First, Let’s Talk About My Goals For YOU…
(You Can Skip This, But I Think It’s Important)
This is my goal for you in reading this: Learn how to sell more books. Period.
There is nothing to sell here except an idea that might change the way you view writing fiction professionally.
Minus the incredible catharsis that comes from getting something off your chest… this post is 100% about you the struggling writer.
By reading the entirety of this post you’ll discover:
- How to sell enough books to live full-time from your writing… even if you are just starting out as a writer in a small genre (like I did…)
- Why I completely ignored modern traditional publishers… and… instead spent 3 months straight studying writers from the 1930’s – 1950’s to uncover the business model that helped me sell over $746,256.61 worth of fiction ebooks via Kindle, Kobo, B&N, and more…
- The 8-minute activity I do for every book launch that nets me about $447.26 in sales within the first few hours of a book launch… (if you miss this then you miss the long tail sales that come long after a book launch too…)
- How I published 36 original books in just 12 months… and… you’ll find out why I don’t recommend anyone else following that path…
- Why I gave away over 1,000,000 books in 2014… PLUS: I’ll share with you how to make your freebies actually count (too many people are giving away free books for no good reason…)
- How I completely circumvent Bookbub and generate better downloads with less money… and… without having to keep getting rejected by Bookbub over and over again…
- What it takes to go from $9061.59/month in royalties to just over $60,000/month is royalties in just 2 short months…
- How to make $3,260.40 in sales before you even think about spending money on BookBub, FB Ads, or any other kind of advertising… (This is self-publishing 101 stuff here…)
- And much more…
The only thing that I ask of you is that you approach this post with an open mind. If you don’t believe these results are possible… that’s fine, but that’s your opinion from not having experienced this first hand. I’m sharing numbers, and numbers don’t lie.
So, why am I sharing all this?
Because I’ll end up selling more of my own work by doing so.
Here’s what I mean:
People LOVE to be entertained.
I’ve operated multiple businesses since 2009 and I can tell you without doubt that ENTERTAINMENT IS EASY.
Books (aka Entertainment In Paperback Form) are devoured for pleasure. People are always looking for pleasure.
Contrast that against expensive marketing and writing services that nobody wants to pay for and nobody thinks they need… and you’ll see why I say ENTERTAINMENT IS EASY.
Here’s what the world wants more of—books & entertainment–and it’s one of the reasons you are reading this post right now. I want to share that reality with other authors so that we can better serve our customers (aka readers) and get them all excited about self-published authors.
The Scarcity Mindset has no place in the world of fiction.
We need to help each other promote our work so that our collective audience—readers everywhere—get access to more quality published work to enjoy.
The market has spoken through feedback, sales volume, and interest and their message is clear: Readers want to read more books.
Every time someone picks up a book, reads it, finishes it, or shares in a conversation about it they get excited to read another. Books can go viral, but even more importantly…
Books aren’t sold, they are shared.
From writer to reader.
From reader to reader.
When readers benefit, you benefit and I benefit.
I teach you how to sell more books and we just might bring more readers to the table.
Here we go…
Admit That You’ve Bought Into Stupid Myths About Writing
(Especially The Ones About Chasing Bestsellers)
We need to talk about your mindset. That’s where it all starts.
The idea becomes a dream becomes a book becomes a self-publishing business. (Inception anyone?)
But it all starts with the idea. How you view the market. How you view your place in the market.
We’re going to start there because most of the authors I know approach the business of self-publishing the wrong way.
Take the royalty figures I just shared above as an example. Those numbers represent my earnings for all my pen names in November of 2014.
Here’s the problem with the royalty numbers I’ve shared above…
There’s a good chance that when you saw those numbers you immediately fell into one of the great profit killing traps of fiction writing:
It’s the myth of the bestseller.
I imagine that your first reaction was:
“How long were you on the NY Times list?”
“I’ve never heard of you. Those numbers are impossible.”
When I sit down and talk with anyone about my publishing business they immediately laugh and slowly sink back into their chair, developing the classic “starving artist” image of a young author desperately trying to make it and “strike it rich” with their first bestseller. Because they’ve never seen my name on a morning talk show promoting my books, they automatically think of me as a failed writer.
If my friends knew how many books were sold under my various pen names they’d probably ask why I still drive an 11-year-old car, prefer to cut my own hair, and haven’t purchased a new pair of pants since 2009. (I’d then refer them to this book.)
I can barely talk about it with some members of my own family, not to mention friends from high school or college who don’t believe it when it takes me a week to make their yearly salary—after all, my name isn’t on the New York Times Best Seller List.
I don’t say this to brag, but to PROVE to you that there are more writers making a decent living writing fiction that you HAVEN’T heard of than you might think…
That very myth—the myth of the “bestseller” is the reason why you need to change your mindset before we get into the nuts and bolts of how I sold over 357,061 books in my first 12 months of being an indie author. The second you release yourself from the pressure of having to write a bestseller you release yourself from the pressure of potential failure.
Authors are the only business people (and if you want to make money selling books you are in business… no two ways about it…) that I know of who think that they can make a year’s salary off the sales of a single product. It doesn’t make sense.
So what are we switching the mindset to?
Instead of trying to write one perfect book, write a higher quantity of your best books.
It’s a slight difference, but so damn important.
Do your best work 100% of the time, but don’t pretend you are going to write a bestseller.
Instead, pretend that your life depends on finishing your writing for the day. Set higher goals. Get better.
I never worry about whether my books will make a “list”. I only care that the books get finished.
This business model is all about being a mid-lister. Someone who writes to entertain. Commercial fiction at it’s finest. And they write as much of it as they can knowing that they aren’t going to sell a lot of any single book.
I know far too many excellent writers with MFAs in creative writing who believe that writing fast is bad.
I don’t need to dispel this myth for you. Smarter, more experienced authors have done that for you already:
- Myth #2 – Writing Fast Is Bad
- Rabbits & Typewriters: On Being Prolific
- 6+ Of The Fastest Writers’ Techniques Revealed
I get why you might buy into the myth that writing fast is bad.
It’s romantic to think of a writer only putting in two or three hours of work per day and crafting some masterpiece that will resonate throughout history. Shoot, even I have days where I want to scrap writing commercial genre fiction and just “do whatever I want”… but the thing is… there’s two ways to look at it:
1. Write for fun and money
2. Write for fun
I prefer getting paid to write. I already have enough hobbies to keep me busy. I don’t imagine myself as some “Artist” whose inner workings the world needs to discover.
Instead, I see myself as a craftsman whose job is to entertain people. I self-identify with comedians more than painters.
I make a product. That product is a book. The purpose of this book is to entertain. The more of these products I make, the better I can support my family.
Listen, I never said this was going to be pretty. This isn’t.
This is for people who understand what the term “working writer” actually means.
If you want to write the next “Great American Novel” or if you’ve already written it, this post might help you sell it.
The problem is that you won’t be selling 978 copies per day off of just one book. Not unless you’re lucky. And if you are lucky, screw writing, go play the lottery. You make way more money and don’t have to bleed into the typwriter to get it.
REMEMBER: I only know how to sell a handful of copies of each of my books per day. I don’t know how to launch an overnight bestseller.
And that’s good news for you.
It means that you can make a living with your words too if you just ditch the idea that your books have to be bestsellers.
I’m A Pulp Writer.
These Are The Reasons You Should Be One Too.
Don’t cringe at the thought of associating yourself with me or the stereotypical “pulp quality” work that immediately creeps into your mind.
Without pulp writers there would be no Tarzan, no John Carter, no Maltese Falcon, no Elmore Leonard, no Isaac Asimov, and on and on and on…
You’re thinking about speed and what it must take to churn out 50,000 words per day right now, but let me be the first to assure you that speed is NOT required to follow the pulp model of writing in 2015.
I never write more than 5,000 in a single day (mostly it’s closer to 2,000 words of fiction).
You see, self-publishing has completely revolutionized the way mid-list authors like you and me make money writing books. It now caters to the “working writer”. The person who can sit down and work harder than anyone else.
Digital distribution combined with the overnight reach ability of a half decent IM campaign = more reach, cheaper advertising, and more sales than the previous 100 years of publishing has ever experienced.
This isn’t just a vendor offering a new service… this is the Gutenberg press all over again. The fundamental mechanisms by which products are distributed has changed completely.
You can now do everything (better) that a traditional publishing company could do.
Just think about that for a moment.
Toss in the fact that self-publishing removes the middle man and decreases the time between finishing a manuscript and publication and what you have is the return to Golden Age Of Pulps.
Same distribution reach. Same publishing speed.
You don’t have to take my word for it either. Genres that have long been considered “Dead” by the trad companies are doing better than ever. Why? Because distribution is so cheap that you don’t have to make a lot of sales per book to keep an author well fed enough to pump more books into that genre of readership.
New genres are emerging, readership is expanding, and prices are dropping.
Sounds like the return of the Pulp Era to me. (And I like it!)
These fundamental changes translate into one simple rule that rests at the foundation of my publishing business:
The key to selling more books is to remove the pressure to write a bestseller and simply write more. The more you write, the more you make.
Everything else is secondary and only serves to improve the skeleton of the model.
Bestsellers Are Based On Luck. You Don’t Need Luck To Sell 300,000 Books In A Year As A Pulp Writer.
I’m going to stop you right here quickly before you get the wrong idea about me—what I’m sharing right now isn’t revolutionary.
I want to make that 100% clear.
These ideas aren’t new. They have simply been repurposed from historically successful lessons in the business and publishing world. The only thing I’ve done is recognize the change in the market that REOPENED the once popular and tremendously lucrative world of the pulp writer.
If you had taken the time to reverse engineer pulp magazines from the 30’s to late 50’s and then put that knowledge into immediate action… you would have achieved the same results (maybe even better).
Let’s take a quick look at the inner workings of a business built by someone who chose to write prolifically instead of following the “bestseller” model (me).
Here Are The Numbers That Explain This Story:
- I published my first novella on January 1, 2014. (I was so nervous it wasn’t even funny...)
- It was exactly 23,457 words long. (I knew almost nothing about story at that point…)
- By the end of 2014 I published 36 books across multiple pen names and in varying genres. (It was a busy year…)
- 21 of these books were either written with a co-author OR by a ghostwriter hired to complete half-finished manuscripts. (I don’t recommend this as an avenue for everyone…)
- I kept my prices at the $2.99 level, with only an occasional variance. (though I never run discounted deals – too much to keep track of…)
- I write in an almost entirely following the series/serial model where appropriate. I have yet to release a standalone novel. (I don’t know how to sell standalone books at a profit…)
- I resisted the temptation of putting my books on KDP Select, and choose to publish on every possible platform that I can (including selling direct).
- In the past six months, I have become incredibly active in putting together anthologies with fellow authors in combining our promotional power to “spread the word” on our free and/or $.99 sub-genre specific anthologies. (I’ll have to share that process sometime in the future…)
The bullets above are the basic workings of my self-publishing business. If you research, come up with ideas, and write (or hire someone to write) prolifically, there are only two additional points to follow that I haven’t shared already.
The point is:
There is no shortcut to success.
You can either work hard or you can be unsuccessful.
Now, I know enough writers to hear you chanting “Success isn’t about money!” and maybe for you it isn’t.
For me, I want my work read by a LOT of people. I want fans. I want to be paid so that I can devote the appropriate amount of time and effort in creating something worthwhile.
You might agree with that sentiment.
For everyone else who says I should be lucky that people even read my work and stop thinking about money…
Shia Labeouf is your fault.
You Need To Spend Money On Advertising To Experience The Type Of Sales Volume You’re Reading About
I’m going to lose a few of you on this, but…
Again, what I’m going to share with you is nothing new. It isn’t my original idea. It’s something that I “borrowed” from a similar industry, specifically Hollywood and the filmmaking biz.
You might not like this. You might think that all you have to do is put your books up and their greatness will shine forth and riches will be showered upon you…
If your friends won’t snap you back into reality, allow me:
IT TAKES MONEY TO MAKE MONEY. PERIOD.
When you understand this simple yet foundational truth of every film/book/song/TV Show that you’ve ever seen, read or heard, my hope is that your eyes will be opened to the importance of promoting your work through paid advertising in 2015. This is the truth about film (and pretty much anything else in your life that you consume to be honest):
You have never seen a film in a theater that didn’t spend money on advertising.
Consider that for a moment. Even the independent films that you have watched had some amount of advertising budget built into the overall production costs. It takes money to put butts in seats, and get eyeballs to the screen.
Hipsters like to think:
“I like, totally found this underground book that NO ONE has ever read before…”
And yet, the book has a cover, was edited, ran through the NY publishing system and was distributed (even advertised) at some point.
If you consume things in America, it’s because someone told you to. That someone was an advertiser.
I have yet to think of an exception (other than home movies and chicken scratch in personal notebooks) where my above statement is not true.
If you don’t believe me, then read this book.
In 2015, to succeed as an indie author you MUST recognize the significance of this truth. Ignore it at your own perile.
James Patterson’s Career Isn’t An Accident. Your Career Won’t Be One Either.
Consider for a moment the career of one of the most prolific and well sold authors of our current era: James Patterson.
If you were to argue that his books are below average quality, I would have no problem agreeing with you.
But realize this: James Patterson did not get to the position he is in by accident.
Early on in his writing career, he approached his traditional publishing house and asked that they purchase a television commercial to promote his most recent release. He was an ex-ad exec and he knew that people only buy what advertisers tell them to buy.
The traditional publishers balked at the idea of running a commercial for his book and turned his request down. So what did he do?
Now look at the man.
If you have been on YouTube within the past six or seven months, chances are that you’ve seen a commercial with James Patterson sitting in a darkly lit room promoting another Alex Cross release. It is no accident that James Patterson is outselling nearly every other author that is currently writing today.
James Patterson sells books because he advertises his books.
Let me say that again:
James Patterson sells books because he advertises his books and that’s exactly how YOU are going to get your books to sell.
Without a doubt, advertising is the ONLY REASON I sold almost 1,000 books per day in 2014.
Just like James Patterson (his background is in advertising), I was an Internet marketing “guru” before I became an author (yuck!).
Now, I understand that you might be a little hesitant to jump into accepting this. After all: Advertising Costs Money.
You might shake in your shoes at the thought of pouring cash into an unknown, giving up money that could be used to buy pizza, take your girlfriend out somewhere nice, or pay the electricity bill.
I get that.
I was homeless once myself. I understand how far the dollar has to stretch sometimes…
However, the market doesn’t care.
The market is a cold place that has no feelings about whether you can pay for advertising or not.
The market demands advertising and it rewards people who can advertise. Simple as that.
Just look at your own life. Without advertising to tell you what to buy you would have a lot less stuff. Guaranteed.
You can either accept this as a law of the jungle and leverage it to survive or you can play the “but my writing is art” card and ignore the key to turning your art into a living. Either way, people will continue to advertise and sell books. You will continue to write for fun.
Advertising In 2015 Is So Darn Simple
The beauty of the Internet is that it has placed in the hands of average people like you and I an inexpensive alternative to advertising through traditional media.
In other words, people like you and I can pay inexpensive prices to put our books in front of people who are likely to buy our books.
In fact, if you can afford to spend just five dollars per day, you can dramatically increase the number of books that you sell. You don’t have to spend $1000 or $2000 or $10,000 to run a TV commercial about your book. You just need five dollars.
I’ll admit, I have an advantage that you likely don’t have.
Before became an author, I was a self-taught copywriting and advertising “guru.”
I was a learned expert who used internet marketing to support my family and a guide to people who wanted to make money online. It was always my dream to become an author, but the possibility of success never clicked until I understood the brilliance of advertising coupled with the production and publishing speed of the self-publishing model.
I Took The Road Less Traveled And Spent Just $5 Per Day On Ads. Here’s what happened…
I started running ads on Facebook using custom audiences and techniques that I developed from years of experience as a copywriter and marketer.
If you want to learn what I learned then all you have to do is go here:
You don’t need to buy any of his courses (they aren’t worth the money). Everything you need is right there on his blog.
Following Jon’s advice, results were immediate with just $5 to $10 per day spent promoting my books.
The deposit screen shot above represents the first time I realized that advertising through Facebook using custom audiences could fulfill my self-publishing dreams.
When I saw those numbers start to come in, I put my publishing machine to work and I immediately turned my efforts to advertising.
If there is any “big secret” to making money with prolific self-publishing, this is it.
Its advertising and advertising effectively—even if it’s just for dollars per day.
The best part is, I never had to sell a great deal of books within a short amount of time. Because all of my books were digital, I could sell a few copies per day FOREVER. I didn’t have to try to sell 10,000 copies in a week to make the New York Times to get that extra exposure. All I had to do was find my audience, pay five dollars to put my book in front of that audience, and start writing the next one.
Here’s The Real Secret Behind Running Ads To Promote Books
Don’t run ads to a standalone. Not unless you’ve got years of experience doing it.
Don’t run more than $10/day on any single series/serial. Here’s why:
You are a mid-lister. Overexposure will kill your business. Ramp up too fast and you are getting exposure before you’re really ready to have your stuff out there.
Think about Stephen King’s career (and most trad pubbed authors for that matter). They spend 2 – 3 years writing short stories for magazines. They build a little bit of a following, but that period of writing short stories allows them to make mistakes (Even big ones) without jeopardizing their entire career. You can always come back from a bad short story… it’s harder to come back from a bad bestseller.
Think of your $5 – $10/per day per series/serial as your time in the short story trenches. You don’t have to write only short stories. I don’t care how long your books are.
What is important though is to ramp up slowly. This stuff snowballs. You need to have your craft in place to support the flood of readers that will be coming into your business.
PLUS: If this is your first-time running ads then you need to make sure you’re making back your $10/day investment before getting all crazy and chasing the big numbers.
Advertise, but be patient.
Get people to read your books, but realize this isn’t a race. Your digital IP can be sold for years and years (and in many different ways).
What if you’re not happy with $10,000 per month in self-publishing income?
Then you can follow the exact model I used after the money you see above was in my pocket.
The Power Of Effective Facebook Advertising:
The $9061.59 That Was Made With Just Dollars Per Day In Advertising, Turned Into $60,000+ Per Month Within Two Months
The secrets to $746,256.61 in book sales driven by Facebook ads aren’t really secrets at all:
Turn revenue generated from sales via advertising into more advertising.
For the first 3 months of my fiction business I made $0 in profit.
That’s profit NOT revenue. I made plenty in revenue but I invested every last penny back into advertising more and more books.
And here’s where successful writers separate themselves from non-successful ones:
I sold so many books last year because I was patient.
If I could bestow just one magical quality to everyone who reads this post it would be that you learn patience.
Learn that you don’t make money with your first book.
Learn that you pour most of your first earnings back into the business to generate even more earnings and separate yourself from the pack.
Learn that you suck at writing at first, but if you keep showing up eventually you get good enough that people will give you money for what you write.
If you really want to know the secret behind 300,000 copies sold in 12 months…
For now, there’s another question that needs to be answered.
“What if I don’t have $5 per day to spend on ads?”
That’s a reasonable question—and in the next lesson, I’m going to share the answer.
Your Readers Want To Know When You Publish Your Next Book, Give Them The Opportunity To Find Out
I completely understand that not everyone has five dollars per day to spend on building their fiction business. I completely understand that forking over cash today can be difficult when you don’t even get royalty checks from Amazon for 60 days after the end of the month that you make the sale. I get it.
That being said, I also fundamentally believe that you can’t make money without spending money. I see a lot of authors claim that they will never spend money on advertising like it is some badge of honor to purposely sabotage the success of their work. I don’t understand it myself, but I do understand wanting to explore opportunities outside of paying for advertising.
So let me give you the 1 most effective thing you can do in 2015 to guarantee minimum sales per book launch, and increase reader loyalty…
Build An Email List
Let me show you a few things…
Here is a screenshot from one of my pen names:
That many people have raised their hand and said, “yes, please let me know when you release your next book. I am interested in purchasing it.”
Now imagine if you had that asset in your arsenal. Imagine if you had a list of 100, 1,000 or 2,000 readers waiting to hear from you announcing your next book launch.
If there is a second “secret” to success—building an email list is it.
When you have a number of satisfied readers waiting to hear from you signed up to your email list and if you continue to put out the best work you can possibly put out in a consistent and regular basis, you will NEVER have to worry about finances again. I can almost guarantee that.
And the best part is, you will never have to worry about whether or not your book is going to make a bestseller list.
Here Are Some Examples Of How YOU Can Make An Email List Sell More Books:
In June of 2014, I launched a brand new Book #1 of a post-apocalyptic, horror story (very gory, very fun, very sci-fi-ish).
I sent out an email to the Horror mailing list you saw above (the one with the 1,678 people on it).
Within the first few hours, my book jumped on some sub-category rankings:
A few hours later, we started doing a bit better:
By the end of the first day:
Those final rankings stayed with the book for about 2 days, then it dropped back down to the 2,000’s for another 60 days before finally trailing off (until I hit it again with ads to bring it back into the 2k range).
While the rankings are amazing to look at, it’s the total sales that are so important.
That one email blast (took me about 8 minutes to write the email and send it) ended up selling 214 copies of that particular book on day 1. The book was a $2.99 short novel, so within the first day I pocketed $447.26.
With One Email And 8 Minutes Of Work, That List Of Just 1,678 People Made $447.26.
That little boost put that book #1 into a bunch of also-boughts which allowed me to ride out selling an average of 26 books a day for that entire 60 day period WITHOUT having to spend a dime on ads.
Think About This…
An Email List Is ALMOST FREE To Start
All you need is my favorite tool:
You can snag it for free for 30 days just to experiment and see if this stuff really works.
And instead of raving about email lists on Kboards, what’s everyone always talking about?
Take a look at what you get when you spend $500 to promote a $2.99 book to Bookbub’s horror list:
They only average 900 books sold… and it costs $500!
Why not just start your OWN email list and pocket the $500 yourself?
Because I had this email list I was able to make $3,260.40 in sales before I spent a dime on advertising. Additionally, the single email that I sent out was able to bump the book higher in the Amazon rankings which resulted in increased exposure for the book itself.
That’s Not Even The Best Part…
When you have an email list you don’t have to give books away for free anymore.
Think about that.
I’m personally dedicating my 2015 to building larger email lists for all of my pen names. You should too.
Because once you have an email list, you’ll never have to give a free book away again.
Need a better reason to start building your email list right now?
Lesson 5: Free Only Kinda Works…
In 2014, I gave away over 1,000,000 free books.
That’s work that I didn’t get paid for.
Not only that, those were books that I paid to give away (using advertising).
Granted, because I gave those free books away I got HUGE exposure and found my 1,000 true fans, but…
Starting in 2015 I will no longer be giving my books away for free.
Phase 1 = Free
Giving away tons and tons of books was phase 1 of my fiction business. I did it for an entire year (plus some into 2015).
It served it’s purpose:
To get enough people on my email list that I could make predictable sales on my other books.
Now, when I mail to my fans I know within about $300 how much I can expect to make on the book within the first 48 hours.
Knowing that number means that free is no longer relevant for newer works. I’m not trying to get new fans at this point. After 1,000,000 books given away for free I’m convinced that you either love me, hate me, or just don’t buy books.
That’s why Phase 2 is all about price increase.
Phase 2 = Increase Average Earned Per Customer (aka the “Stephen King effect”)
This makes me sound dirty. Like I work on Wall Street or something and I want to squeeze every last penny out of my readers. That isn’t what I’m aiming for.
What I want to accomplish in 2015 is what I call the “Stephen King effect.”
I’ve read horror my entire life, starting with Goosebumps all the way up to Barker, Ketchum and more…
But somehow I managed to avoid anything by Stephen King until just recently. (within the past 5 years). I “discovered” him through Salem’s Lot.
Then I bought The Shining, Cujo, Pet Cemetary, Carrie, and Insomnia. Not over the course of a few weeks but all within 10 minutes of each other. I was clicking more “Buy Now” buttons with Stephen King’s name on it than is probably recommended.
The point is, Stephen King has built a brand around his books. A brand that convinced me to buy all of his “most popular work” without knowing necessarily what the works actually were.
That’s what I want to accomplish in 2015.
The way you measure that is through increased Average Earned Per Customer numbers.
It isn’t evil, it’s just a way to measure whether or not it’s working. It’s objective.
Consider my example with Stephen King.
First, the publisher made something like $11 for the paperback version of Salem’s Lot.
At first, the AEPC (average earned per customer) associated with me was a measly $11.
But then, about two weeks later that number jumped to over $60. See how that works?
It means that if you learn how to build a brand around your pen name you can do basic math.
1,000 new people buy books from you every month.
When you use the free model vs. branding for the “Stephen King effect” you’ve made $11,000 that month.
When you learn how to get people to buy through your backlist (which is just a branding issue… no tricky cliffhangers needed) then you’ve just made $60,000 that month.
And this isn’t just about putting more money into your pocket…
When people are buying 6 books in one sitting just because they see your name on it… it means you’ve made a good book.
That’s the other part of the goal. Get better at telling stories.
But there’s something interesting at play beyond just a good story…
Have you ever held a Stephen King novel in your hand? They’re HUGE!
And that’s why I’m moving away from free.
Free Only Works In The Step Up Model
This is true for any business no matter what you are selling.
When you give something away for free you haven’t actually moved anyone closer to buying from you.
When you walk through Costco and they give you the free sample, it’s not like they’ve convinced you to buy what they were sharing… UNLESS you were at Costco to buy that thing in the first place.
Let me put it in a different light:
You’ve been reading my entire 2014 blueprint to generating over 300,000 sales on Kindle at no charge.
Your credit card is still in your pocket. You haven’t asked me if there was something you could buy from me (there isn’t).
If I wanted to extract money from you I would have to do something sneaky like get you to sign up to my email list to finish reading the rest of this content. Or I would retarget you with heavy ads until you gave in.
Most likely, I would sell you something lower priced in hopes that you would buy something from me at a higher price down the road.
But just because you read this free post doesn’t make you any more likely to purchase from me.
You’ll see this a lot in the world of self-publishing.
In 2014 almost all of my books were serialized. Meaning, I had cliffhangers connecting book 1 – (up to) 5.
At first, it worked brilliantly. But then the tactic got picked up by shady marketers (marketers ruin everything) and now almost all of my top voted reviews look like this:
And it’s not just my books that I’m seeing this on.
Spend two minutes perusing through any serial with the first book as a freebie and you’ll see the same thing.
And Here’s How Free Hurts Your Book Sales
When your top voted reviews look like that you lose sales. Especially when you are running ads.
Free also kills branding.
How many books did Stephen King give away for free last year? I bet it wasn’t 1,000,000.
The worst part is that free shortens your other works.
Unless you are willing to give away 150,000 word tomes… then you have to shorten some other aspect of your story to “work-in” free.
And this means that you can’t charge the full worth of your story.
Instead of charging $3.99 for the complete 80k novel… you “chunk” it into a 30k novella (free) and a 50k novel ($2.99).
Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t give your books away for free.
Just like writers who’ve had to spend 2 – 3 years writing short stories before an agent would notice them… you’ve got to do your time.
Give as many of your early books away for free as possible.
But then be ready to stop and charge full price for your work.
How To Make 2015 Your Best Selling Year Ever
I’ve given you the 5 lessons you need to learn to make more sales this year than ever before.
The only thing that is missing from this “formula” if your ability to trust in the advice and put action behind your dreams.
Do that and you’ll probably even sell more than I did!
Now stop reading blogs and start writing.