Updated: Dec 31, 2022
A handful of quick tips to get your books into more hands.
1. Price your books on the cheap side.
The most successful indies sell ebooks at no higher than $5.99. The sweet spot seems to be $2.99 - $3.99 for maximum sales/royalties. 99 cents is a great way to boost sales on release day and if you rank highly on release day, you have a good chance of remaining high in the long run. A permafree short story or novella can greatly help to gain new readers, if you have a decent backlist (older books), but ONLY if you have "reader magnet links" visible in the book. More on that next.
2. Use reader magnet links.
A reader magnet link is a hyperlink within your book that leads directly to your other books and/or website's mailing list. Often it's a sample from another of your books with a simple, "Like this book? Click to read the rest." Another smart addition is a link to your website offering a free short story, collection, novella, novel or all of the above. Many people will give your website a chance for a free story, and if they like what they see, you'll have found yourself a new reader. Always have links to your other work in your books (Also By...). The trads do it, and you should too. See examples from one of my books below.
3. Use shortlinks.
Long-string links look ugly and will only link to one market. HyperURL and Booklinker are great app that provides shortlinks to your books which will link directly to the market of the potential reader. Draft2Digital (an Amazon alternative) uses shortlinks AND will link to multiple stores, from Amazon to B&N to Hoopla.
Here's an example of a long-string URL with refID:
Ugly as shit, right? Now here's a clean shortlink from Booklinker for the same book:
They both take you to the same place, but only the latter will take you to your market if you happen to live outside of the United States.
The shortlink is also helpful for readers when it's time for them to review your book. If they click a link with a refID to review it, Amazon will assume they know you and will likely prevent them from reviewing your book.
4. Don't spam your followers.
Limit your self promotion to one post a day and NEVER slide into people's DMs with links to your books. It's the literary equivalent to an unsolicited dick pic. Just don't do it.
5. Format your books like everyone else.
This one you shouldn't HAVE to follow but it does help to have books that look like what you'd see from traditional publishers. That means no wonky formatting, minimal spelling and punctuation errors, etc. Irvine Welsh and Cormac McCarthy and Mark Z. Danielewski have the benefit of a large publisher and audience behind them. They can get away with no punctuation or heavy dialect. You can absolutely break this rule but on Amazon, readers expect ease of use. They want to jump into a novel and not have to work to hard to figure out the quirks of an author unknown to them. Why make it harder on readers before you're established?