Friday, June 19, 2015

How I Was Wrong About Marketing (Case Study13)

How I Was Wrong About Self Published Book Marketing

And this happens more than I care to admit.

I was wrong, wrong, wrong.

Again, it's conventional wisdom that I swallowed years ago and has been an unshakeable, concrete, locked-down, Gospel truth in book publishing.

And it was wrong, wrong, wrong.

What was that wrong datum?

  • You write the book from your inspiration, edit an hone it, get a fantastic cover done up, write and hone a fascinating description - and then either get a publisher to print it and distribute it, or self-publish and self-distribute it. And hope for the best. Meanwhile, then just get back to your writing until you have the next 3-5 books in that series ready - and run them through. 
  • Once you have a series of books on sale (the first one perennially at .99 or free) then they all start taking off. (Then you start the next series.)

What is the correct datum?

  • While you're researching your bliss to see how you can help people improve their lives with the value you know you can provide, you build your audience and get their input on what should be in that book. You write some of it and get a few trusted individuals to weigh in on it. Then you correct that section or part, get their and other's feedback, correct it, rinse, repeat. Then you write the next chapter, section or part and do that whole sequence again. Finally, you self-publish it and self-distribute it - announcing pre-release and low first week pricing, etc. to that audience.
  • Then you start the next book and run it through as above.

What's the difference?

  • The second wins because you are asking the audience about their concerns and they are helping you write the book. They are vested in that book and every book after that point. And every following book continues to build your audience.
  • The first idea loses, because you remain anonymous to your audience and have to hope you got it right as far as what they want.

Do you get this?

I hope so.

You build your audience first and get them into a membership (doesn't have to be paid.) This allows you to interact with them and get them to help you write that book, and the next, and the next, and so on.

That first, wrong approach is built on statistics. Those statistics are built on the 97/3 rule - which states most people (97%) would rather lemming their way through life instead of finding what really works. 3% will question everything that comes across their plate until they find the underlying system which makes the whole scene make sense. Then they act on what they find.

That workable system they just found might be such a paradigm shift that they then change huge parts of their lives - or, if they've been frugal and lean, they've been putting the smaller changes in place as they find them and it won't be such a major shift.

What I'm saying here... that the entire publishing world-view is upside down.

Books are not print-only, and they aren't print-plus-ebook, plus-maybe-audiobook.

Books are simply containers for a set of ideas. Those ideas might be best communicated as movies (some books wind up on the big screen or straight to DVD.) Some books are best verbally produced and wind up podcast. Some books are sung in multiple tracks on a Long-Play album, or as short singles. Some books are never more than presentations and live speeches.

Many books can and should be all of the above.

But all books start out with an audience. In fact, the audience-experience inspires the books, nurtures the book, and finally brings the book to life. In some instances, such as religious or inspirational/philosophical texts - people actually live the book.

And we all use stories to understand our lives, by finding other's stories and comparing our own life story through theirs. That is how marketing works, and actually is the only effective way to market that doesn't leave money on the table (and piss off about 80-90 percent of everyone who didn't buy.)

Your book is a performance.
It's a story that people should want to hear. But you have to perform it in front of an audience and get their reaction. (This is how Mark Twain wrote his books later in life - to his family and their children, then he'd go and correct them if they didn't get the expected response.)

Once you have your audience reaction, then you correct what's needed until you get a satisfactory reaction to your audience. Ultimately, this winds up as a book.

The wrong datum is to write a book and hope enough people buy it.

What does this all mean, now?

It means I'm done with this, because that Marketing Spreadsheet was back-to-front.

Here's what it should look like:
Site Setup
  Domain  Hosting  Analytics*  Mobile Template  Legal pages  Opt-in  Membership backend  IFTTT*
Market Research
  Keyword phrases  Alexa Demographics  1st Customer Avatar  2nd Customer Avatar
Book Research
  Area narrow-down  Theme
Book Landing Page  
(on Membership site)
A/V (embedded on blog post)
  Audio (podcast)  Transcript (PDF) Presentation (PDF)  Video
Synnd Campaigns       
  Video  Bookmarking  Social News  Twitter
  Slideshare  Scribd  Doc-Stoc  Gdrive (public)
Audio  Soundcloud
Cover Art     
  Pinterest  Flickr  G+ (public)
Text Book Versions
  PDF  epub  mobi   
  epub  PDF  tradepb  GlobalReach   
  Sellfy  Payhip  Google  iTunes  Nook  Kobo EspressoBM
Amazon Ed. 
LP Update 
Book Sites     
  OpenLibrary  Library Thing  Goodreads
Other Promotion 
  Bittorrent Bundle
Affiliate Sales Bundles (under testing)
  Distribly Scubbly JVZoo MyCommerce PaySpree Click2Sell DigiResults BlueSnap

  Google Analytics  Webmaster Tools  Feedburner  G+ page  Facebook Page
  (See post on this.)

You see the difference with this new concept?

  1. You set up your site (or preferably pay someone to set it up right - you don't want the headache of maintaining a site, believe me.) You also set up your IFTTT, since these ultimately go to social media which each have their own tribes. Of course, it has an opt-in to get members to follow you.
  2. Your book research tells you generally what people want, so you start blogging this.
  3. The feedback you get will tell you if you're on the right or wrong track. Meanwhile, you are assembling data which can be put into your free membership - and promoted to people so they can join your list to get access.
  4. Every post is syndicated in as many formats as possible, everywhere that will accept it. And you push social signals at that content so people can find it.
  5. When you have cover art, it's posted everywhere for feedback as well. And Synnd.
  6. Once you have enough blog posts for a book (yes this works for fiction as well as non-fiction) then you fine tune it (with a few very trusted audience members) and craft the book.
  7. At that point, the whole self-publishing scene kicks in.
  8. The only marketing after that is to assemble free and paid bundles and see if you want to mess with Affiliate sales.

What's up now with this Case Study?

I'm still going to get the epubs out there. I'll publish them to iTunes and Google, where they will simply take the books without my having to do a lot of hand-holding to get them accepted.
I'm also going to set up links on their landing pages, and embed Payhip and  also port to Sellfy so it shows up on my Facebook page.

Then I take a hiatus from this blog while I get my membership up and running.

The next podcast will be from that site - and all these podcasts will be transferred there (so you can find them again, easily (I'll just change the RSS feed, you won't have to adjust the dials or anything. Happy?)

What you can takeaway from this

We're not done yet, although it may be awhile before you hear from me on this particular subject again. I'm pushing the backlogged podcasts out to you, but very minimally. (No downloadable PDF transcript.)

We're going to eat our own dog food and get the sequence straight.

When I have that membership set up, you'll be invited, for sure.

It's all very exciting for me, since this has narrowed down my bliss to a very fine pointed target. It will become apparent when you see my membership go live.

Until then - luck to us all!

- - - -

Ensure you are opt-ed in above to catch the next white-knucked, cliff-hanging episode of Selling Your Book Online.

See you next time...

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