Mark Coker, the CEO of Smashwords, has a unique perspective on what works and what doesn’t for selling ebooks. Unlike an indie author who sees his/her own sales figures and reads what Joe Konrath and a few others say about their sales figures, Mark sees the sales figures for many, many different indie authors. After all, one of his jobs is to collect those sales figures.
Write another great book - The best-selling authors at Smashwords offer deep backlists. Think of each book as a fish hook in the ocean. When each book cross references the other books with simple hyperlinks (both inside the book and within the retailer’s merchandising systems), you create a net. A deep backlist also offers you the opportunity to earn the trust of the reader. Once the reader trusts that you’ll respect their time with a great read, they’ll be more inclined to sample and purchase your other titles.
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Architect for virality - In the presentation, I described my concept of “first reader,” the person you convince to purchase your book. Every reader is a first reader. If your book resonates with them, they’ll promote the book to their friends. If it doesn’t resonate, they won’t promote it. Since readers will determine the success of your book, you, as the author or publisher, can take steps to facilitate the virality (word-of-mouth) of your book. The presentation outlines those steps, as well as how to avoid what I call Viral Decay and Negative Virality.
Link to the rest at The Smashwords Blog