It came to me as a simple way to leverage all your books and explain the three-book marketing system others have alluded to.
This just puts some muscle on that skeleton – and it only came to view once the study of courses was complete.
Elsewhere, it’s been said to not publish anything until you have three books.
The first is given away.
The second gets you email subscribers.
And the third – they don’t talk about.
For non-fiction authors it’s a simple strategy (although this could be applied to fiction as well.) We are going to use everything we’ve come up with to this point, and leverage all the platforms’ various strengths and weaknesses.
Let’s go step by step and then I’ll open it up for discussion:
1. You publish your first book as free on all platforms. (Except as noted, we always publish to all the main ebook distributors.) In the back of that is a Lead Magnet that tells them they can sign up to your mailing list and get the second in the series by joining your newsletter. That’s Lead Magnet is also in the front, so Amazon gets it in their LookInside.
Then you tell Amazon that they need to price-match that book, so it goes perma-free. (Note that they’ve changed this, so you’ll have to find where they hid the link.)
2. You put your second book on pre-order at about $5.99, which is above the usual price for ebooks and makes it a premium. Just pre-order, they can’t have it yet. The Lead Magnet front and back is for the bundle of all three books, with a list price of about $6.99 (just on your own site) for a discount. Yes, they just have to join your list. (Oh, you pocket somewhere around 90% of that price, if you set it up with Ganxy.)
3. The bundle itself is listed for pre-sale on all distributors and has a Lead Magnet that goes to the course. (All of these Lead Magnets go the respective landing page, obviously.)
4. You put up the third book everywhere EXCEPT Amazon. Priced the same as the bundle. That third book Lead Magnet sells the bundle – on your own site, for a discount. The reason for this non-Amazon tactic is to sell the bundle, and the course. The other distributors don’t really use reviews and will sell it as “also by this author” and “related” as part of the series.
Your email subscribers can of course get the third book directly from you at a discount.
5. The course has been set up from the beginning with a pre-launch series of videos and content upgrades and emails that they have to go through to get to the course. The pre-launch content actually has most or all of the main points the three books contain, but promise an in-depth explanation of each point. So they are getting value while they are being excited about buying the course. The launch is evergreen, meaning once a person opts-in, they get the pre-launch sequence and then a certain time to buy the offer. The sequence is entertaining and educational, probably inspiring at times. And it gens them in to open emails from you.
You also have the intro ready, as well as the course outline. Give yourself a date to open which allows you to get all your other marketing completed.
6. After a decent amount of time, probably when you finish making the rounds of podcasts as a guest, you start taking the ebooks off pre-sale and tell your list to now go and leave honest reviews on Amazon. During your podcasts, you give away pre-release PDFs of the first two books (or the first book and the first half of the second as a preview – just for the listeners of that episode. No opt-in, just a giveaway.) You can also link the BitTorrent Bundle on that page, where they can get additional content upgrades. The page on your site is a regular page with menus, so they can check out your other podcasts and such on the site after they’ve gotten their downloads.
7. Now publish the paperback versions. The paperback versions on Lulu will determine when you make them go live, as you have to order and approve a physical proof. There is no real way to do pre-orders with either, other than one suggestion [http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2012/11/book-launches/] of taking on the job yourself through your own website (not suggested – you’re supposed to be working on that course, which is really your fourth book…) The Lead Magnets inside these paperbacks (and their previews) have an easily-typed-in redirect link which gets them into your mailing list. The thankyou page has all the various offers on it for each book and the course.
Note: Your paperback versions on CreateSpace should be sold for the same price or just a fraction below your Lulu books if possible – this will give you higher royalties from CS. Meanwhile, you discount your Lulu books by 50%, which will give you options to offer your list. That should give you slightly more royalty than if they sell through Amazon, interestingly.
8. Now you open the course. With as much fanfare as possible. Probably another round of podcast interviews would be in order.
9. As you build the course, you are actually building your fourth book in the series. Another smart move, as you’re creating videos anyway, is to record the audiobook. The videos can be edited versions of that audio book chapter with a powerpoint behind them.
You also give PDF “content upgrades” for each chapter. These are the action steps based on a review summary of that chapter. (Keep all this organized on your computer and backed up to DropBox or an external drive – just in case.)
Note: Ask for feedback at every single step. Don’t skimp this. Your audience is helping you build the course, so those questions need to be open-ended, not multiple choice or yes/no.
Your audience is helping you write the book. Their feedback tells you what you’re doing right in their estimation, and what still needs improvement. You also ask them to look for typo’s and to proof in general – it’s their book as much as yours. Keep track of all those who help, as their names go into the Dedication, and their websites into the Resources section at the end of the book.
10. Once you’ve wrapped up the course, you review all your marketing steps and tweak as needed.
11. Then you put your fourth book up on pre-order on Amazon and everywhere else and hit the podcast circuit again, promoting your new book and the course that built it. Your course price just increased as it came out of pilot, but can still be gotten by those listeners with a discount they can get from you by joining your list, etc.
12. Then you start writing another set of three books…
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By never selling the third book on Amazon, you tend to start a tide that raises all boats. This tends to break reading and buying habits of people. They’ll need to spend a dollar more to get the bundle, and will be exposed to the course.
You may also consider never publishing the hardcopy version of that third, depending on the length of these books. You can publish the bundle as hardcopy, especially a deluxe hardback (with a special 30-50% discount for list members from Lulu.)
This strategy can also work with short reads, and just publishing the paperback version of the bundle. It might even work better that way. Certainly, it will be a faster turnaround for the project overall.
There is a tricky way to exploit Amazon Advantage to get your book on CS pre-sold. [http://selfpublishingadvice.org/book-marketing-how-to-set-up-pre-orders-for-paperbacks/] Theoretically, this would also work with Expanded Reach on Lulu.
You can actually podcast the entire series, which will build your audiobook. Consider mapping out the whole book as something like 50 chapters total. Each week, you read the chapter out loud as part of editing it. Edit that into a podcast and publish. Edit a short version to become the video for the course. Build a presentation and that video. Your transcript and the presentation become course downloads. Your original podcast is linked from the course to your site.
One trick with Udemy that I want to try out is to have the intro courses there with plenty of PDF downloads – and those all link to your site or a landing page on that site with an opt-in offer. I’ve heard the wailing and gnashing of teeth about Udemy restricting your access to students outside their course. But we deal with that all the time on Amazon and everywhere else. That is why Lead Magnets exist. The lesson is to use them everywhere, all the time.
I’ll be testing this exact approach in the coming year. Those who are inside my LiveSensical.com membership will be “comped” to the course if they want it. So I’ll keep you posted as I do. (I may even do two courses at once, according to my own firehose theory of book production.) This means you should join my membership if you aren’t already…
This also tends to fulfill the three levels of education:
First is by reading and doing personally.
Second is by teaching
Third is by writing the text for the course for others to teach.
(You’re probably familar with the hypercritical “Those who can’t do, teach. Those who can’t teach, write textbooks.” Probably has to do with government-sponsored education, not real life. IMHO.)
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That is the icing on the top layer of cake for now. Might even be the cherry – we’ll see what comes up as we go along this route.
As usual, sign up for the membership to get all the goodies outlined above.
See you next time.