The 23 Paths for Authors – Beginner Book Marketing Guide from WriteZero

This post is part of the Beginner Book Marketing Guide from Write Zero. This post is part of the ‘Why Do You Write?’ Pillar

Understanding the 23 Paths for Authors

First, please read the 23 Paths for Authors post (part of the Beginner Self Publishing Course) to get a better understanding of the 23 Paths for Authors

Figure out which one or two Paths are Your Paths. It is critical to figure out what your path is, before you read the rest of this post

Marketing Advice for Each of the 23 Paths

We will give you important marketing advice and insights for each of the 23 Paths. Focus on the one or two paths which are Your Paths

Path 1: I’m like Alice in Wonderland and Not Quite Sure What I’m Looking For

If you are on this path, the most important marketing principles to follow are

  1. Put away your wallet until you understand the market
  2. Focus on Figuring out What You Want, and don’t worry much about marketing yet
    1. What’s the point of Marketing when you don’t know what you want, and thereby don’t know what product you will create
  3. Be wary of anyone asking you to make large commitments in terms of money or time
    1. This is especially important if you are not even clear what you want
    2. Why spend a lot of time, or a lot of money, on something that you might later decide you never wanted

Do read through the Universal Marketing Principles at the end of the post to get some powerful insights. After you know what you want, and have decided your path, you can return to this post and pick a Path

Path 2: I Aim to Sell Books (Regardless of whether or not it makes me Money and Profit)

The most important principles to follow to start selling books, if you are not too worried about making money and profit, are

  1. Look for your competitive advantages and focus on those
    1. As you don’t care about money, you can use low priced books and loss leaders to gain a big competitive advantage
    2. If you have just 1 or 2 books, set them as $0.99 each
    3. If you have 3 or more books, set the first as free, the second as $0.99, and the rest at $0.99 or $2.99
  2. Your lack of focus on money will save you from most of the people trying to beguile you and lead you astray
    1. Stick to that natural immunity
    2. Avoid all solutions that promise ‘quick and instant’ solutions
  3. Focus on quality. The biggest risk for you will be that since you are pricing your books low, you will be able to sell at lower quality
    1. However, to truly gain an advantage over higher priced books, you must match or exceed them in quality (not just on pricing)
  4. If you also have an advantage in terms of not having time constraints, then spend as much time as you can on finding The Right Market
  5. Focus most of all on building Direct Channels to Readers. Focus 100% on
    1. Building a large reader base
    2. Building Direct Channels so that they you can reach them anytime, easily and cheaply

You will succeed if you focus on your competitive advantages. There are few advantages as big as being able to use 1st Book Free, 2nd Book $0.99, when almost every one else is trying $4.99 and $9.99. Never lose sight of that

Path 3: My Aim is To Sell Books & Make a Good Amount of Money

It’s rather tough to make a good amount of money from selling books. Here are some principles, including marketing principles, to keep in mind

  1. Nearly all the authors that become financially successful, have a lot of books
    1. The more books you have, the higher your chance of making a good amount of money
  2. Each book is a marketing channel
    1. The better written it is, the higher chance readers will read your other books
    2. It must link to all your other books
    3. It must link to your website or author page
      1. That page, in turn, must link to your other books
    4. It must ask the reader for reviews
    5. It must ask the reader to sign up to your email list, a Direct Channel you control, so that you can reach them in the future easily and cheaply
  3. You’re basically running a small company. You must think like a CEO and an Entrepreneur
  4. The biggest Factor is writing what readers are dying to buy
    1. Everything else that you think is more important than this factor, is actually a lot less important
    2. If you write what readers are clamoring to buy, then you will do well
    3. If you write something that readers are not asking for, then it will be a tough journey
  5. Embrace failure, as you will meet it often. Greet it with warmth as every time it will teach you something valuable
    1. The more you fail, the more you will succeed

Of all the paths, this might be the path that most requires you to be adaptable, a good learner, and someone who avoids repeating mistakes

No mistake is fatal. However, repeating mistakes on this path will be fatal

Path 4: I Want to Get Rich Quick

No such path exists

Here is the best advice we can give you, if you are on this path

  1. Put away your wallet. You cannot buy success
  2. Stop wasting time on shortcuts. There are tens of millions of authors around the world trying to find shortcuts. You are far more likely to succeed if you are one of the few hundred thousand that are willing to work hard to succeed
  3. Embrace the fact that not only is it hard to get rich quick writing books, it might also be one of the worst possible markets to try and get rich in (let alone quickly)

Why are all the people promising you can Get Rich Quick from selling books, focusing on selling ‘Get Rich Quick Courses’ instead of focusing on selling books?

Figure out the answer to that question and you will be much happier

Path 5: I Want to Prove that I can Write

This is a very interesting case. Instead of focusing on marketing, here you need to focus primarily on Quality of your Writing

Focus on the following two aspects

  1. Finding a Market where people buy books
    1. Ideally, a market where A LOT of people buy books
  2. Writing a very high quality book that is a good fit for this market

Those are the two primary considerations. You get those two done right, and you will need just a small amount of marketing to achieve your goal of proving you can write

After those two aspects are covered, focus on the following marketing principles

  1. Focus on marketing to the Exact Perfect Set of Readers for your books
    1. Those are the ones most likely to appreciate your book and leave good reviews
  2. Focus on ultra targeted marketing
    1. Don’t do catch-all marketing methods
    2. Go as individualized and niche as possible
  3.  Focus on a small marketing budget
    1. If you want to get sales to the right readers, and good reviews, you have to focus on the right readers
    2. Avoid marketing wildly to everyone as it is counter productive to your aims

Focus as much as you can on writing very high quality books, and marketing to the narrowest and most perfect set of readers for your books

Path 6: I Want to Share My Story

We’ve discussed how there are two main ways to approach this

Approach 1: You just want to share your story

In this case, the following marketing principles apply

  1. Figure out what market your book is best suited for
    1. General Biographies & Memoirs will do well in Non Fiction Biographies & Memoirs category
    2. Business related Biographies will do well in Business category
    3. Fiction stories that are inspired by your experiences, and Biographical Fiction, will do best in the Fiction category
    4. Very market/business specific experiences and advice, will do well in the category that fits that market/business
    5. Coming of Age stories will do well in Coming of Age category and Historical Fiction
    6. Stories from the past will do well in Historical Fiction
  2. Keep a small marketing budget and gradually test and find what set of readers the book does well with
    1. Different books do differently with different marketing channels
    2. Your book might do very well with an industry specific advertising solution, and might bomb with general fiction readers, or vica versa
  3. Focus most of all on CONNECTION with your readers
    1. They will only be able to benefit from your story and wisdom and experiences, if they can connect with you
      1. That’s why starting with an industry focus is quite a good idea

Approach 2: You want to Leave a Legacy

This is very tricky as this requires connecting with a lot of readers

  1. Initially, you do exactly the same approach as in Approach 1
    1. Figure out what market your book is best suited for
    2. Keep a small marketing budget and find the best set of readers for it
    3. Focus on creating a Strong Connection
  2. After that, gradually start expanding the audience you market your book for
    1. If it works and general readers (outside your perfect market) are buying the book – Great
    2. Ramp up your marketing
  3. If expanding the audience does not work
    1. Then consider doing a modified book, a new book, that will appeal to a more general audience
    2. Your first market/industry specific book can remain focused on its niche market
    3. You write a brand new book based on your earlier book, which aims to appeal to a general audience and connect with more people

This is not easy. You might never be able to connect with a large audience

The main thing to focus on is Creating a Strong Connection and writing a book that appeals to its target readers very strongly

Path 7: I Want to be a Full Time Author and Make a Good Living

Here are the 5 most important Marketing Principles if you want to make a good living as an author

  1. Build a Network of Books
    1. You must have a lot of books
    2. Each book must be high quality
    3. You must have researched and made sure there is a strong market for your books
    4. You must do very good marketing
    5. Each book must connect to every other book, to your direct channels to readers (your email list, blog, etc), and to your author website
  2.  Always be Profitable
    1. You cannot just turn on a switch 2 years into your career as an author and suddenly achieve profitability
    2. Be profitable from the start
    3. As much as possible, invest only your earnings from books in to your career as an author
      1. It is a pipe dream to invest a lot of your day job earnings into your author career. It almost never works out
  3. Always be Selling
    1. Your entire focus must be on selling
    2. Most authors can write
      1. Perhaps not super well
      2. However, well enough to sell books
    3. Quite a few authors can do market research and find good markets
    4. Very few authors can market very well
    5. The biggest opportunity is to Learn to Sell Well
  4.  Have a lot of respect for Sales and Marketing
    1. If you approach it as something below your abilities, you will never be able to market your books well
    2. Sales if what puts food on the table. Regardless of whether you are a haughty ‘creator’, a hard working cog in the machine, or a sales man – All money only comes from sales of the products made
      1. Every single cent you get is because there was a salesman somewhere who sold the product
    3. The more respect you have for Sales and Marketing, the higher the chance you can make a good living as an author
  5.  Give proper time to Marketing and Sales
    1. If you are choosing it as the primary skill you want to master, then 20 to 40 hours a week
    2. If you are choosing to merely be very good at it (which is the bare minimum level required), then 10 to 20 hours a week

It will be a real test in prioritization and productivity. Not only you have to write more and more books, you have to learn more and more marketing, and you have to do more and better market research to figure out what you should be writing

Mastering 1 of the 3 Core Skills for Authors, and becoming very good at the other 2

Please keep in mind that you have to Master at least 1 of the 3 Core Skills for Authors, and be very good at the other 2

If you choose Marketing Very Well as the Core Skill you will master

  1. You must give 20 to 40 hours a week to it
    1. Yes, that’s what mastery means
    2. Notice how some of the authors who begun to do well basically became full time marketers and started selling courses to authors, instead of selling books to readers
      1. It is perhaps because they realized they are better at marketing than at writing books
      2. Additionally, it’s better to sell $100 to $10,000 courses to authors than to sell $0 to $10 ebooks to readers
    3.  Mastery means you are so good you can switch to selling something else, and still be world class at it
  2. Please read the post on Levels of Mastery of The 3 Core Skills
  3. You must either have a passion or some unique competitive advantage when it comes to marketing
    1. Ideally both
  4. You must have enough money coming in (from your books, or from your day job) to actually be able to learn Marketing
  5. You must treat it as both an Art and a Science
    1. This is a critical point
    2. If you are not willing to accept Marketing is BOTH an Art and a Science, then you will not be able to master it

If you do not choose Marketing Very Well as the Core Skill you will master

  1. You must still give 10 hours a week to it
  2. You must still become very good at it
  3. You must read up on all the newest marketing tactics

In addition, you must Master at least 1 of the 3 Core Skills – otherwise becoming very good at marketing is meaningless

Path 8: I Want to be a Full Time Author and Make a Very Good Living

Please read the previous Path (Path 7). Those 5 Core Marketing Principles also apply to Path 8

Here are 5 additional critical marketing principles that apply if you want to make a very good living as an author

  1. You must gain a very powerful ally
    1. A Big 5 Publisher or a Large Publisher
    2. Amazon or Barnes & Noble – sign a deal with one of their publishing imprints
    3. (Indirect and not Sufficient in itself) Become a Kindle Unlimited All Star author and start getting a bonus from Amazon
  2. Your Market Research must be superb
    1. Not only must you become very good at Finding The Right Market
    2. You must also become exceptional at providing The Right Product for The Right Market
    3. [Stretch Goal] Test if you can expand the genre or take it in a new direction. Doing so, if successful, really increases your earnings
  3. You must build Very Strong and Very Direct Channels to Authors
    1. It must be channels you own and control 100%
    2. You must be able to use them anytime, easily and cheaply
    3. They must be defensible i.e. others must not be able to attack them or copy them easily
  4. You must get the proper help and support
    1. Incorporate as a company so that you benefit from the 21% corporate tax
    2. Get a top notch Chartered Accountant. They will save you a lot of money and time
    3. Get a Personal Assistant and a Virtual Assistant
      1. You will be giving most of your time to Mastering the Core Skills for Authors, and to writing more and more books
      2. Everything that is not essential and time critical, must be handled by someone else
  5.   You must value your time and energy and money very highly
    1. Time as the single most important resource
    2. Money as the critical fuel that powers everything
    3. Energy as the critical fuel for yourself – you have to keep yourself in good health and also grow your writing career
  6. [Stretch Goal] Mastermind Group
    1. Find a master mind group of like minded authors
    2. They must have the same goals
    3. Absolutely no Negative Nancy type of people
    4. Absolutely no Dishonest people
      1. They will not only take advantage of readers and the bookstores
      2. They will also, sooner or later, take advantage of you
    5. It must be a small group that is ultra focused on success and nothing other than success

Making a very good living from selling books is

  1. Possible
  2. Not easy
  3. Hard to defend
  4. Very satisfying
  5. Very Draining (of energy and time and money)

Make sure you plan out your Masterplan very well, and be fully prepared for the rollercoaster your life will become

Mastering 2 of the 3 Core Skills for Authors, and becoming very good at the third

Please read the ‘Mastering 1 of the 3 Core Skills for Authors’ section from the Previous Path (Path 7)

To make a very good living as an author, you have to Master 2 of the 3 Core Skills for Authors, and be very good at the third

This is an Extremely difficult task as it can take a lifetime to master a skill

For each of the 2 Core Skills you decide to Master

  1. You must give 20 to 40 hours a week each
    1. That’s 40 to 80 hours just to mastering these two skills
    2. While still doing your day job
    3. While still writing your books
  2. You must really devote yourself and really apply yourself to these skills
  3. You still have to become very good at the third skill

This is a Herculean Endeavor. If there is some other occupation that you are gifted in, and passionate about, it is worth noting that

  1. The amount of effort you would put in books to get to $100,000 to $1 Million a year levels
  2. Would Perhaps take you to $500,000 to $20 Million a year levels in that other occupation

Think though things carefully – Do you really want to give 40 to 80 hours a week to mastering 2 of the 3 Core Skills for Authors, when other occupations would give you 5 to 20 times the financial reward for that level of effort?

Path 9: I Want to be a Full Time Author and Become One of the Biggest Authors in the World (Top 100)

We have absolutely no idea what it takes

Find a Top 100 Author. Ask them to be your mentor. If they say

  1. Yes – Celebrate! Then follow their advice
  2. No – Don’t lose hope. Study what Top 100 Authors are doing and learn from that

You will notice that nearly all Top 100 Authors

  1. Write very Well or Write for a Market that has very high demand or Both
  2. Have very powerful allies
    1. Usually their marketing is handled by their very powerful ally
  3. Put a lot of thought into what they write and how they write
  4. Keep driving ahead even after success
  5. Focus on their core competency, and make sure they surround themselves with the best people
  6. Are never penny wise and pound foolish
    1. They do not skimp on expenses for core tasks such as editing, cover design, proofreading
  7. Have devoted their entire life to writing
    1. This is a critical thing to keep in mind
    2. If you are not willing to devote yourself COMPLETELY to writing and selling books, you are unlikely to become a Top 100 or even Top 1000 author
    3. This, of course, applies to every other profession too

Best of luck!

Path 10: I Want to Use Books to Build My Brand + Then Make a Good Living Selling Services like Consulting and Courses

These are the 11 most critical Marketing Principles to keep in mind when using Books to Build Your Brand and then make a living selling Products and Services to these customers you have acquired via your Book

  1. You are selling Yourself
    1. This is the most difficult aspect to understand and embrace
    2. You are not selling a book
    3. You are not even selling the Products and Services you will sell to them later
    4. You are selling Yourself
    5. They will buy based on whether or not they trust you and like you
  2. You are selling Your Company
    1. Primarily, you are selling yourself
    2. Secondarily, you are selling your company (if it is a company that is selling the services and products)
      1. If there is no company, then you are selling yourself to an even higher degree than Point 1 implies
    3.  Again, you  are not selling your products and services. You are selling yourself and your company
  3.  The Book is an Extension of Yourself and Your Company – It must be of Very High Quality
    1. This is literally and figuratively true
    2. You must make sure the book is of very high quality
      1. The editing and proofreading must be superb with no mistakes
      2. The writing must be very high quality
      3. The book cover design must be very high quality
      4. The physical book must be well designed, well laid out (typesetting), and look beautiful
        1. It must be something that looks good on their bookshelf and on their desk
      5. The book
    3. Whenever possible, put yourself on the cover
      1. It means you stand behind the book
      2. If you feel any doubt whatsoever about putting yourself on the cover, it usually means you think the book is not good enough for you to stand behind it
        1. Improve and Polish the book until you are Proud to be on the cover
  4.  The Book must provide Very High Value
    1. If it provides very high value, your future customers will automatically assume your products and services will also provide very high value
    2. This has a lot of truth to it – Only someone who really understands the market can write a very good book which provides very high value
      1. That person is also likely to provide very good value in their products and services
    3. When writing your book, always be focused on providing very high value
  5.  Only write in an area you are an absolute expert in
    1. If you’re just looking to make a quick buck, then ignore this point
    2. If you really want to build a business, then you must ensure you are an Expert in the area you write in
    3. You must also make sure you write a book which provides very high value
    4. You must then make sure that every product and service you provide gives very high value
    5. The book should be an accurate representation of the high value products and services you are selling
  6.  You must market and promote to those readers who will be your future customers
    1. This is painfully obvious and yet most authors ignore this
    2. Your sole focus should be on reaching those people who will be your future customers
      1. There is one exception – when you want to get sales or downloads to become a bestseller
      2. However, even then, it is better to focus on your real customers
    3. The better you get at targeting Your Ideal Customer for the Products and Services you sell, the more the book will help your business
  7.  You must aim to become a genre bestseller, whenever possible
    1. There is a lot of value in becoming a Genre Bestseller in the category in which your business is
    2. As you will be spending most of your Marketing Budget during the Launch Month
      1. It is a good idea to also prioritize your Becoming a Bestseller push during this launch month
      2. Set one Easy Target of becoming a bestseller in a smaller category that is very relevant to your books’s categories
      3. Set a Main Target of becoming a bestseller in the category that is the best fit for your book
      4. Set a Stretch Target of becoming a bestseller in a larger category that is still relevant to your book’s categories
  8.  Your focus should be on using the Book as a Loss Leader which sells your products and services and establishes your brand
    1. Do not get greedy and try to also make money from the book
    2. The value of future customers is too great
    3. It’s OK to not make money on the book, provided it helps you acquire customers who buy your products and services
  9. Have Products and Services available to sell right from Day 1
    1. The highest probability of people purchasing your products and services is in the days immediately after they start reading your book
    2. They are not going to wait for 3 months for your ‘grand launch date’
    3. To the extent possible, have your products and services ready from the day you launch your book
  10.  Capture every customer who buys or downloads your book on to your mailing list
    1.  The Book is a Marketing Channel
    2. Shift as many future customers as possible on to your email list
      1. Your email list is a channel which lets you contact these future customers anytime, easily and cheaply
    3. The best way to shift readers/future customers on to your email list is to offer additional value that is very relevant to your area of expertise
      1. Offer a free workbook linked to the book
      2. OR Offer a small article on Top 10 Ideas for X in Business Y
      3. OR Offer an article with Insights and Advice for a Very Specific and Very Important Sub Area within your Area of Expertise

As long as you remember that you are selling yourself, and not a book

As long as you remember that the aim is to sell your Products and Services, and the book is just a loss leader/pathway to selling those

You will be fine

Path 11: I Want to Build a Large Reader Base and Don’t Want to Think About Money Right Now

There are 7 Marketing Principles and Strategies you will benefit most from, while Building Up a Large Reader Base

  1. The Loss Leader Strategy
  2. The Ramp Up (& The Halo Effect)
  3. The Marketing Funnel
  4. The Importance of Retention (& The Importance of Having Lots of Books)
    1. i.e. It is easier to sell more products to existing customers than it is to find new customers
  5. All Roads Lead to Rome AKA All Books are Roads which should Sell Your Other Books
  6. The First Law of Value – The Law of Conservation of Value
  7. Customers of Good Intent & Customers of Great Intent are all that matter

We will provide a simple explanation. Please read up more on each of these

The Loss Leader Strategy

The Loss Leader Strategy is basically

  1. You provide a full length book of very high quality for free to readers
  2. The quality of the book convinces them that your books are worth reading
    1. Additionally, they feel Reciprocation i.e.
    2. They got a great book for free
    3. They should consider giving something back in return (a review, purchasing your other books, etc)
  3. The readers (or some percentage of them) buy your other books

In the real world, the loss leader strategy works something like this

  1. Example 1
    1. A Store offers crazy deals on TVs, but in a limited amount
    2. Lots of customers come in for those crazy deals
    3. Some of those which get the crazy TV deal, also buy other things
    4. Some of those which don’t get the crazy TV deal, buy other things
    5. On the whole, the store makes a profit
    6. The TV at a crazy discounted price is the Loss Leader
    7. The other products the customers buy are the ones that generate the profits
  2. Example 2
    1. A razor company sells a shaving razor for $5, even though it costs $14 to make
    2. The Razor Blades cost $10 for a pack, even though they cost just $3 to make
    3. Over time, the $9 loss taken on the loss leader (the shaving razor)
      1. Is more than made up for the $7 profit on each pack of razor blades
  3. Example 3
    1. A restaurant offers a free drink with every meal
    2. Each drink costs the restaurant $2
    3. A meal costs $20 and makes the restaurant $10 of profit
    4. Even though the restaurant loses $2 on the loss leader (the free drink)
    5. It makes $10 profit on the meal

In books, you set one of your books (usually the first in a series) as the Loss Leader

  1. We call it a loss leader, even though there is no actual cost to you to give away a free ebook
    1. You can get into imaginary arguments about – 10% of people would have bought it and you’re losing some money
    2. However, we strongly recommend you not be the glass 1/10th empty kind of person and go all in with the loss leader strategy
  2. The Free Book has to convince readers your writing is very good
  3. Lots of people will focus on getting ‘an email address’ in return for the book
    1. That’s not a bad strategy
    2. However, the only truly effective strategy is to get them to read your book and get them to be sold on how good your writing is
    3. You sell them on the quality of your writing and they will find you, and they will themselves sign up for your email list
    4. While it is critical to get them on your email list
    5. The REAL point of the Loss leader strategy is to win them as a customer for life, and to do that by giving them a Loss Leader that is very high quality

Common mistakes to avoid when using a Loss Leader strategy are

  1. Try to shortchange them by giving a short story or one of your worst books as ‘The Free Book’
    1. The Loss Leader strategy only works if they get something of very high quality and of good value
  2. Give away everything for free
    1. The Loss Leader has to have Profit Makers
    2. So you have to have most of your books as ‘not free’ and make money from them
  3. Focus on things other than making them a lifelong reader by giving them a book they will really love
    1. Don’t get too caught up in extrinsic things
    2. Your main focus should be giving them a book that knocks their socks off
    3. That makes them a lifelong reader

The Loss Leader strategy is extremely powerful. As an author you also have the glorious advantage that your Loss Leader costs you nothing to give away

The Ramp Up (& The Halo Effect)

The smart way to ‘Ramp Up’ and sell more and more products to a customer is

  1. Sell them an innocent little MP3 player (the iPod)
    1. Make it amazing and you create ‘A Halo Effect’
    2. The iPod is not every expensive
    3. It can be from $50 to $200
    4. It makes people fall in love with your products
    5. They start looking for more of your products
  2.  Sell them a phone (iPhone)
    1. This is costly. However, it is subsidized by the carrier
    2. So customers just pay $200 or $100 or $0
    3. The actual cost is covered in the monthly payments to the carrier
  3. Sell them a tablet (iPad)
    1. This is not subsidized, and might cost $200 to $800
    2. However, by now the customer loves your products and values them highly
  4. Sell them a computer (iMac)
    1. This is quite expensive, running between $900 and $4,000
    2. The customers are now more and more in love with your product
    3. They know you have very high quality
    4. They know you have brand value
    5. They don’t mind paying
  5. Sell them services
    1. Apple Music
    2. Apple Pay
    3. Apps and Games
    4. Apple iBooks
    5. This is where you start building recurring income streams from your clients

So you sell customers a (relatively) lower priced product and make it amazingly good. This creates a very strong perception of you in the customer’s head (The Halo Effect). Now you sell them more and more products and keep ramping up the price gradually

In books, this is how an ideal Ramp Up would work

  1. The Loss Leader is free
    1. The Loss Leader cannot be a gimmick
    2. Do not be stingy or greedy
    3. Do not be short sighted
    4. Make the Loss Leader an amazing value and amazingly good
    5. The main function of the Loss Leader is to show readers you write very well and create The Halo Effect
      1. Those readers will seek out your books, all their lives
      2. Provided the Loss Leader is a very well written book
      3. And it is a full length book
  2. The 2nd Book you sell them
    1. Make the price very approachable
    2. $0.99 is ideal
    3. $2.99 is acceptable
  3. The 3rd Book you sell them
    1. Make that price also approachable
    2. $0.99 or $2.99 is ideal
    3. Do not get greedy
  4. 4th and 5th books, slowly ramp up the price
  5. 6th book onwards, you can charge a higher price
    1. However, it is best to still keep the price reasonable

As should be apparent, The Ramp Up Strategy only works if you have a good number of books to sell. 1 or 2 books is not enough

It also will only work if you do not get greedy and make it a gradual ramp that your customers can easily climb. Anytime you introduce a steep climb (1st Book is Free, but 2nd book is $4.99 or $7.99) you are destroying the potential of the strategy and consigning yourself to failure

It will work better if you have more books to sell, and can make the ramp very gradual and very easy to go up

  1. A ramp of – Free, $0.99, $0.99, $2.99, $2.99, $3.99, $4.99, $4.99
  2. Is 10 to 30 times more effective than
  3. A ramp of – Free, $3.99, $7.99

As in many other areas, the more books you have to sell, the higher your chances of success, and the larger the magnitude of your success

The Marketing Funnel

This marketing strategy has been beaten to death. It basically talks about having a Marketing Funnel and moving customers through the various stages and turn them into buying customers

We will recommend looking at it as two things

  1. Removing Road Blocks in the Path of your Prospective Customer
  2. Ensuring your Customers remain Customers

So instead of a Funnel, think of it as Removing Friction and Roadblocks and making it The Path of Least Resistance of readers to buy your books

Basically, that is what it is – If Buying Your Books is The Path of Least Resistance, then they will keep coming back to you

A few things to keep in mind

  1. Firstly, above all else, make sure your book is very well written, well edited, and proof read
    1. This is the one thing that will ensure readers know they will get a quality product
    2. It is the one thing that will make buying your books The Path of Least Resistance
  2. When they first become aware of you, make sure you make a great impression
    1. Great cover
    2. Good book title
    3. Clarity on what the book category is
  3. When they visit your book page, make sure you have a very well done book page
    1. Every aspect should be polished
    2. Book Cover is very important
    3. Most important are the book reviews
    4. Very Important to not have any mistakes
    5. Have your photograph in the Author Profile section
  4. Once they buy your book, make sure you go all out
    1. Get them on your email list
    2. Introduce them to your other books
    3. Ask them to leave a review if they like your book
    4. Have the book in very high quality
    5. Maximize the amount of reading pleasure they have
    6. Value their time very highly
    7. Prioritize things that make them happy
      1. As those are the things that will make you money in the long term
  5. Make sure to focus a lot on Customer Retention
    1. In the long run, Customer Retention is even more important than Customer Acquisition

The Importance of Retention (& The Importance of Having Lots of Books)

If there is one thing you could take away from This Entire Course, it would be

  1. Everything else becomes easy and/or unnecessary if you have lots of books
    1. PROVIDED they are all of good quality

Customer Retention is what brings true success

Here are 5 key principles around Customer Retention

  1. It is MUCH easier to sell to existing customers, than it is to sell to new customers
  2. Once you have sold one book to a customer, it is quite possible to sell them every other book you have
  3. Customer Retention is absolutely critical because of two factors
    1. If you retain your customers, and keep adding customers, your total reader base keeps growing
    2. If you keep writing more books, the number of products (books) you can sell to your reader base keeps growing
    3. Combine these two factors and you have
      1. A constantly increasing reader base
      2. A constantly increasing number of products (books) you can sell to them
  4. The easiest way to Retain customers is to write very, very good books
    1. So a focus on Customer Retention requires a focus on Product Quality
    2. Improving Product Quality makes your life easier in almost every aspect, not just in customer retention
  5. The 2nd easiest way to Retain customers is to build Direct Channels to your customers
    1. This gives you Control of Your Destiny
    2. The middlemen can no longer suck your blood, or at least they cannot suck too much of it

Both these factors are critical, and they build on each other very well

  1. Make sure you focus on Customer Retention and build great Customer Retention
  2. Make sure you keep adding more and more books, while increasing the quality of your writing and your books relentlessly

All Roads Lead to Rome AKA All Books are Roads which should Sell Your Other Books

You are building a Book Network, whether you know it or not

You can choose to keep your books as isolated towers, which do not sell your other books, which do not ask readers for their email address, and which do not link to your website or your author page

Or you can choose to build a Proper Book Network

  1. All books must be connected to each other
    1. At the point of Maximum Reader Satisfaction (usually just when they finish the book)
    2. Ask them for their email address
    3. Tell them about your other books
    4. Ask them for a review if they liked the book
    5. Ask them to contact you if they have suggestions for improvement
  2. All books must SELL
    1. Each book is a Sales & Marketing Person
    2. The better the quality of a book, the better it will be at selling all your other books
    3. The more clear it is, that you have other books available for sale, the higher the chance people will buy it
  3. The book must ASK readers to take action
    1. The front matter (pages before the book starts)
      1. Must ask for their email
      2. Must ask them to check out your other books
    2. The back matter (pages after the book ends)
      1. Must ask for a review
      2. Must ask for their email address
      3. Must tell them about offers and deals you have
      4. Must point them to your website
      5. Must ask them to buy your other books

Think about it this way, assuming you have 5 books

  1. Do you want these 5 books to be standalone and not connect with each other?
  2. Or would you rather that these were living breathing Sales Engines that generates sales for each other?

Each Book is a Living Breathing Sales Engine and part of Your Book Network

Build them as such. Treat them as such

The First Law of Value – The Law of Conservation of Value

Value cannot be destroyed. Value you give, will return to you in the form of Value Received

In a perfect system

  1. You give value to the reader by giving them a very well written book that gives them reading pleasure
  2. They give you value back in the form of paying money for your book, by writing a good review, and by buying your other books

That is the nature of value. If you provide value, you will get value back

In an imperfect system

  1.  If you have a great book that brings a reader joy and pleasure, it has High Value for the Reader
    1. The Reader will want to give you back Value in Return
  2. There will, however, be people that interfere in that process
    1. Certain Middlemen will try and pretend that they are giving the value
      1. You will notice certain stores will try to commoditize you and make the reader feel as if they are getting the value From The Store, and not from the Author
      2. Avoid such stores, to the extent possible
    2. Certain People will try and steal the value
      1. Book Piraters who pirate books and share them on their websites
      2. They always hide behind ‘principles’ – Information wants to be free
      3. They forget to mention that they are making money by stealing your books
        1. They are thieves and treat them as such
    3. A section of readers will try to steal value and not give value back. These are the leechers who exist in every ecosystem
      1. One part will be readers who will never pay
        1. Just ignore them as they cannot be ‘fixed’ to be honest
      2. One part will be readers who will pay only if stealing is inconvenient or dangerous
        1. Make sure it is not easy for people to steal your books
        2. This alone will greatly reduce stealing of your books
      3. One part will be readers who are genuinely so clueless/naive that they think authors will ‘magically make money from some other way
        1. Be sure to not allow this line of thinking
        2. Add copyright notices
        3. Remember, for many people the need to ‘feel they are a good person’ is stronger than their need to ‘get books for free, by stealing books’
          1. If you make it obvious to them it is stealing, they will stop stealing
  3. The secret is to focus on readers who have Good Intentions and will give value back, provided they get value from your book
    1. The more you focus on such readers, the more successful you will be

Remember, there are multiple aspects to this Law

  1. It should be clear that YOU are the one providing the value
    1. Don’t let a middleman or a middleman store pretend they are providing the value
  2. You should make it easy for Customers of Good Intent to get value from your book
  3. You should make it very hard for Customers of Bad Intent to steal your book
    1. If possible, make it impossible for them to steal your book, while also believing it is not stealing
    2. Something as simple as a small copyright notice and a note makes this possible
  4. Provide a Lot of Value
  5. As long as there are Customers of Good Intent who know it is YOU providing the value
    1. As long as they are getting good value
    2. They will make sure to give value back

Many Internet Technology companies are built on Stealing Value. In particular, they are build on creating the Perception that they are the ones providing the value

If you are a creator, you have to make 100% sure that it is clear YOU are providing the value. That is the only way to ensure customers can Give Value Back To You

Customers of Good Intent & Customers of Great Intent are all that matter

Your focus should be on Customers of Good Intent i.e.

  1. Customers who will buy 1 or more of your books
  2. Customers who will support you by giving reviews for your books
  3. Customers who will be willing to pay a reasonable price
  4. Customers who if they download a free or $0.99 copy of your book, will go on to buy your higher priced books
  5. Customers who will become lifelong readers and buy your future books

You can forget everyone else. If you do a good job of providing high quality books to your Customers of Good Intent you will be successful

Your focus should also be on Customers of Great Intent i.e.

  1.  Customers who will buy every single book you write and publish
  2.  Customers who will be part of your street team (which helps you launch your books successfully) and/or part of your support team
  3. Customers who will leave reviews and offer support
  4. Customers who will buy your books even when you dip in quality (though you should not)
  5. Customers who will buy your books even if you price them high (though you should keep prices reasonable)

Customers of Good Intent will outnumber Customers of Great Intent. However, catering to Customers of Great Intent is also a critical part of succeeding

Hand in hand with focusing on these ‘good’ customers, it is important to avoid ‘bad’ customers

  1. Do not make it easy for people to steal your books
    1. After that, stop worrying about it
    2. There will always be people who steal your books
    3. As long as you don’t make it too easy, it is not going to slow you down or kill you
  2. Do not focus on people who dislike or hate your books
    1. The closer you get to success, the higher the chance you attract trolls and other negative people
    2. Ignore them completely
  3. Do not focus on people unlikely to buy your books
    1. Perhaps the most important aspect is to focus on customers who have a high likelihood of buying your books
    2. Don’t waste your time and energy chasing people who have a low probability of becoming your customers

Focus on Good Customers. Focus on people who are quite likely to buy your books. Focus on people who are willing to appreciate your books and pay for them

Path 12: I Want to Help Other People and Also Make Money

Focus on selling books and making money

Books, by their very nature, help people. Reading books makes you smarter. It opens up new passageways in your brain. It opens you up to new ideas and new ways of thinking. You’re doing something which fundamentally helps people. So you can very comfortably forget ‘Helping Other People’ (as it is already ingrained into reading books) and just focus on selling your books. People reading your books is what will help them – it is in the DNA of books to help the people who read them

The best way to help people via books, even though this seems counter-intuitive, is to sell lots of books and make money from selling books

Here are 5 general marketing tips for selling books (as that is the best and perhaps only truly effective way to help people via books)

  1. Always Be Selling
    1. Your focus should always be on selling
    2. Your website, your social media accounts, your email newsletter, your book pages, your author profile – Everything should be built with a focus on selling
    3. We don’t mean inelegant ‘in your face’ selling which constantly screams ‘buy, buy, buy’
      1. We mean tastefully and carefully done sales and pre sales
    4. Whether you realize it or not, you are always selling yourself and your services
      1. You already are Always Selling
    5. Be aware of it and do it actively and well – Always Be Selling
  2. Always Be Closing
    1. Always be closing the Sale
    2. When the reader is ready and on the verge of buying – give them a Call to Action and get them to Buy
    3. Always make sure you Seal the Deal
  3. Only Sales Matter
    1. Intentions don’t matter
    2. How many readers you reach doesn’t matter
    3. How many readers reach your book page doesn’t matter
    4. How many readers thought about buying your book doesn’t matter
    5. Only the number of sales matter
  4. Have Respect for Sales and for Salespeople
    1. Society is strange. Money is necessary for most things. Yet, having money and making money is somehow supposed to be a bad thing. Artists are supposed to starve. Why?
      1. Reject this nonsense
      2. If you create something of beauty and make people happy, you should be financially rewarded
    2. Society is even stranger when it comes to sales. Without sales no one would make anything. The person running the machine in the factory would not get paid if the salesman didn’t get sales
      1. Reject the notion that Sales and Marketing are bad, and salesmen are evil
      2. Have respect for sales
    3. It is critical to understand the vital nature of sales. No one would make even $1 if there were no salesmen to sell the products being created
      1. You cannot be good at selling if you believe the nonsense society teaches you about sales being evil and salesmen being predators
      2. Instead embrace the reality that Sales is what makes the world go round
      3. If you learn sales and have respect for sales, you will greatly increase your chances of success
  5. Measure Everything, especially your Key Performance Indicators
    1. It is best to measure only Key Performance Indicators
      1. Key Performance Indicators – the key metrics which tell you how you are doing
      2. It is good to start off by measuring Everything
        1. Because you might be wrong in identifying what your Key Performance Indicators are
    2. Figure out the key metrics (Key Performance Indicators – KPIs) you should be measuring
      1. Definitely measure them
      2. See what is happening when you have good sales
      3. See what is happening when you have low sales
    3. Measure and Analyze and Finalize your Key Performance Indicators
      1. Then focus relentlessly on measuring and improving your KPIs

Always Be Selling and Always Be Closing and Have Respect for Sales

Path 13: I Want to Help Other People and Don’t Need to Make Money

This can be a pretty difficult path. There is nothing as difficult as helping people when you aren’t charging them money (or undercharging them)

Let’s discuss a few very, very difficult to understand marketing principles. These are absolutely impossible to understand until and unless you embrace that you have to work with human nature to sell books and to help people

  1. People feel something is worth what they pay for it, or how hard they have to work for it
    1. If you make all/most of your books free, people will just not value them
    2. Regardless of how good they are, people will undervalue them
  2. People pursue what flees away from them, not what pursues them
  3. The old joke about Psychiatry is very true
    1. Psychiatry works, but the patient really, really needs to want to change
    2. It’s the same with books
    3. Your book is only going to help people who want to be helped
    4. Not that many people actually want to be helped
    5. Even fewer want to be helped by someone offering them a free service or a free book
  4. Helping people works much better and is much easier when they don’t realize they are being helped
    1. You put your book as ‘Become Smarter and Think Differently’ and the market for it is somewhat small
    2. You write Alice in Wonderland and suddenly the market is infinitely big
    3. WHILE still achieving the same aim
  5. People are much more likely to ‘get helped’ in the process of having fun and/or being entertained

Books, by their very nature, are Trojan Horses. They make us smarter while entertaining us. They open up our minds while distracting us with a story

If you want to help people, the best thing you can do is not tell them you are helping them

If you want to help people without focusing on money, the best thing you can do is charge good money for your books

Path 14: I Want to Become a Bestseller for Business or Commercial Reasons

Marketing, when you want to become a Bestseller for business or commercial reasons, is exceedingly straightforward. Only two things matter

  1. Identifying 1 or more categories which are the best categories for you
    1. They should be very specific and a good fit for your book
    2. They should be categories where becoming a bestseller would benefit you i.e. relevant to your business and/or the services you sell
    3. They should be categories where the readers will buy your book
    4. It is better to pick a smaller category and definitely become a bestseller
      1. Than it is to pick a larger category and miss being a bestseller
    5. It is critical to pick a category where the readers actually buy books like yours
  2. Getting enough sales to become a bestseller in 1 or more of those categories
    1. That’s it. Nothing else matters

Towards that end, here are 5 Key Marketing Concepts

  1. Product Market Fit is exceedingly important
    1. Pick a category and write a book that matches EXACTLY what your prospective future customers are looking for
      1. If you don’t, you will not be able to sell your products and services
      2. We’re assuming that is the whole reason you are trying to become a bestseller
    2. Pick a category where readers buy exactly the kind of book you are offering
      1. If you pick the right category it does not even matter too much whether you have a very good book or not
      2. Readers in business categories will buy each book that is relevant to their business and livelihood
      3. Because no one can afford to pass up a book that might give them a step up in their career
      4. Please Note: We do strongly recommend writing a book that helps people and provides a lot of value
      5. Please Note: It is, however, imperative to point out that picking the right category will mean even a mediocre book will sell because readers have a very strong incentive (career success) to buy any and every book in that category
  2. Giving Value to Readers is Extremely Important
    1. If you give value to readers
      1. They will leave good reviews
      2. They will buy your other services and products
    2. Please remember that becoming a bestseller is useless if your book doesn’t provide value
      1. Because if your book doesn’t provide value, the readers won’t buy your other products and services
  3. You have to Make it Clear exactly what value your book will provide
    1. If you make it clear what value your book will provide
      1. Readers will buy it without thinking twice
      2. Do not make it a puzzle for them. Don’t make them guess. Make it clear what benefits your book will provide
  4. Only Enough Sales Matter
    1. You absolutely must get enough sales to become a bestseller in your chosen category
      1. Less will not do
      2. More is not necessary, though it is nice to leave some room
    2. Focus completely on getting the required number of sales
    3. If you pick the right category even 10 to 50 sales are enough to become a bestseller
  5. You cannot spend too much time on Researching for The Right Market (the right book category)
    1. No matter how much time you spend, it is a justified allocation of your time
    2. If you spend too little time, you might be doomed to failure
    3. It is much better to spend more time than required, than to miss finding the right categories

Please keep in mind that the game is won or lost in the selection of book categories

Path 15: I Want to Become a Bestseller so as to Sell More Books in the Future

The first part to understand, before you even start going for bestseller status to sell more books, is that certain things matter a lot. While certain other things don’t matter at all (except to provide you ‘personal happiness’)

Things that matter

  1. Bestseller
    1. Becoming a New York Times Bestselling Author
    2. Becoming a USA Today Bestselling Author
    3. Becoming a WSJ Bestselling Author
  2. Awards
    1. Big Awards like Golden Heart, Shamus Award, RITA, Hugo, Nebula, etc

The above things matter A LOT. They will increase your book sales two to three to four times

  1. The exact same quality book
  2. Promoted using the exact same methods
  3. Will get 2 to 3 to 4 times more sales if the author is a Bestselling Author, or has won a big Award

The rest of the ‘Bestseller Statues’ and ‘Awards’ don’t matter very much

Things that matter VERY little

  1. Bestseller
    1. Becoming a Category Bestseller
    2. Becoming an Amazon Bestseller
  2. Awards
    1. Less well known Awards such as UK based awards, etc
    2. Being picked by Amazon as ‘Book of the Month’, etc

Things that don’t matter at all

  1. Bestseller
    1. Becoming a Bestseller in a category unrelated to your book
  2. Awards
    1. Pretty much all the other awards
    2. Readers do not care two hoots if you won the ‘Best Mystery Book in the Known Galaxy’ award, run by the State Troopers Association of Southern Antarctica
    3. Unfortunately, the same applies to every other small Award. Doing it for personal satisfaction is great. It does not help book sales. It doesn’t hurt. It doesn’t help, either

This will get some people upset. We have 11 years experience of curating books and are basing this on actual results, and what we see

If you want to disagree and spend a lot of time chasing Genre Bestseller status, or some small Book Award, feel free to do so

In this post we will not cover

  1. Becoming a Big List Bestseller (New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today) as that is a giant topic, and for another post
  2. Winning a Big Award. We know very little about that

We will cover aiming to become a genre bestseller

Let’s look at 5 key principles for marketing your book to become a genre bestseller

  1. Focus on The Right Category or Subcategory for your book
    1. Your book must be a good match for the category
    2. The better the match, the easier to get sales. The easier to get sales, the higher the chance you will become a category bestseller
  2. The Launch Period of the book is by far the best time to aim for bestseller status
    1. During launch month, especially the two weeks
      1. You are eligible for two bestseller lists
        1. The Genre Bestseller List
        2. The New Release Bestseller List
      2. The store algorithms give you a considerable boost if your book starts selling
        1. This can expand to things such as – including your book in email blasts that the store sends out
    2. When the book is new, the number of readers who have not seen it is the highest
      1. Making your ‘total addressable market’ the largest it will ever be
    3. When the book is shiny and new, readers are more likely to buy it
      1. New is MAGIC when it comes to book marketing and advertising
  3. You must have 1 or more good, well written reviews before you do your marketing push
    1. Readers trust other readers more than anyone else
    2. Even more than the book store
    3. Definitely more than the author or other authors who recommend the author
    4. Surprisingly, even more than big name reviewers such as Kirkus Reviews
    5. PROVIDED the review is a well written review that does not have any red flags that it might be fake
  4. Pick 2 or 3 main categories to become a bestseller in, then pick one large category, and one tiny category
    1. If you email the book store support (such as KDP Amazon support) they will let you add 10 categories for your book
    2. You should have 3 main categories that you aim to become a bestseller in
      1. Ones that are reasonably sized and you have a good chance of becoming a bestseller
    3. You should pick one large, aspirational category to become a bestseller in
      1. Where becoming a bestseller is unlikely, but carries a big payoff
    4. You should pick 1 to 4 tiny sub categories
      1. Where even 5 to 20 sales will make you a bestseller
      2. These are your insurance policy
  5. Don’t get too attached to the outcome
    1. Firstly, being a genre bestseller is not that big a deal. It does not really help with sales that much
    2. Secondly, you have very little control
    3. Thirdly, if you put the same amount of effort into picking the right categories for the book, you would get much better results
      1. Even better, if you put the same amount of effort into researching what book you should write, that would give spectacular results

Becoming a Genre Bestseller or an Amazon Bestseller does not have much impact on sales. If you do want to focus on it, remember that it’s all about picking the right categories and subcategories to target bestseller status in

Path 16: I ‘m a My Way or the Highway kind of person and want to Succeed doing everything Exactly in My Way and Prove My Way Works

5 Key Marketing Principles for People who want to ‘do things their way’

  1. To the extent possible, choose self serve systems
    1. For marketing, choose places like Facebook Ads and Amazon Marketing Services, which let you target very specific demographics and have very few rules (compared to other marketing venues)
    2. For publishing, choose automated publishing such as KDP (Kindle Digital Publishing), Nook Publisher (Barnes & Noble Nook), Apple iTunes (Apple iBooks) and don’t work with a Publisher
  2. To the extent possible, leave the best of breed services for much later
    1. First work with the smaller companies, and push for ‘doing things your way’
    2. What will usually happen is that you will burn a lot of bridges and gradually those service providers and companies will stop working with you
    3. After that you can either decide to keep the same approach, or change your approach
    4. If you change your approach, then you have the option of working with best of breed service providers, as you would not have burnt your relationships with them
      1. You can start on a win-win relationship
      2. You can take their advice and benefit from their expertise
      3. You will no longer feel that ‘doing things your way’ is the only way
  3. Review success and failure frequently
    1. Every author faces failure
    2. Every author has to question if their book has a market
    3. If you are ‘doing things your way’, then you add on a whole new set of reasons for failure
      1. Your book might be failing because you had the cover designer design a cover that YOU think is best
      2. Your book might be failing because you did not listen to the experienced editor
      3. Your book might be failing because you did not listen to the experienced people and tried to come up with new ways of doing things
    4. Basically, you don’t know whether your failure is due to the book not having a market, or due to you interfering and making things impossible for a perfectly fine book
  4.  You have to decide what you care more about
    1. Proving your way works  OR
    2. Succeeding as an author
    3. Regardless of how much you care about ‘proving your way of doing things work’, you must keep in mind that you can always write a new book and try to succeed with it using ‘your methods and your belief system’
      1. It is crazy to have a good book and fail with it, just because you are too stubborn to listen to people who are subject area experts
      2. If you have a good book. If the book is showing signs of doing well, despite you doing everything possible to make it fail
      3. Then perhaps you should let the book succeed – get out of its way and let it succeed
  5. Stubbornness is good when going through hard times
    1. It is a big problem when stubbornness creates hard times

This path is by far the most painful. The less respect you have for Books & Publishing. The less respect you have for people who have been doing this all their lives and are experts. The more pain you will experience

Perhaps most painful of all will be that you will never know why you did not succeed

  1. Was it that your book did not have a market
  2. OR
  3. Was it that your book had a great future. That it is your stubbornness that prevented it from succeeding

You have to love your book enough to let go of your need to ‘do things your way’

Path 17: I Want to See My Books out in the World and Want to Prove They Sell and are Worth Reading

The single most important point to keep in mind to ‘See Your Books out in the World’

  1. Do not spend ANYTHING to Publish
    1. The big ebook stores all have their free Self Publishing Portals
      1. Amazon has Kindle Digital Publishing to Self Publish to Amazon Kindle store
      2. B&N has Nook Publisher to Self Publish to B&N Nook Store
      3. Apple has Apple iTunes to Self Publish to Apple iBooks Store
    2. It costs absolutely nothing to get your book self published in these ebook stores. These three combined cover 80% to 90% of the ebook market in most countries
    3. Legitimate publishers do not charge you anything
  2. It should cost ZERO dollars to ‘get your books out in the world’

The 5 most important marketing principles when it comes to proving your book can sell and is worth reading

  1. Write a Book that is worth reading and polish it very well
    1. The #1 biggest reason for failure is not polishing the book
    2. The #2 biggest reason for failure is not putting effort into the book
      1. You cannot ‘save time’ and ‘cut corners’ in writing your book and then expect readers to spend their precious time reading it
      2. The more respect you have for your readers’ time, the more you will polish and rewrite and improve your book
      3. The more you polish and rewrite and improve your book, the easier it will be to sell it
  2. Market it to readers who would be interested in the book
    1. Common Sense and yet almost no one does this. Most authors don’t even think about who their book is written for
    2. You have to figure out who your book is a good fit for
    3. Then you have to market EXACTLY to those readers
  3. Focus on ‘Selling the Book’
    1. It is not enough to publish it in the book stores
    2. It is not enough to get some ‘token’ marketing
    3. You actually have to sell it
      1. That means figuring out who it is a good fit for, and putting it in the right categories in the ebook stores
      2. That means getting a very good cover
      3. That means making sure your author profile and book page are well done
      4. That means a focus on ‘creating a product that will sell’ and not on ‘let’s just get it done and finished’
      5. That means learning sales and marketing
  4. Listen to What The Market Is Telling You
    1. No one clicking on your ads? Means you are marketing to the wrong readers
    2. People clicking on your ad and visiting your book page, and no one buying? Means either your book cover and book page suck, or you are again marketing to the wrong readers
    3. People visiting the book page, and a very low percentage buying? Means your book is not polished enough and/or the book cover is a sales killer
    4. People buying the book, and no one reviewing? Means the book is not good enough to warrant a review, or it means you’re selling it to the wrong people who buy and then never read it
    5. People leaving reviews, and yet sales not growing? Means you have to send more readers to the book page
  5. Write More Books & Keep Improving Your Writing. Do not fall in love with your first book
    1. No author wants to hear this, and yet it is almost always true that the first book you write is terrible
    2. Write more books
    3. Keep improving your writing
    4. Eventually, by book 3 or by book 5 you will be writing very good books
      1. PROVIDED you keep improving your writing
    5. You will then be embarrassed by your first book
      1. At that point you can improve it or rewrite it
    6. A few authors fall into the trap of thinking they were born with a golden quill in their hand and their very first book is The Next Great American Novel
      1. They spend the next 10 years of their life in misery
      2. Unable to understand what they are doing wrong
      3. Quite simply, it is the assumption that their very first book is Magnificent, which is the cause of all their misery
        1. Ever tried pottery or carpentry
        2. Remember that first alien looking piece of furniture or pot that can’t hold water that you created
        3. THAT is what your first book is
    7. Authors want to spend all their time, all their money, all their psychic energy on their First Book
      1. They fall in love with their first book
      2. They invest all their ego into their first book
      3. 100% of the time an author’s first book is a very poor reflection of their actual writing ability
      4. For some reason they think that this is the one area in life where you don’t need any experience to do good work
      5. For some reason they think that this is the one area in life where a total newcomer comes in and becomes Van Gogh
        1. Your first book is like the first painting by someone who started painting as a hobby
        2. To think otherwise is to detach yourself from reality

Put away your wallet. Put away your ego. Embrace the realty that at the beginning you know nothing about this Business and this Profession (it is a Business and it is a Profession). Embrace that at the beginning your first book is a half baked piece of mediocrity (as painful as that is to embrace, you have to embrace it or you will never improve your book)

Do that and you will be much happier. You will also save yourself a lot of time and money and grief

Path 18: I Have Valuable Lessons or Wisdom that I Want to Share with the World

If you have valuable lessons and wisdom, you have to make sure you get every part right when sharing that message

  1. Ethos (Personal Reputation & Trust) – Have iron clad credibility
    1. Show Experience
    2. Display Expertise
    3. Share things you have achieved
    4. Explain Why they should listen to you
    5. Demonstrate that you are an expert and your wisdom is worth their time
  2. Pathos (Receptiveness of the Reader) – put people into the right state of mind, or find people who are already in the right state of mind
    1. Ideally, you want to capture the people who are already willing to learn from your wisdom
      1. Those who are in the right frame of mind
      2. Those who need it for their work
      3. Those who are good learners and open minded to learning
    2.  If that is not possible, then make sure the beginning of your book puts them in the right state of mind to learn
      1. That literally means – using words to put them in the frame of mind where they are receptive to your message
      2. This is an entire skillset in itself. One that can best be learnt from theater or sales or debating or politics or raising teenagers
      3. Therefore, whenever possible, pick an audience that is already receptive to your message
        1. That makes things much easier
  3. Logos (The Message) – have a very well polished and precise message
    1. The Message must be very powerful
    2. The Message must be well polished and carefully crafted
    3. The Message must be precise and succinct
    4. The Message must be something that is not too overt and, at the same time, not too hard to get
    5. The Message must be delivered powerfully
  4. Kairos (The Right Environment) – make sure the message is delivered to your reader in the right environment
    1. Have your book in the right category
    2. Have your book in the right book stores i.e. book stores which have your ideal readers
    3. Position it correctly
    4. Tell readers exactly who the book is for, and how best to benefit from it
    5. Be 100% accurate and honest in describing the book and the benefits

Your valuable lessons and wisdom will only benefit the readers you want to reach if

  1. You actually get your book in front of them
  2. You convince them you have the credentials and experience to share your wisdom
  3. You give them a powerful message
  4. You share the message in the right way and at the right time
    1. Very tough to do unless you have carefully thought out exactly who your book will benefit, and why
  5. You have a good understanding of who your readers are, what their problem points are, and which of these your book solves

Path 19: I Have Valuable Skills and Business Lessons that I Want to Share with Companies and Entrepreneurs

All the marketing insights from the previous section (Path 18) apply to you

In addition, here are some key principles to keep in mind when selling to Companies and Entrepreneurs

  1. Make sure your book quality is exceptional
    1. Your book is your most important sales material
    2. Your book is what will determine whether or not companies and entrepreneurs work with you
    3. Make sure you put your heart and soul into your book
  2. If possible, make sure the products and services you are selling are exceptional
    1. Selling a high quality product requires a lot of hard work upfront
      1. However, after that everything is smooth sailing
    2. Selling a low quality product can be easy
      1. However, the headaches keep increasing
    3. If the products you sell are not exceptional, then there is not really any point to writing a book to get lots of sales
      1. You will just turn your life into a giant set of headaches
  3. One very good large customer is better than 20 good tiny customers
    1. This goes against all the ‘help more people’ stuff we are all brought up to believe in
    2. One very good large customer is worth a LOT more than a ton of good tiny customers
  4. Ten very good large customers are better than one very good large customers
    1. Once you have one very large customer, leverage your relationship with them to gain other large customers
    2. Always keep in mind that large companies and Fortune 500 companies will jump at the opportunity to work with you the minute they find out you are already working with another Fortune 500 company (or even with another large company)
  5. Long term customers are much better than one time customers
    1. Customers who are repeat, long term customers are much better than one time customers
  6. One Good Customer is better than 10 Bad Customers
    1. One good customer who is easy to work with and makes you money
    2. Is much better than 10 bad customers who are tough to work with and lose your money
    3. Please do remember that a bad customer will make you unhappy, cost you time and money and energy, and most of the time will also not net you any profits
      1. Avoid bad customers at all costs
  7. Only work with profitable Customers
    1. One of the most common mistakes businesses make is working mostly with unprofitable customers
    2. You should do the opposite and work only with profitable customers
    3. For that, it is critical to figure out what customers actually make you profits
      1. And to figure out which are actually costing you money
      2. One key metric is figuring out the amount of overhead customers require (customer support, special requests, special adjustments’ etc)
  8. Focus completely on Customers of Good Intent
    1. Customers of Good Intent – want a win-win relationship where you benefit and they benefit
    2. Customers of Bad Intent – want a win-lose relationship where they get lots of benefits and you get almost nothing
      1. They basically want you to provide a service to them, while making no profits at all
    3. Customers of Very Bad Intent – want free things and for you to subsidize them
      1. They are customers who want you to pay for the service they are providing you
      2. Remember that these customers don’t ever think of themselves as ‘Very Bad Customers’
        1. In their minds they always have a justification for why/how it is OK for them to expect you to not charge anything for your services
  9. If targeting the lower end of the market (solo entrepreneurs, very small businesses), be prepared for a lot of headaches
    1. If you target the lower end of the market, you will have to deal with a lot of headaches
      1. The less money your target customer demographic have, the more ‘amazing services’ they will want
    2. On the other hand, the higher end of the market, and the middle of the market, are much more reasonable
      1. They are completely OK with win-win situations
      2. They are not the type of customers that want you to provide a $1000 service and make only $1 profit for it
        1. The lower end is Exactly like that. It thinks you running a business for ‘zero profits’ is the ‘fair way’ for you to do things
    3. Avoid the lower end of the market as much as you can
  10. If targeting large companies (medium businesses, large businesses, Fortune 500 companies), be prepared for a long sales process and lots of hand holding
    1. Large companies move slowly
    2. They have a sales cycle that can last between a few months to a few years
      1. Whereas you will sometimes get a quick sale
      2. Most of the time you have to build a long term relationship even BEFORE you actually sell them anything
  11. Avoid customers who are ‘On The Fence’
    1. There is no one will waste more of your time, or cost you more money, than customers who are ‘On The Fence’
    2. Even if they do purchase, they will become ‘problem customers’ more often than people who were not ‘on the fence’
    3. Avoid customers who are undecided
  12. Avoid customers who are unhappy, if you can figure it out beforehand
    1. 90% of the time the people who become ‘problem customers’ are people who are unhappy about some aspect of their life
    2. You can easily do a bit of checking and see if a customer is someone who is just waiting for an opportunity to blame you for everything going on in their lives
    3. When you see red flags, follow your gut instinct and don’t work with those customers

If you are sharing skills and business lessons with companies and entrepreneurs, you can reach a lot of people, make a lot of money, and help a lot of people

The amount of effort and polish required is also a lot. You have to make sure you achieve very, very high polish and quality

Path 20: I Just Want to understand this Market & This Ecosystem and How Everything Works

The things about Marketing Books that will help you the most if you are a new author

  1. Put away your wallet
    1. Spending money at the beginning, when you know nothing about the market, is a bad idea
  2. Don’t spend more than 10% to 20% of your Total Budget in the first 6 to 12 months
    1. At the beginning you know nothing about how to efficiently spend money
    2. Don’t spend all your budget in the first 6 months when you know nothing
  3. Learn as much as you can
    1. At the beginning, your senses are sharp and you are open to all the new information
    2. Learn well
  4.  Don’t rush things
    1. You can’t rush success
    2. You can, however, mess up things by rushing
    3. Take it slow
  5. Embrace that your first book is not your best work
    1. It’s far from perfect
    2. Your writing will keep getting better
    3. Your books will keep getting better
  6. Every book does well with different marketing channels
    1. The really difficult part for new authors is that each book is different
    2. Each book has different places it will do well
    3. It’s like a treasure hunt where you have to find out what marketing channels will work for your book
  7. The ecosystem is always changing
    1. Basically, there is a behind the scenes war going on
    2. Self Publishers authors are trying to take over all of Books
    3. People who currently control books, are using every means possible, to hold back self published authors
    4. What this means is that what works changes from year to year
    5. You have to be very up to date and figure out What Currently Works
      1. You also have to make sure that What Currently Works also works for your book
  8. There are no shortcuts
    1. The more money someone wants to make from you, the more they will promise you Instant Success
    2. There are no shortcuts
    3. If you come in expecting to become the next big author in 6 to 12 to 18 months, you are going to be sorely disappointed

This is a pretty difficult Ecosystem/Market to succeed in. The more you learn BEFORE you start spending money, the better your chances of success

Path 21: I’m Just An Author

Then it’s good to just read up and figure out what you want

  1. Read through as much of the WriteZero Self Publishing Course as you can
  2. Read through as much of the WriteZero Book Marketing Guide as you can
  3. Read on the Internet and find out as much as you can about the market

Take your time. There’s no rush. Books have been around since the ancient Egyptians. They aren’t going anywhere

Path 22: My Path Isn’t Listed Here (Let Me Enter What My Path Is)

What is your path?

Leave a comment. If we have some insights for your Path, we will respond to your comment. Perhaps even update this post with it

Path 23: I’m Above the Fray and All This Doesn’t Matter

In that case, marketing doesn’t matter either. All the best

Extra Credit – The Most Important Universal Marketing Principles

These apply to you regardless of what Path you choose

  1. You can get whatever you desire, if you can give enough other people what they desire
  2. The authors that are most successful are the ones that Find the Right Market and give that Market What The Market Is Asking For
    1. Product Market Fit is the single most important requirement for success
    2. The Market ALWAYS Wins
    3. People only buy what they want to buy
      1. Yes, you can convince them to buy something they do not want
      2. However, it is much, much easier to get them to buy something they already want to buy
  3. Product Market Fit is more important than Product and more important than marketing
    1. The Right Product for The Right Market is far more important than how good your marketing is
    2. The Right Product for The Right Market is also far more important than how good your product is
  4. Marketing is Just as Important as Product (product quality)
    1. The notion that write a good book and it will sell automatically is a myth
    2. Look at the bookstores – they are more interested in selling marketing and ads to you than in giving you organic reach to readers
    3. Do you really think you can get by without marketing?
  5. Marketing comes Before Product
    1. If you do not do good marketing, people will not even know your Book exists
    2. Regardless of how good your book is, without Good Marketing it will not matter, because no one will see it
    3. What this means it that the biggest mistake you can make is pouring all your energy into writing a beautiful book and ignoring marketing – no one will see the beauty of your book
  6. You must have DIRECT Channels to Your Readers
    1. Any method that you find that is not Direct, can be taken away
    2. As you become more successful, methods that you find will be copied and attacked
      1. If it is a direct method that you own and control, no one can take it away
      2. If it is a method someone else controls, then they will sell it to the highest bidder (which will almost certainly not be you), or they will start selling books themselves to the readers you found
  7. Always work with Human Nature, and not against it


Extra Credit – Things that get Readers to Write Good Reviews

3 Core Principles that are both Critical for Marketing and also Critical for Getting Reviews

  1. You must match reader expectations for the genre you are writing in
    1. The book is fulfilling certain needs and desires
    2. Each category has its own unique needs and desires which the author must fulfill for the reader
    3. Make sure you are aware of what those needs and desires are
    4. Make sure you fulfill as many of them as possible
  2. Amplitude of Emotion and Feeling matters more than duration
    1. Ideally supply both
    2. If that is not possible, make sure readers get the STRONGEST Emotional High
    3. As STRONGER Emotional High is much more powerful than Longer Emotional High
      1. To give an example, a thriller with an absolutely insane twist at the end
      2. Is far better than a thriller with lots of small twists and turns throughout
      3. Ideally, and if it makes sense, provide BOTH
  3. Keep readers immersed in the Story World
    1. The deeper they are immersed the more they will enjoy the story
    2. The more often they are pulled out of the story world, the less they will enjoy the story

These 3 points are what get readers to write reviews and become your External Sales Team

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