In Your Corner: What Happens … After?

what's next

There’s a lot that goes into bringing a book to the point of publication … but there’s a lot that comes after, too–as you likely already know, since you’re here and reading this post.

So … where to start? Planning out what you’re going to do now that your book has been published–or if you’re one of the more prescient among us and are looking ahead, when your book has been published–is almost as important as writing your book. Not quite, maybe. You wouldn’t have a book to market if you didn’t actually write the thing, so there’s that. But it’s undeniable that a careful, thoughtful, and strategic plan for what comes after–after the writing, after the publication–is vital to making sure your book actually sells.

I have a couple of questions to help you get started, questions which might just shape how you go forward after publication:

  1. Do you plan on selling your book on your own at a local event or book signing? If yes, make sure to watch what your publisher charges you for book copies. There’s quite a lot of legalese and fine print to parse, especially when we’re talking about vanity presses and self-publishing companies which privilege profit over people. If you don’t understand immediately how much your author copies will cost, both now and in the future, it’s probably a sign that the company in question is trying to make it hard to understand. And that’s never a good sign. Go with a company which goes out of its way to make the author copy situation and pricing transparent and easy to understand! And one which offers you a consistent discount. No matter who you go with as your publisher, you’ll want some physical copies on hand. They’re amongst the best marketing tools you have!
  2. Are you planning on selling your book online? Watch out for the prices of other books in the same genre or content area; pricing your book correctly will go a long way toward making sure it sells. Don’t trust Google to answer the pricing question for you, either … thousands upon thousands of blog posts and pieces have been written in the past to explain the intricacies of the Amazon marketplace, but the situation with online retailers like Amazon and B&N is always fluid and changing, so even if we’re talking about an article written this year, the information may already be out of date. There’s a fine line between overvaluing and undervaluing your book; the former will cut into your sales figures, and the latter will make it hard to turn a profit, no matter how many copies you sell! The best policy is to do your own market research–and this is doubly useful, since you will learn a lot about how books similar to yours make use of the digital sales space–with giveaways, sales copy, and linkages across social media.

And look, it’s okay if you’re not yet through the publishing process. It’s always a good time to plan ahead. In fact, knowing what you’re going to do after your book is published will help you select the right publisher to fit you and your book in the first place! Before you open your pocketbook and give someone your money, you absolutely should consider all of the fine print and the advantages available to you … both during the publishing process itself, and during the marketing and support periods which come after.

Luckily, you and I both live in a day and age when there are plenty of options available, so you rather have your pick of the buffet. Some publishing companies are long on publishing assistance and short on marketing, and others are the opposite. Some offer stellar services across the board … but at a price which is too high for the average self-publishing author. And others … others walk the tight rope between quality services and affordability, and walk it well. The key to making the most of your money is to have a good sense of what has to come after publication, what you want to come after, and how your existing resources and skill sets fit into the picture. Your priorities are paramount, and have everything to do with crafting a solid plan for your book’s future.

You are not alone. ♣︎


Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

Planning for 2017: Success?

After taking time to consider occasions that will lead to the need for damage control, this week we’re going to redefine what “success” means in respect to our goals, and as a concept in general. While the assumption is often that “success” means completing a new book or successfully marketing an already finished one, this one-size fits all definition does not look good on, or flatter the strengths and weaknesses of each unique author.

The author of “Eat, Pray, Love”, Elizabeth Gilbert, interestingly experienced the “success” of her book to provoked the same sense of anxiety and discomfort that is often associated with failure. She explained that the success carried a large looming cloud of expectations from her readers that she feared she wouldn’t be able to live up to in her next book. “Failure catapults you abruptly [into] the blinding darkness of disappointment,” Gilbert said. “Success catapults you just as abruptly, just as far, into the equally blinding glare of fame, recognition, and praise.”

For Gilbert, your subconscious cannot tell the difference between these two opposing poles, because they are both so far from the spectrum of our everyday, normal existence. Taking that into account, I think it is important to transform the idea of success into something more normal, more everyday, rather than something that just comes from world-wide recognition for our work.

eat pray love elizabeth gilbert

Re-conceptualizing Success

While finishing a book or having it fly off the shelves should be appreciated as a success, this is a very long-term and difficult goal to achieve. To put this into perspective, let’s say you were training for a marathon and never considered any of your training days leading up to it as successful because they weren’t the big day–logging those miles is going to start to feel hollow and unrewarding. Sure, that first training run over ten miles isn’t a marathon, but that is a huge success compared to sitting on your couch at home, and should be celebrated as such!

Having your vision of success span from the time you begin your project, to the time you complete it will definitely keep you in a better head space and keep you more motivated and excited with each leap and bound you make! Hence why we like to stress the importance of dividing up that overarching goal into smaller, more bite-sized pieces that you can achieve along the way and count as successful mile markers to your grand finale, which may be a finished book.

What are some short-term mile-markers that should be perceived as successes for a writer?

  • An outline completion
  • A chapter completion
  • A first draft completion
  • A marketing plan
  • Winning a writing competition
  • Writing an awesome Tweet, blog post, or other social media post that gets a lot of traffic
  • Your first piece of fan mail
  • Your first royalty check
  • Getting a gleaming endorsement for your back cover
  • And countless other examples.

Let’s make success part of our everyday. Let’s make small goals for ourselves that we can objectively look at and say, “You know what, I succeeded today” when we’ve accomplished them. Success doesn’t have to be this epic thing that becomes almost intimidating, as Gilbert describes it in her TED talk, and nor does failure. If we become at home in our everyday successes and failures, the monumental ones won’t seem so shocking to us.

“Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.”

– Zig Ziglar


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: “Give me six hours…”

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: August 7th, 2009 ]

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and
I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.
– Abraham Lincoln

Let’s look at breaking down your self-publishing book project into the short, mid, and long range in terms of the process in goals. The actual time involved for each phase varies with each author and each project. Nevertheless, you’ve worked hard on writing, revising, and preparing your book for publication. Congratulations. The first step or phase is done or nearing complete, and it’s time to publish.

Many authors confuse this second step – actual publishing – with step 3. Let’s slow down and take a closer look. Phase 1 is the writing, or artistic phase. Step 2, the publishing or business step. Time to begin sharpening the axe. Upfront prices are important, but take the time to avoid the ever present instant gratification of free and quick publishing and research beyond. What kind of pricing control will you have? Professional production options? Will your book be situated to retail competitively on the market? What kind of marketing services and options are available after publication? These are critical questions to ask as you research full-service self-publishing options, customize your mid-range work, and begin to look at getting your published book into reader’s hands. Now your prepared to chop the tree.

– by Karl Schroeder

Karl’s recommendations for breaking the publishing process down into three simple steps has as much to offer the self-publishing author in 2016 as they did in 2009. The steps are straightforward:

  1. Writing (the “artistic” phase)
  2. Publishing (the “business” phase)
  3. Publishing (the “chopping of the tree” phase)

There’s some lack of clarity between these two final points in Karl’s original post, but there doesn’t have to be. Think about it more like the distinction between planning and execution, which in reality ought to be separate steps and given equal weight from the outset. If the planning is not given your full attention, the execution can only ever be mediocre. And your book deserves better than mediocre!

planning

There are plenty of services out there to help you organize your plan and navigate the oft-hazardous process of publishing. If you’re still in the process of writing your book and you need a little more structure, I can’t begin to recommend the Scrivener writing software highly enough. Better still, you can try it for free for 30 days, which if you’re doing NaNoWriMo this November may be just enough time to knock out what’s left of your book.  If not, the renewal fee is minimal. It is, at its core, a digital studio space.  That’s Stage 1 taken care of.

If you’re at Stage 2, however, it might be time to reach out for help.  In doing your research for Stage 3, you will have stumbled across any number of companies offering self-publishing services–but how many of them have customer support?  Even if you’re not ready to commit to a specific company, it’s well worth getting to know who’s on the other end of the line when you call in.  In the case of Outskirts Press, you’re hooked up with a Publishing Consultant almost right away. (A real live person, in the age of the Internet?? Amazing.)  Some of your early questions can be answered by such a person, but if your questions require further attention, it’s worth paying (a reasonable amount, one would hope) someone like a Personal Marketing Assistant for that insight.  After all, as Karl said, marketing needs to start before your book hits the shelf.  It’s more of a lifestyle than a small component of a larger project.

Stage 3 is easy if you have knocked out the first with your customary thoroughness, in part because extensive planning will have made you aware of what you value most in a self-publishing company, and what steps to take once you’ve chosen one.  It might seem simple or reductive to break the publishing process down into just three steps … but then again, it works!

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.

In Your Corner: Know Thyself (& Thy Genre)

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve spent some time looking a few of the many choices authors have to make during the self-publication and marketing processes, starting with the Big Whopper (“Choosing a Self-Publishing Company“) and then moving into choices regarding the text itself (“Choosing a Trim Size for Your Book“).  This Thursday, however, I’m writing less about making a choice than I am about detecting past choices you may not have been aware you were making … and then totally exploiting them for marketing purposes.

Let me explain.

You Don’t Choose A Genre So Much As Discover It:

It Probably Only Matters for Marketing Anyway

Thinking back over the history of publishing, I can’t begin to count the number of times a book has been rejected as “too weird” or “too out-there” when really, the issue at hand was the fact that the book in question didn’t fit neatly into one of the prescribed genres (Fiction, Non-Fiction, Fantasy/Science Fiction, Western, Biography, etc).  And the marketing folks at a traditional publisher know: it’s hard to market something that doesn’t fit neatly into a category, because doing so requires flexibility and out-of-the-box thinking.  Hybrid thinking.  Opinions are changing, slowly, but not fast enough within the Big Five traditional publishing houses.

Self-publishing gives you a third way. You don’t have to pick a genre while writing, but you can take advantage of a book’s genre or genres plural by approaching genre as a diagnosis after the fact, and an expedition in search of what the Atlantic’s Noah Berlatsky calls “a ‘web of resemblances’ created by intertexual references” that are “constituted basically by social and cultural agreement,” quoting John Rieder and Jason Mittel.  It’s a hunt for markers that point you toward certain resemblances … resemblances you can capitalize on for their social currency.

genre

The diagnosis process is simple:

  1. What books have you read that influenced your work in a measurable way?
  2. What books on the shelves in bookstores now bear resemblance to yours in style and content?

Once you sketch out a couple of lists to answer this question, it’s time to hit the bookstore and your library.  Libraries tend to scale the number of genre sections they stock according to how much shelf space they have, so bigger libraries will have finer distinctions between genres, while bookstores tend to pick the genres they’re going to stock according to what’s popular.  If you survey both your local Barnes & Noble, Tattered Cover, or (*gasp*) actual real-life physical Amazon Bookstore as well as your local public library, you’ll pick up on some of the more common genres out there, including:

  • Action/Adventure
  • Biography
  • Fantasy/Sci-Fi
  • Horror
  • “Literary” Fiction
  • Mystery
  • Thriller/Suspense
  • Romance
  • Self-Help
  • Westerns
  • Women’s fiction

But the list could be a lot, lot longer.  I haven’t, for instance, mentioned more obscure genres like Steampunk and Grimoire.

Once you’ve found the shelf or shelves on which you could picture your book sitting in a bookstore or library, you’re ready to start integrating genre into your publishing and marketing processes.  Now, your book may have “resemblances” to any number of genres, but for simplicity’s sake it’s a good idea to pick just one or two that have left very clear thumbprints on your text.  You can take a quick poll of your early readers, or consult the professionals, for what they find most striking about the style and tone and voice of your book if you end up stuck for answers.  And before committing to your genre or genres, you’ll want to consider your readership.  What are they likely to connect to the most in terms of language?

Genre safely discovered and stowed away for future use, it’s time to start putting it to work.  The language of genre is rich with possibility in terms of “buzzwords” for marketing purposes, so sow them liberally amongst your back-cover blurbs, your press releases, your Amazon and Goodreads listings, your website and blog posts, as well as your social media interactions.  (Genres like #biopunk and #horrorlit make for great hashtags, don’t you think?)

There are lots of ways to use genre once your book is already written and ready to meet the world…but remember, it’s all a matter of timing.  You don’t need to write your entire book to meet a genre’s proscriptive requirements…just your promotional materials.  Genre can be confining, so it’s best to bring it into play only after the creative work is already done.  In my opinion.

You are not alone. ♣︎


Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

Conversations: 9/16/2016

THE MANUSCRIPT IS JUST ABOUT FINISHED

It’s Time to Think About adding the Frosting!

cake with frosting

Just last week I went to a writers’ workshop and within the first two minutes of the speaker’s presentation she said, “From the minute you sit down to begin your first book, you need to be thinking about marketing.” OH, my! I printed my first book in 2004, self-published my second book in 2015, and have a good start on book number three. With the help of several very creative friends, I’ve dipped my toes into the marketing river, but it’s not a comfortable place for me. I really don’t know many writers who are (honestly) comfortable wearing marketing shoes.

So, today, I’m encouraging every writer I know to think about the book you’re beginning—or about to finish—as if it were a delicious cake just waiting to be tasted and enjoyed. If it were sitting in the bakery with no frosting covering it, how many people would buy it? All the other frosted and decorated cakes would appeal to buyers first. Your cake/book would sit there for a long time—maybe not be selected at all.

If you’re a self-published author you may be familiar with the concept of “optional assistance” publishing companies offer to help launch our books into the world. One such option for most of my clients has been the Professionally Designed Book Cover. This is really the frosting-on-the-cake! I remember working with a client who knew the image she wanted to present on her book cover. We spent hours discussing it. She wanted to have it ready to submit with the manuscript, and did not want to add the expense of using the publisher’s Designer. So, she had me “spend” hours researching potential images—multiple illustrations—and finally selected two possibilities. When her manuscript was sent in, with the cover images, the Designer showed her the two she’d selected. He also showed her a proposed option—his interpretation of what she wanted. WOW! That book cover “popped!” It was immediately clear to both of us that when her book was placed on a shelf, it would be quickly noticed.

We both learned a valuable lesson that day—to consider what the publisher can offer us in the areas where we are weak. Our time is a valuable commodity, as is our brain-power which we need to begin the next book(s). If we need editing assistance (see last week’s blog), marketing inspiration or help with developing a video trailer that will catch the attention of today’s Readers who search the Internet before making the book-purchase selections, then that’s what we must do.

Even if you have a contract with a traditional publisher, you may need to seek out assistance in the marketing arena. These publishing houses may introduce the book and give authors a nudge into the world of book-promotion, but they rarely offer additional help beyond that. Their book will go out of print after only a few years if the sales don’t keep it alive.  (This is not the case with self-publishing companies. For a very modest yearly “storage fee” your book will be available as long as you want it to be.)

So it is that I encourage you to build up that layer of frosting/visibility as thick as you can for the book you’ve worked so hard to deliver. ⚓︎


Royalene

ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.  

Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

The Book Beautiful: Front & Back Matter (It Matters!)

So you’ve written a manuscript, thus the ‘meat’ of your book is complete. However, you want to happily sandwich that meat between what we call ‘front matter’ and ‘back matter.’ Front matter includes things like the half-title, the title page, the copyright page, a dedication, acknowledgements, a table of contents, and perhaps other things such as an epigraph, a preface, an introduction, or a prologue. The back matter can include an index, an appendix, and other material that doesn’t belong in the meat of the book, but that you’d like to include to feel you have a complete book.

First, let’s break down what front and back matter should include and how to make them look professional and appropriate. We’ll begin by tackling the different types of front matter you can choose to include.

 

  • Half Title –  As writers, you’re probably (and hopefully!) avid readers yourself, so you know that typically the first page of a book tends to just contain the title of the book. No author name, no other clutter, just a straightforward, bold texted title.
  • Title Page – The title page will also include the title of the book, but it will also include a subtitle (if you have one), the author’s name, as well as the name of the publishing company of the book. Other details that are often found on this page would be the location of the publishing house, the year the book was published, and perhaps even an illustration.
  • Copyright Page – You’ll usually find the copyright page by simply flipping the title page, and it will have a copyright notice, edition information, cataloging data, publication information, legal notices, and your book’s ISBN.
  • Dedication Page – This page will typically follow your copyright page and can be as simple as…

 

For my dearest mother Mary: R.I.P.

Or they can be witty…

“I dedicate this book to George W. Bush, my Commander-in-Chief, whose impressive career advancement despite remedial language skills inspired me to believe that I was capable of authoring a book.”

Pedram Amini, ‘Fuzzing: Brute Force Vulnerability Discovery’

Or they can be touching…

“Dear Pat,

You came upon me carving some kind of little figure out of wood and you said, “Why don’t you make something for me?”

I asked you what you wanted, and you said, “A box.”

“What for?”

“To put things in.”

“What kind of things?”

“Whatever you have,” you said.

Well, here’s your box. Nearly everything I have is in it, and it is not full. Pain and excitement are in it, and feeling good or bad and evil thoughts and good thoughts- the pleasure of design and some despair and the indescribable joy of creation.

And on top of these are all the gratitude and love I have for you.

And still the box is not full.”

–John Steinbeck, ‘East of Eden

 

  • Acknowledgements Page – This is where you can express your appreciation for all of those who helped you create the book.
  • Table of Contents – The table of contents is where you list all the major divisions within your book, more often than not in the form of chapters. The length of your book will determine how detailed your table of contents will need to be–a longer book will typically require a more detailed table of contents to assist your reader in navigating the piece.
  • Epigraph – An epigraph is a quotation that you can choose to devote an entire page to (usually facing the table of contents), or that you can choose to put at the start of the first chapter.
  • Preface – A preface is place for the author to explain how the book came into being and is often signed and dated by the author.
  • Introduction – Here the author can explain the goals of the work, place the work in context, or explain the organization and scope of the work.
  • Prologue – A prologue is told from the voice of a character in the book, and not the author’s own. It is typically used in a piece of fiction to set the scene for the story that is about to unfold.

As for the back matter of your book,

  • Index – An index will act as a guide to the book itself; it provides an alphabetized list of terms in the text and will indicate where in the text these terms were used.
  • Appendix – An appendix will provide supplementary details about your book such as corrections, updates, and details.

 

Now these are merely suggestions for what you can choose to include in the front and back matter of your book. What is most important is that what you do include looks professional and is well formatted. Pick up multiple books from your shelf and take a look at the front and back matter for a point of reference. While you’ve probably skipped over it on most books you’ve read, think how much more legitimate books with these sections look than books without them. These parts of publishing may seem tedious, but as I’ve said before, they are what will transform your manuscript into a book.


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: “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.

“The history of the ripple effect, or butterfly effect,” writes Brian Bass of the Houston Chronicle, “precedes the modern forms of technology that today commonly utilize this phenomenon. The theory essentially represents the idea that what happens in one place at one time can have effects on another place at a later time.”  According to Bass, when applied to the world of marketing, the ripple effect is taken to mean “subtly plac[ing] a brand or product front and center in the minds of consumers. A company can achieve this ripple effect through hype, dialog or opinions that the company creates about its products. The ripple effect of marketing states that this attention will generate more attention, benefiting the company.”  The emphasis may be mine, but the words really do speak for themselves. Ripple effect marketing is marketing that builds on itself.

ripple effect

But what about in the context of self-publishing?  Our original post back in 2010 wasn’t far off when it proposed Harry Potter as an exercise in the exact opposite–particularly if we’re talking about the later books in the franchise, once the series had picked up steam.  Nobody needed to generate interest in those books–the interest was already there, built-in, and marketing was simply a way to activate it.  The ripple effect was completely unnecessary.

The average self-publishing author–and the average midlist traditionally-published author, for that matter, if we’re being honest–needs the ripple effect because the average self-publishing author is starting from the ground up.  With a limited budget, and a limited supply of time and energy to see them through.  So why ripple effect marketing?  Because its core principle is efficiency.  You simply can’t find any other marketing theory that so effectively and efficiently makes use of what has gone before, and incorporates all of your individual strengths while pruning away marketing strategies that don’t work for you.

Think of this diagram:

ripple effect

As this BrightEdge diagram demonstrates, your marketing performance (that is, how many books you sell) is the direct product of the convergence between what you yourself create in terms of digital presence (“owned” media) and what you pay for others to create (“paid” media).  The core content–your book–has a lot to do with your success, but so does your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), your finesse with social media, and your means of distribution (the diagram is referring to software, so its visual equivalent here is the Applied Program Interface, or “API”).  The marketing process is simultaneously both linear and circular, with self-referencing feedback.  And the key to making it work?  Optimizing, optimizing, optimizing.  Which essentially means backing up and posing the question “Is this helping?  Why or why not?  And how can I make it better?” at each and every step.

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