Write. Organize. Publish. Repeat you Motha
One of the first things I noticed when I really hunkered down and began my great marketing quest was how many tips or books are out there about becoming a bestseller. If that is your goal at this moment I think that’s great. I believe that the tips and ideas I have here will help you in that process. While I can’t guarantee you 100% it will, I know that I took what I learned from already bestselling authors and it worked for them.
My goal is to grow my reach and fan base, get my books to a broader audience, and make more sales. When I say more sales, I mean a profit. I am not making a profit yet. Maybe one day I will change my goals so that I am working toward being a bestselling author, but I like to start small.
Most of my working life people always asked me what my long term goals were and I would come up with something just to make them happy. Afterwards I felt bad that I couldn’t think long term like them. I chalked it up to not liking the job I had at the time. The trouble is I can’t use that excuse anymore because I love writing. You would think I would have many long term goals but I still don’t.
I’m a baby stepper.
I like to make small achievable goals and have the satisfaction of checking them off the list. That is one of the reasons why I started the Book Barista posts because I want to not only take what I learned and let others gain from it too, but to look back at these posts and virtually check them off.
My point for today’s post is figure out what your goals are and work toward them. Do you want to be a bestseller? Great. Do it. Do you just want to grow your audience and get some sales growth? Awesome. Do that too.
But in order to do any or all of those goals you have to have a plan in place. The best tip I can give any author is: get organized. Now that I have observed a bunch of authors and read a ton of marketing posts, I am gathering up my information and setting it up on a calendar.
This is an example of what my calendar might look like for book releases:
I have my trusted few that I depend on for advice and help during these times, but in the end I do most of the work. If you do have some people who you know will always help you, thank them. Even if all you can do is say thank you or write a thank you card, it means a lot. People need to be acknowledged for their effort, not ignored. If they go out of their way to help you and you don't thank them, it will feel like you are ignoring them, or worse, using them.
What I showed you above as my calendar is just a shell of what I do. I didn’t even touch on Swag, making teasers/book covers (my graphic background), posts for my Fan group or other groups I am in, updating my website with book info, creating new website just for the release, contacting discount/sale newsletters, and a whole host of little things that need to get done for a release.
To do all this you need organizational tools. I mentioned above in my calendar outline about Hootsuite. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a place where you can write out posts you want for many different social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and schedule them ahead of time to post on your page. It will also show you your various social media feeds so some people never go back on Facebook or Twitter and just open Hootsuite for updates. I don’t, but that’s because I have the free version and I can’t get all the info I want from the different places I go on those social networks. Check it out, you can get up to 3 different networks for free. If you sign up for the Pro version for $9.99 a month you can manage up to 50 social networks. There is also Buffer which is similar to Hootsuite, but I don't know enough about it.
I also figured out how to get my Facebook posts to automatically post to Twitter. Some of you may already know how to do this, but being the dummy I am I had no clue. I had seen other authors have their FB posts on twitter but wondered how they did that. Then I looked it up and it’s pretty easy to do. Just go HERE and they give you instructions and links to where you go on your FB page to make it happen. The less work, especially with posting things, the better.
Finally, before I go I am going to give you the best tip I learned so far. It was from a bestselling author but she never put it on her website, I read it in an interview she gave. It was just one little sentence in the middle of something that didn’t necessarily have to do with book releases. Basically, if you blinked you would have missed it. I didn’t blink. I took note.
This is what she said: If you are going to make it as an indie author you need to publish your books every 2-3 months.
That was it. That was the only reference she or anyone I have been researching (marketing tips or bestselling authors combined) made on the topic of how best to publish to be a success. Maybe you saw something similar somewhere else. If so, please let me know I would like to know the reasoning behind it. I can make a good guess as to why. Rapid fire. If you are a small little indie author and don’t have a big marketing team from a big publisher behind you to help you along, you have to keep your name relevant. Someone may not take note of Book A’s release, but when they keep seeing your name pop up all over the place over the months they might take note of Book C’s release or D’s release.
Plus, it’s an advantage that us indies have over publishers. We can publish a book every 2-3 months where as a publisher, even the Top 5 publishers don’t have the resources to make that happen. Besides, they rely too heavily on an antiquated notion that brick & mortar chain stores (paper/hard back books) are the keys to success. They haven’t entered the 21st century but us indies have. More on this thought in a later post.
Publishing every 2-3 months also builds up your library fairly quickly. The more books you have out, the more likely someone is going to buy your book. Therefore, more sales for you. If you want to learn more about the future of publishing, there is a great podcast HERE.
Putting my Money Where My mouth is.
Now to do this you have to save money (maybe you already have the money – awesome job outside of writing, rich significant other, maybe you were born rich, etc.) and build up a manuscript backlog. Most of the money depends on how much you want to spend on giveaways, editing costs (that’s a lot of books edited over the course of the year), and graphic design (this is where I save my money due to my background).
Try to save money where you can. Maybe you have a good friend who is a professional editor who can edit your books at a much discounted rate. Maybe you have a graphic designer friend who can make the teasers for your book at cost. Maybe you can hand make some of your swag because you are a crafty person. Save where you can so you can have the extra cushion for the other things you have to pay for.
As brokenhearted as I was that I had to put my publishing on hold due to selling our condo, I realized what an opportunity I had: save some money and write a backlog. Now I am not saying you should do that. But find a way to make all this happen. Maybe you can’t afford to do this for a few years, that’s fine. Take the time to save and write, but keep your publishing schedule as you have it now. Then when you can do it every 2-3 months you can go gangbusters with what you have learned!
That is my plan. Once I sell the condo I can set a definite date of my next release. I have been doing mock up calendars just to get an idea of what needs to be done and how far in advance. Once I have the condo sold and I have a release date set up, you can expect me to put my money where my mouth is.
That is your cup of joe for today. Be sure to check out next week's Book Barista about being original.
Check out the next Book Barista post about Being Original HERE
Missed the Book Barista post about Release Parties? Check it out HERE
As an indie-author I was wondering what I could do to help get my books out there. So, I looked into it and that's when I realized I had a lot to learn. These posts are to help my fellow authors learn how to market and publish their book. I pass on what I found out about making a book a success.