From the Archives: “Self-publishing Ripple Effect Marketing”

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

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[ Originally posted: May 27th, 2010 ]

Think of self-publishing book marketing as a marathon, not a sprint. Plan the journey, prepare to work, pace yourself, and not become discouraged when you the bear jumps on your back. Your second wind is right around the corner.

Unlike blockbuster books like Harry Potter, which sell 90% of their copies in the first 90 days of release, an independently published book is often the opposite – not surprising since titles like Harry Potter make up a percent of a percent of all books published. It takes time to build awareness. Sales may start slowly, but can climb over time if you persistently market your book.

If you’ve yet to nail down a specific marketing plan, I suggest starting in your own hometown. Build a Tribe. Attract the interest and readers of people in your inner circle before you focus on your neighborhood. Then, focus on your neighborhood before concentrating on your city. Next your state and region, etc. This is known as the ripple effect.

It applies to both online and traditional marketing tactics.

ripple effect marketing

Thinking of marketing as something other than a sprint, or a laundry list of items to get through (“Poetry reading, check! Social media account created, check!”) is the wisest advice I’ve heard all year. Thinking of your marketing as you think of your other relationships–as more than just the sum of its parts, or the sequence of events–is important. Every action affects every other action, and the changes are cumulative or even, sometimes, exponential! Think, instead, of your marketing strategy as a whole, and a whole which is best contemplated as a web of interrelated components which all touch each other and all affect how the other components play out. Some pieces need to come before others in order for them both to work, and sometimes a misstep with one component will lead to a cascade of problems in the others.

Another great image to keep in mind is the ocean. Yes, the ocean operates under the same physical principles and constraints as a ripple in a swimming pool–but would we really compare their behaviors and say they’re the same thing? There’s more at work than simple scale; the ocean works on its environment in a multitude of ways, and one of its most impressive qualities is its ability to wear anything down–given time. The ocean is interminable, it is unstoppable, and it is unwearying in its work upon the seashore. Wave after wave after wave can lead to an entirely new shoreline, right?

So as we head into a new series of Wednesday blog posts on updating your marketing strategies for the summer, think about ripples and oceans. They are the same thing … except they aren’t. Steal from both. Steal the cumulative effects of the ripple (and the interrelationships of the web) and steal the repetitive unstoppability of the ocean. This is your arsenal against the soporific atmosphere of midsummer.

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

Self-Publishing News: 4.24.2017

And now for the news!

This week in the world of self-publishing:

Many people think of writing as the first step to self-publishing, however, Trevor Crane flips this assumption on its head. Crane insists that “you must begin your pre-launch plans before you’ve written one single word.” A best-selling, self-published author himself, Trevor also owns a successful book marketing business “and the publishing companies Bestseller Big Business Publishing and the children’s imprint Super Kids Book Publishing.” Trevor’s daughter could be said to be one of his clients for the latter business, a stunning young girl who published five books in just three months!

Crane’s advice for authors considering the self-publishing route is to do a little reverse engineering and think about “the steps that precede the perceived onset” of actually writing the thing. Some useful tips Trevor provides for authors who want to ‘stay ahead of the pack’ are to first off, make clear what it is you want to promote and write. “Just like you can’t start building a house without a blueprint,” he says, “you can’t write a book until you know who you are writing for and what your marketing plan will look like.” He advises that authors try and step into the mind of the readers and ask yourself who your readers are and how you will advertise to them when your book is complete.

Secondly, Trevor recommends that you get on your social media soapbox and let the world know that you’re writing a book. This serves a dual purpose: one, it keeps you accountable and two, it gets the word out and builds anticipation for your audience. “One of Trevor’s clients sold 25 business sessions at a trade show before she had typed a single sentence”–now that’s effective marketing! She even ended up with a best-seller.

The counter-intuitive last piece of advice is to focus on the story, AFTER you’ve taken pieces of advice 1 and 2. He recommends researching the genre you plan to write in and see what works best, what is most popular and successful. Once you’ve gotten a feel for what works and what doesn’t, what makes top-sellers and what flops, try and craft a formula that will make your story a success. There’s a way in which you can repurpose popular works in a certain genre “in your own fashion, in your own words and with your unique take on your subject,” he says, “Your book should be readable, flow well, and adhere to creative guidelines: vary sentence lengths and set scenes, as an example.”

In his publishing and book marketing businesses, Trevor encounters a lot of authors who don’t like their books because they didn’t take the time to plan ahead before they dove straight into the writing process. Don’t make that mistake. Plan ahead, and plan for success!


spa-news

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry. This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

Time For a Spring Reset!

Spring often signifies new beginnings in literature and poetry, a rebirth, if you will. All that which lay dormant in winter now slowwwly stretches its limbs, lets out a big yawn and sigh of relief and comes back out to bask in the sun. The trees are budding, the deer are grazing, we now awake to the calming sounds of birds chirping, the sun stays with us well into the evening, it’s finally warm enough for sandals and everyone seems to be in generally better spirits because of those things aforementioned.

spring stretch

The charm and warmth of spring should not only put a pep in your step in your day to day life, but it should also be a time to pep up your writing and marketing efforts!

 

  1. Let spring be a new beginning for you. Make a list of things you’d like to begin with a fresh start. Do you need to begin editing, creating a marketing plan, blogging, etc? Now’s the time to do it!
  2. Use some springtime writing prompts to get the creative juices flowing and to help you “reset” after winter. Write about how the sunshine affects your mood and creativity, write about spring as a symbol of birth/life, write about the your sensuous experience wandering around in the natural world in springtime, etc. etc.
  3. Host an outdoor reading event in your community. Pick a nice sunny afternoon to encourage members of your community to get outside and share their love of the spoken and written word. This is a great way to network, to connect with other writers in your area and to have some fun in the sun!
  4. Start being more active on social media! Take pictures of the beauty around you, toss in a quote from a work of yours or of your favorite author’s and share with your audience! Blog, post about new developments in your publishing process, connect with readers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter! Now that the butterflies are back, why not be a little social butterfly?
  5. Spruce up your website. Who knows more about you than…well, you? Write up a fresh author bio that includes recent accomplishments, publications, life developments and so forth.
  6. Join some forums, join Goodreads! These are both terrific venues for marketing your book and they help you connect more intimately with your audience.
  7. Host a drawing contest for the cover of your next book! The winner gets a free copy of your book and gets featured on your website and social media pages!
  8. Add a “Store” page to your website. This is a great way to increase sales and to have your readers buy directly from you rather than some third party website.
  9. Do some spring cleaning of your writing space and bookshelves. See our last few blogs for tips on how to “declutter” as a writer!
  10. Take advantage of this nice weather! Try writing outside, even if it’s just brainstorming. A little vitamin D and time in nature can go a longgg way!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Thank you for reading!  If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or contributions, please use the comment field below or drop us a line at selfpublishingadvice@gmail.com.  And remember to check back each Wednesday for your weekly dose of marketing musings from one indie, hybrid, and self-published author to another. ♠


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com

From the Archives: “Mailing Lists for Self-Published Book Promotion”

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

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[ Originally posted: November 24th, 2008 ]

Don’t you wish there was one single place where you could buy a mailing list that was specific for your self-published book?

You’re in luck! Check out www.listsyoucanafford.com for third party mailing lists that just may be the answer to your marketing goals.

I hope these lists help you get the word out to your specific book audience and just in time for the holiday shopping season to begin!

Good luck and have fun!

– by Kelly Schuknecht

mailing list email

It has been a while since I last talked about mailing lists–approximately eight and a half years, in fact, but I’m happy to report that listsyoucanafford.com is still active. I haven’t personally used their services in a while, however, so I did a little digging around. It turns out that this particular service has about a 44% failure rate, which may seem like a lot, but is actually relatively par-for-the-course when it comes to purchasing email lists. It does, however, exceed the amount they state in their “guarantees,” so if you find that you too are experiencing higher-than-expected failure rates on your purchased email list, I highly recommend contesting your payment.

Of course, buying email lists isn’t exactly a straightforward enterprise. Spend any time on Google with the subject and you’ll come up with articles and blog posts reflecting a range of experiences–both great and terrible and everything in between–and I don’t know about you, but that kind of puts the fear of God into me when it comes to doing my due diligence and using only trustworthy services:

email lists

But the fact remains, reaching people by email is still one of the most effective (and cost-effective) marketing strategies out there. We will address ways to build your own personal email list soon in our upcoming Wednesday series (starting, not tomorrow, but next week), but revisiting this 2008 blog has served as a good reminder that the world has changed a lot, and our priorities with it. Security concerns and legal concerns, wastefulness concerns … and they’re all deeply tied to how we approach this email thing.

Stick around on Wednesdays to hear more!

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

Self-Publishing News: 4.17.2017

And now for the news!

This week in the world of self-publishing:

This week we’re going to take a look at self-publishing news from around the world!

In this article, garner some tips from six independent writers were able to make it big in the self-publishing world.

First up, Tracy Bloom, author of No-One Ever Has Sex on a Tuesday, a book which sold over 500,000 ebooks since it’s release in 2013. Tracy wrote this book in 2007, and after not being able to find a single UK publishing company that would pick up her work, she decided to self publish nearly six years later. Her piece ended up being a grand slam, overtaking Dan Brown on the top Kindle UK charts. “Her first three books have since been physically published but her digital sales lead the way (with 250,000 digital copies of her debut novel sold compared to 29,000 in paperback).”

Advice from Tracy? “Think commercial.” She says that the key to her self-publishing success was her ability to study the ways in which people navigate Amazon’s website and get them to stop and look at her work specifically.

Next up: Mel Sheratt, author of Taunting the Dead, which sold over one million ebook copies. That’s right, one million. Mel spent 12 years getting rejected by publishing company after publishing company because of her ‘cross-genre’ writing style which mixes women’s fiction, crime and thriller. “At the end of 2011 she self-released her debut Taunting the Dead which reached No 3 in the Kindle UK fiction chart, topped the police procedurals category and has been downloaded 200,000 times. Mel has written 12 more ebooks – six of which she has published herself.”

Mel’s advice to other self-publishing authors is also based on marketing; she recommends creating a yearly marketing schedule that includes offering your book at different prices throughout the year, that way you can promote your book whenever you’d like.

Janet MacLeod Trotter sold a whopping 800,000 copies of her ebook, The Vanishing of Ruth, a piece of historical fiction she self-published in 2011 after being dropped by her traditional publisher in 2010. Her book rose to number one in the Waterstones crime and romance categories the year she published it. “After the success of her first ebook, she self-published her backlist and now has 22 books to her name. The Tea Planter’s Daughter was one of the top ten bestsellers of 2012 for a self-published author.”

Janet’s advice for self-publishing authors is to constantly revamp their book covers, recommending that you “give your books a new look every so often.” After all, a lot of people will be judging your book by its cover. 😉

Rachael Lucas was able to sell over 150,000 ebook copies of her debut young adult novel, The State of Grace Sometimes Means Fitting in and Standing Out. This was a book Rachel wrote in three months “as a challenge” to herself to “see what might happen.” What happened was that she quickly rose to Amazon’s best seller’s chart.

Rachel’s advice to first-time self-publishing authors is: “Set yourself a writing target,” she says, “‘Signing up to NaNoWriMo – [National Novel Writing Month] a worldwide challenge where anyone is encouraged to write a novel in a month – gave me a time-frame and daily word target, and made starting a book much less daunting. Having written 50,000 words in 30 days, it didn’t seem too much of a challenge to finish writing my first novel.’”


spa-news

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry. This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

Decluttering…The Finale!

Over the past few weeks, hopefully you’ve had the chance to slim down your filing cabinets and your schedule, you’ve gotten rid of that muffin that’d been on your desk for three weeks and was starting to leech spores into the air, you’ve updated your website and social media pages and even learned how to set realistic goals for yourself along the way.

declutter

Some lessons that I hope you heed from this series are that clutter accumulates a lot easier than it tends to disappear or become manageable. If you find yourself getting stressed out from the process of decluttering, remember to take some pointers from our “decluttering mindfully” piece. Go out for a run, write down your frustrations, take a nap, listen to a podcast or call a friend. Sometimes we need to take a break to achieve a task at hand, and it’s perfectly okay to let yourself do that in the interest of being more productive upon your return.

In that same vein, remember that “decluttering ambitiously” can be as important as decluttering your filing cabinet. This means setting reasonable goals for yourself (for cleaning up or for writing!) and using a calendar or schedule of some sort to keep yourself accountable for those goals. Maybe you didn’t have time for cleaning up shop this month because you were busy getting to your blog posts or finishing up a chapter you’d been working on. That’s okay. It’s never too late to organize. A rainy spring day when you can’t find the motivation to write or go outside might work even better for you–it’s called spring cleaning for a reason.

We all know time is precious, so “decluttering temporally” is a practice we can do without having to invest much time at all. This is as simple as being able to say “No”: to working extra hours, to going out when you just really don’t feel like it, to helping someone move, etc. etc. This can also be as simple as avoiding wasting your time on things like scrolling through a Facebook feed.

All that time mindlessly scrolling could, of course, be better used by “decluttering digitally” and cleaning up your author website and making sure your documents are organized in some meaningful way and backed up in case some sort of coffee catastrophe were to be unleashed upon your laptop or hard drive.

But when you do get around to it, remember that a cluttered desk–or room–often means a cluttered mind. Make sure that your physical desktop has only the essentials on it that you need for writing. No need to be stressing out about bills or constantly looking at that empty bag of chips while you’re trying to be productive and create a beautiful story! You ultimately want your workspace to be comfortable and to promote creativity and productivity. This might mean pulling some uninspiring books off the shelves and donating them to Goodwill. It might also mean spending a long time weeding out unnecessary files from your filing cabinet. But it might mean something more fun, like finding a piece of artwork for your walls or a comfortable chair for your desk!

Just remember, if it’s not aiding in your productivity or creativity and it’s even a little bit in the way, it should probably get completely out of the way. Decluttering sometimes means parting with the strange things we hoard and latch onto without any real rationale behind it. But I feel very confident in saying that ridding yourself of these cluttering items will only help you in the long run.

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The Series

  1. Decluttering … The Desk & Workspace!
  2. Decluttering … Clearing the Mental Clutter.
  3. Decluttering … Digitally!
  4. Decluttering … Your Schedule.
  5. Decluttering … Ambitiously!
  6. Decluttering … Publishing!
  7. Decluttering … The Archives.
  8. Decluttering … Your Bookshelves!

 


Thank you for reading!  If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or contributions, please use the comment field below or drop us a line at selfpublishingadvice@gmail.com.  And remember to check back each Wednesday for your weekly dose of marketing musings from one indie, hybrid, and self-published author to another. ♠


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com

From the Archives: “The Vook? Yes, Vook.”

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

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[ Originally posted: January 27th, 2010 ]

There will likely be a good deal of hype this week about a cool new multimedia option called the Vook.

What will this do to the self-publishing industry, and will yours be the first independently published piece available?

Whatever happened to Vook, with all of its big dreams and potential for self-publishing authors?

vook

Well … it’s complicated.

Once upon a time, Vook began as a response to what NYTimes author Motoko Rich called an “increasingly elastic” notion of what makes a book … well, a book, and as publishers began to “mash together text, video and Web features in a scramble to keep readers interested in an archaic form of entertainment.” His words, not mine. (I don’t think books are archaic, at all!) Still, a Vook offers … more.

Take, for example, several ‘vooks’ which Rich details in his article, vooks published in partnership with the traditional Big Five publishing house, Simon & Schuster:

In one of the Simon & Schuster vooks, a fitness and diet title, readers can click on videos that show them how to perform the exercises. A beauty book contains videos that demonstrate how to make homemade skin-care potions.

Not just how-tos are getting the cinematic work-up. Simon & Schuster is also releasing two digital novels combining text with videos a minute or 90 seconds long that supplement — and in some cases advance — the story line.

In “Embassy,” a short thriller about a kidnapping written by Richard Doetsch, a video snippet that resembles a newscast reveals that the victim is the mayor’s daughter, replacing some of Mr. Doetsch’s original text.

And even when he published his article in 2009, Rich was recounting some degree of success, at least on the part of the author, publishing partner, and Vook itself:

Bradley J. Inman, chief executive of Vook, said readers who viewed prototypes of “The 90-Second Fitness Solution” by Pete Cerqua or “Return to Beauty” by Narine Nikogosian “intuitively saw the benefits of augmenting how-to books with video segments.” Mr. Inman said readers then “warmed to” the fictional editions.

Jude Deveraux, a popular romance author who has written 36 straightforward text novels, said she loved experimenting with “Promises,” an exclusive vook set on a 19th-century South Carolina plantation in which the integrated videos add snippets of dialogue and atmosphere.

Ms. Deveraux said she envisioned new versions of books enhanced by music or even perfume. “I’d like to use all the senses,” she said.

So what happened to the Vook? Well, as we reported in 2015, it became something else. Not for lack of enthusiasm or some sense of failure, but after successfully raising financing in 2010, partnering with major publishing houses in 2011 and 2012 to release several popular vooks, launching a brand-new self-publishing platform in 2012, acquiring a digital imprint (Byliner) in 2014, and rebranding itself in 2015 as … Pronoun.

Which was promptly acquired by Macmillan.

That’s what happened to Vook. Instead of becoming something great and unique and a friendly face in the self-publishing community, it took another path. Pronoun still purports to be a self-publishing platform, but the jury’s still out on whether it will make enough of a profit for the Big Five publisher to continue providing it as a service down the road. When it comes to traditional publishers buying out self-publishing platforms, historically, things have not gone all that well. You only have to look to Penguin’s acquisition of Author Solutions in 2012, which got lost in the shuffle when Penguin and RandomHouse merged the following year. It still exists, but authors have seen a steady decline in the variety and quality of services offered, while Penguin-RandomHouse has primarily used the service as an “audition” tool rather than a genuine self-publishing service. In other words, the parent company isn’t all that interested in seeing your book hit the market unless it’s likely to make them a lot of money. And what if you weren’t interested in writing a blockbuster?

Seems mighty limiting to me. So we’ll see where Vook goes from here.

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.