Thursday, September 24, 2015

How to Market Your Book Online - My Last Recipe

The Recipe for Marketing a Book Online is audience-value-income-bliss

This is the (final) recipe for marketing a book online. 

And because of the breakthroughs below, you may not hear from me for awhile.

But don't worry, I'll give you links at the end so you can follow this book promotion as it shows up.

I don't call these breakthroughs lightly. Of course, I've been "breaking through" for the last few years, the first being where I simply starting creating enough passive income to work at this full time. The others have been known about for awhile, and the last one fell into place with LinkedIn becoming a publishing platform.

Now it's time to put them all to the test.

We're going to review these rapidly, so feel free to print off the transcript for this podcast. It's simple to spool these off, but the work in getting them done takes a bit more time and effort. (Like days and weeks.)

The key points with all this are just a few:
  • Make it pay for itself as an investment as it goes, not just a money drain from your day job income. Eventually, this will replace your day job.
  • Build your audience and find out from them what they most want from you. That's the books you'll write and publish.
  • Focus on making this a success (Napoleon Hill's Burning Desire) - find and follow your bliss to make this happen fastest.

Note: Don't skimp on these steps below. These are in pretty much final order, but you can mix them around except for the first three. Any failure I've seen in authors can be traced to these even more than anything else.

The First Three Ingredients

0. Get an email list. MailChimp, Simplycast, AWeber, Infusionsoft, anything. Yes, those are autoresponder services, not sending out emails personally.

00. Get a domain name. Can be anything. If you don't already have your own name, grab it - that will be fine, especially for original works. Otherwise, set up something that sounds like a respectable publishing house. (Or follow Google and Yahoo's lead -- pronounceable gobbledegook seems OK these days.) Resources: NameCheap, GoDaddy

000. Get an actual website. You can start on Blogger with the domain name on top of it if you want. Best bet here is to get something like HostGator and pay for some minimal hosting, then put your domain up as a CNAME subdomain, so you could use all sorts of other features of that hosting.

To repeat myself - all successful authors have these up and running. Period. If you're not doing these, you have a hobby.

Note: I'm not covering writing your book here. See my "Just Publish!" for the steps of these. You'll need a well-edited book (even if you do it yourself) and a fascinating cover (if you aren't graphic-trained, hire this out - don't DIY to cut corners. 10 or 50 bucks is a good investment. Get some copywriting books so you know how to write a good, engaging description. (See my Masters of Marketing Series - Collier, Schwab, Schwartz, or their collection.)

One last point: the best model for this is a free membership, so you get people's address and build your list. You don't want freebie-seekers, you want people who will invest in your and your books - so they can improve their lives and continue on their own journey. Memberships are a study of their own, I've covered earlier on this blog. Free is via Gumroad, or self-hosted with a Wordpress plug-in, paid with Rainmaker, top-end is Infusionsoft.

How to Mix Your Promotion Set-ups Batter

A. Set up your landing page with title, cover, description.
You need this to link inside your digital copies, as well as laying this out in your hardcopy version so people can type it in. Your books are emissaries which bring you more audience. Put this link in your book, both front and back, so it's the first and last thing they see.

B. Publish your book. Lulu is recommended, as almost every type of publishing can be done there.
  1. Ebook - upload your document and have Lulu port this out to everywhere except Amazon.
    - Amazon - take Lulu's completed epub file and upload it. We do Amazon separately in order to be able to tweak their metadata.
    - Google - Lulu doesn't go there.
    - There are more which I've mentioned, but these are the key distributors. You can later come back to port to more to further leverage your sales.
  2. Trade paperback - use your original file and they'll generate a print-ready PDF for you. (Or port this from LibreOffice if you're using it.) Ordering your proof is another expense, but minor. This helps you spot obvious goofs before you send out to Ingram. 
  3. PDF - for Lulu and also Scribd.
C. Update your landing page with all these links - hard-coded.
  1. Copy your links and use the distributor's little icons so that if they click on it, they'll go to that distributor. This is an SEO trick. Using a script won't do it, the links have to be hardcoded. Google this if you don't know how - or get a simple HTML book on it.
  2. Embed a script like Ganxy so that you can sell your book locally. Sellfy and Gumroad are also good. (Later, you can upgrade to something like Rainmaker, which has this all built in.) Ganxy is good, as you can get email opt-in's. Ganxy also allows you to create bundles for extra value - we'll cover more of this later.
D. Set up or verify your IFTTT recipes. If This Then That - a way to syndicate your content so that it sends updates to every social network you want to. It will also auto-post for you to, Tumblr, and some others - which doesn't hurt for backlinks and traffic. This is a short study if you haven't done this before, but will run indefinitely - and you can tweak it later.
Note: when you set up Buffer through IFTTT, it can take your updates and content to even more social outposts, even on it's free plan.

How to Bake Your Promotion Execution Layer Cake

A. (Paid) Synnd. This I haven't talked about much, but you can read up on it at that link. Essentially, this promots any link via bookmarking and social media campaigns through a distributed world-wide network:
  1. Your book's Landing Page
  2. Your Amazon buy link. Because they are the most leveraged for sales.
  3. (Optional) Other distributor buy links - not essential. 
B. Post your cover art to Flickr and Instagram (IFTTT will take it from there) with links back to your book's landing page. (No, don't short cut it by sending to Amazon - you want their email address so you can help them better.)

C. Promote your book on OpenLibrary, Library Thing, and Goodreads - these all link back to the book's landing page. Make sure you update/create your author page on these. Update your Amazon author page while you're at it (and consider updating all the national Amazon author pages as well, especially after your book becomes an international bestseller. This can give you more traffic back to your site, but at least tells the search engines more about you.)

D. Split every chapter in your book out as content:
  1. Create long-form articles on your site-blog, then convert these to run on LinkedIn. Google likes about 2K words, LinkedIn about 1K. Your earlier study on copywriting comes into play here, as it's essentially the same format - you fascinate the reader, draw them in, and get them to act (go to your site and sign up.) See Gericke Potgieter's book on this. Your LinkedIn article call to action (CTA) will tell them to visit the blog for the full article and more information. Your blog post obviously links to the book's landing page and tells them to go there - and sign up for the free membership. 
  2. Podcast your chapters. Review my earlier posts on this. Very simple, and it will bring regular traffic to your site via iTunes and Stitcher. Embed the player on your blog toward the top.
  3. Create a video using the 8 images from the LinkedIn post and your audio. Post this directly to YouTube and embed in your site (or use Synnd to do this for you, and run campaigns to promote it there as well.) Embed the video on your blog post at the top to keep visitors from bouncing.
  4. Create a PDF in presentation format from these images - post this to Slideshare. Embed your video inside the presentation. Your CTA in that presentation tells viewers to visit your site for more information - that link to the specific page that presentation is about (that chapter of the book.)
  5. Email your list once weekly with your progress and give them links to the new content. Ask for feedback and any corrections they note - give away gifts for people who find errors. Of course, you then update the ebook versions on all distributors. (Trade paperback updates should wait until the error-reporting slows down. Then come out with version 2.0 and add some additional content...)

More publishing to enable more discovery

A. Bundles - Somewhere in the middle of this, you get a lot of extra content floating around that people will be interested in. Particularly if you give it away with your book.
  1. Post all these peripheral digital materials up on Ganxy and create new landing pages for each set of this book's bundles. Create several different kinds of bundles - with the book and various videos, audio files, PDFs, cover art, and anything else you may have from creating the book. Give away samples, and sell both a high-priced bundle and a higher-priced bundle on each landing page. 
  2. Post bundles on BitTorrent Bundles and sell these as well as giving them away for emails. Use their model to guide your own bundle creations.
  3. Update your book's landing page with these links.
B. Audiobook - you may have noticed that you've just created an audio book of your content. It's in all those podcasts. There's a trick to monetizing these.
  1. Audible has sewn up the major distributors for audiobooks - or so they think. They have arbitrary standards, and set your price for you. Dumb and dumber. Your workaround is to set up an account on CDBaby and create a "Spoken Word Album" for your book, using the same title and cover art as your Amazon version. This will then start showing up on Amazon alongside your ebook and trade paperback. As well, your CD gets sold internationally in music stores, as well as digital downloads via CDBaby.
  2. Of course, you then update your book's landing page with this hard-link so you can sell them directly as well.
C. Consider Affiliate sales.
With Bundles, you can enter the wonderful world of affiliate marketing. There are several sites for this which have no upfront costs. By now you've had quite a bit of experience in writing engaging copy, so tailoring one for affiliate marketers shouldn't be very hard. Rainmaker also has a built-in Affiliate program you can start if you want. The trick is in how much time this will take to run - but you should weigh how much this is leaving money on the table. I haven't gone there yet, but still consider it worth checking out.

D. Consider a proper book launch.
You have just done a launch, but without a list. By the end of this, you should have build a considerable list and can now study up on how launches are done and so jump-start your next book (or version 2.0) on Amazon to leverage all the resources you have. Look around the web and find Jeff Walker's stuff. He does a release every year and tells his whole system (bare bones) in the sales videos. (I imagine he'll probably announce this to his email list if you want to sign up and wait...)

How to Apply This to Existing Backbench - Cupcakes From Cake Mix

You may already have numerous books sitting out there and perhaps you've never had a list before, or even a website or blog. The approach could be full on, but probably that would only be effective for a new book (especially not for PLR or public domain books.)

Let's take an example: I've got about 25 PD classic fiction bestsellers I published as a test about everywhere but Amazon. Their common denominator was their continuing success.

What they are missing is some decent, current marketing to tell these newer generations what they are missing. The bright idea here is to do a sort of Cliff Notes version of these - plot, characters, background, locale, interesting stories about how the book was written, what the author was doing at the time, how well the book sold and why... All those sorts of things. These would run about 2,000 to 5,000 words or so - just lay it all out and don't worry about length (just so long as you keep it interesting.) Then you compile these longish articles into a book on it's own, like: "25 Bestselling Classics of All Time - Series I: The Romances" Now you have a new book and can run this through as above.

First, you take your list and website above and do a mailing to see if anyone is interested in this area. If it's all crickets (and is a passion for you) then you go ahead and do it anyway. This is different from people mailing you back and saying you're full of it. (Not that one or two trolls or cranks would dissuade you.) You're just telling everyone what you're going to start doing. Gives them a heads-up.

The point here is that these books sell OK, even without marketing. So why not help them out?

You just work over one book at a time.

First up, make sure you update (or even create, if it's missing) that book's landing page. Get all the distributor links on there. Put a Ganxy script on it. Make it look nice.

Update the text of your book to include that link in both front and back.

Next, you create an Amazon version of that particular book which they would accept on Kindle. Put in some content in the back of each of these - like your overlong essay and mark it "annotated" - and submit it with that quote above as it's subtitle.  Now it's part of a series. And series have a better chance of selling.

Oh - and check to see if you can make the cover even better while you're at it.

Go ahead and publish your new trade paperback version with the same title and cover.

Synnd that landing page. IFTTT is already set up as above, so it will automatically tweet and post status updates everywhere on your behalf.

OK, take that essay - that's your long-form content - and post it on your blog. Now you make a LinkedIn article about this, with the 8 images that Gericke recommends in his book. This links back to your blog post.

Next, podcast that essay. Take the images and create a video. Embed them both. Create a PDF presentation and post it to Slideshare - embed it on the blog post as well.

Now create a bundle with all that, just for this book. Post it on Ganxy and BitTorrent Bundles.

Finally, update your Landing Page with all these direct links.

Take the next book in that series and run it through as above. If you're doing the Romances, then your next book is a Romance.

Once you've run all the books in that series through, then create a book out of those long-form essays and post it on Kindle. Create a hardcopy version of it with the same title and cover. Create a "spoken word album" with the same title and cover.  Create a bundle with your audio files for all the books and the ebooks and post it on Ganxy and BitTorrent.

You probably have about 4-5 series in those bestsellers (I worked this up once.)

This gets all these regular sellers a bit of a boost.

While you're doing all this, you're sending out emails to your list.

With all this promotion you've just set up some ways to make more sales from getting new paperbacks and Kindles onto Amazon. Also, you've got 4-5 new titles on Amazon and everywhere else from your essays.

Now you've created all sorts of new emissaries to send people to your membership and your list.

That's how you do your backbench.

What about working in batches for PD publishing? 

Same sequence applies, actually. But you'll need to work all of the books in that batch individually.
  1. Make sure they each have their own landing page. 
  2. Then do a long-form review in order to get the "annotated" Kindle version approved.
  3. Then make sure you have a matching hardcopy version to go up there on Amazon. 
  4. Work up binders of subsets within that batch. Include the audio of the reviews.
  5. Compile and publish ebook and paperback of that subset's reviews - make sure it gets a landing page, too.
  6. That will then give you another bundle to publish. 
  7. Once you have that new ebook and bundle published, then go back to update all the individual reviews and the individual book pages to also link to this new book's landing page.

If you think back to where we started with this podcast, I was in the middle of the marketing for a book series on Writing and Illustrating Children's books. This was 12 classic PD books and 2 PLR reports. Within these were sub-series on drawing, (oil) painting, and writing. A few of the drawing books would apply to oil painting as well. Although I'd probably look around for some PD/PLR water-color painting books, as these would lend themselves better to illustrations.

And several of these could become free and paid online courses.

Another reason I quit that one was as it brought up another four sets of books - each having about 25 titles each - which would help someone study classics in order to improve their abilities to write and illustrate children's books. That's about 125-150 more books to publish from scratch.

As I got closer to this, I saw that this journey was going to take me directly away from a lot of what I was doing currently - and I'd not be coming back.

The decision was made to put that all on hold (yet again) so I could wrap other stuff up.

A Q-and-A Discussion With Fellow Bakers

Why this approach?  

  • Mainly as Content Marketing and Search Engine Marketing are two peas in a single pod. Google wants more content and will give you link love for putting your variations on several platforms. With some care, you rank better for certain keywords if you craft your meta-data carefully. 
  • You'll also have a better chance of getting clicks when you offer varied content - sometimes a video or rich media in position 2 will get more clicks than a text link in position 1 (which traditionally pulls down 40-50% of all clicks for that keyword.)

Why not use advertising?

  • Because I hate ads in general and believe in the Golden Rule as a Natural law you shouldn't try to skimp on. Modern advertising is built on interrupting your attention and mostly talks down to the audience.
  • Content marketing is different, and is more and more welcome (even in it's "native advertising" mode.)
  • The only ads I'd do would be Stumbleupon, which actually bring traffic to your webpage. (These are also cheaper than all the other types of ads, BTW.)

Why all this social media by syndication? 

  • By testing (which I haven't compiled and written up yet) each platform and social media has its own audience. Their tastes are wildly different. As well, most of these social media now have their own search engines, to find and serve up content. 
  • As you build your content backbench by consistently publishing, these different social platforms will actually bring you more and more traffic, even on days you don't post.
  • You'll note that the only platform I suggest personally involving yourself with is LinkedIn - because with their publishing feature, they've moved into content, which is any author's chief talent. Everything else is by IFTTT, so you don't burn your time trying to collect followers when you need to be concentrating on leads and conversions. I'll take a well-heeled CEO looking at my landing page any time over some random lookie-loo in search of freebies.

Does all this work pay off better?

  • Of course. Look - most authors are settling for an ebook on just Amazon.  My tests show you can make more on other distributors until/if that ebook starts to take off (this is figuring with no list and no other promotion.) Even when that book takes off, you'll still get several hundred per month from the other distributors combined. (Meanwhile, when someone searches for the book by name, you get multiple listings on Google for each distributor.)
  • Doing podcasts actually creates your audio book - which can be posted to Audible to get pulled up by Amazon for your book's title. Using that same set of audio files for a CD Baby "spoken word album" should also show up on Amazon and also will get distributed to multiple music stores internationally.
  • Videos bring their own traffic. But this can give you a DVD to sell on Amazon via CDBaby or directly via Kunaki.
  • Meanwhile, all this extra content allows you to offer bundles, which can be sold on BitTorrent (a yet different audience) and also directly.
  • The Short Answer is yes. The other response is: you'll never know what money you've been leaving on the table until you try this out. 

Why do so little on backbench?

  • Mainly because my view of this is about PD and/or PLR books, which most  distributors Amazon and Kobo discriminate badly about. The key point is to create little sub-series, each with their own new book. Again, you waste no efforts but instead leverage everything. New text, combined, becomes a new ebook on Amazon and print book via Lulu. Classic fiction mostly already has audio for it, and this usually in the public domain. Of course, a good non-fiction book which has never been transferred to audio is yet another leverage-able approach. Nothing is cast in stone.
  • If you have a lot of original works, then take them in order of best sales and do the whole podcast/audiobook route. This also then can give you a video for each chapter, which will of course get people to view the rest in the series.
  • And you can bundle multiple earlier versions of your own books, much like I've outlined for PD/PLR. Some PLR comes with audio, so this can put you way ahead of the curve. Podcast these, create video's from them (and in some cases, extract the audio from the video in reverse.)
  • The point is to leverage everything, and point to your landing page with all variations of content.

Why bother selling direct when you get so many sales on Amazon?

  • Actually, most authors don't sell well on Amazon - it's known as the ebook graveyard, especially for Indies. Out of over 200 books I've published only about 70 do more than one sale per month, only a dozen do more than 5 a month, and only 2 sell more than a couple hundred per month. Sure, these are mostly PD and no PLR is allowed on Amazon, so it cuts down what I can really sell there. 
  • The point with having an audience is in those bundles. Amazon can't really do this, other than trying to sell the various versions of each title together (which the author has to agree to sell at a lower price.) 
  • With a membership, I can give them offers which Amazon can't (such as buying all the ebook versions [mobi, epub, PDF] all at once, and also getting videos and audio files, plus "cutting room floor" excerpts - as well as special casewrap hardback editions, and so on.
  • Your own audience can be leveraged to increase your income hugely. If you don't try it - again, you'll never know what money you're leaving on the table.
  • Most importantly, you can build your audience by giving them exactly what they really want.

The Key Ingredient is Audience

Most authors (and big publishing houses) never figured this out - and it has only really come to view with the last decade of Content Marketing, replacing conventional advertising and ecommerce wisdom.

The importances and sequence appears to be this:

Audience - Value - Income - Bliss 
  1. You invite an audience to join you on your journey.
  2. This is done by generating interesting and valuable/useful content. Of course, you have an opt-in form to get their emails, which is the most efficient way to deliver content to your audience.
  3. While you give some very valuable data away for free, you also offer versions of this in some sort of paid content - which they can exchange with you.
  4. As they click on and buy your content containers, you then get an idea of what they are really wanting. You then refine these and offer more of that and related materials.
  5. Along the line, you'll find your own and your audience's bliss.
  6. And as long as you balance all these above, you can continue this journey indefinitely. This passive income flow continues to support your lifestyle and will leverage as you go, to provide for all your dreams.

A Warning: This Cookbook is Closing...

Of course, the next thing is to tell you - as usual - that I'm dogfooding this and so probably won't be podcasting here for awhile. Maybe not again, actually.

Just too much work to do on this new book - the manifesto for this new site. It's got some 15 chapters or so - which then means a lot of time getting all this promotion done for this book. You can see above that this title becomes a container for all the various formats that are possible - all as a test of this careful planning.

And if I do have another breakthrough, I'll let you know. 

The invitation to join me on Live Sensical still exists.

That way, you can see this as it works up. But no, I won't be doing a post-mortem on this particular marketing as far as I know.

Because I have a back bench of books to handle after this one manifesto is set.

And I haven't mentioned creating courses for books, both free and paid.

I also haven't mentioned the idea of paying to have an audiobook created, and then immediately posting each chapter as a podcast, which will then auto-post each week (or bi-weekly) for a year and promote the title in all formats - as well as the membership. Just organizing this for several books will take a few weeks on its own.

So you can see I have a lot of work coming up.

Then please forgive me if I don't talk about book publishing and marketing for awhile - as I'll be far too busy publishing and marketing books.

Again, I'm heading into writing, illustrating, and publishing children's books after this - so I'm pretty sure that we're done here.

Do join me at to see how it all turns out.

PS. I do owe you a title on book marketing. This last test sequence will basically wrap it up.

PPS. There's also a whole study of the personal development side to making a bestseller. This is ongoing and will eventually show up on the podcast - or will be a reason to dust this podcast off and revive it for a bit. Maybe. Just maybe.

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