Woohoo I’m an author! OK technically I was already an author; because I’ve got two awesome traditionally published books on bookshelves here in Aus – you remember bookstores right, that place that had lots of paper books (paper books? That’s soooo last year).
But as of a few days ago I’m now an INDIE Author too … ooooh *cue the clapping soundtrack and audience oohing and aahing and then suddenly screaming in horror – what have you done Tracey, your writing career is over!
And here it is – 5 Simple Rules for Investing in the Stock Market – my kick-ass book about how to invest in the U.S. Stockmarket. You love it right? Good go tell your mom about it. And your sister. And your cat.
Don’t you just love the cover? It was designed by my brilliant graphic design / illustrator partner (nepotism is alive and well). His brief was that I wanted something that looked both professional but simple but also stood out amongst the rest of the finance books already on Amazon. Plus it had to look good really small (at Amazon thumbnail size). I think it’s awesome. You do too don’t you? Knew it!
So anyway, now that it’s live on Amazon & starting to get distributed via Smashwords, what’s next?
(You mean I have to do more than just write a book – I actually have to market it too? Craaaazy.)
Set Up Your Book Blog
Well of course the first thing is to set up the blog to help market it. Here’s the blog for 5 Simple Rules. There isn’t much there yet – I’ve not really started the marketing plan full force – but its coming – all it good time my friend.
As I plan on doing a series of finance books using the ‘simple rules’ theme – this website will host them all and grow over time. Obviously they will all stay within the same niche ‘finance’ because I might as well stick with what I know best – saving, investing and stuff. (Bank manager: Really Tracey?).
Setting up a blog is relatively simple and I really recommend you go ahead and get yourself a self hosted blog with a domain name that you own. That way you can say and do whatever you like on it without the fear that it might one day get ‘disappeared’.
I’ve been setting up a new blog for nearly every book I write and then a few others to support my writing blogs. That way I can build up a network of sites that can interlink between each other to gain a bit of authority within the search engines.
But I can also use them to network and link out to other people, which brings me to …
Online Marketing Strategy
I’ll also be doing all the usual internet marketing things – keyword focused posts targeting my core reader audience, social media marketing via twitter, and I might even start an email list (*icy chill runs over my body* errgh maybe not then).
Oh and speaking of twitter – I know I promised part two of my twitter marketing post because I ran out of time last week (I’ve got small kids damn it – they need some attention every now and then otherwise people in suits tend to turn up at my doorstep), but I still plan on getting it out soon. Promise ‘k?
I may even write a press release. Serious I know!
But more importantly, you need to network in this game. Like my friend Lis who is just about to release her new book on Lis’s Travel Tips. Go Lis! And Dave who published his epic post about making money with the Amazon Associates program as an ebook. Indie on dudes! (And more friends books are on their way too – I see you Alexis)
Now price was a difficult one for me, because I only had data from hearsay and what other indie authors were reporting. The general consensus is that a good price is a low price. But then you have the other side of the fence who argue that you shouldn’t underestimate what someone might pay for the right book (more so for nonfiction than fiction).
In the end I struggled between two prices. $2.99 and $4.99. I tossed around the pros and cons of both but finally decided on $2.99 for two main reasons. One was that I’m an unknown in the U.S. so I would like people to take a chance on the book, and two, it still is quite short (just over 15,000 words) so I didn’t think that the higher price would represent good value for the length.
But since I’m in control of the process now I can always experiment with price later down the track.
Your 10% Amazon Sampling
Amazon allows its readers to download approximately 10% of the first part of the book to preview before they purchase. That means you had better be sure that your first chapter is AWESOME. You also need to make sure that they get a good sampling so it’s a good idea to move a lot of the front matter like About the Author, Other Books, and Dedications etc to the back of the book.
I personally wouldn’t put anything more than your title, table of contents and copyright in the front so readers can get a bigger sample of your writing. I feel this really will help sell more books.
And while all of your books should be good, I would say that the first chapter should be exceptional to really sell the book.
Professional Looking Cover
I’ve already mentioned the cover briefly above but having a good looking cover really is crucial to selling your book. You’ve heard the old saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” right? That’s bogus. People DO judge a book by its cover so it better look professional and not like it was done by your thirteen year old nephew.
You also should check that the title is readable at a teeny tiny size, since Amazon uses thumbnails on its search pages and you want to grab the reader’s attention quickly.
My rule is to keep it simple and if you can afford it, hire a designer (or have babies with one like I’ve done).
Write More Stuff
Of course the biggest marketing strategy is to write more books! The more books you have available the more likely people can find you. So my second book will be started very soon. Hopefully I’ll have it out within three to four months.
That is unless they have another True Blood marathon on Foxtel over here. Oh Eric .. purrrrr.