In this second installment, Michael talks about the kind of marketing that has worked for him, his advice for newer self-publishers, and his take on the 10,000 hours theory as it applies to the craft of writing.
We talked about author platform, but that’s only one aspect of marketing. While you don’t spend a huge amount of time blogging, or on Twitter or whatever, you do take an active role in promoting your books. What has been the most effective method, for you, in terms of reaching readers and growing your audience?
The two big things an author needs to do is to expand visibility and to maintain contact with loyal readers. In the first case, ads, giveaways, and other means of reducing your anonymity are absolutely crucial. Get your name out there. Get readers one way or another.
In the second case, if you are a writer and you don’t have a mailing list to announce new releases, you’re only making your job harder. My biggest regret from my first few months is that my list is now short several hundred names of people who would have signed up when I had so much visibility. Those are readers who have probably moved on in the past two years and forgotten all about me, but if I had a way to remind them, would return to check out my latest project.
As good as Amazon is relative to the other vendors, this is something the store could absolutely do better. If a reader has picked up multiple books by a given writer, they should automatically get a notice when that writer releases a new book. Until Amazon does that, writers need to take it on themselves to do the same.
Well they do have that new “Stay Up To Date” feature on author pages. But as I pointed out to Amazon several months ago, it doesn’t work – which, of course, is worse than having no such feature at all. But with regard to reaching readers and so forth, have you found that advice change over time? I know you had all or most of your stuff in KDP Select before, but I see you are on all the major platforms now.
I guess what I’m getting at is this. What advice would you give to someone starting out today with only one or two books, and no “name” or author platform or mailing list?
If I were brand new today I would enroll my books in Select. It’s true that you limit your readership when you do that, and some of the goodies that once existed as incentives to sign up for the program have been greatly diminished, but a good book with a strong cover can still gain thousands of downloads for a brand new author. Get your name out there, get a little visibility and some reviews, and then work at solidifying your reader base. Continue reading