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Marketing an ebook with the 4Ps

For indie authors

Published: Jun 25, 2024 by C.S. Rhymes

Author websites

This post is part of a series of posts about making and promoting an author website.

I have seen a lot of threads from indie authors asking for advice with marketing their ebook. If I’m honest, I have never really had a strategy for marketing my books, I just assumed that I could put it out there and people would find it. In the real world, that does not seem to be the case.

So I have decided to write a marketing strategy for my own book using the 4 Ps of marketing, hoping to define a strategy for me, but also to inspire other authors of how they can create their own strategy using the 4Ps.

So what are the 4Ps?

  • Product
  • Place
  • Price
  • Promotion

Let’s go through each of these 4Ps for my book How NOT to make a Website and see how we can build a strategy around it.


The product is my book, How NOT to make a website. But what is it? Let’s define it in more detail:

  • The title is “How NOT to make a Website”
  • It’s both an ebook and a print book.
  • It’s aimed at both website beginners and beginner developers, to help them improve their website and understanding of websites
  • It’s non-fiction
  • It’s a standalone book, not part of a trilogy, but could be considered part of a series if you consider one of my other books, How NOT to use a Smartphone.
  • It was first released in 2014 and has been updated once since.
  • The print size is 6 inches by 9 inches

So now we know more about the product, we can use this information to help define the other Ps.


This is where the product is sold. My book is sold on Amazon as an ebook, a printed book and also available through Kindle Unlimited.

The limiting factor for where the book is sold is KDP Select and Kindle Unlimited. You have to make your book exclusive to Amazon for it to be eligible for Kindle Unlimited. It is estimated that Kindle has a 67% market share of ebooks, so it makes sense for it to be exclusive as in theory it will reach more readers.

The company’s market share in ebook sales stands at least 67%, climbing to 83% when Kindle Unlimited is included.


However, this means that the print version is also limited to only be available through Amazon too.

There are many other places that the ebook could be sold, such as Google Play Books and Apple Books to name a few. Now that the book is older (originally released in 2014), it is worth investigating removing the exclusivity from Amazon and adding it to other distribution channels.

As it is a non-fiction book, it could find a niche in other places, such as libraries or specialist book stores that focus on user guides and how to books.


The book is currently £2.49 on Kindle and £6.99 on paperback. The paperback has the higher cost due to the additional printing costs that don’t affect the kindle version. Amazon prevents authors from selling the print book for lower than the print cost, so we are limited to what we can do here. Amazon also takes a 40% commission on top of the printing costs.

The ebook price is a bit more flexible. Amazon has a minimum price of $0.99 for ebooks, but for books under $2.99 authors only get 35% of the sale price, with Amazon taking 65%. Therefore, there is a massive incentive for authors to price their books at $2.99 and over so they get 70% of the price instead of 30%.

I have to admit, I lack in confidence with pricing my books, but when I think about it, this may cause readers to consider the book to be low quality as it has a low price than similar books. It is definitely worth investigating books in the same genre and listing their prices. It can be really eye opening to see your book at £2.49 next to a similar book priced around £20.


So now we know all about the product, place and price, how can we promote the book?

Who to target

We need to work out who the book is aimed at, known as the target audience. In this case, the target audience for my book is people new to creating or building websites that want to learn more. We could narrow this down further and say that the age range could be from 16 years and up, but would need some market research to confirm this. We also know that the book is written in English, so it makes sense to target UK, USA and other English speaking countries as the target audience.

We need to consider where people would look for this information, both online and offline, and then consider whether we can advertise your book on these specific websites or channels. This may seem daunting, but I was lucky enough to have “How NOT to make a website” featured in the last edition of .net magazine by responding to a request on Twitter for dev projects.

If you don’t ask then you won’t get.

Competitor Analysis

Once we know our target audience, we can then spend some time identifying competitor products and see what promotion they are doing for their products. This can give you good inspiration, but you want to put your own spin on things to make it unique to you. You also don’t have the inside information as to whether their tactics are working, they may just be trying different ideas to see what works for them.

Amazon Advertising

Amazon offers advertising services for their books. I have tried this out a couple of times with mixed results. The first time I tried I got only a couple of views, probably due to low keyword bids. The second time I tried I got much more views, but only a couple of click-throughs.

One thing I would recommend is to spend a lot of time to choose specific keywords for your book, trying out searches in Amazon that will make your competitors books appear. Amazon suggests keywords for you, but they may not all be relevant. Also ensure you set a daily spend limit that you can afford. I set mine to £3 a day for the trials I ran so I could learn without spending a lot of money.

One of the biggest advertisers out there is Google. I haven’t used Google Ads for a very long time (about 15 years ago!), so this advice may not be relevant now, but I would say to choose longer and more specific search terms so you are not spending a fortune competing for attention. For my book I would think something like ‘help building a website’ rather than ‘website’ would be a good way to go. Again, keep an eye on your budget and try and control your spending as Google will happily spend all your advertising budget.

Other promotion

In terms of other promotion, I list my book on my website in the books page, but I also list it in the footer of every page. I could look at alternative places to promote it, such as higher up the page, or pop-up ads (which can work, but really annoy me so I will try and avoid this).

There is a local bookshop that I should speak to about whether they are able to stock my books. Amazon offers expanded distribution which I have enabled, but never really looked into in much detail.

I also saw a local author event advertised, but I didn’t attend and I wish I had. If you sell paperbacks, then ensure you have a stash of them to hand for events like this. Making connections with real people is invaluable to help spread word of mouth recommendations.

Bringing it all together

So, what would I do for my marketing plan if I was starting from scratch today?

For the product itself, I think the biggest potential issue is the book title. People don’t search for ‘How NOT to make a Website’. They want to know how to make a website, not how not to do something. I thought I was being clever but I don’t think the tactic has worked. It’s a non-fiction book so I think people want something that solves a problem, not present them with more potential problems. I will do some research on changing book titles in Amazon and what the consequences are before I make any changes though.

As it is non-fiction, it may seem out of date now as it was released so long ago. It would be worth investing some time updating it and releasing a new edition. If I had thought ahead a bit more I could have taken advantage of the 10 year anniversary of the initial release.

I also wish I had put more thought into the print size. I chose the default 6 by 9 inches, but when I ordered an author copy I wish I had chosen 5 by 8 inches instead. The book just feels better when you are holding it.

For place, the book has been available exclusively through Amazon for many years now, so I think I am at a point where it is worth making the book available to a wider audience and removing the KDP Select auto enrolment. You then have to wait until the current enrolment period has finished. This could be a risk with a new book, but at this point I don’t think I have anything to lose from experimenting with new marketplaces.

For price, I think I will experiment with increasing the price to be closer to competitors books. I am proud of the content I have written so I want to showcase that the content is quality to potential readers.

For promotion, I will look at moving the promotion of my books to slightly higher up the pages so they are more prominent on the page. Some sites have a banner style add in the middle of articles. I will test this out and experiment with different layouts.

I will also keep an eye out for future local author events.

In terms of advertising on other sites, such as Facebook and Google, I have to be realistic and say that I don’t have the budget for this right now. There is the saying “you have to spend money to make money” but I’m going to try other tactics where I can, such as writing blog posts (like this one), that mention my books.

How NOT to make a Website is available now on Amazon Kindle, Kindle Unlimited and Amazon paperback.

writing marketing books

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