What I’ve Learned About Selling An eBook

How paying attention has increased my sales conversations

Picture of eBook

Hello blogger friend.  I want to share some things with you that I learned about selling eBooks over the past couple of weeks.  Money making kinda things

Ok, so I recently launched my first eBook, The Paleo Sweet Tooth.  I’m super proud of the final product, which is a relief given the amount of work that it takes to create (a high-end product). Anyhoo, right out of the gate I had high hopes that potential buyers would have the same level of enthusiasm as I.  So, I took a deep breath and I put it out there on the interwebs.

I published it through E-junkie, created a page to sell it, and finally got the affiliate program wired up (sounds easy enough, but give yourself a few days to accomplish these tasks. There was plenty of frustration surrounding this process).  It was then time to just sit back and listen for the sound of a personalized “cha-ching” ringtone that I set up on my phone each time a new mail came in from PayPal.  Yes, I was selling my cookbook.  I had decent sales, but, I wasn’t hearing enough cha-chings to keep a steady beat so that I could get my dance on.

One thing I don’t want to do is make it difficult for people to give me their money.

So, I reached out to a dozen or so people who had purchased the cookbook and asked them some specific questions about things they liked, struggled with, thought was missing, etc.  I craved feedback.  I also put myself through the entire user experience (the sales page > buy page > download page) a few more times.  Through these exercises some themes emerged.  I thought about those themes and explored some thoughts about how I might make improvements.

I ended up prioritizing things that I wanted to fix. I had a long list, but only enough time and money to do the more important things. So I picked one big thing and a handful of smaller things and got to work. 

picture of sales chart

Once I was able to get some updates (see below) onto my website I quickly noticed that all of the good numbers started growing faster than ever before.  It was working!  I went from a mildly impressive speed-walker’s hustle, to a legit marathon runner’s pace sprinting towards the goals I had set for myself.  My conversion rates spiked.  More affiliates started getting on board, writing articles and spreading the word.  Best of all, a significant percentage of new customers buying the book also visited my site or Facebook page.  More exposure, likes, shares and growth.  Taking the time to make and ponder small observations and then taking action has paid off – so far anyway.


Here are some of the bigger themes I noted and took steps to fix:

LESSON 1: Be Monogamous.  Don’t bring other ads into the relationship

When I first put The Paleo Sweet Tooth online I created a page for it using the same template that I use for my normal articles.  You know the one; header at the top, a big picture, a wall of text below it, a right rail with a waterfall of ads and/or other distractions.  Huge mistake. 

Think about it.  Either an affiliate or myself persuaded the potential buyer to visit that page in order to look at my cookbook about delicious desserts.  So, why would I want to add noise and confusion to the page by listing competing ads/links?  It wasn’t helping me sell my cookbook and it certainly wasn’t optimal for my affiliates who partner with me hoping to make as much money as possible. 

All I was doing was competing with my own product. I make far more from selling my eBook than someone clicking on an Amazon/Adsense ad.  So, to address this issue, I had a simple one-pager created that was solely dedicated to the product I wanted to share with my visitors.  Every single line of text and image is now oriented towards the cookbook I am selling.  Fast forward 24 hours and the jump in sales clued me in that it was the right thing to do.


LESSON 2: Clear Call to Action

If you look at the image of the first design (posted below) you’ll see that there is no crisp call to action.  Shortly after I went live with the cookbook I watched a friend go through the experience. I basically asked her to speak her thoughts aloud as she went through it.  I remember at one point hearing her say in frustration, “I just want to know where the BUY button is.  Where do I click to buy this?!” 

Once she did finally figure out how to buy it, she landed on the Paypal page and saw it listed for $20 instead of the advertised $12.  Continuing with her irritated tone, she said “I thought it was supposed to be $12?  Is there a discount code I should be using?  I see a spot where I can add a code but I don’t know the discount code” Yikes. One thing I don’t want to do is make it difficult for people to give me their money. 

So, to fix this, I made use of the additional white space I had available (now that there were no competing advertisements). I had big, bright, BUY NOW buttons created and made sure they had plenty of elbow room so as to draw the eye.  Huge difference.



Lesson 3 : Show ‘em the Goods

As you can see in the screenshot of my first design I only showed some of the recipes on the sales page.  I didn’t give a complete list.  I also didn’t say all that much about who the cookbook was for (target audience) and why they wanted it. 

To address this in the new design, I added a picture and cheeky note about each dessert featured in the cookbook. Now visitors get to see everything and have a broader view of what’s available.  It’s entirely possible that one particular recipe is responsible for X number of sales, so it makes all the sense in the world to advertise every single one.

I also added some copy describing who my primary audience is and why they’ll love the recipes.  I followed that up with supporting content that talks about the fact that the desserts are so ridiculously good that even people who aren’t following a Paleo diet will still love them.


Lesson 4: Be Ready for Affiliates

At first I either assumed that the people in my network of peers were already familiar with affiliate processes or I was just too busy to think much about it. I presumed that fellow bloggers were old pros with manipulating HTML code for banners and text links (forgetting that I struggle with these same issues).  I assumed affiliates would only need one size of banner so I didn’t really have a complete set ready to support different site configurations.  The point being I made a lot of assumptions.  As a result, I think I lost some opportunities to form new partnerships.

After going through my affiliate program’s process more thoroughly, I decided that I would create a new page completely devoted to onboarding affiliates to help sell The Paleo Sweet Tooth.  It’s not perfect, but it’s so much better.  I’m getting more and more sign-ups with fewer people needing assistance.  More people are making money and that’s a good thing for all of us.

Those are the larger things I’ve learned during this first leg of selling The Paleo Sweet Tooth.  If you’re also going through your own journey selling an eBook, consider some of the lessons I’ve learned from my own limited experiences.  Not all will be relevant to your situation but perhaps one or two will.  

On the flip-side of this conversation, if you’ve had your own Ah-ha! Moments that you’d like to share I’d love to hear them.  Feel free to email me directly (healthnutnation AT gmail.com) or leave them in the comments for everyone to read.


Partnership: Interested in Making Money Together Moving Tasty Pixels?

If you’re interested in working together and sharing profits, then I’m all in.   I’m splitting profits with my affiliates right down the middle- 50/50.  It’s a good way for us both to make more money to pay bills and pad the savings account.

If you want more information, you can visit my affiliate’s onboarding page. Join the affiliate program (super quick).  Get a banner, write a review, post on Facebook or whatever other creative ways you come up with to share it with your audience. Seriously, we should work together.  Let’s do this!



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  1. Great article. I am in the process of working on an e-course and these lessons are just as valuable.

  2. 4HourBody Diva says:

    awesome insight Alison! I don’t have an eBook yet, but i hope to around Spring (4-hour body breakfasts). In the meantime, I’ve signed up as an affiliate and look forward to those cha-chings!

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