Self-Publishing Secrets Every Author Should Know
I stumbled across these while researching and testing. I haven’t seen them anywhere else, and they they are extremely practical ideas.
First, You Have to Change Your Thinking
1. Authors are Producers. They generate “books-as-containers,” creating all possible versions of that title. Leverage is in multiple versions, as well as a multiple titles in a series. That makes the income generate exponentially rather than linearly.
2. The non-fiction writer should work from the course backwards, enabling the audience to help edit and build the experience. (I’ll go over courses as another episode. This note is to tell you what the fastest, and most profitable way to build your list.)
3. The author-producer doesn’t “sell.” They offer audience-experiences to explore. Descriptions and landing pages need to be written to draw the viewer/reader/listener into the story that title affords. It’s more fishing than anything else – cast a wide net and hook the audience by drawing them in by their own participation, interest, and trust. That audience wants to have a novel experience. The author-producer supplies it.
Second, Have a Smart Sequence of Producing Your Titles.
Begin with the end in mind.
The whole point to publishing is to leverage every piece of content you create to earn you the most possible income.
Most authors have this completely wrong.
First conventional thought: I’ll write a great book and make millions. Sorry. Most writers don’t make more than $500 a year, with 3,000 sales for the life of the book.
Second conventional thought: I’ll write a series of books, give the first one away, and make millions. Sorry. While that can give you regular income, it doesn’t take you to the tipping point.
Third conventional thought: I’ll use social media to develop a following and get them to buy my books. Sorry. Especially these days, less than 10 percent of your “following” will ever see your posts.
If you study the successful authors, you’ll find a different approach. It’s not obvious, but it works.
Yes, they all write lots of books. But that’s just the beginning.
a) They get readers to opt-in to their mailing list. Lead Magnets in every book, front and back.
b) Out of that mailing list, they recruit reviewers (“ambassadors”) who get advanced copies and scour for errors. Those ambassadors are then asked to leave an honest review when the book goes live.
c) They alert that entire list to the pre-order offer, to the low-intro-price offer, and before the price goes up.
d) They rinse-repeat with all subsequent books.
e) They meanwhile run FB ads to spike book sales, so Amazon will push it through their promotions.
Now, even less obvious:
f) They sell everywhere else in addition to Amazon, and run FB ads for iTunes users to buy the book there, also Kobo gets a similar treatment. (Haven’t heard anyone doing this for Nook…)
g) They get the book recorded and published as an audiobook.
h) They publish the paperback and hardback versions.
i) They get translations and publish those as well, or sell the foreign rights to someone who will.
j) They get paid speaking gigs.
The real hidden options, particularly for non-fiction authors:
k) They make courses out of the book series.
Why this works
If you’re just writing more books, it can only increase your sales linearly. Practically, the earlier books in any series will tend to downtrend in sales as later ones come out and the market has mostly read your books. That also dampens sales overall. FB ads, particularly for box sets, tends to spice things up a bit.
If you are offering more versions of your books, you get into different reading audiences. You now have more books in series in front of multiple audiences. Popular books will tend to reinforce each other (especially on Amazon where all versions are sold.)
If your books are popular in multiple areas, then the sales aggregate more exponentially
There is a progression of content from digital text to printed text, to audio, to video, to courses. Courses are the container for all versions of the content you produced originally as an ebook.
Courses have more ways they can be distributed. While there are four main book distributors, courses can be offered on about 15 or more distributors in various formats. Obviously, more people are looking for digital packages of materials than just a single digital version. People have more ways of learning than just reading on their smartphone.
The general principle of promotion is to put your offer in front of as many different audiences as possible – with their permission.
The multiple eyeballs theorem confirms this, but goes further to say you need to be putting it out there in as many formats as possible as well. While you probably won’t sell many videos on YouTube, you can get links to your course page where they can buy a course with that video in it.
Begin with the course in mind.
The best way to write a book is to get the audience to help you with it.
The best way to produce a course is to get the students to help you compile it.
The best way to run an FB ad promotion is to a paid service or product where the sales will cover your advertising costs.
You can see where this is going: Announce a course before you build it, run ads to get people to buy it, and then use their feedback to build the course materials as they start taking it.
Before that, you have other steps.
0) Do set up the course with its outline and introduction page – don’t put any content on it yet.
1) Do your homework and write the sales page. Create several with different course names. Use the one that converts the best.
2) Use that sales page and course name to create the introduction to the course. Short video, PDF transcript, downloadable audio.
3) Create the prelaunch videos that lay out what is going to be in the course. Set these up in a sequence and track opens. Run your FB ads into this landing page and autoresponder sequence.
4) Start building out the course, by making one lesson live and with open-ended survey questions that have to be answered before the next lesson opens. (Once you’ve completed the course and ran enough students through it, you can take the surveys down.)
5) Start building your next course in the series. Survey your students for what they want before you start anything.
6) Rinse-repeat – until you have courses for all the books you’ve written.
6a) This is also the way you write the books based on what you taught in the course, which is simpler. Just start with a problem area and the known solutions. Give them your own particular take on it and start from there with your FB ads.
Authors should produce courses in order to write the textbooks.
They should start with courses and build their base from there.
Your text, audio, and graphics will all be ready at the same time. Practically, you’ll be able to publish your books, audiobooks, and bundles while the course is being built. These book-versions will then each be emissaries for your course and bring you more students.
That is the new top-level strategy for non-fiction authors.
Have fun with this.