eBook Marketing
September ’22:  This page was originally to document marketing efforts I made to promote my eBooks on Amazon.

When I make myself a coffee, I don’t give a damn what the pretentious Barista crowd thinks of my methods or my equipment – I just make a cup to suit my own taste.  It’s the same with writing novels.  I don’t write to please a specific reader market – I just write stories that appeal to me!  The creative process is what makes it all worthwhile.  I made the decision 30 years ago to support eBooks over pBooks, mostly for environmental reasons, but the commercial backlash against eBooks, which threaten the profitability of the publishing, paper-making, distribution and book-selling industries, has been ferocious.
eBook Benefits:  First and foremost, they don’t use any paper.  They don’t take up any room in the average reader’s home (no cluttered book-shelves, especially important for fiction books like novels) so they are tidy!  The average novel in eBook form is about one Megabyte in size, so one 16Gb Flash-drive could hold over 10,000 books – more than an average person can read in an entire lifetime.  Purchase price for an eBook is typically a tiny fraction of a pBook – usually only about US$2 – so having a large home book collection is not a luxury.  Buying a new eBook is so cheap that readers can afford to read widely.  The book you want to read is never ‘out of stock’ or ‘no longer in print’, and you don’t have to traipse around different book-stores looking for the title you want.  Online providers exist for eBooks in any language.  Despite the Amazon monopoly on eBooks for new titles, online sites exist for eBooks of older or classic titles available for free download.  What’s not to like?
eBook Problems:  They are NOT physical products, so are seen as a commercial threat.  They cost nothing to make or distribute – they’re just a single file on a Website Server somewhere.  Customers just download a COPY of that to display on their suitable device without the environmental impact or commercial exploitation of a pBook.  Perhaps for a small fee, perhaps for no cost at all.  Therefore, people in the book trade detest eBooks!  I started writing novels 50 years ago, before eBooks had been invented.  Author’s lament:  That’s long enough to see four main problems:
  • All you need to read an eBook is a tablet, laptop, phone, desktop computer or eBook Reader.  Everyone today has at least ONE of those, but most people still prefer reading a pBook.  They just like the familiar feel and smell of a printed book.  So the major benefit of eBooks – that they don’t use any paper, so are good for the planet – really doesn’t matter to most novel-readers.  They don’t see cutting down trees to make paper as their problem.
  • They are SO cheap that commercial opposition is fierce and absolute!  Traditional Publishers pay for all the printing, marketing and distribution for pBooks.  Those costs are substantial and the investment risk very real.  Physical pBooks must be purchased by book-sellers and held in stock.  By comparison, eBooks cost nothing to print or deliver.  Online eBook suppliers like Amazon simply list the work online, so it is NEVER out-of-stock.  They regard eBooks as a commodity like any other, and expect authors to do all the marketing.
  • In typical US corporate style, Amazon has steadily gobbled up all competitors so that their Kindle Reader device, which is BY FAR the most common Reader, dominates the eBook market.  Customers globally have no choice but to buy from Amazon, and authors (or copyright-holders) listed on Amazon are prohibited from selling their eBooks anywhere else – even privately – at risk of being sued, which DOES happen.  Other online eBook sellers are prohibited from offering eBooks in Kindle file format.  This marketing monopoly, which would not be tolerated for other products, has somehow become invisible.  Amazon has made eBooks an exclusive market.
  • Books (especially fiction titles) do not sell themselves – they need marketing.  Because of the Amazon market monopoly and zero online marketing, most effective promotion of eBooks now relies on authors using social media platforms.  Traditional printed media advertising has vanished, and authors without a strong social media presence and a willingness to actively drive potential readers to Amazon (ethically challenging in itself), cannot sell their eBooks.
The market for eBooks has become very polarized because MARKETING costs are substantial and online sellers like Amazon make no attempt to advertise them – they merely list them online.  I have now made all 17 of my novels free to anyone who wishes to read them.  The online eBook market requires authors to be self-Publishers, and do all their own marketing, which means self-promotion.  As an author, I find advertising my own creative works for marketing purposes to be ethically unacceptable.  All book reviews are subjective judgments, and not for authors to make.  That’s for readers to decide.