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Easton_Livingston

Calling Independent Self-published Authors

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I published my first book, a Christian devotional. last summer. I had a few book signings last fall but really didn't have success with them. I have done somewhat better with people at my church approaching me and telling me they want a copy.  I am seeking God's guidance in the marketing process. 

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55 minutes ago, Deborah Thayer McLain said:

Yes, promotion is very hard. I have no idea what to do or how to get out there.  uugh !

2

 

I'm by no means an expert but here are some things that I suggest.

 

1. Pray - Now I know you may be saying, “Well, duh.” But I say this as a reminder because what can normally happen is that we lose ourselves in the bustle and hubbub of writing and we don't spend quiet time placing everything before the Lord, meditating and getting that daily gut check every day. 

 

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  (Philippians 4:6)
 

2. Be Patient - This stuff doesn't come overnight. You don't have to learn everything at once. You do this in steps. Concentrate on one thing then move on to the next. 

 

 

Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. (Ecclesiastes 7:8)

 

3. Work Hard - I mean, work really hard. It is tough and will be because of the curse. We're not coming out of this unscathed so expect thorns and thistles, obstacles and problems, struggles and disappointment. However, expect God to be there as well. Work hard because work is worship.

 

Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. (Ephesians 6:8)

 

Now, on a more practical note, the things that most successful indie authors do that are almost unanimous across the board are:

 

Build a Mailing List – This is crucial. This is essential. Hands down. There's an old saying in marketing that says, “The money is in the list.” This is true. You need to start building a mailing list. Yesterday. There are a couple different ways to do this.

 

First is to choose an email marketing service. The two I recommend starting out are MailChimp and MailerLite. Both are free up to a certain point. MailChimp gives you up to 2000 subscribers and 12000 emails a month. MailerLite gives you up to 1000 but the emails are unlimited.

 

Write More Books – This is a given but the more books you have, the more visible you are. Some people write fast. Others write slow. If you write a series, you need to come out with a book every three months minimum.

 

Build a Mailing List - Yeah. I know. I said this already. Just wanted to make it clear the importance of this one.

 

Have a Marketing Plan – this can be a written in summary form or be as detailed as you want but you need to have one and refer to it occasionally and adjust as needed. It needs to outline what methods and services you will use, how often, and the budget for each. You should have at least ten different ways to market your book. Here's a list of promo sites that you may want to check out:

 

Promo Sites for Your Book

 

Research – You'll need to do some market research on a regular basis and keep up with the publishing side of things. I use SimilarWeb for my research. Awesome site. There are also publishing news sites you may want to bookmark and read regularly to see the trends.

 

Build a Mailing List – Can never say this enough.

 

If you need any help with any of these things. Let me know. I check back here every couple of days. Or you can go to my website and contact me there.

 

God bless.

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1 hour ago, quietspirit said:

I published my first book, a Christian devotional. last summer. I had a few book signings last fall but really didn't have success with them. I have done somewhat better with people at my church approaching me and telling me they want a copy.  I am seeking God's guidance in the marketing process. 

 

See the post I just made my dear.

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5 hours ago, Easton_Livingston said:

 

I'm by no means an expert but here are some things that I suggest.

 

1. Pray - Now I know you may be saying, “Well, duh.” But I say this as a reminder because what can normally happen is that we lose ourselves in the bustle and hubbub of writing and we don't spend quiet time placing everything before the Lord, meditating and getting that daily gut check every day. 

 

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  (Philippians 4:6)
 

2. Be Patient - This stuff doesn't come overnight. You don't have to learn everything at once. You do this in steps. Concentrate on one thing then move on to the next. 

 

 

Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. (Ecclesiastes 7:8)

 

3. Work Hard - I mean, work really hard. It is tough and will be because of the curse. We're not coming out of this unscathed so expect thorns and thistles, obstacles and problems, struggles and disappointment. However, expect God to be there as well. Work hard because work is worship.

 

Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. (Ephesians 6:8)

 

Now, on a more practical note, the things that most successful indie authors do that are almost unanimous across the board are:

 

Build a Mailing List – This is crucial. This is essential. Hands down. There's an old saying in marketing that says, “The money is in the list.” This is true. You need to start building a mailing list. Yesterday. There are a couple different ways to do this.

 

First is to choose an email marketing service. The two I recommend starting out are MailChimp and MailerLite. Both are free up to a certain point. MailChimp gives you up to 2000 subscribers and 12000 emails a month. MailerLite gives you up to 1000 but the emails are unlimited.

 

Write More Books – This is a given but the more books you have, the more visible you are. Some people write fast. Others write slow. If you write a series, you need to come out with a book every three months minimum.

 

Build a Mailing List - Yeah. I know. I said this already. Just wanted to make it clear the importance of this one.

 

Have a Marketing Plan – this can be a written in summary form or be as detailed as you want but you need to have one and refer to it occasionally and adjust as needed. It needs to outline what methods and services you will use, how often, and the budget for each. You should have at least ten different ways to market your book. Here's a list of promo sites that you may want to check out:

 

Promo Sites for Your Book

 

Research – You'll need to do some market research on a regular basis and keep up with the publishing side of things. I use SimilarWeb for my research. Awesome site. There are also publishing news sites you may want to bookmark and read regularly to see the trends.

 

Build a Mailing List – Can never say this enough.

 

If you need any help with any of these things. Let me know. I check back here every couple of days. Or you can go to my website and contact me there.

 

God bless.

This is so fantastically helpful. Still a ways off from having to navigate the raging waters or marketing but already I'm less confused about it and more hopeful. You included websites and all!!! You superstar

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7 hours ago, Easton_Livingston said:

 

I'm by no means an expert but here are some things that I suggest.

 

1. Pray - Now I know you may be saying, “Well, duh.” But I say this as a reminder because what can normally happen is that we lose ourselves in the bustle and hubbub of writing and we don't spend quiet time placing everything before the Lord, meditating and getting that daily gut check every day. 

 

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  (Philippians 4:6)
 

2. Be Patient - This stuff doesn't come overnight. You don't have to learn everything at once. You do this in steps. Concentrate on one thing then move on to the next. 

 

 

Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. (Ecclesiastes 7:8)

 

3. Work Hard - I mean, work really hard. It is tough and will be because of the curse. We're not coming out of this unscathed so expect thorns and thistles, obstacles and problems, struggles and disappointment. However, expect God to be there as well. Work hard because work is worship.

 

Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. (Ephesians 6:8)

 

Now, on a more practical note, the things that most successful indie authors do that are almost unanimous across the board are:

 

Build a Mailing List – This is crucial. This is essential. Hands down. There's an old saying in marketing that says, “The money is in the list.” This is true. You need to start building a mailing list. Yesterday. There are a couple different ways to do this.

 

First is to choose an email marketing service. The two I recommend starting out are MailChimp and MailerLite. Both are free up to a certain point. MailChimp gives you up to 2000 subscribers and 12000 emails a month. MailerLite gives you up to 1000 but the emails are unlimited.

 

Write More Books – This is a given but the more books you have, the more visible you are. Some people write fast. Others write slow. If you write a series, you need to come out with a book every three months minimum.

 

Build a Mailing List - Yeah. I know. I said this already. Just wanted to make it clear the importance of this one.

 

Have a Marketing Plan – this can be a written in summary form or be as detailed as you want but you need to have one and refer to it occasionally and adjust as needed. It needs to outline what methods and services you will use, how often, and the budget for each. You should have at least ten different ways to market your book. Here's a list of promo sites that you may want to check out:

 

Promo Sites for Your Book

 

Research – You'll need to do some market research on a regular basis and keep up with the publishing side of things. I use SimilarWeb for my research. Awesome site. There are also publishing news sites you may want to bookmark and read regularly to see the trends.

 

Build a Mailing List – Can never say this enough.

 

If you need any help with any of these things. Let me know. I check back here every couple of days. Or you can go to my website and contact me there.

 

God bless.

Thank you! your wealth of information is very helpful.  

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11 hours ago, Easton_Livingston said:

Build a Mailing List – This is crucial. This is essential. Hands down. There's an old saying in marketing that says, “The money is in the list.” This is true. You need to start building a mailing list. Yesterday. There are a couple different ways to do this.

O hear over and over again that I need a mailing list. But who should go on that list? More importantly, what do I do with the list? Say I put all my friends on the list (ten?) then what? They know my book is out and available and have already purchased a copy, or had one given to them when I asked for a review. My second book is in an entirely different genre which  will appeal to kids, not my senior citizen friends. So what good is it to have them on a list? Sorry to be so technologically dense.

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10 hours ago, Sibermom65 said:

O hear over and over again that I need a mailing list. But who should go on that list? More importantly, what do I do with the list?

I have been wondering about this myself. With the GDPR from the European Union, I am a bit squeamish about collecting too much information. I do have at least two blog readers who live in the EU.

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10 hours ago, Sibermom65 said:

O hear over and over again that I need a mailing list. But who should go on that list? More importantly, what do I do with the list? Say I put all my friends on the list (ten?) then what? They know my book is out and available and have already purchased a copy, or had one given to them when I asked for a review. My second book is in an entirely different genre which  will appeal to kids, not my senior citizen friends. So what good is it to have them on a list? Sorry to be so technologically dense.

 

Having a blog is necessary to collect names. However, you must be specific in asking them if they would like to receive your posts/newsletter, whatever you send out. In regard to those senior friends, they will probably have grandchildren or know of children who might enjoy your children's book. So you could put that in your newsletter/post. :D

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Gotta respectfully disagree on the mailing list...

 

You need ads to push a mailing list. If you can advertise for that, you could instead advertise for your book. Mailing lists keep customers you already have, by giving you a way to communicate with them about sequels or other works. They are not a valid way of drumming up new customers, because they offer readers nothing but yet another email in their inboxes. 

 

Now, if you're going to start regularly giving away content via mailing list, you might be able to advertise it and build a big list. But then you'd have to write the free content to give away. 

 

Mailing lists are catch-22s. They are like the old parable of the shovel at the bottom of a hole: you need a shovel to get to the shovel. That is, you need readers to get subscribers, so you can get readers. 

 

Unless you can write full-time, don't waste your resources on a mailing list--concentrate on selling your books first. 

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On 6/1/2018 at 9:40 AM, CE Martin said:

Gotta respectfully disagree on the mailing list...

 

You need ads to push a mailing list. If you can advertise for that, you could instead advertise for your book. Mailing lists keep customers you already have, by giving you a way to communicate with them about sequels or other works. They are not a valid way of drumming up new customers, because they offer readers nothing but yet another email in their inboxes.

 

Mailing lists are catch-22s. They are like the old parable of the shovel at the bottom of a hole: you need a shovel to get to the shovel. That is, you need readers to get subscribers, so you can get readers.  

 

 

 

Well, the only problem with this is that it's wrong. xD

 

You do not need ads to push a mailing list. Not even sure what you mean by that.

 

You need to use a service like Book Funnel or Instafreebie . This is how you get people to sign up for a mailing list. I use the service myself and I'm also one of the beta testers for a third similar service that is not out yet.

 

You need to build a mailing list and continue to build a mailing list. The preferred way of doing that is with a lead magnet, something that you give away in exchange for person's email address. Preferably, you want something of value for them which would normally be one of your books for free or some type of free content like a short story or novella. For nonfiction, it may be a one-month devotional you've written or maybe a commentary on a difficult passage of Scripture. Something that would add value to the person getting it.

 

Plus, the more people I ad, the more organic sign-ups I seem to get. Just had a couple more before I started this post. I didn't advertise anything except my lead magnet.

 

So, again, you need to build a mailing list.

 

On 6/1/2018 at 9:08 AM, quietspirit said:

With the GDPR from the European Union, I am a bit squeamish about collecting too much information

 

God hasn't given us a Spirit of fear but of power, love, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). 

 

There's nothing to be squeamish about my dear. GDPR is not a big deal. It isn't. Add to that that you shouldn't let fear dictate what you do. If that's the case and God is calling you to do this, you will not obey the calling and that is not just sad because of it being unfulfilled potential, it's sinful because it's an expression of not trusting God. So, simply let people know what they are getting and what to expect from signing up on your mailing list and voila, You're done.

 

On 6/1/2018 at 9:33 AM, lynnmosher said:

 

Having a blog is necessary to collect names.

 

 

This is not accurate. See above.

 

You don't need a blog to build a mailing list though if you're going to take this seriously and build your brand, you should have one. But it won't be the primary way to collect email addresses. Just one of many ways.

 

Out of that list, the only one of my family on that list is my wife. Less than five friends. As of today, I have over 1600 people on my list. That had nothing to do with KDP Select. Nothing. It was all Instafreebie and Book Funnel which I didn't even begin using heavily until April 13th. At that rate, if I keep it up (and I will, God willing), I'll have about 7000 by year's end. You can make a living with a mailing list that size as a writer. To be honest, you can make a living with the list I've got but getting more on your mailing list is always a good thing.

 

On 5/31/2018 at 10:38 PM, Sibermom65 said:

O hear over and over again that I need a mailing list. But who should go on that list? More importantly, what do I do with the list? Say I put all my friends on the list (ten?) then what? They know my book is out and available and have already purchased a copy, or had one given to them when I asked for a review. My second book is in an entirely different genre which  will appeal to kids, not my senior citizen friends. So what good is it to have them on a list? Sorry to be so technologically dense.

 

You're not dense. You're just uninformed. There's a difference. 

This is all assuming that you are trying to do more than just write one book. This is for those who are trying to build a business. If you're simply trying to launch a book every now and again or just one book, then don't bother. But if you're in this for the long haul, then — I repeat — you need to build a mailing list.

 

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1 hour ago, Easton_Livingston said:

You don't need a blog to build a mailing list though if you're going to take this seriously and build your brand, you should have one. But it won't be the primary way to collect email addresses. Just one of many ways.

 

Ummm...I didn't say it was the only way. ;)

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1 hour ago, Easton_Livingston said:

 

You're not dense. You're just uninformed. There's a difference

Hey EL, what should I put in my e-mails?  Let's say I do something simple at one e-mail a month; I still don't know what to place in it.  I get that you place your books in when they are ready to be ordered, but I'm not talented to enough to have a book out every month.  Help us, uninformed people!  

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8 hours ago, lynnmosher said:

 

Ummm...I didn't say it was the only way. ;)

 

You did not.

 

You said you need a blog or that a blog was necessary...and you don't. That was what I was getting at. May have been lost in the verbiage.:cool:

Edited by Easton_Livingston

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7 hours ago, Alley said:

Hey EL, what should I put in my e-mails?  Let's say I do something simple at one e-mail a month; I still don't know what to place in it.  I get that you place your books in when they are ready to be ordered, but I'm not talented to enough to have a book out every month.  Help us, uninformed people!  

 

:) This is actually a really good question. It's very good to ask let these kinds of questions before you get started.

It really depends on how you're going to build your brand.

 

Through an email marketing service like MailChimp or MailerLite, you set up what is called in automation sequence. Let me give you an example, using myself as a case study.

When someone signs up to my mailing list, they receive a welcome email immediately. These are what are known as RIU Citizens. In that email, they also receive several links to download the rest of my stories in the miniseries they signed up for if that's the particular list that they signed up for (I have several). Two of the stories are listed for sale at online retailers. My citizens get them for free.

 

A week later, I'll send them a follow-up email just asking how they are enjoying the series (sometimes this email is omitted). A couple weeks after that, I send them a request to leave a review at Amazon.

 

A couple days later, I send them an email with a link to a bonus story that's tied to the miniseries they downloaded. I really like this because it's not something I tell them about and it's not something they ask for. They don't have to do anything extra to get it except click a link and download it. It's a bonus, a thank you for supporting me in my work. It's a story they can't get anywhere else except to pay for it. They get it free.

 

Last, about a week to 10 days after that, I'll send them a request to join my ART (Advanced Reader Team). These are sometimes called beta readers. The whole sequence takes a little bit over a month.

 

I set this sequence up once and it automatically kicks in every time someone joins my citizenship (mailing list). Whether that is through Instafreebie, Book Funnel, my website, my Facebook page, wherever I set it up. It's all automated.

Now, this is all a part of my brand and how I'm setting that up. Some people only send out one email a month which is fine. Sometime during the sequence, just make sure you're offering something of value instead of simply asking for something. Preferably a couple times. But you can at least send them a welcome email, then something special like a one-month devotional or character profile or a short story featuring a subplot of one of your characters that they can't get anywhere else.. Something that adds value to being a part of your mailing list. Then you can send out a request for review. Last, you can send out a request for being a part of your advanced reader team. That's four emails you can spread out over a couple of months. Hopefully, by that time, you will be done with another book and set up another sequence to get them primed for that release.

 

I know this may seem like a lot to learn because it is a lot to learn. But it's easy once you get familiar with it.

 

If you have any more questions, let me know. God bless.

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14 hours ago, Easton_Livingston said:

You don't need a blog to build a mailing list though if you're going to take this seriously and build your brand, you should have one. But it won't be the primary way to collect email addresses. Just one of many ways.

 

Sorry. I should have inserted this. This is what I was referring to.

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7 hours ago, Easton_Livingston said:

If you have any more questions, let me know.

Your explanation is good if I have a book out, or are close, but what about for us that are not that far yet.  I've heard everyone say to start your author platform as soon as you can. (Yes, I do listen. :)) Any advice on what to send when you are starting from scratch?  

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8 hours ago, Alley said:

:)) Any advice on what to send when you are starting from scratch?  

Good question! thanks for asking, Alley!  I'm listening in for the answer.  

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I had a thought this evening as I have read through the various threads on this forum.  I want to publish my story.  I want others to share the magic I found as I wrote it.  Community is everything. 

Of course I want to attract a community of readers to share the magic, but I want to form a community, a team of people to take care of all the elements of publication.  That would have been a traditional publishing company in the past.  

Looks like I want to form my own publishing company.  Isn't this re inventing the wheel?  We SELF publish because we don't want to share/probably won't have profits to share.  How can I attract team members without some form of reward for their efforts?  Would there be anything at all that I could give besides money?  

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In a Facebook group, most of the members write fiction. I hang on the fringe just to listen. Many of these have street teams. And I'm assuming it's all for free. But I'm also assuming that they are on each other's teams. So sharing/bartering services. However, if you're enlisting others who do not write, I don't know how that would work. Unless they are very good friends and very nice people who just want to help. ;)

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36 minutes ago, lynnmosher said:

Many of these have street teams.

So my dream is already coming true!  I don't have to re invent the wheel.  I just have to find one spinning in my direction.  Which might mean forgiving Facebook....

I do not want anyone to think I don't want to share the revenue.  If there are millions to be made, there are millions to be shared!  

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On 6/3/2018 at 12:16 PM, Alley said:

Your explanation is good if I have a book out, or are close, but what about for us that are not that far yet.  I've heard everyone say to start your author platform as soon as you can. (Yes, I do listen. :)) Any advice on what to send when you are starting from scratch?  

 

If you don't have a book out or any kind of material, gonna be slow going building a mailing list. Not impossible though.

 

You can give away free chapters to your book but most people want something self-contained, like a whole book or a short story. With the Instafreebie and Book Funnel, they almost always want a full book though there are several giveaways that do short stories/novellas.

 

Your author platform and brand is another subject altogether. But it should go without saying that if you are building one, you need a website. You can have people go there and sign up for your freebie, whatever that may be. If you are doing fiction, I suggest a short story that's related to the book you're going to be coming out with. For non-fiction, I'd do the same but have it be an essay of some helpful information tied to the information you're going to be coming out with. Put that in book form and use Book Funnel to point people to where they can go get it. 

 

Don't have either one of these? Time to get to writing. Is it a lot of work? Yep. But look at it this way: work is worship and the harder you work, the more potential for God to be glorified. You can't beat that with a stick.:)

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2 minutes ago, Easton_Livingston said:

But look at it this way: work is worship and the harder you work, the more potential for God to be glorified. You can't beat that with a stick.:)

Love thinking about it like this.  Thank EL!  You're always full of info.  

 

4 minutes ago, Easton_Livingston said:

Your author platform and brand is another subject altogether.

Silly question, don't you use your platform to help grow your mailing list?  Not that it is the only way, just that it is helpful, or have I misunderstand?  

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