Well… I’m done. The Underground Guide to International Volunteering is wrapped up into nice PDF and Kindle packages and it’s out there in the world. Now what? Sadly, it’s not flying off of the shelves. I’ve sold three copies of the Kindle version (two to friends) and the PDF isn’t doing much better.
But it’s ok because I haven’t actually tried to sell it yet. After finishing the book I was sick of thinking about the thing and took a week away from it. I stuck it up on Amazon and made a half-assed attempt at building a book website (which is mostly done but not really) and then I started working on other things.
But the time has come to make a reasonable attempt at selling something I worked so hard on for so long. Fortunately I think it’s a good resource that a lot of people will get a lot of use out of. Now it’s just a matter of putting the book in front of those people’s eyeballs and hoping for the best.
I’m completely new to the world of eReaders. I only bought my Kindle a few months ago and, while I’m in love with it, the Amazon Kindle marketplace isn’t something I know a lot about. But I see the potential in having a Kindle version of my book up on the Amazon marketplace. It’s used by millions of people and is essentially a search engine for people who are already looking to buy a book. The trick is having my book rank for the relevant keywords and to figure out a good price, among other things.
I went into the world of Kindle pretty blind but picked up Making a Killing on Kindle along the way and I have a bit of hope. It sounds like a scammy book, promising ridiculous things. I don’t want to make a killing… I just want to sell a couple of books a day. I’ve got a good product and, based on the competition, it’s not unreasonable for people looking for volunteering info to pick it up. It does have a nice cover, after all!
The book is a step by step guide to using Amazon’s Kindle marketplace to your advantage. It doesn’t advocate blogging, Twitter, Facebook, or any social media, really. It makes sense… learn how to rank your book and do the rest of it right (reviews etc) and you’ve already got your book in front of people who are poised to buy. Why would they be searching on Amazon if they didn’t want to buy something? Well… lots of reasons, I suppose, but the point is that these are the people you want your book in front of. Especially when a sale can be a single click away.
I’ve been working through the book and it all makes a lot of sense. I’m not seeing any success so far but I haven’t done much besides upload it and choose a price. There’s a lot more to perfecting things and I’m looking forward to tinkering with everything and seeing how this works out.
So for Kindle… it’s not really a promotion strategy as much as it’s a strategy for getting the most out of the Kindle marketplace and Amazon interface. I’m going to try to have all of the steps followed by the end of next week… so it’ll be interesting if things improve or if it’ll be a big fail.
The area that I’m more familiar with is promoting the book online through other people’s blogs and websites. This worked reasonably well for me the first time around in 2009 and this time there are far more quality blogs to contact and I’ve added an affiliate programme.
The idea is to send off as many emails as possible to blogs and websites that seem like a good fit for my eBook. I’ll start with the people who’ve already written about the original version – only about 30 people. I need to get in touch with them first to ask taht they change the charity information. A portion of the sale of the first version included a donation to a charity but this time around I’m splitting the profits with affiliates. So I want to make sure people change that so nobody is misled. Then I’ll check up to see if they want to review the new version or want a new guest post. Reviews are less work for me so they’re ideal, but I’m very happy to put together guest posts.
The next step is to contact new people who have blogs or websites with an audience that might be interested in a book like this. This means scouring the Internet and making a huge list. So far, after a bit of scouring, I’ve got a list of about 120 sites to work through. I’m taking a very personalised approach, first reading their blog for awhile to get a feel for their site (to see if it’s a good fit) and then writing a personal email saying why I think my ebook would be a good fit, explaining the affiliate program, and saying that I’m open to suggestions on how we could work together. I’m not in any huge rush to find zillions of partners all at once (I want it to be a slow release sort of approach) so I think this personal touch works well.
It’s been ages since I’ve read blogs. I spend so much time online that I don’t really read much from my computer. So I need to get back into the world of travel blogging. It’s actually been pretty fun to catch up with bloggers I used to follow and to see how the industry has evolved and what sorts of new sites are out there. It’s great to make new contacts and it means that Nerdy Nomad might get back on some people’s radars as well.
So the idea here is to reach out to good blogs and website to find partners willing to sell my ebook either through a review, a guest post from me, a link in the sidebar, or a shout out in a newsletter or social media. It’s a long, time-consuming process but the good part is that, once I form partnerships, these links stay out there in the Internet world for people to continually find. I was selling 5 to 10 of the old version of my ebook without having done any promotion for about three years. It’s because those links are out there and people interested in volunteering will find them. My idea this time around is to space out the posts but to also continue looking for new partners over the years, rather than doing it for six months and then stopping.
Who knows if it’ll work! But if I can sell 10 ebooks a month without doing much of anything, then I’m hopeful that being a bit more aggressive will bump that number up a lot. Hopefully combined with Kindle I’ll be able to bring in my goal of a consistent $300 per month. I don’t think that’s being too ambitious… so lets see how it goes!
I also bought my first ad over on Almost Fearless. It shows up in the sidebar of their internal pages. Good investment? Who knows! But it wasn’t expensive and their readership is large and I think they’re the type that could be into volunteering.
Email me and firstname.lastname@example.org with your website or blog address and if it looks like a good fit, I’ll send you a review copy. Or we can discuss a guest post. If you’d like to join up as an affiliate, here’s all the info: http://www.internationalvolunteeringguide.com/affiliate-programme
As always, I’ll keep you updated!