How to Increase Ebook Sales without ‘Buy Now’ Pop-ups?

In last week’s article, we saw how to do newsletter signups without being pushy. In the same vein, you’ve seen how others are pushing their ebooks with Buy Now pop-ups, and you want none of those slimy tactics for your ebook.

You’re looking for a classier way.

Book sales are driven by launches. Sales go up, and then sales peter out.

But people will experience their problem at, you know, a time that might not coincide with your launch. If you do it right, your ebook will continue selling long after your launch, and the presence of your ebook will help sell other things you have to sell.

You Publish an Ebook… so the Reader Can Make Progress

Whether it’s an ebook, an online multi-page guide, or an email sequence, you’ve got a long-ish chunk of teachings and findings to share.

But your ebook won’t be that valuable to your visitors, unless they’re going through a tough problem and unless your ebook tackles that problem head-on. In which case, they’ll gladly “hire” your ebook to make progress on their situation. Your publication will be coming just at the right time for them, and you’ll get avid fans for it.

So what could they possibly be going through?

Well there are some commonly painful situations they might be finding themselves in, pushing them to seek out a remedy:

Struggle of the Moment:

  • ⚬→ I’m going through a developmental challenge I can no longer avoid or deny. It’s time I put everything else aside and I tackle this embarrassment;
  • ⚬→ There’s an important event coming up, and I need to brush up on the topic ASAP before that event. No need to look around for different angles, I just want something authoritative to absorb;
  • ⚬→ Coming up soon, I’ll have a long boring time with nothing to do, and I don’t have anything else I’d like to occupy myself with;
  • ⚬→ I realize that I’m an amateur in this domain, and I feel like I can’t yet have an informed discussion with people who could be helping me out. I want to get the whole picture so I can learn on my own what’s important and what can be ignored. I want to try something out before I go full time;
  • ⚬→ There’s something about the way we work that’s getting worse and we can’t afford to keep going like this. We should step out, get some perspective on larger concepts, so we have some guidelines to decide on a better approach.

There are some surprising commonalities in here, especially the one about the long boring situation coming up.

What’s also susprising is what goes on in the head of your potential reader, their back-and-forth as they learn about your ebook. Let’s see.

The Forces of Progress of an Ebook


You’ll recall that there are Four Forces of Progress that are at play in the mind of the buyer, while considering the decision to go forward. The Struggle (above), The Attraction, The Anxiety (the two next ones here), The Habits (talked about below).

Attraction of the Solution:

  • →⚬ I’ll be able to get a sense of all the important variables;
  • →⚬ I’ll be able to be knowledgeable on the subject, all in one place;
  • →⚬ I’ll be able to advance on the challenges we’re facing;
  • →⚬ I’ll be able to occupy my down times by just absorbing information without thinking too much;
  • →⚬ This author obviously knows her stuff.

Anxieties About the Solution:

These are huge:

  • ←⚬ It will take a lot of time to read through this;
  • ←⚬ I had other things I had comitted myself to read, and I’ll need to put those until later, again;
  • ←⚬ I will need to analyze, ingest the information, and re-write my conclusions on the subject. I’ll need to re-evaluate what I should believe going forward;
  • ←⚬ The price is too high.

The Real “Price” of an Ebook

Notice those anxieties? They’re in the right order. That’s right, the “price” of an ebook isn’t its money price. It’s its time price, and it’s other reading commitments I made price.

Purchase Interview Findings

You’ll recall that we featured a purchase interview from someone who had purchased two ebooks. In this interview, we discovered that the ebook’s price wasn’t the biggest pushback, the biggest anxiety. Rather, the real “price” of a book is how much time it will take to read it, and that it required that other possible books-to-read needed to be put off until later.

Make the ebook short, make it serve the job-to-be-done very precisely, make a landing page about it describing in vivid details what problem it solves, and it’ll be read before the other books the person had committed to read.

Make It Compete Against Your Other Stuff

Despite addressing the possible anxieties, despite making your ebook serve a very specific job-to-be-done and making it short, your ebook is still mostly competing against “I’ll just” statements, like these:

Habits of the Present:

  • ⚬← I’ll just read the other books I was meaning to read instead;
  • ⚬← I’ll just find some other author who publishes on the topic;
  • ⚬← I’ll just watch YouTube videos on the subject;
  • ⚬← I’ll just figure it out by myself;
  • ⚬← I’ll just ask a friend for advice on what to do.

This kind of non-consumption is your biggest competitor. But we can change that a little bit.

As we saw in the previous article, you can help your newsletter serve the person’s job-to-be-done better by having it placed in comparison with other things you have to offer, like your ebook, guide, or email sequence.

And it goes both ways. Your newsletter will be appealing in comparison with the length of your ebook, for instance.

So make your newsletter be an alternative to reading your ebook. Place an invitation to read your newsletter directly on your ebook’s landing page, and so people hesitating to “buy” your ebook will instead think:

  • ⚬← I’ll just subscribe to the person’s informative newsletter instead.

There we go! Your ebook supported the “sale” of something else: your newsletter.

Also, if you package your ebook with other versions of the same information, say, with extra exercises, or with video content, you can make your just-the-ebook package compete with those other packages. They all support the job-to-be-done of the ebook, but just with different attributes which address different anxieties, add different appeals. For example, making a package which include accompanying videos for a higher price will make the ebook’s content more easy to take in, accelerating the learning.

All Together

If you’re at the stage where you’re building the ebook, or guide, or email sequence, make sure it’s short, contains no extra information that’s trying to cover too many angles, and you’ll make sure your book serves the job it’s supposed to be hired to do.

To sell your ebook, make a page that vividly describes the pain your potential readers are currently experiencing, like this one, which is a great example of an ebook landing page.

That will make your visitors feel understood, and your ebook will become an authority for them. If they don’t buy it then, they’ll be back to buy it when the struggle gets too painful.

So no need for that “Buy now” pop-up, after all.

Stay Sharp!

Oh, and when your ebook has a few sales, sharpen your pitch by interviewing those who just made the purchase.


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