Knowledge, success, hope–this book will provide you with none of these things.
For those who are curious to check out the contents and “guidance” provided in this book, I would like to offer a brief, but important warning before you embark on your treacherous journey. I am this book’s editor. I have thoroughly handled, absorbed, and regurgitated the contents of this book over and over again, and while most of the content in this “self-help” book is, in my professional opinion, completely ridiculous and easily recognized as such, I fear that some of you who read this book may sadly find yourselves duped by Joel’s terrible advice.
Speaking modestly, Keys to Success from a Completely Unsuccessful Person represents is a collection of thoughts, ideas, and errant opinions from the delusional mind of a self-proclaimed self-help guru. Somehow, Joel has miraculously and single-handedly compiled more nonsense, utter gibberish, and complete lunacy into one book than any other author in all of human history that I am presently aware of.
Again, while I do believe that the majority of readers will find themselves deeply amused at the sheer idiocy in this anthology of stupidity, I fear that some poor souls may just get sucked into the author’s delusions. For that reason, I have provided this warning to please disregard Joel’s terrible advice. For most readers, I expect and hope that they will be amused by the book’s clear guidance on how not to find success and find humor in what the book attempts to instruct them to do.
Perhaps most importantly, I believe that although my hand was forced to publish this book of unrefined nonsense by Joel and my superiors, Joel will finally be exposed to the world for who he really is–a completely unsuccessful person.
About the Author
Born on the East Coast but raised in the Southwest, Joel Cunningham is co-founder of Parametric Studios in Scottsdale , Arizona., He has worked in marketing for the last fifteen years. He has acted in numerous commercial projects, produced and written for numerous TV and film projects, and is the current host of a film & television review podcast called The Reel Review Podcast. Keys to Success from a Completely Unsuccessful Person is his first book.
That little orange star-bursting banner many authors strive to reach in Amazon’s ever growing sea of book titles. What makes this particular status so appealing? Is it an increase in book sales, reviews or maybe just the notoriety? Does it validate us in a way?
To understand why this status is so sought by authors, we need to know what it is.
This is what Amazon says about its best-seller categories:
“The Amazon Best Sellers calculation is based on Amazon.com sales and is updated hourly to reflect recent and historical sales of every item sold on Amazon.com.”
Basically, it is how well a product is performing as far as sales on an hourly basis. HOWEVER, Amazon goes on to say:
“While the Amazon Best Sellers list is a good indicator of how well a product is selling overall, it doesn’t always indicate how well an item is selling among other similar items. Category and subcategory best seller lists were created to highlight an item’s rank in the categories or subcategories where it really stands out.”
So, while the title “bestseller” is indeed an honor to obtain since it does affect sales, it is not always an accurate indication of how well a product is doing overall.
Why? Well, see what Amazon itself says:
“We choose a few of the most popular subcategories in which the item has a high ranking in relation to other items in that subcategory, and showcase the item’s rank on the product page. As with the main Amazon Best Sellers list, these category rankings are based on Amazon.com sales and are updated hourly.”
This is further complicated to determine just what a bestseller is because of authors who sell most of their titles at live trade shows and events. Many sell multiple copies of their books to readers who attend these events. Some sell hundreds of copies in a year at multiple events.
Since readers are human beings with busy lives, it can often slip their minds to leave a review. Adding their information to email lists can help alleviate these frustrations but it does not always eliminate them since an author’s constant emailing to ask for reviews can come off as begging or annoying.
So, with all of these ever shifting trends in Amazon’s algorithm combined with the understanding that not all authors rely on Amazon reviews to get their books into the hands of anticipatory readers, the status of “Bestseller” can become very obscured.
The hard but also stress-relieving truth is just because it says “Bestseller” it doesn’t have to mean “Bestseller.” Event authors who sell multiple copies of their books and enjoy writing them are the ones who understand that building a loyal readership doesn’t always have to rely on an orange status.
As long as you are building your platform, have loyal readers who look forward to your work, and are buying your books then you are going to reach “bestseller” status. It just might not be according to Amazon or its system.
“Marketing is telling the world you’re a rock star. Content Marketing is showing the world you are one.” – Robert Rose
Let’s say you just finished writing, editing, and getting beta readers to read your latest, greatest book. You’ve made it the best you can be and are ready to release it to the world.
Wait? Where are the readers you hope to find? How are they going to see your book in a vast world of social media, book promotion and saturated Amazon pages?
If you’re asking these questions, you probably hadn’t taken the time to locate what authors and publishers call the “Target Audience.”
What is a target audience?
Defined, a target audience is the readership you hope to market your book to. For example, for authors of paranormal romance with a focus on wolf shifters, you’re probably hoping to catch the attention of people who are fans of the shifter sub-genre. Taking it further, what age range are you going for? Are you hoping to catch male or female readers or both?
How can you find them?
Go to your local bookstore. Look around at the different sections of the fantasy, young adult, romance, etc. What are they looking at? When in doubt, talk to them. You don’t have to bash them over the head with the fact you have a book. Just strike up a conversation to find out what books they’ve read recently or recommend. If they seem interested, then, author drop. Offer an Advanced Reader’s Copy. Many love a good free book in exchange for a friendly conversation.
Utilize Amazon’s search bar. Type in some keywords you may think relate (and some that don’t) to your book. What are the shoppers in the kindle and book categories looking at? Take down some lists of some popular titles and utilize the “Customers Also Bought” section. Keep notes of the authors and the book titles.
Use GoodReads. Goodreads has this nice little feature called book lists. Many readers have their TBR (to be read) lists named by genre. For example, for Biker romance lovers, you might find lists titled MC Romance or Biker Romance.
Find your tribe. What this means is google some of the forums, facebook groups, book clubs, etc who have a focus on your genre. Offer ARCs in exchange for reviews and see what they have to say.
Use Demographics. This focuses on where they are located, how old their are, financial standing, etc. Yes this is important. You can use Twitter and Facebook to find such information. Who are your main fans?
Check out Market Trends. This goes along with using Amazon’s search bar. Try to use helpful tools like Google Trends to see what readers are doing. Knowing this can narrow down where you should go and who is looking for your book.
Utilize Google Adwords. Adwords is a powerful tool. It can show you some of the top searched words in Google’s search engine.
Ask a bookseller. While you’re in the bookstore looking for some potential prospects, why not get insight from the store on what is selling? Often they’ll share some of the titles that are flying off the shelves. This can help you greatly because you’re getting an insider’s look at the market.
Offer up some surveys. Get some short answers involving popular subjects and genres. Readers often don’t mind answering these because they get curious as to what it is you’re looking for.
When In Doubt; Consult a Mentor. Talk to other authors who have written your genre and age range. Authors love to help new and upcoming authors get over the plateau because too often, they remember being there. We all started out not knowing a thing. Finding coaches may help alleviate some stress.
Some helpful tools:
KDP Rocket – This is a helpful little tool endorsed by Jeff Goins and the Kindlepreneur. It helps to take away the trouble of hours of keyword typing and research. For a one time price of 97$, this is a powerful tool. Hurry because it looks like it might go to a subscription basis.
Kristen Martin’s course, Valiance – Kristen walks you through her own journey as a self-publisher. A five-time Amazon best seller, Kristin clearly has things under control as far as finding and marketing to her target audience. She also offers a neat little pdf on how to write a first draft in two months just for subscribing!
Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn has some helpful information that walks you through the self-publishing process and a free eBook to help. She is one of the leading experts on indie and self-publishing. Her writing podcast, The Creative Penn offers different interviews and helpful information as well.
Jane Friedman is one of my favorites and another successful self-publisher. Her blog at janefriedman.com is loaded with helpful information.
Remember, you are never alone in this journey! Writing and blogging can be lonely but there are people who are willing to offer their expertise. If you have an experience that you found helped you find your audience, please leave us a comment! We would love to hear from you!
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Before you go….
Interested in writing for us? Want a book review? Would like to guest post or want to offer your own insight? Feel free to contact us! We are always looking for authors who want to share their experiences!
When approaching the world of an indie or self-published author, what is the biggest line of questions you often hear or ask yourself?
How am I going to market this in an ever-growing industry?
How can I make my book stand out against so many others on Amazon?
How can I market on a budget?
These are just a few questions that can be terrifying when one is just starting out.
So often we are tempted to pour what funds we have into online ads on Amazon, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. How about book promo sites? Surely those will help, right?
The answer is YES, those DO help BUT they should NOT be the primary way of marketing. These are all online marketing techniques and can help in building exposure but how many times have you honestly gotten on your social media and clicked on a buy button or link? Probably not often. I know I don’t.
To further explain, how long does it take the average publishing company to get back to their queries? Sometimes rather quickly for smaller press but not for the big dogs like Penguin, right?
This is the same as online. So often we see such high volumes of tweets, photos, Facebook posts, etc covered in book promotion. Sometimes those can get overlooked.
Fear Not!Hybrid marketing is your friend!
Here’s a not-so-secret, secret. Publishers, agents, interviewers, and scouts all attend LIVE book events and conventions!
This where hybrid marketing can come in handy. As previously mentioned in another article, social media is a wonderful tool for staying in touch with your readers and mentors. However, be willing to leave the computer and go out and meet people. Our readers are out there!
In order to utilize this truly powerful tool, one has to understand what it is.
Simply put, hybrid marketing is the utilization of both online and offline marketing techniques in order to draw in an audience and build not only your author platform but reach your potential readers!
How it can be used
You can reach out to venues you know will want to help you promote and sell your book.
These can include bookstores, libraries, book festivals, conventions, bloggers, and reviewers. The list goes on! Who is it that is in your target audience? Knowing this can help you better understand how to incorporate this technique into your own marketing plan. I cannot stress the importance of a solid marketing plan! If you do not have one, it is likely you will fail!
Hybrid Marketing Expands Your Network
You signed a deal with your local bookstore to appear for a signing. They’re happy to have you! You get there and shake the hands of a manager or event coordinator and BAM! A networking bond is formed and it’s all because you left the screen and shook a hand! The beauty of it is, they’ll often ask you to come back! So now you’ve made a bond with an individual who can be a long lasting relationship in your career as an author and who knows, a loyal fan!
Make Your Online Marketing Work for you when You’re on Vacation
This is when social media and online ads should work for you. When you find you’re wearing down and need those couple of months off or you know you’re going to be at a convention all weekend, make your ads work! You can meet your readers and get your book promoted at the same time. For example, say you’re getting a small press table at a major convention. You know you’re going to be gone all weekend. Start up an ad on Amazon! The cost can be as low as 3$ a day at .03 per keyword. You don’t spend a dime unless someone clicks! Run a promo through sites like Whizzbuzz books for a whole year at a low price. Make sense? You’re not beating down Twitter with “Buy My Book” tweets and folks are still seeing your book.
Hybrid Marketing Gives Attention to Your Amazon, Goodreads and Websites!
So often, people want to take a free bookmark or a business card with an author’s contact information including their website. Always stress your website as your central hub! Think of your social media, Amazon and Goodreads as webbing. They all should be connected to a central hub or your author website! Appearing in person at book signings, author appearances, readings, etc can give you a chance to bring attention to these pages! It is an offline marketing technique that can really help!
Do not overspend! Budget your Ads and never go over 100$ at a Live Event….at First!
Marketing can be an expensive endeavor if the audience isn’t where you are. It may be trial and error at first which can either be beneficial or not. It happens! BUT! Here is where knowing ahead of time can help. For live shows, start small. I recommend to start with what are called Small Press tables. They rarely go over 75$ and often come with two badges for conventions or a table space at festivals. This can help you build yourself a platform while networking with others who may want to talk to you about your book. These have been crucial in my own journey so I promise, I have seen the results!
Hybrid Marketing Shows Professionalism/Longevity
Say an author appears at a panel and gives you their knowledge. They are building their rapport with their readers because it gives them a chance to meet and greet them to ask questions in person. Showing up to speak at conferences with confidence shows a level of professionalism. Potential agents and publishers often see these traits and will seek out the author to speak with them. The fact that the author has taken the time to research market trends and how to go about marketing their book scores high because they tend to want to know the longevity, especially in indie and self-published authors, to continue their craft and market wisely. Think of it this way, when you go to a job interview, a question you might get is “Where do you see yourself in five years?” It’s a question we often don’t know the answer to and can cost a position. This is no different in the world of literature.
It Gives Power to the Author’s Most Powerful tool: Word of Mouth
When you meet the eye and shake the hand of someone watching as you sign your book and include a free bookmark, that person will go to their friends and let them know they just a good book from a really kind person! This is word of mouth and it is the most powerful tool in an author of any publishing field’s toolbox! Get your readers talking! They’re giving their time to read your book in a sea of books! Hybrid marketing can help your book reach multiple audiences and they will love your signature!!!!
Most Importantly: NEVER GIVE UP!! Marketing is a process!!! Very rarely are you successful right off the bat. That’s okay! Remember you wrote your book baby because you wanted to tell a story!
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I decided to share this post from Jay Colby because he offers some really good advice on success and how to reach it. I highly recommend giving him a follow because he offers a large amount of useful and uplifting information.
I have always been infatuated with successful people. I constantly read about their processes, habits, philosophies, behaviors, and what influenced their success. Not only do I find it motivating, but by understanding how and why successful people do what they do it helps me to strive for success. As I have researched over the past […]