction. Oh, and show you’re human too.

And if I really, really enjoy your novel, I’ll write a review. If you want feedback before publishing, drop me a comment, and we’ll talk about it. Let me know if you want the brutal truth or a simple nay or yay.

* Image courtesy of ddpavumba / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About Hannah Steenbock

Hannah Steenbock is an author, dreamer, and coach. She has published several short stories in English and German, as well as one novel in German. In 2013 she started self-publishing her work. In 2014, she has won two awards for her short story "Sequoia".
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One Response to What I Hate When People Market Their Ebooks

  1. Samus says:

    My brother (who knows nothing about writing or publishing) actually told me that I should do the “publish one chapter at a time and sell them individually” thing. I calmed my rage, took a deep breath, and politely told him that I wouldn’t be doing that.

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