I’m going to treat this marketing campaign as a logistics exercise – set targets – put an action plan into place – review results. From what I’ve read, this should only take me about three years to achieve. So by Christmas 2016, I (1095 days) I should be celebrating joining the ranks of high selling indie authors - or walking under a bus.
Goal 1. To read as much as I can about successful marketing of e books: to immerse myself in the culture and ethos of self-publishing and to make small incremental steps towards my goal.
So what have I done to achieve this?
Well I’ve downloaded three e books onto my Kindle, all of which promise me that their approach will open the flood gates. These are:
‘Make a killing on Kindle’ by Michael Alvear:
‘How I sold a million e books in 5 months’ by John Locke:
‘How to market a book’ by Joanna Penn.
Each of these books takes a different approach. John Locke’s ‘How I sold a million e books’ is really about social media marketing – on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and others. It’s about building friendship groups on line and converting these to sales once you’ve got a following. It’s also about building e mail lists of people you can connect with and update as you publish new material.
Michael Alvear’s ‘Make a killing on Kindle’ takes an opposite approach. He argues that it’s impossible to build a sufficiently big following on social media unless you’re already a celebrity. His preferred route is to understand the way that search engine’s like Amazon operate and manipulate key words and categories so that your book gets pushed to the top of lists where it can be noticed and bought. This is an attractive option at first sight as it seems to involve far less work than the social media route. But having played with my own books key words and categories, I think that the approach is far better suited to non-fiction writing of the ‘how to ‘ genre where key words are much more obvious. My own key words include such overused favourites as passion, deceit, destiny and betrayal. Difficult to distinguish from a host of other fiction books.
The third book - How to market a book by Joanna Penn, falls somewhere between the other two. She takes a fairly comprehensive and no nonsense overview of the whole marketing operation. She makes no promises but what does come across is her incredible enthusiasm and commitment to self-publishing. Joanna not only writes and publishes both fiction and non-fiction, but she also hosts a very useful web site with video and audio podcasts, as well as having a blog, twitter feed etc. In addition to all of this she undertakes public speaking engagements on self-publishing.
What comes across from her material is the need to be involved across a wide range of activities which directly or indirectly bring your book to the attention of potential readers . Joanna has been at it for about five years now and has carved out a very successful niche. And you can’t help admiring her drive and determination. I think I’m going to become a disciple of her approach for a while and see where that takes me.
Look here for future updates.
I think my own feeling is that no single approach that appears to work for someone else is necgoing to work for me. I can usefully learn from these books but ultimately I’ve got to work out my own route.
Any other indie writers out there prepared to share your own thoughts with me on this topic?