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What To Do When Your Ebook Turns Out to Be a Big, Fat Flop


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As authors we all want our ebooks to turn into runaway bestsellers - pulling in dozens of sales a day and flooding our PayPal accounts with mountainous waves of lovely cash.

Unfortunately, flops do happen to ebook authors on all levels. Even if you've had one or two successful titles you're still not guaranteed a permanent parking spot on Ebook Sales Easy Street. Like refunds and bad reviews, flops can be chalked up as a writer's occupational hazard.

When police officers are in the line of duty they wear bullet proof vests. And although Kevlar strapped tightly to your chest won't help you avoid a stray flop, there are a few things you can do to lessen the sting.

  1. Ask Yourself, “Is it really a flop?"

    An ebook targeted to a small segment of readers might appear to be a flop. But if your buying universe is small - say 5,000 deep - and your sales message only appeals to 1% of those people - 50 buyers - then yes. . . it might appear to be a genuine flop.

    But in reality, your sales message (not the ebook itself) could be the problem child. And if that's the case, you should get yourself a good copywriter, or figure out what hurts your readers have and tailor your sales message to healing those hurts.

  2. Turn It Into an Authority Site.

    Take everything you've written and slap it onto a website. Sprinkle some affiliate links throughout. Encourage others to link to you. Voila. . . you've just become an authority site.

    An ‘authority site’ is just a fancy Web 2.0 way of saying that search engines and site owners view your website as a place that contains truly useful information.

    The good thing about creating an authority site is that you'll get a lot of free traffic. Plus if you ever decide to write another ebook on a similar topic, you can use your authority site to promote it.

  3. Add it to Another Ebook.

    By itself your ebook may be a flop. But add it to another ebook, perhaps as a bonus item, and you might have a winner for dinner.

  4. Target it to a Different Audience.

    If your original readership consists of experts, is there some way you can change a few words to make the same material appropriate for beginners?

    If you're writing for mom's, maybe the ebook can be slanted for dad's, grandparents, or even adoptive parents.

    Even an ebook for consumers can be flipped and made appropriate for a business audience.

    However if you're going to do this, be sure you change the title and give it a different cover design. You don't want to hang old decorations on a new tree.

Remember, as ebook authors we're in a position of flexibility. If something doesn't work we have the option to go in and adjust strategies as necessary. So don't let a sleeping ebook just lie there. . . use as many alarm clocks as you need to wake it up.

Alexis Dawes intimately talks about what it's like to sell ebooks online through her blog. If you'd like to see the problems, pitfalls and power moves ebook authors experience, click over to


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