It’s a common question, with the number of book launches today: is advertising a good option. Moreover, should I use Amazon Ads?
In AuthorU, a LinkedIn group, I posed this question to expert in book publicity, Sandra Beckwith. Here’s what she replied to whether a newbie should use Amazon Ads:
“Nobody — regardless of whether it’s their 1st or 10th book — should be buying ads until they have a lot of positive reader reviews. If it’s the former (authors doing it themselves), authors can manage their own advertising, but should learn how it works first. There are a lot of courses available that will help with that. Just as authors shouldn’t self-publish until they spend time learning how to do that, they shouldn’t spend on ads until they truly know what they’re doing.
It’s just fine to do indie publishing on your own, but here at Business Author Academy, we’ve found that there are so many elements to get right. The process of self-publishing a quality book can be both daunting and time-consuming, particularly for businesspeople.
There are subsidy publishers and editors of all kinds, and some plainly don’t care about results… so what makes our offering different?
Many people in business want to write a simple ebook, but when they sit down to write it, all that comes out is fluff… They may think, ‘I haven’t got a single original idea!’
Others fall into the endless loop of writing and re-writing. The real problem with both these writerly types is that they have not planned. They have not spent any real time organising their thoughts and ideas around a central theme.
If new to book writing, you may be unaware that structuring an outline can help you step through the writing process without so much stress and strain.
I admit to being ‘seat of my pants’ style writer, as I had lots of time to let ideas bubble to the surface. But for most business-oriented writers, a timeline and deadline is needed—and so an outline can help you keep on track… and unscramble your brain.
Writing an outline is super-important for ambitious projects with many moving parts. The simple making of a table of contents is a good start, but we are talking more about WRITING TO A MAP.
Mind Mapping (bubble chart or the original one-word-per-strand map) is the start of a writing outline process. We may also use AnswerthePublic.com to find reader questions (the faster way to survey) if you have no idea what they want.
Then, we can move on to answering the questions and sub-topics that popped up. This doesn’t work with fiction; only with factual topics.
On the new book Outline document, fill out the case study ideas, the general points, perhaps the comparisons, in a paragraph underneath the topical chapter headings. Some will come to you later, so don’t worry, fill that in then.
When you enter the book publishing world as a tiny pebble called an indie author, you cannot fathom the magnitude of the industry. Through experience, one finds that retail Book Distribution deals in Australia go to publishers with a consistency of mass market titles – e.g. 5 a year. (This is sort of by way of osmosis rather than anyone ‘saying’ it).
People like my past client The Simple Doctor (indie author) end up getting rorted. In 2019, a large ‘indie’ book distributor went out of business and all his 2017 book stock was trashed or lost in the process.
Lightning Source’s website say that it deals with 30+ titles publishers, and IngramSpark deal with publishers who have less than 30. (Many have one or two books).
What is TitlePage?
TitlePage is the Australian book industry’s online price data and availability service. Information that is entered into Thorpe’s MyIdentifiers shows up in the TitlePage database, which is then accessed by 3000+ booksellers, suppliers or library buyers a week.
Naturally, book buyers who see the completed and fleshed out listings on there (from TP members) will take more notice and the book has a better a chance of getting ordered.
Bricks and mortar Booksellers always advise Indie self-publishing authors and micro-publishers that if their titles are not on TitlePage their books won’t sell. Whilst not completely accurate, it is none the less sound advice since TitlePage is the preferred service by Resellers to look-up titles for price and availability.
— Australian Publishing Association
To ‘enhance’ your books’ metadata in listings in TitlePage, if you DON’T have a distributor, your indie publishing outfit needs to first join the Australian Publisher Association. This will set you back about $88 – $220 inclusive for a micro publisher, depending on royalty revenue. Then you can register on TitlePage. But wait, there’s more.
Say you have found the wondrous thing of an Indie Distributor. For a Distributor to ‘batch list’ your titles on TitlePage, they need to purchase a minimum listing of 10 for $330. They will pass that cost on to you at whatever rate the distributor decides is fair. (There will be administrative burdens as well).
As micro publisher or self-publisher, you must earn less than $100,000/annum from gross publishing revenue for your distributor to access batch listings on TitlePage. There are some benefits as you can then access sales force help and promotional activities through a distributor–which is why you want one.
This doesn’t get you banner advertising. That is an extra $210 or so.
There are several problems with taking your expertise to market. The largest one is not dedicating time to it. While writing a book or program is unwieldy and time-consuming up front, if you’ve got a big PURPOSE for writing a book for business, boom, motivation problem solved. This could be helping a charity close to your heart or shining the light on a problem that’s been a past source of agony for you.
Problem: One Offer, Low Revenue Base
Independent consultants and coaches need to grow income from more than just services, to diversify some away from their TIME. When someone is sick, their billings stop—and so does their income. Also, it’s really hard to sell the business or spin-off assets left and right with one-to-one services.
To create more streams of income, you must offer books, audiobooks, an online training course/s, keynotes or group work, presentation, and if you’re game, online memberships or apps. (I don’t recommend creating an app).
For the base of all this, a visual model is recommended in order for people to understand easily what your system stands for. Sometimes it’s not a visual tool; it could be a set of acronyms that are steps. (Renee Hasseldine says the ideal is 3 to 7 steps for an educate model.)
A worthy goal is both rewarding spiritually and will eventually repay your time and investment into learning and creating.
Rule 1:Any products added must make a gross profit of 30%
Look at your business model and see if you already have a gross profit. Any new product or package you offer must have this profit margin built in. It’s just good business!
Rule 2:Employ better branding and positioning, make 1-to-1 rare and lucrative, and add bonuses for packages or online programs.
Laser-focussed branding and positioning will help you attract higher-level people, so you can increase your value. Ensure all your content marketing material is speaking the same message to your niche segments (or one niche).
Rule 3:Add online systems that solve problems for selected people, rather than working more consulting hours
You can set up a sales system that starts from a low-cost buy (e.g. a book) and offer various up-sell products for more in-depth needs. You can do this with Samcart (link below).
Group training might be more effective profit-wise than even one-on-one coaching and you can still add the ‘personal touch’. Denise Duffield-Thomas does this very well, with her Money Mastery group events.
Rule 4: Break down the steps and make better Intellectual Property
Communicating of your key message — your IP that has the highest value — is often hard for the professional. So much to offer! Begin by breaking it down into simple steps or a visual model. This can really help to write the book / training program.
1. Create authority and credibility with a well-produced book and a clear message, thus attracting clients to you.
2. Add to that with an online course and an audiobook
3. Getting some friendly sales but not enough income? Add to that with a membership site or an up-selling system. Try Samcart Basic to help sell, online. It’s $19US a month instead of the $99 a month mentioned on their website pricing page. I am not an affiliate.
4. I use Memberpress here for Book Creation Success club, and it’s fantastic. You need to have WordPress first, and it’s an extra cost for developing the course pages or just use the normal WordPress block editor.
Remembering your Purpose for Writing a Book
Along with this, it’s important to remember your purpose all the way through the process of book publishing. It’s no good spending all your time on your book and nothing on promoting it on your blog, in media interviews, in podcast guest spots, or other ways. Remember the 5 marketing things every day that Jack Canfield & M V Hansen did when promoting Chicken Soup for the Soul.
If you keep in mind the purpose of reaching your audience with your impassioned message… no doubt you will succeed.
The first thing a new book writer does within my world is lean heavily on my editing skills. But unless I have explanatory comments, this is not helpful to their progress because learning key writing techniques must come from other places too.
Some learning may come from reading great writing. Some books hit you like a brick with the emotion, while others leave you cold. What are the differences? Read on and find out.
There’s only so much time in your life. The other day, I worked out I may have 492 more months to live — if I live till 90. (That’s a big if). This wake-up call means for me: in 2020 I will be focussing on helping 100 authors to write, publish, and lift up their book.
It’s no good just having a daily to-do list. Will that inspire you and others? No! If you want to kick big goals, then you need to set your course for adventure…
If, like me, it comes easily for you to write, hurrah! — you can outline and set about writing your book. But it doesn’t end there.
If writing a ‘How to’ or Inspirational book for career/business expansion, you may need some help with the pitching and marketing steps. (There’s tools and resources for this in the Book Creation Success club).
Why have a methodology?
You need to be able to talk about your main messages clearly and to do this, it helps to input a system or methodology into your book. Otherwise it might end up a jumble of ideas — and people don’t need more ideas! Rather, they need simple systems to help their lives.
This is the question I really want to see on Quora and which
I will attempt to answer. But what I really see are questions from a smaller
If I get my book edited, how do I prevent it
being leaked or stolen? (paranoia)
How long does it take to get a book deal?
How do I write a book and publish it?
It seems nobody asks the real question: what’s the key to making
wealth from publishing? When, if they started from that place, I think it would
work out better. But why?
We all seem to be conditioned to think of wealth as a grand
place for celebrities who ride around in their fast cars, drink champagne from
super-yachts, and laze by the pool in their mansions.
The truth for most millionaire publishers couldn’t be more
different. Most high net worth individuals become that way by being disciplined,
working on a core activity, and smartly investing their savings (their gap).
Any old fool can spend more than they earn; it takes grit to say “no” or “maybe
later” to yourself when you do have the money to spend.
When we apply this theory to publishing, it still works. Dale Beaumont (Australian) some years ago built a prolific, successful book publishing business by not writing a word. Instead, he and his team compiled interviews from different groups of entrepreneurs or business owners, in a 16-book series: “Secrets of Success Exposed”.
Each book has the same model of questions but with all different insights. The interviewee tells their stories and the business book publisher masterminds the whole production and marketing system.
Dale had three million-dollar businesses by 30, and now 39, is worth $38 million (while living a balanced lifestyle). He told the Daily Mail UK: “One of those is a publishing company which saw me write and publish 15 books within the space of three years and which helped me to make my first $1 million.” (He also ran 1,260 events for business people and sold business coaching).
So, being prolific and taking massive action without fear lies at the heart of his success. But you can tell from these tips on dealing with rejection, that he has overcome the mental demons we all face, with grace.
While there are postcards, flyers, biz cards and more, there are a couple of print marketing materials I’d recommend you get done when marketing any book. That is:
a bookmark and a roll-up banner (or poster).
While I like designing, I reckon it’s somewhat risky to make your own bookmarks like I did. Still, I was pleased with the result and especially the LARGE bookmark size, printed at our friends PrintLinx Brisbane.
Small Bookmark sizes: 55 x 176 mm, 38 x 184 mm
Large Bookmark sizes: 71 x 203 mm
Mine was 71 mm x 203 mm (final size) and cost $35 total for 100 at PrintLinx. I would guess it is 250 gsm.
Some places offer pre-made designs and low rates, like Udesignit.com.au. Their small size costs $38 ex GST and shipping, so about $50 total.
You can also design with Publisher and print bookmarks on your own home printer, if has really good ink density.
Bookmark Designs: What to Tell the Designer
When providing a design to a printer, don’t forget to allow for BLEED.
This sounds painful, but it means giving artwork an extra 3 to 5mm all-round and then ensuring the final PDF encapsulates that extra bleed. This is only for designs that have background colour that runs right to the edge and it is because things often shift when printing and trimming.
The best program in which to design bookmarks is Adobe InDesign. MS Publisher would also be okay.
Make sure the PDF is High Print Quality or Press Quality and fonts are embedded. (Also, that your images and fonts are legally procured). Ensure all images used are 300 DPI or above. This can be done by buying stock photos at regular stock photo stores and selecting ‘M’ or ‘L’ size, not small.
It didn’t take long for me to realise my researched and well-crafted books weren’t selling and I needed a launch strategy: only ten years! Don’t let it take you this long… Here I share my own book launch process and project management style for non-fiction books (indie authors).
It takes a bit more work than a written plan, but the fact
that it reminds you daily of your tasks is enough impetus for me. Asana is a Project Management tool, which is a
SAAS (so yes, you can pay for more features by the month) and I use the free
Recently I noticed that successful people all seem to get up early and work on personal development. This includes knowing their body’s needs and exercising. I realised that reading the news and gossip online or admiring others was never going to get me anywhere near my own goals.
My goals include: improving my learning materials and making them easier to visually take in. (a business goal).
Creating free classes/webinars to interest 500 new people a year (a marketing goal).
Interesting and signing on 24 new clients a year (a sales goal).
Getting exercise thrice times a week for 30 minutes and stretching (a personal body goal).
To achieve your goals faster, here is a productivity system you could use.
Learn the 1000% Improvement Method
This is ‘incremental improvement’—getting a little better every day—otherwise known as ‘the Kaizen principle’.
Brian Tracy asks: “Is it possible for you to make a 1/10th of 1% improvement in productivity per day?”
(Doing it weekdays, your actions would be 0.5% more improved
within a week and 13% in a month).
This translates to you working on a more important task or doing a task slightly better. (Perhaps a new system occasionally as well, I presume).
Your overall output can become amazing, posits Tracy… in fact, 26% more productive in a year.
Your income would likely go up 26% per year too. This building on improvements is called the Momentum Principle.
You start early, set good priorities, and work a little harder. If you do this improvement as a habit, so every year over the course of ten years, the compounding effect means you will be working at around 1,400% better, according to Tracy. This then would be reflected in the quality of projects you do and the amount of money you earn.
Here is Brian Tracy’s famous 1000% Improvement list but with my own interpretation. Watch the video afterwards, if you like.
1. Spend your First Hour of the Day on Personal Development
I am spending nearly an hour most mornings on personal
development, and then I write out some more on my goals. I do a few stretches. Then
if it’s a weekday, I move to writing out my task list.
Your Dream Life Starts Here by Kristina Karlsson is a good book for inspiring you to set all your goals both small and large.
It however has a very small font, so bear this in mind.
My audio reading at the moment is: Booked Solid (Michael Port) and Tamed.
2. Make a Task List
Then I make a Task List of everything I need to do that day,
but not too many.
3. Prioritise that List
Then I look at the tasks and find the most important to move
my business or life forward. I put the two most important things an call it A.
(This I learned from Eat That Frog, also by Brian Tracy).