The Newbie Post
Over the next few minutes we aim to help you get going with your journey.
We know it can overwhelming when you first appear here - in the facebook group you'll see people making huge sums of money and here you are, just starting out.
Our first tip is to never compare yourself to anyone else. Everyone is on their own journey and is on a different stage of that journey. Keep looking to be consistent and improve with each book you publish!
You will see that many people in the group focus on CLEAN ROMANCE genres. These genres have good history of doing well. There is more on genre choice in a new minutes.
We will update and grow this post over time, we will record the last update here: Last updated 26th August 2020
Read on for some tips and essential first steps.
Laying Down the Basics
This is a video that we created a while ago. But this newbie post seems like a good place to add it as as, as it is all about laying down the basis. It will over some of what I have written about below. But the video and the text below were created at different times so the video is in ADDITION to the text below, not "instead of."
Consistency is King
One of the things that we hammer people with in indie publishing masters is the need to publish books consistently.
You stand no chance of making money for the long term if you fail to do this.
So if there's ONE THING to take away from reading this, is that you must publish consistently.
What do I mean by consistently?
Well, that is going to depend on the genre that you're writing in.
The easiest way to check is to see how often the top performers in your genre are releasing books. As a rule, Normally we are talking, weekly, fortnightly, monthly or every six weeks.
If you are unsure of how often you should be publishing. Then do shout out in the group. And we can give you some guidance.
Of course, with all rules. They are meant to be broken slightly from time to time. (There is no need to drive to Durham though - sorry UK joke.)
If you have a book doing tremendously well and it's "time" to release another - this could be a mistake as you will be taking eyes off the book doing well. Instead, hold back for a while before you press publish on the next one.
It most genres it makes sense to release a few books as quickly as possible when you are first starting out. This ensures that your readers have confidence when purchasing one of your books and that you are likely to be around for a while. If a reader has a choice between an author with ten books out and an author with their first book out - they will choose to read the book by the author with ten books out. Probably because they know there is a back catalogue to go and purchase if they enjoy the first one.
The process is simple:
Write. (Or have ghostwritten)
And repeat, you must.
Consider this business, building a wall.
Every book you release is another brick in the wall.
On their own, they might seem to be pretty weak and useless…but when put together they turn into something else.
Email Broadcast / Autoresponder Provider
I'm going to write about this as though you don't know a thing. That might be the case or it might not, but let's ensure we get everyone up to speed.
Email Broadcast / Autoresponder services - You need one of these services.
It's pretty much essential for long term success.
These allow you to collect email addresses onto lists. Then when you release a new book, you use the service to email to all of those on your list telling them about it. It stands to reason that some of them will buy or download your book. Thus you make money.
By doing this, we manage to get every single book we release in one genre to go straight to either number 1 or number 2 in the chart within about 12 hours of release. The list size for that pen name is over 6000 people.
The aim of the FREE promos that we run regularly in Masters is to get more people on our lists.
It's just one way…but again, more on that later on.
More people on lists = more potential sales.
Hence why we run the free promos regularly.
Who are these providers?
There are many of these providers. Aweber and Mailchimp are probably the most commonly used in this group.
We use Aweber. There is a link to it below.
All the training videos that have anything to do with email show Aweber….as that is what we use. There are all much of a muchness, and if you have zero experience, it makes sense to get the same as us as you can follow the videos.
The cost of Aweber is$19 a month for the first 500 people on your lists and then it goes up in stage payments based on the number of people you have subscribed.
Yes, you can make money without lists. Our Victorian list is actually less than 200 people - but it certainly is easier with a quality list in the vast majority of genres.
A few rules (no matter which service you use):
Each Pen Name should have a different list.
(I know some lump all of their clean romance into one, but when you start you will have one pen name.)
The emails should look like they are coming from that Pen Name, not you. When you set up each list, you will fill in a box with "Who is the email from" (or something similar) you slap your pen name in there.
Include a link on each email.
When you send an email out, and you want someone to buy something you have to include a clickable link.
You can't say I have a great new book out called "XYZ Title" please go and buy it. They won't. They just won't be bothered. They need to be able to click it and for it to take them to Amazon with no hassle. The minute you start adding barriers you are in trouble.
Which leads me to...
Treat your reader as though they are stupid.
Yes, it sounds harsh when I put it like that. But if you want them to take action, then you have to make it clear.
That means spelling it out.
"I have a new book out; it is available now.
It's 99 cents or FREE with Kindle Unlimited.
Click on the link below to read it.
CLICK HERE NOW."
Do you see how we spelt it out?…we handheld them through the process
Top Tip now is to sign up to an Email to provider.
If you fancy Aweber, like we use, then CLICK HERE.
Free Book Promos
You’ll see that we run a lot of free book promos in the group.
These are a way for us to build our lists (remember the importance of that from above?)
Plus, they help us to get new readers into our world who might be interested in our books.
You’ll see each of the promos is on a certain theme in order to attract the right sort of people for the books.
Action and Adventure readers probably won’t be so interested in romance books for example.
Anyone in masters can participate - including YOU
You need two things.
- A book to give away
- A book funnel account.
The book to give away can be very, very short - typically 3000 to 7000 words will do.
It can’t be on Amazon as well.
It’s basically a bribe to get them to join your list.
Tip - Make your free book awesome! The best it can be! People have in the past made the mistake in relegating badly written books to “Freebies.” It’s a mistake because if someone downloads it and reads it, they will assume that all of your books are bad! Give them the best you can.
The book funnel account (book funnel.com) allows you give away those books simply. It also gives us the ability to run these free promos very quickly.
You can get an account from as little as $10 a month. And again…it’s essential if you want to take part in these promos.
How they work:
I post a list of the dates of the forthcoming promos each month. I try to stick to genres I know the group are active in (as you might have guessed most people in the group do at least one form of clean romance.)
This gives you time to get your freebie together.
You can use the same one for subsequent promos - you don’t need something new each time.
Everyone emails out about the promotion pointing to the link that Bookfunnel sends them (this tracks if you have done it) and in the vast majority of cases we each spend $10 on FB adverts to the normal targeting for that type of book.
People who are brand new can still take part, even if their list is zero. They should still run the adverts!
People have reported getting 500 plus people on a list from one promo. It’s a great way to start.
Look out for these and get involved.
The video below shows you how to add your freebie to book funnel and then join one of our promotions.
The Free Book Prequel Strategy
This is a compelling strategy that can be used time after time after time.
There is an argument that you could use it for almost every book you release.We could make DOUBLE use of those freebies if we plan them correctly.
The principal use of a freebie is to build your list.The reader enters their email address, and then they get the book.
In the past, that is all we have been focused on.The objective is singular - just getting the email address to market to in the future.And, to be honest, there is little wrong with that strategy. It’s sound, and it will serve you for years.
But what if we could take it further???? What if you can then use that freebie to sell something else….Yes, you may well have a link in the back of your “freebie” to purchase your latest box set. Good move…I like that.
But we could go further and have a real strategy behind our freebies.What if we had a prequel to our best selling book or series? What if when they had finished reading the “freebie”, they were pointed at the main book on Amazon or even the complete series box set? What if you had lots of these Freebie Prequels? What if you had one for each Series or Stand-Alone Book?
You COULD then give the freebie away to your list - and then get them to buy the main book. It’s an obvious strategy but not something I’d advocate to do that often. To get the link to the main book on Amazon in the back of the freebie the main book would have to be released BEFORE the freebie. Then you end up promoting something for FREE when you could be promoting something for people to BUY. I always prefer that we promote something for people to BUY.
So I would use the strategy of NOT promoting the freebie to your current lists, but instead to get NEW people into your lists. In other words, run Facebook Adverts to these freebies.
This is an excellent way of pushing back catalogue material.
How to create a prequel
This can be tough, especially if you are approaching in retrospect, as opposed to creating the prequel and the main book at the same time.A few ideas that could work for you….no doubt there are others.
- Focus your prequel on the main character in your book - but in their childhood.
- Focus your prequel on the main character in your book in an earlier period of their life (not childhood). The main story might refer to an incident in the past - possibly a relationship that went sour. That “incident” could be the focus of the prequel.
- Focus the story on the parents of your main characters.
FREE BOOKS ON AMAZON
If your book is enrolled in KDP Select, then you are allowed to give your book away for FREE for five days every quarter.
You access this by clicking on the button that says "Promote and Advertise" next to your book on the KDP bookshelf.
You then visit the "Run a Price Promotion" box and select Free Book Promotion.
You then click create a Free Book Promotion.
You then choose the dates that you wish the Promotion to run.
Your book will automatically go to free across all Amazon stores on that date (note: everything is geared up to Amazon time…so UK stores don't go free on the stroke of midnight UK.)
WHY SHOULD YOU DO THIS?
When I first started in this game, this was the only strategy in play.
You would release your book on Amazon (it was non-fiction back then for me) and then set your book to free…. and then hope.
The theory was that people would download the book for free and then when it turned back to paid at the end of the five days, it would be sufficiently boasted in the Amazon algorithms to be shown to a lot of people who would then actually buy it.
That was the theory - sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn't.
The market has matured now, and that really doesn't work.
I avoided free books for many years. People were paying for my books, so why bother giving stuff away for free?
Well, there are occasions where free books work.
THEY ATTRACT NEW READERS
Yes, some people are so tight that they won't pay 99 cents to try out a new author.
But they will read something for free.
Occasionally giving people stuff for free works. You can often get a few thousand people to download your book during a free period.
Now, not every one of those people is going to bother to read it. That is a fact of life.
But of those that do, you probably will acquire some new fans who will go on to buy more of your stuff.
With this in mind, you should only release the very best of your work free! You want to give them the good stuff, so they are desperate for more.
WHEN TO DO IT
This only works if you have something else for them to BUY after reading your book.
I would suggest you don't even think about this until you have five books out there in the market place.
These days we only do this with books that are months old. I don't want readers to get pissed off that they bought something two months ago and now it is free.
We are running a free promotion next week on a book that came out in January. In an ideal world, I would want the book to have been out for a year, but there is a reason why I'm doing it…see below.
THE BEST TACTIC
You can be smart with this.
Give away the first book in a series once the whole series is out. Then you will get people buying the next book and the next and the next (hopefully.)
Or…if the book features in a box set then tell them - if you liked this then there is a great value box set out and point them to that.
PAY FOR RESULTS
You can just set your book to free and let it go. We do that a lot.
But occasionally we pay for better results.
We use e-reader news today, and booksends.com (google them) and pay about $50, so they mail out for us. This usually gets some good results.
They are picky, and so they don't do it each time you ask. There are hundreds of these companies out there…try a few a see what works for you.
Free books work - if used correctly.
There is a fair chance that you have arrived here from 21 Days to Publication.
The aim of 21 Days is simple. Get your first book written and published in 21 Days.
The aim of "Indie Publishing Masters" is to help you make "real" money from publishing books.
I hope you can see the subtle but essential difference.
In 21 Days, we gave you nothing about genre selection. It was essentially a case of write what you want!
Now for the reality hit.
You can't write what you want.
Well, you can…but you might not have the success you deserve.
Genre is everything.
You've published a book now. Congratulations - you've proved you can do it. 21 Days to Publication has done its job; you know you can write and publish a book. Now it's time to forget that book, brush yourself off and get serious.
You can make brilliant money in this game. There are numerous folks in this group making five figures a month and many more with good solid four-figure a month businesses. It's not just pie in the sky.
But to do that, you have to accept that you probably need to be publishing books that you have no real interest in.
Would I read for pleasure all of the clean romance books we publish in numerous genres?
Of course not. But I like the payments into my bank account at the end of the month.
You will as well.
It won't take you long to see what others are doing. There is plenty of room for more authors in all of these genres.
Of course we have people doing genres that are unique to them. But it would be very hard to do a general "thriller" genre as these are mega competititive.
The advantage of doing what others do is the people in the group are very supportive and can help with things like newsletter swaps (if you don't understand that yet - don't worry.)
Plus - we know that these genres work. Critically we know the targeting that works for promotion - this is three-quarters of the battle; you may have the best book in the world, but if you can't reach the audience then it's useless.
Don't try to be a maverick is my advice.
You'll probably work out that many people are working in numerous genres - may be up to seven or eight! It can be mind-blowing.
These people are at different stages in the journey to you - don't be overwhelmed! Overwhelm is easy in this group - but there is a secret to stopping it being.
All of those people operating in numerous genres have been where you are now.
You, just like they did, just like Jen and I did, need to start with ONE GENRE!
And focus on it.
Focus on the consistency of release. Focus on building a list.
Once the genre is building in sales, and you are releasing consistently - then you look at another genre.
Once that second genre is building - then you look at a third.
We are probably talking about a year for most people to be starting their third genre.
That is the final thing I want to talk about in this post.
This is a LONG GAME.
Don't expect to be replacing full income streams in a matter of weeks or months.
Yes, it can happen in a few months, but that is the exception rather than the rule.
I wrote above that you should be aiming to "build a wall' - each book you release is another brick in that wall.
It will take time. At times it will be frustrating. But it does work.
Get involved in the group - don't be afraid to ask what you might consider being basic questions. There are loads of people here with a ton of experience who are happy to help out - Jen, and I don't always have all the answers, and there are others here who are way better than us at different aspects.
We have no "idiots" here. No one will mock. Everyone is friendly and supportive. We have not needed ever to remove anyone; everyone comes in with a supportive attitude. So make the most out of the group.
I know there is a share to Facebook button below...we can't seem to remove that. Obviously this is a members only post. So please don't share!