First Two Weeks as a Published Author; The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, & The Learnings
It has officially been a full two weeks since my first book, The Influence of Man, was published and became available for immediate purchase through Amazon and other online retailers. While the book took me a year to outline, research, write, edit, and complete — I know it will be a much longer journey to becoming a truly successful author.
With that in mind, I thought it would be a great idea to capture the early moments of this journey and provide some key takeaways from the first two weeks of being officially published.
I welcome you to read of The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, & The Learnings… of a newly published independent author.
While I was working diligently on completing The Influence of Man, I was doing so while being silent on performing the actual work. I only informed a handful of close friends that I had been working on a book and had plans to publish it, but I did not make my intentions known to the greater public via social media. When I finally announced my book was publishing, the outpour of support was nothing short of incredible.
I was, and still am, very humbled to have received so many kind words and positive wishes.
I never thought about this before, but when you work hard at something for so long and then release it to the world, you feel tremendous anxiety and experience some trepidation in requesting feedback — especially when the topics covered can be considered quite controversial.
Luckily, all early reviews on the book and its content have been outstandingly positive and have reflected opinions that align with the intention of the book — to challenge readers, to provide thought-provoking information and analysis, and to invoke a sense of responsibility to do more in the world. Hopefully the positive reviews will continue, with the deserved critical reviews sprinkled throughout.
- Learning more outside of my comfort zone
One of the greatest aspects to taking a massive undertaking, such as writing a book, is the good fortune of being able to learn so much along the way in such a short amount of time. While it was challenging, it was equally as fun.
Some of the things I have learned along the way include… the querying and publishing process, pros/cons of traditional publishing versus independent publishing, copyright processes, international pricing & distribution, agreements amongst front-end, customer facing platforms like Amazon and back-end suppliers like printing organizations, press-release creation and distribution options, and operating advertising/marketing through all major digital advertising options.
I can go on and on with this list — as there are many more to list, and even more to still be mastered. Very interested in seeking how many of these things will prove valuable in the future for other books and other ventures.
Note: This list isn’t necessarily of “Bad” things that have occurred. More like challenges that will require a different approach and perspective to tackle — but I still believe they are important to note in the early stages.
- Visibility into marketing attribution for sales (rather, lack thereof)
Attribution is a topic that is frequent with advertising through digital channels, particularly when there may be overlap for potential customers (in this case, readers) between platforms — and it is one that requires a specialized approach. The industry standard for a long-time has been Last-Click/Last-Touch, which is not the most accurate representation of a potential customer (or potential reader) journey to becoming a paying customer (reader). A multi-touch attribution model that is aligned to the customer marketing journey is best used to determine marketing budgets and allocations for advertising strategy — which is difficult for even the most sophisticated of advertisers to do.
For me, this issue is exacerbated by a few factors… 1. lack of resources and budget to adequately test all channels simultaneously for true comparisons and more importantly 2. complete lack of visibility into what channel a reader/book purchaser has come from prior to converting on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.
The second is infinitely more difficult than the first, and even with the resources to cover the first factor… the second would still be a hurdle. The best options I have are to view clicks as the metric for success, which does not accurately reflect true value driven. Of course, authentic and genuine word of mouth is the king in book purchasing decisions — not merely advertising and marketing.
- Slow to get press coverage
Note: This one will likely change when the first “domino” (so to speak) of media coverage falls/occurs
Prior to publication, I reached out to a number of local media organizations in Austin, Texas (where I live), Shreveport, Louisiana (where I am from), and Baton Rouge, Louisiana (where I went to school.) I provided information on the upcoming publication of the book, my relation to the community for which I reached out to, and that I am 25 year-old that has published my first book (figured the relatively young age could be considered noteworthy).
Most importantly, I provided insight into the components of my book worth considerable attention (at least in my opinion), such as a new term I’ve coined to describe/categorize manmade activities that destroy/significantly alter ecological systems we rely on, with a heavy focus on gaseous bi-products of processes which contribute to climate change — and a mathematical model of my design to build a causation analysis of manmade activities and their thermal impact to aid in determining priorities in policy and industry shifts by utilizing functional equations.
Much to no avail.
I’m unsure if these topics are a good fit for regional coverage or not, and I will be shifted to a strategy that focuses much more heavily of reaching out to science editors of larger publications. My thought here is that once the first article, interview, Q&A, etc. occurs… that other “dominos” (media organizations) will begin falling shortly after.
Of course, if anyone who reads this is interested in my work and writes for media organizations/publications that cover climate change, climate change science, and our collective responsibility to ensure the longevity of environmental stability for future generations…
(Like a Forbes, Inc., New York Times, Fortune, BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Market Watch, Business Insider, Wired, Bloomberg, Washington Post, etc. etc.)
…then please reach out :)
(Same for if you have friends or peers at publications that write on these topics.)
Lastly… in hindsight…. I supposed the note about being a 25 year-old author isn’t all that impressive a feat in today’s world… considering we have self-made billionaires who are only 22 months my senior (Shout out to you, @Evan Spiegel)
- Responses from climate deniers
This one I must take with a grain of salt. But I have received very disheartening comments on social media regarding the objective information I present in my book in relation to climate change science. Especially on the verifiable and concerning statistics related to human activities/consumption/demand and the gaseous bi-product compounds which are released into the environment in relation to said activities/consumption/demand.
I received comments ranging from calling the statistics presented BS, that I am spreading lies, asking how I sleep at night… (keep in mind the information in that chapter is related to population growth, transportation technology, carbon dioxide emissions, animal agriculture, methane emissions, and overall decrease in sea ice present in the Arctic — all very easily verifiable information)… and many more comments/insults alike.
My favorite comment though! Get ready for it. I even received a longwinded comment that concluded with the singular insult, and I quote…
“You are a bowl of breakfast cereal.”
What? A bowl of breakfast cereal? Sorry, but what the hell does that even mean? So many questions…
Am I delicious? Am I nutritious? Do you look forward to eating me in the morning? What kind of cereal am I? Do you enjoy me with milk? Do you eat the cereal first and drink the milk last — or finish them at the same time?
Or worse... are you some kind of sadist who doesn’t drink milk with your cereal?
It makes no sense, Neil!
But I digress.
(See the statistics I presented that earned me this colorful insult by clicking here.)
This is a section of what I have learned or realized throughout the process that I had not thought of prior to actually being published. Food for thought for people looking to publish, or for those who are curious what has been top of mind lately.
- Amazon ranking volatility
When The Influence of Man was available for pre-order and through the first few days of publication, it was ranked as the #1 New Release in Political Literature Criticism on Amazon. It was also ranked #1 overall for the same category across Amazon for paperbacks, and was in the top 100 for both Climatology and Environmental Sciences.
Since then, the rankings have shifted dramatically, in both directions, with every passing day. My goal was to hit #1 across all three categories. With the volatility of the rankings though, I imagine this will only be possible for a very short period of time and even more difficult to sustain indefinitely. Momentum is important. Sustained momentum and inertia, though, is even more important.
- Book buyer behavior
While I am actively advertising across multiple digital platforms to increase awareness of my book to potential readers, I believe it will always be word of mouth that drives the most sales. Seldom have I purchased a book from advertising or marketing, although I have from time to time. The decision to purchase a book usually comes from suggestions of friends/family/colleagues, people I consider influential, or from media coverage.
So I hope those that get their copy of The Influence of Man find it as valuable and insightful as intended and love it enough to tell their closest friends and family, and that the word of mouth evangelism starts a slow rolling excitement and exposure that compounds over time. And, of course, media coverage domino effect.
Hope you’ve found insights from my first two weeks as a published author insightful and entertaining! Be sure to check out my book, The Influence of Man! If you have always wanted to be a published author and want to ask questions about the experience thus far — ask away! Happy to help.
If you think you’d be interested in reading more about the topics I cover in the book, I hope you will get a copy. And if you do, please reach out and let me know what you think.
Thanks for reading!
-Matthew A. Gallagher
The Influence of Man is available in ebook, paperback, & hardcover versions on Amazon. Copies can be purchased here→ (http://amzn.to/2tISct2).
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The Influence of Man is an 82-page non-fiction book by 25 year-old debut author, Matthew A. Gallagher, covering today’s most controversial topics — providing thought-provoking perspectives and valuable insights.
The book, while concise, is dense and covers a variety of topics ranging from divisive ‘isms’ like racism/sexism/classism, archaic ideologies of oppression which helped shaping the society we know today and their irrelevance in a modern, progressive society, to explaining the basics of climate change science through analogous lenses and mathematical models, and more.
For additional inquiries, Matthew can reached via LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/matthewagallagher, via Twitter @Mgallagher_I, or via email.