How to Market Kick Ass Stories your Readers will Demand
What is a Moonshot?
A Moonshot is a goal so big, it astounds the mind. It’s huge, and audacious. Ever heard someone say they want to end world hunger? That’s a Moonshot goal.
How about changing the US education system, where millions of kids go up to $100,000 or more into debt that they spend their life paying off at jobs that make it virtually impossible to pay off early.
Changing Education is a Moonshot Goal (and one I’m very interested in, if you want to talk about it, email me.)
Ending Homelessness, addressing climate change, or SPACEX putting a manned mission to Mars in 2018. That’s a literal moonshot, though it goes past the moon.
An Author Moonshot is not just being a best selling author, but being a best earning author. It’s easy enough to become a bestseller, just through keyword and category manipulation. Most Authors want to be Best Earning authors, meaning they move from emerging author to employed and earning between 60k — 100k per year.
A Moonshot is not easy. It requires planning, diligence and experimentation. The great thing is there are authors who have been where you are (like me) and who are where you want to end up. (like me.)
Focus on the outcome.
When you publish your book, you’re probably thinking, “Heck, I want to be a best seller. Jump to the top of the list and make thousands of dollars so I can retire and write full time.”
That’s a noble and worthwhile outcome, and it’s something you should consider an end goal.
But it’s hard to do with one book.
Sure, you can jump to the top of the bestseller list during your free promotion, but I’ve literally seen hundreds of authors who climb to the top ten during their free KDP promotion, then drop like a rock in the days following.
The idea behind that business model is that people will keep buying your book while it’s listed near the top, which will sustain momentum so that you can be seen and found by other readers.
Here’s the problem with the model.
How many readers are looking for your genre on any given day?
How many readers are going to like your title and description and be willing to pay $2.99 — $4.99 on an unknown author?
It’s easy enough to say that it’s only a cup of gourmet coffee, but you can’t live off that kind of gamble.
It’s better to have a plan to succeed, a strategy with tactics you can use to grow your business over time as you publish more books and find more readers.
I’ve outlined this model in several books, like HERE and HERE and HERE.
But you can start with a few tactics to help right away.
1. Write killer Amazon sales page copy that sells your book by focusing on the benefits to the reader.
Why do readers read your genre? Is your book description compelling enough to draw attention and make people want to pick up a copy of your book?
Go to the bookstore and browse.
Pick up books that grab your eye in the genre you’re writing in. Read the cover copy on the back. Does it make you want to buy?
You can even do this on your own bookshelf. Look at the books you buy. What made you pick them up and plop down your money for them?
Now write your book description while thinking about your book.
I experimented with how copy appears on my Amazon pages as a test.
Do you use a lot of white space?
Does your copy draw the eye down to the bottom of the page?
If you’re writing fiction, does it act like a cliffhanger?
If it’s non-fiction, does it mention benefits?
This is the number one way to grab attention on Amazon? Why?
Readers go to Amazon to buy books. Sometimes they are looking for a specific book on a specific topic. Sometimes they are checking on a release date for their favorite author.
Your job is to become their favorite author.
I checked my viewing history: I went to Amazon to look up books recommended by Tim Ferriss on his podcast, and I went to look for the release dates for the nex Dresden novel. I know Brad Thor has a book coming out in June, and Amazon informs me of the other authors I follow. These are the mainstream authors. For the indie authors I follow, I get information via email.
Your goal is to get readers onto your mailing list. That’s goal number one beyond all others. Besides writing your book.
So let me rephrase: Writing a good book is goal number one. Writing ten more books in the series is goal number two — ten.
But to find readers in the meantime, focus on your book description.
Use White Space.
Be descriptive, without giving too much away. Go read the descriptions from the last 5 books you bought from new authors. What was in the description that made you buy?
That’s how you want your description to read.
2. Build your Amazon author page.
Amazon is the number one book selling machine in the world. I read a book recently where the author described writers as being in the ATTENTION GRABBING business.
In this day of noise and clutter, with thousands of new books published each day, an author needs to do everything they can to stand out.
The best way to stand out is to WRITE AN OUTSTANDING BOOK.
If you are writing a fiction book, make it delicious and compelling.
If you are writing a nonfiction book, make it packed with value. Size does not mean value. I read a post on FB about an author who claimed to write a 3,000 page book. Huh!?
Why? Unless that’s a jam packed value it sounds like he just info crammed. A quick look inside reveals that it’s just clickbait writing. No value to the reader, no help in growing the business.
So let me add here: IF you can’t help a person grow or a business grow by giving them good information, stay out of the writing business. Go pursue something else. Go do good work as a carpenter, or insurance salesman.
If you are unsure of what you should do, or if your writing will pass muster, email me and let’s talk.
Now back to your Amazon Author Page. Remember when you learned that Amazon was the number one book selling machine in the world?
Your Author Page is your storefront on Amazon.
Make it pop. Link to your Twitter account, Link to your Author FB page, link to your Blog. Then keep it updated.
When a reader downloads your free book, they can follow you on Amazon if they don’t choose to join your email list.
That’s great for you since every time you publish a new book, your followers get an email from Amazon.
The number one book selling machine is going to do your marketing for you every time you publish a new book. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy, but it is simple and automatic.
Make your Amazon Author page pop, and drive traffic to it by making it part of your weekly Tweet campaigns.
3. Make your print book back jacket copy POP by working up on your copywriting skills.
Copywriting is an art form. Some people are better at it than others, but everyone can learn it, and with practice get better.
How do you get better?
Like all writing, you get better at copywriting by reading it, and imitating it.
Find a long form sales letter or ten that you like, and study them.
Practice writing them for your books, your business, your service.
Once you have some skill down, check out the back of books you like, and best sellers. Then copy their style and write your own.
Copywriting can help you with more than the back of your book. You can write a long form sales letter for your website, put on a unique page for your book.
You can create copy for your coaching, for your seminars, or for your other books using the skills you learn.
4. Once your book is published, add it to your author profile on Amazon.
Even though this should be done automatically, I’ve found Amazon sometimes needs reminding.
Double check that your book has been added to your author profile.
5. Enter your book into KDP Select and take advantage of the free days.
There are two ways to think about Amazon’s KDP service. I’ve read some authors rail against it, and feel restricted by only having one sales outlet. There is some merit to this argument.
If Amazon changes their terms of service, then the writer is at the mercy of those changes. There are some who have argued that KU payments are part of that problem, with some authors receiving half of their previous income.
Upon deeper research, those authors complaining were non fiction writers who put out short books (of which I am a fan) and were now getting paid per page read as opposed to download.
As an author who wants to connect with my readers, and build an audience, I want people to read my whole book. I actually wished Amazon provided reporting that told me where people dropped off in a book. It might make for some rewriting on my part!
Now those short book authors are complaining because instead of earning $1.40 per download, they’re getting paid .25 per read.
There is a remedy to this.
Write a better book that people want to read.
In Non-fiction, you do this by providing value, and good information. You do this in fiction by writing a page turner that people can’t put down.
If you take this approach, and put your books into KDP, then you can take advantage of a rank boosting marketing technique called, FREE DAYS or COUNTDOWN PROMOTIONS.
I’m a big fan of FREE DAYS. I’m still playing with the strategies on how many days are best, and how often to do them.
A strategy I’ve tried is:
Offer BOOK 1 Free for 5 Days. When people download it, and they like your writing, it will drive them to your other books and you gain sales off of it.
I have enough books that I can offer one or two free per week during a 3 month quarter and keep my author ranking steady, and gather ancillary sales from the free days.
Then, when the next Quarter rolls around, I can just repeat the pattern.
For one series, I will soon have 12 books. At that point, I can do the free promotion with one of those titles each week of a quarter to increase readers and find a new audience.
Eventually, so long as I stay in that series, I can offer the first book free on KDP promos and do COUNTDOWN deals for the new releases at a Discount.
Readers who like the series can purchase the others, which range in price from 99 cents up to 3.99.
This plan might not work, if you only have one book.
A lot of first time authors think “Hey, I spent a long time writing this book, I deserve to get paid.”
And I agree. You do. Later.
First, if you’re a non-fiction author with just one book, you need to rethink your approach. Don’t try to make money off the sale of the book, but use it as a lead generator for other services you offer, such as public speaking, coaching, or tee shirt sales.
To that effect, start writing a series of guides about your services, guides that educate and provide immediate action items for your potential clients.
If you want to have an idea of how that works, I’ve written 13 of the Author Moonshot Guides so far, with plans for 7 more. All of them jam packed with action items you can use.
Right now, they’re designed to show authors how to market their books, with tips, techniques and tactics all in simple easy to follow steps.
Eventually, I might mention the fast and affordable editing services we offer, or the book marketing service I can do for authors who don’t want to do it themselves.
I really enjoy teaching and training people, and since I love authors and writing, why shouldn’t I train them?
Especially with inexpensive advice at .99 cents a pop. (Go check out the entire series, and pick up a couple, if you like. Or email me if you want some one on one coaching and a plan that works for you.)
Second, if you are a fiction author with just one book, here’s my advice. Write 8 -12 short stories, and publish them to Amazon KDP and do free promos to build your readership.
Then write 1 book a month at 2000 words a day, and publish 12 books in a year. At the end of the year, you would have 20 properties on Amazon earning you money.
Once you have 12 books in a series, move on to the next series or try something new. But most successful authors, when asked what they would do differently, respond “Work on a series.” as the Number One Item they would do if they were starting over again.
Look at the fiction book you’ve written. Can you make 12 stories about it? 20?
Excellent. Get started, finish it and start working on another.
Do you want 140 Free Ways to Promote your book? Send me an email at Chrislowrybooks@gmail.com and I’ll send your copy of a free pdf marketing cheatsheet.