Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Guest Blog by Birgit Kluger

How to sell your English ebook in the German market

My name is Birgit Kluger and I have been a writer since more than a decade. For a living I write about various topics such as logistics, project management and marketing. For fun –and hopefully one day for a living- I write ChickLit, Fantasy and Mystery novels.

My latest book combines these two areas since I am trying to help authors market their English books in Germany. The idea grew with my own attempts at marketing the English version of my Fantasy novel in the US and UK market. Something that was harder than I first thought.

I know I was being naive but I figured what –still- works in Germany, would also be successful in other countries. Which is why I started a free KDP promotion, the giving away of free ebooks on Amazon by signing exclusively with Amazon for 90 days.

I did the usual: Contacted some websites and Facebook pages that feature free books, twittered about my promotion and then waited to see how many downloads I would get.

The results were sobering. After three days I didn’t even have a hundred downloads. It took me a while to find out that you have to be listed with either Pixel of Ink, Ereader News Today or Bookbub to attract readers to a FREE book.

Would have been good to get information about these things, BEFORE starting the promo. My next attempts were more successful but unfortunately Amazon had changed the algorithms again, so despite the fact that I had 16,000 downloads I didn’t sell many books afterwards. Again, the information would have been helpful to have.

The good thing about these experiences was that I started marketing my English book in Germany with considerably better results. Why? Because I know the German book market very well. My ChickLit/Mystery book was the top 100 Kindle Charts for more than two months and in its Genre charts for more than a year.

I tried various marketing tools as well as selling exclusively on Amazon and using an Aggregator to reach more shops. I did blog tours, reading events and issued press releases to reach potential readers.

In my book “Going Global – How to sell English ebooks in Germany”, I am giving this knowledge to English authors.

With this guide I am trying to help authors avoid the pitfalls and mistakes I made when entering the US market. I hope it is helpful to authors who try selling their ebooks beyond the US and UK markets. In “Going Global” I explain to you which advertising sites really shift books, why free promotions still get results, which dates are the best for such a promotion and how you can sell your ebook outside of Amazon.

About the Author: Birgit Kluger published her first novel “Schau ihr in die Augen”, with Droemer Knaur, one of the big publishing houses in Germany. She is author of the best selling ChickLit-Crime novel “Trau niemals einem Callboy”. She has also published an English fantasy novel “Creatures of Fire: Demons die harder” under the pen name of J.B. Brooklin. With “Going Global – How to sell English ebooks in Germany”, she tries to help English authors sell their ebook in Germany.

Her newest endeavor is “Save Dschinnanya!” a fund raising project for Part 2 of her English Fantasy Series “Creatures of Fire”.


Anonymous said...

Hi Birgit,

I just bought your book and am looking forward to reading it. There are so many markets out there, and it's nice to have a guide along the way.

Best wishes,


Mike Fook said...

I sell a couple of my Thailand-focused non-fiction books in Germany each month. Maybe 6 a month at the most. I have had a number of people contact me from Germany, asking if they could translate my entire books to German. I've resisted, but wonder about your thoughts on that. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi Susanne,

I wish you all the best and hope that you sell many books in Germany!!

Best regards,

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,
in my experience a bad translation is worse than no translation. The problem with translations is that you need a pro. This is quite expensive.
I would really advise against letting someone translate your work unless you are certain that they know what they are doing.
Best regards,

Ryan Schneider said...

Joe has had personal experience with translating his work.

John Mellies said...

Hi there, Birgit.

Just picked up your book. I love the idea of marketing in foreign Amazon stores. Your book looks like it hits the spot. I'd love a book that focuses on the UK market. Maybe that could be your next project :)

I.J.Parker said...

I'm German by birth but write in English and am pubbed in the U.S. and a few other places. 3 of my novels have been translated into German, though not a great translation. They did not do very well. I now self-publish through Amazon. Germans don't seem to be interested in e-books unless they are free. I had offers of promotion, but only if I made my books free. This is ridiculous!

Elizabeth said...

This is fantastic! Thank you Birgit! I run a translators' co-op and we will give a free copy of this to author clients who translate a novel or novella into German with us. It's Language+ Literary Transltions.
Elizabeth Jennings

Sam Mark said...

Seriously, Birgit, I bought and returned my copy.

I am sorry but it really reminded me of a very short version of David Gaughran's book "Let's Get Visual" with some added comments from http://selfpublisherbibel.de, which is German, I admit. Still, unless I missed something major the statistics you choose are readily available from The Global eBook report update fall 2013 
http://www.global-ebook.com/ .

Apart from that you translate a couple of forms from amazon author. While that might be helpful for some, the forms are basically the same regardless in which language. You just need to fill in in the same sequence.

Considering how short your book is, this took up a lot of space.

I know the German market, too, and you are right, one needs to go via aggregators to reach part of the online stores (that goes for self publishers and publishing companies alike). Unfortunately, you not only did not mention most of the aggregators, but the list you provided is not really the best choice either, in terms of contracts and royalties. I would be interested in an explanation about how you came up with your choice — maybe I am missing something? As it is I am not of the opinion that you are giving the best advice here.

What I liked were the book blogs you mentioned. Still, a simple google search would have found those same blogs. I tried. It is also a rather short list.

I am sorry, really. I bought the book because I hoped to learn something from it. Instead, it left me rather puzzled.

I did not leave a negative review on amazon, instead I hope you will go back to your manuscript and add a bit more information. As it is, you will find most of it in the blog you have already mentioned, as well as in the magazine of the Börsenverein des deutschen Buchhandels (not totally neutral, though).

All the best,

(I'm on my iPad and do not see where to put an email address. It is also rather clumsy to write. Sorry for tipping errors)

Anonymous said...

Hi John,
I hope you find my book helpful! Actually I am still trying to figure out the UK market, with no success so far. Once I do, I'll write about it :).
Best regards,

Anonymous said...

Hi I.J.,
I can't say that this is true. A lot of ebooks are sold. Often it is a matter of finding the right marketing tool and of letting readers know that your book is out there.
Best regards,

Anonymous said...

Hi Sam,

Sorry to hear that you didn't find my book helpful.
As to the aggregators: I chose the german ones based on whether or not they operate on an international level. Meaning that authors outside of Germany can use them too. I also added one aggregator who operates from the UK.

Best regards,

Steven M. Moore said...

Hi Birgit,
My promos on Amazon have been in decline, even though I announce them everywhere I can that's free (if I remember correctly, Bookbub isn't one of those sites--I refuse to pay for these announcements just like I refuse to pay for reviews). In my most recent promo, I was giving away two new releases. My knee-jerk reaction is that you can't even give books away nowadays, but then I started thinking, my promos were right after the government shutdown and near debt default here in the States--maybe people just didn't pay attention to free books!
At any rate, the number of downloads is miserable. Anyone have a better idea (I just use them for promoting name recognition basically)? By better, I mean something besides writing the next book...I do that!

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve,
I know giving away books for free can be hard, because you face to same problem as with selling a book: people have to know about it. I believe in the US apart from bookbub, Pixel of Ink and Ereader News Today generate a lot of downloads. And the think these two sites don't charge for the adds (you have to check though if I am right). Also I found that even a successful free promotion doesn't generate as many downloads as before. In Germany these promotions still work better, but here too you have to let people know about your free book. For english books there aren't too many options to do that, but you could try e-literati. They have a Facebook page.

Hope that helps!

Best regards,

Mike said...

Very interesting - this post has got me thinking - I have been wondering about ways to get my Euro-based sales up. Wondering what the potential of the DE store is compared to the ES/MX store if I translated my books into Spanish.

Will check out your book.

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