How to Increase the Sales of Your eBook by 595.6 Percent

Emanuel Haldeman-Julius sold more than 200 million books and over 2000 different titles. What was his secret?

Emanuel Haldeman-Julius sold more than 200 million books and over 2000 different titles. What was his secret?

During the 1920s and 30s, Emanuel Haldeman-Julius sold more than 200 million books and over 2000 different titles.

Let’s just say that the man knew little bit about the book publishing business.

Here is one of his secrets.

He would place an ad in a newspaper advertising the book using only its title, then he would experiment by changing the title of the book to something else and placing a new ad to reflect the change.

Here are some numbers to pacify the “rational” brain.

Old Title=Ten O’clock. Annual Sales= 2000

New Title=What Art Should Mean to You. Annual Sales= 9000

Want another example? K.

Old Title=Fleece of Gold. Annual Sales= 5000

New Title=Quest for a Blonde Mistress. Annual Sales= 50 000

Here is one more.

Cashvertising. Cheesy looking but a quick and useful read. Highly recomended.

Cashvertising. Cheesy looking but a quick and useful read. Highly recomended.

Old Title=Casanova and his Loves. Annual Sales= 8000

New Title=Casanova, The History of the Greatest Lover. Annual Sales= 22 000

Source: Cashvertising (Amazon Affiliate Link)

Where did I get 595.6% from? Do the math son. Do the math.

Do you have an eBook? Are the sales sucking?

Maybe you want to play with the title. But how?

No, I’m not saying place an ad in a newspaper. Does anyone read those anyway?

I think Twitter will do nicely.

So, here is how to do it.

A very basic and highly unscientific method of doing it is to write a post that has something to do with the book.

For example.

This post is based on Cashvertising (Amazon Affiliate Link) by Drew Eric Whitman.

I strongly recommend Cashvertising to anyone who doesn’t have a lot of time but is interested in understanding how advertising is used to turn public into cash-dispensing drones. But I digress.

The Emanuel Haldeman-Julius info is from Cashverising, and I thought applying Haldeman’s principles using today’s technology would be relevant to my readers.

…so go write a post based on YOUR E-Book

You can do the same by writing an article that’s useful AND based on your book. (or eBook..whatevs).

Then, tweet different version of the title and track clickthroughs.

You can track clickthroughs via Google Analytics or by using bit.ly stats, (add + to the bit.ly shortened URL to view statistics) or whatever favorite method you have for monitoring incoming traffic.

Repeat with a different title at a different time.

Tweet different version of the title and track clickthroughs. Lather, rinse, repeat methodology.

Tweet different version of the title and track clickthroughs. Lather, rinse, repeat methodology.

I call this the lather, rinse, repeat approach to book-naming

I know, I know. It’s not very scientific and suffers from many drawbacks. There are few I can think of but I’d be curious to hear what drawbacks come to your mind?

But if we ignore the drawbacks, I think whittling down your choices to top 2 or 3 titles and then testing them by tweeting could help you decide on the right one.

Example

The very first post I wrote on diyblogger.net is called Black Hat Technique for Generating Hundreds of Comments Almost Instantaneously. But that wasn’t my first choice.

The first choice was something like “How To Generate 189 Comments in 5 Minutes“. Not bad. It’s very specific but little unbelievable.

After running a few tests, using emotionally intriguing phrases like “Black Hat” and “Instantaneously” proved to be a better choice.

Which title do YOU prefer?

Do you always go with the very first title that comes to mind?

Can you think of a better title for this post?

Dino Dogan

Global Force for Badassery | Founder of Triberr | Refugee from Bosnia | Writer for Technorati | Speaker | Lousy Martial Artist | Pretty good singer/songwriter | Hi :-)

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  • http://twitter.com/WilsonPetDesign Nia

    Good points Mr. Dogan & that “Black Hat…” was a great title :-)

    • http://diyblogger.com/ Dino Dogan

      thnx…the “Black Hat” post seems to be getting a lot of “play” which I dont think would happen with the original title…anyways…glad to see you’re making yourself at home :-)

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  • http://twitter.com/jaennutter Julie Nutter

    How incredibly fun. Title changing and the like… Hmm. I always went with super-simple things when writing titles for short stories or books, but I experiment a lot with blog titles,and change them up whenever I feel the need.
    There’s a big difference between marketing a book and a blog, I think. Or, at least there is for me. People read what I wrote with little to no advertising and I got around 5000 hits/month for years.
    With the blog?
    Not a chance. And the creative titles don’t do much in the way of damage control. My lesson in all of this: Watch the target audience. I could reel in every person in my target audience and would never reach the same number, titles be damned. There’s just not as big an audience.
    BUT. I like the post idea… I’ve tried it like that and I’ve had mild to moderate success – which is phenominal in the blog/e-book world, especially when one considers that we’re not marketing ourselves, but what we represent, and people nowadays are hard pressed to care about all that. Yay us.

    • http://diyblogger.com/ Dino Dogan

      Thnx JJ…I just thought Mr. Julius was onto something…and given the ease with which we can do what was very difficult for him to implement…why the hell not lol

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  • http://www.AnnieAndre.com Annie Andre

    Dino,
    This is great.. This is exactly what I used to do when i worked as a web traffic manager.  We had squeeze pages and would tweak one thing on a landing page and then release them to to different audiences to test which one had the best click through rate.  it was amazing how one little tweak like changing a button size, color location or word could increase conversion by over 100 percent. 
    i think twitter can achieve that same effect however, i also think you need to have a significant amount of followers or eyeballs on the tweet to make the data significant. 10 followers isn’t going to cut it. I’m not sure what significant is in this case.  1,000? 500?  200?
    Just Must my two cents. 

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

      That interesting.Having an audience of 10, as long as they are engaged might work. Not on Twitter, but in general. I think…I hope :-)

      One of the things we’re working on for Triberr is to create a Headline Testing Area, where you can “feed” 2 headlines and the rest of your tribe can vote one up or down, Hot or Not style.

      Now, this is feedback from your peers, not from your audience, but I think its a good start. If 10 ppl say “headline A is better than headline B”, well, its got to be better…right?  I think…I hope :-)

      • http://www.AnnieAndre.com Annie Andre

        hmmmm, i think it’s definitely better than nothing and a good start as two heads are certainly better than one. The problem i think, is it can be a self selecting crowd?  So i suppose it depends on the quality of your peers. To be honest, i’m not sure. It would be a fun test to see what your peers chose and then put it out against the masses and test, test test.  (i’m snorting now, because it sounds like a fun test)

        • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

          We have few other features to build before we can focus on Headline Testing Area, but I think its going to be pretty awesome :-)

           

  • http://twitter.com/_TonyAhn_ Tony Ahn

    Hi Dino! You asked about what drawbacks come to mind about the Lather, Rinse, Repeat method of finding the best title. First, I want to say that I think its not a bad way to go. The main drawback to the approach is that your first title will cannibalize subsequent tweets, and so will the second. You’re going to have overlap in what people like. For example, if we say that there are 100 people who would retweet your post with any given title, and 40 people retweet the first one, a good number of that 40 might not retweet the second one, even though they would have if they hadn’t already RT’ed the first one.

    Let’s say we can magically know the effectiveness of each title on retweets, and that 40 people would like the first one, 55 people would like the second one, and 72 people would like the third. After 40 people RT the first one, when they see the second one, maybe only 5 of them RT it as well, plus the 15 people who like it that don’t like the first one. So you get 20 retweets. Same thing happens with the third, so you get 24 from that one.

    That said, split testing is better than nothing. One way to minimize the issue I just outlined is to do all three tweets at the same time, so people are choosing their favorite from a mini-menu. This is all just off the top of my head though. That might cause other issues to pop up, I don’t know.

    Thanks for the post! I’ve been reading you for a long time.

    • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

       Hey Tony,

      So, few months after I published this post we unleashed Triberr onto the world. And one of the original features was the ability to test a headline. Appropriately we called it the Headline testing Area :-)

      We removed that feature since, even tho it was massively popular, to work on the design and enable a truer A/B type split test….in short, we’ll def bring it back :-)

      No system is perfect of course, but something is better than nothing :-)