How to sell eBooks in Second Life

I’m always looking for new ways to sell books. I haven’t yet managed to get that snowball effect with my novels, and am far from getting that crucial 1,000 sales on Amazon, so at the moment it’s hand selling all the way. Not that I mind, it’s nice to actually talk directly to most of the people who buy my stuff, but it takes up a lot of time – time that I’d rather be using to write.

I’ve been in Second Life for a number of years now, doing little bits and pieces here and there. I’ve always believed that it would be a great place to sell books, especially ebooks as, like Second Life, they’re virtual. There are some large readers and writers communities online, and if you could just access these groups, you’d have a great audience to reach out to.

But, just what is Second Life?

Second Life is, simply put, a virtual world where you can build anything. Think of a computer game where you take the role of the main character and adventure through levels to complete quests, and in the case of MMO’s (million multi-player onlines) make friends, build guilds and journey through the game together. Now think of a platform where the developers haven’t created the world in which you land, but have left it up to you to create. We won’t go into the extreme complexities of building, but suffice to say users have created some stunning and creative places to visits, from New York and London replica’s, to fantasy lands with waterfalls, mountains and secret forests to explore.

How can Second Life help sell books?

Like all online worlds, Second Life has an economy. Lindens (L$) can be bought for real life dollars so that you have money to buy commodities in-world. Lindens can also be pulled out of the game and into real life accounts, and this has enabled many people to make their entire living through selling items and services in Second Life. So, in theory, you could sell books for Lindens in Second Life and then draw the money out into your account.

BUT, with linking to Real Life items, the process is made even more simple. 

My Second Life bookstore

About four weeks ago I created Best Books (Inside Evil readers will realise the significance), a Second Life book store that would contain Real Life books. The premise is simple; Second Life residents browse Best Books and can find a range of novels, read the samples, learn about the author and then follow a purchase link to buy on Amazon. I met with many people that said it might not work, I learned that Amazon had once been in Second Life in an attempt to do a similar thing and that it wasn’t cost effective. However, over the past few weeks, I’ve sold four books. That’s more than I’ve sold at Kobo, or Smashwords, or Barnes & Noble, or Diesel. In addition, because I’m using my affiliate Amazon account, I made some affiliate money off the sales too! It may only be four, but those are new readers, a new audience, and any one of them could be the individual that blogs, writes, tells 1,000 friends about my book.  Anyone of them could start that all important snowball.

How can I help you sell books in Second Life?

The best thing about my new venture is that YOU, authors, can take advantage, even if you have no interest in getting into Second Life yourself. Best Books currently costs a minimal amount to run, and I hope to be able to fund the SL venture on the money earned from affiliate sales. This means that the cost to advertise your book in-world is a big, fat, ZERO. Yep, I’m charging nothing. It’s FREE.

I already have several authors interested in participating, with my view to building Second Life’s best and biggest eBook store. As I gather more books and attract more readers, I want to hold book readings too. There’s also the opportunity for book signings, with people being able to visit Best Books, talk with the author and request a Authorgraph right then and there.

GET INVOLVED

If you’re an author and are interested in getting involved in the venture, please don’t hesitate to contact me through my email address: geoff_wakeling@hotmail.com. If you want to visit me in-world, then please feel free to hop on this link and head to Best Books. Otherwise, just email me and we’ll talk about how it works and what I need. Generally, all I’ll require is cover images, blurbs, your samples (the same as Amazon’s preview), book genre, author picture and biography…the same media pack that you’d normally supply book reviewers with.

In Summary…..

If your books sales are streaming in, then it’s unlikely that you’ll need to advertise in Second Life. However, no matter what your sales figures may be, I always think it’s important to reach out to new readers and possible audiences.

Can you sell your Real Life books in Second Life? Yes, I’ve proved it, I’m selling copies of Inside Evil and The Tower of Souls already and I’m quite surprised by it.

So, if you want another avenue to get noticed, to showcase your work, and to help drive up your sales, then get in touch and lets build this virtual bookstore!

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20 thoughts on “How to sell eBooks in Second Life

  1. Susan Mac Nicol

    Geoff
    This is a really interesting post and something I’d never even considered doing! I’m not sure my genre would suit, being contemporary romance/suspense, but if you thought it might I’d be willing to give it a shot. PS We still have to make that arrangement to met up and have a pint -I’m the lady from Essex you chatted to when you were in Canada…speak soon!

  2. susanmacnicol

    Geoff, this is a really interesting post. This is something I;d never even considered, although I’m not sure my genre of contemporary romance suspense would suit? If you thought it would, I’m all for giving a go. PS We still need to arrange that meet up, I’m the lass from Essex you tweeted with when you were in Canada! Speak soon.

    • geoffwakeling

      Hi Susan! Well, I’m sure there’s plenty of romance readers in Second Life too, doesn’t hurt to try!! We must try and meet up too, I’d love to throw some ideas around and have a general chit chat 🙂

  3. Jason Matthews

    This is really funny because I’ve pretty much tried everything to sell ebooks; some things work great while others are duds. Now do I create a Second Life identity to continue that trend? Probably not wise as a sole reason to be on Second Life, but for those already there or interested it sounds like a great idea. Thanks for sharing.

    • geoffwakeling

      I’m trying every avenue to try and shift books, and SL has sold me some copies. You don’t have to be in the game to participate, so if you’re interested pop me an email. I can pretty much set it up with a media kit that you’d send out to bloggers etc.
      Geoff 🙂

  4. mrj6

    Geoff, this is a great idea and I would definitely be interested. I don’t know why it never occurred to me, since my FSU library (alma mater) has a strong Library prescence in Second Life. I will contact you by email; I would like to start by putting my In-Betweens serialized novel (which will be on Kindle by late next week) in your bookstore, if you’re of a mind. The novel has nothing to do with the television series (which I think is called the In-Betweeners) but I hope there are no infringement problems here. It takes place in New York, anyway, not London.

    • geoffwakeling

      Hey Matt,

      That’s great that you want to get involved…..I’ll have to check out the FSU library presence too. Pop me an email, I don’t need much to get up and running so I can have your In-Betweens up in no time. Could pop Hearth; Exile in too if you wish, it might find a few new readers 🙂

      Geoff

  5. susanmacnicol

    Geoof, if it’s okay, I’ll be sending you my media pack on email asap, and let me know if you need anything else. If you need the favour returned, and want to do a guest post on my blog let me know, I’ll be happy to host you and your books and share it all out on FB and Titter and anywhere else I can really!

    • geoffwakeling

      Hi Samonios. I’m afraid I ran out of time to juggle everything. Paying the weekly SL rental rates as well as trying to write and work a day job became too much. 😦 Oh well, I DID sell some books that way, so it could be a good venture for someone who has the time.

      • Samonios

        Maybe a group of writers could do it, so they’d share the chores and the rental costs ? Also, maybe having one dedicated shop isn’t as efficient as having booths in the highest traffic malls ? Just ideas 🙂 If you’re still interested maybe we can talk about it in SL one of these days ?

  6. Rosen Trevithick

    Hi Geoffrey,
    I Google this, having had the same basic idea but absolutely no idea how to make it happen. How exciting to be taken to the blog of somebody I’ve worked with and to find that you’re already put selling eBooks on Second Life into practice.
    My idea was similar, but to have some sort of book convention where authors sit at desks at a given time, and chat to customers.
    My only experience of second life was a few years ago where I created an account and then my computer crashed during the early stages.
    Is second life still popular. How easy it it to use? Do you think I’d be able to convince people that I interact with online, who aren’t particularly internet savvy, to join just to attend my virtual signing?
    Rosen

    • geoffwakeling

      I’ve found that it’s actually very difficult to get people interested. I set up a small shop, but had minimal sales or interest, even when I talked to large SL readers groups. People didnt like having to follow links through to Amazon for purchasing which seems odd to me.
      I still think it could be successful, but a lot of time and effort needs to be given to it. Also, as you’ve mentioned it, I’m not sure how popular SL is now.

  7. Anthony Chapman

    Great idea. I’ve recently started looking into doing this. You’re getting in at the right time, I read somewhere – can’t remember where – that Second Life is developing into the V-World from Caprica. The technology is more or less there, so we’ll see what happens.

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