The Everyday Author

For authors who can't quit their day jobs...yet

Month: April 2017

Your First Six-Figure Launch review

Note: The Everyday Author team was not provided any compensation by the course owner for this review.

Are you ready to share your product, book, or idea with the world, but unsure of exactly how to do just that?

Nick Stephenson (known for the book Reader Magnets and the Your First 10k Readers program) outlines his method of launching your book or product in his course, “Your First Six-Figure Launch”. This detailed course breaks up your launch sequence into three simple phases: Pre-Launch, Launch, and Post Launch.

When thinking about launching your book, it’s common to solely focus on the Launch phase as this is where the majority of sales come from. However, many people forget the importance of the Pre-Launch and Post-Launch phases, which can more than double your sales, according to Stephenson.

Let’s take a look at each of these phases.

Pre-Launch

The Pre-Launch phase prepares people to buy your book. As 90% of customers are not ready to buy the moment you decide to launch, a sudden mass Facebook post that your “Techno-Thriller comes out TODAY!” will not entice as many to purchase your book as giving them a heads up before it launches.

This stage of the launch sequence is all about leading people up the mountain to get them from where they currently are (not ready to buy) to where you want them to be (ready to buy). Your audience should want to learn more about your book before you ever give them a price or information about where to buy.

Stephenson gives a few tips on how we can create interest among our audiences.

  • Identify your customer’s pain points. What is your product or book going to fix? Will it entertain, inspire, motivate? Why would people buy it?
  • Acknowledge your customer’s “as-is” state. What negative factors are they currently facing in their lives?
  • Demonstrate their “after” state by showing them it is possible to get away from their negative “as-is” state.
  • Show them how your book can fill their knowledge gap between where they currently are and where they want to be.
  • Share “The Hero’s Journey”. Tell your customers your story – how what they’re facing was a problem for you too, but how you overcame it.
  • Prime the sale. Don’t tell people specifically what your product is, but mention that there is going to be a product on the way that helped you (your story) and will help other people get from the before to the after.
  • Overcome objections before your customers know they have them.

All of the above information can be shared with your audience in a variety of ways: a series of blog posts, podcasts, video training (which can be super effective for non-fiction), Facebook ads or any other medium that resonates with your audience.

If done properly, the Pre-Launch phase can help you connect on an emotional level to your audience as you tell YOUR story. It also helps to prove your expertise, to teach your audience how to get from where they are now to where they want to be, and, ultimately, to prime the sale.

Launch

The next phase is your actual launch.

Stephenson describes two types of launches: the Private Launch and the JV Launch. The Private Launch is the best option for your first ever launch as it will only go to your email lists. On the other hand, the JV (or affiliate) Launch will put you in front of affiliate’s email lists. The JV Launch is reserved for after you have already proven that you have a winning formula or product that is perfect for your affiliate’s audience.

Regardless of which type of launch you use, it’s important to send out multiple messages during your launch so that your audience has ample opportunity to consume your pre-launch process and to get all of the information. Each message should be valuable, inspiring, and teach the reader something so they value receiving the messages rather than tire of them.

The Launch phase helps you get your audience to the top of the mountain (where you want them to be). This phase:

  • Outlines your promise of how your product will solve your audience’s problem.
  • Removes risk from purchases by offering money back guarantees and support systems such as forums or community groups.
  • Combats procrastination by noting “limited time availability”, bonuses, and discounts to show scarcity of the product during the launch and promote early sales.
  • Reveals the price after (and only after) your audience understands the value of the messages shared in the Pre-Launch phase.

Post-Launch

The Post Launch phase is often forgotten after all of the hard work put into the Pre-Launch and Launch; however, your launch does not end with your launch deadline. After all, you do want to keep the new customers you worked so hard to get (as they are 10x more likely to purchase from you in the future) and continue to reach out to those who just weren’t ready to buy yet.

After the launch deadline, those who purchased your product enter a “buyer’s sequence” where you follow up with them, make sure they’re happy and ultimately can send information about future products.

Those who didn’t purchase your product enter an alternate sequence where they receive other content (articles, blog posts, etc.) to keep them engaged with you and your product. At a later date, you can invite them to join a webinar where they receive the offer again.

The Post-Launch phase helps to reduce refunds from buyers suddenly having buyer’s remorse and encourages advocacy in you and your product as well as assisting customers to spread your product by word of mouth. Most importantly, the Post-Launch gives non-buyers another chance to buy later.

The Perpetual Launch

Once you have your first launch under your belt, you can relaunch your product again and again to new people completely on autopilot – what Stephenson calls the “Perpetual Launch”.  The Perpetual Launch is advanced but allows each person who opts into your sequence to automatically receive the pre-launch content (videos, blog posts, etc.) and be sent the offer with a countdown timer for availability. Those who purchase enter the same “buyer’s sequence” that everybody else did.

The bottom line

Writing a book that readers will enjoy or derive value from is less than half the battle. No matter how or who you learn it from, marketing is a vital step to advance your author career.

Launching your book or product is simple with Stephenson’s course which includes detailed, transparent information full of examples, timelines, and resources that he actually used during his launch. At this time, “Your Six-Figure Launch” is not open for enrollment, but authors looking to learn more about Stephenson’s marketing strategies (and receive notifications when this course opens again) should sign up for his mailing list at Your First 10k Readers.

Guest Post: 7 Priceless Content Marketing Tips for eBook Promotion

Book promotion involves more than landing interviews with authorities in your niche. Today, content is king. 70% of marketing professionals plan to create more content this year than last; this is because it’s the least expensive, most effective promotional method.

So, if you ever want to be able to quit your day job, you need to create a content marketing strategy. Here are seven tips to formulate a plan that will optimize your ebook sales this year.

1. Know Your Target Reader

The first and most important action to take when brainstorming is to get to know your target reader – truly understand them. Note that your target readers are not likely other authors, so writing for this market isn’t going to provide much in the way of establishing a fanbase. Instead, zero-in your efforts on a group of people who are likely to go bananas over your work and focus on them.

Once you have an idea who to target, find out where these readers hang out online. After you discover where they are, join them. You are there to interact naturally as well as find out what their pain points are. By solving their problems with your online content (blog, YouTube videos, etc.), you will provide value and draw positive attention to yourself.

2. Set Realistic, Measurable Goals

Once you know the pain points of your readers (these are the topics you want to cover in your content), set your objectives that you can measure. Every promotional strategy has goals – you use them to stay on point and measure the effectiveness of your overall strategy.  

3. Leverage Social Media to Promote Everything

If you create a new video, send it out across Facebook and twitter. When you post an infographic on your blog, share it on Pinterest as well. You want all of your content to be seen across the web, in as many places as possible. The trick is to direct people to your content online, then have a trail that they can follow to discover your ebook.

4. Brand Your Images and Infographics

Your ebooks and website are branded, right? Well, all of your promotional materials should be. This doesn’t mean that you need to include your logo on every single blog image. You should use a color-scheme, fonts, and image filters that are in alignment with your brand. As followers get to know you, they will recognize your brand in a sea of information, bringing you one step closer to a successful career as an author.

5. Host Your eBook on the Right Platform

If you’re planning on leveraging the millions of members on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing or NOOK press, then you already trust that these sites are setup for ecommerce – it’s all they do. But you may have been building a following with your Blogger or WordPress account, until this point. If that’s the case, and you plan to host your ebook on your own website, use a platform that’s designed for ebook sales. This will save you a ton of effort later, and you can easily import all of your old blog posts and images.

6. Utilize Email Marketing

If you’re not already using email marketing, that may signal that you’re not interested in creating a weekly or monthly newsletter. That’s fine; though it’s helpful, you don’t have to. Technology allows you to automate your email marketing to become a nearly hands-off tactic for building relationships with your fans. Even free and inexpensive email marketing platforms allow you to create RSS campaigns that automatically send subscribers your new blog posts.

7. Be Prepared to Alter Your Plan

If I’ve learned anything working in the marketing industry, it’s that testing your promotional tactics is critical for success. Sometimes, something as seemingly trivial as the color of you call to action buttons will improve book sales. So, take some time, every couple weeks or so, to measure your campaigns and see if you’re close to meeting your goals or not. If not, adjust your tactics until you find what works.

Conclusion

Now you have a small arsenal of knowledge to help power your ebook promotional strategy online. Learn everything you can about your target reader and set goals that help you solve their problems. Use social media to promote your ebook with recognizable, branded content. Make sure your website is set up for book sales and generate leads while you build relationships through email marketing. Make changes to your plan as needed. What other content marketing tips have you used to promote your work? Share your experience in the comments.

Ashley Kimler is a full-time communications specialist and content marketing dynamo at Heroic Search. She is also a part-time, aspiring authorpreneur with one children’s picture book title currently available on Amazon KDP. Follow @ashleykimler on Twitter to see what she and her team get into next.

Bestseller Quest Part V: Market Research

Welcome back to another entry into Bestseller Quest! If you’d like to check out the full series, go here. Or, if you just want to freshen up on the previous entry, go here.

Now that we’ve got the process mapped out, it’s time to delve into market research. Much of the information in this post is stuff I learned from reading Chris Fox’s book, Write to Market (affiliate link). If you haven’t read it yet, I highly suggest doing so.  You can also listen to Chris explain the basic principles in this Self Publishing Podcast episode if you want a preview first. To bring you up to speed for our purposes, here’s the basic premise:

  1. Find a genre and sub-genre you enjoy writing in that is underserved (Chris explains in detail how to identify these in his book, but basically you look at the balance between the top 100 books in that category compared to their overall sales ranking on Amazon).
  2. Identify the tropes in said genre and include a number of these tropes in your book. (This doesn’t mean you still don’t include our own flavor and spin on things, just that you choose and follow some conventions as well).

Obviously, there’s more to it than that, but that will get us started.

Actually, let me emphasize something: it’s vital to choose a genre you’ll actually enjoy writing in (surprise, surprise). Chasing what’s hot just for the money is a bad idea. If you don’t know/enjoy the genre you’re writing in and it will show in the quality of your book.

My focus for this project will be New Adult Fantasy, while also including elements of Young Adult Fantasy and “Dragon” books. Now, full disclosure upfront: since I started this project, New Adult Fantasy has grown until it definitely isn’t undeserved anymore. That being said, I believe my premise of gryphon riders also fits well into dragon books, specifically those about dragon riders (The Inheritance Cycle, Dragonriders of Pern, etc.) which is a much smaller niche that I can take advantage of. My launch time tactics will focus heavily on marketing to fans of dragon books.

YA Fantasy and Coming of Age fantasy obviously aren’t underserved markets (Harry Potter or Hunger Games?) BUT I believe that my books will also sell well there, even if they aren’t as competitive in the rankings. Here’s a few points that will aid in the crossover:

  • The trilogy begins with my protagonist at 17 and then progresses to her in her early 20s. I chose 17 because it places our heroine at a sort of crossover age between being a teen and adult. I wanted to capture the younger audience while still satisfying the conventions of New Adult later on, which is why she’ll end the trilogy at 20-21.
  • There is a small romance in the story. It’s definitely a subplot, but still important. Many New Adult Fantasy books ARE romances, but that’s not me. I recognized, however, that I couldn’t omit romance and worked to include it throughout the trilogy outline in a small capacity.
  • Thematically, the heroine deals with New Adult issues such as understanding and progressing into adulthood, navigating through relationships and increased responsibilities and answered the question of “who am I and what do I stand for?” She also is faced with YA themes earlier on like fitting in, succeeding in school-type environment, etc.

With my genre in mind, I began my research by reading books in said genres and getting lost in the equally wonderful and infinite TV Tropes website. (BEWARE: TV Tropes is the ultimate rabbit hole. One wrong step and you’ll find yourself sucked into the void for hours, nay — years! When I finally extracted myself, here were some of the big takeaways:

When I started reading, I chose a mix of both YA and New Adult titles. In addition to books I was already familiar with, I used the KindleSpy tool to take a look at several fantasy sub-genres, providing me information on how many copies each book is selling as well as some category information and rough sales numbers. Here’s a sample screenshot taken from New Adult & College Fantasy Top 20 list  to show what this looks like:

Here’s a short sampling, including the specific reason why I chose THAT book:

  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (link goes to TV tropes page): I will be using a similar structure to kick off book one: regular girl learns she is part of a special community, leaves her homes to train and become a part of this community.
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (link goes to the TV Tropes page): Tied in with why I read Sorcerer’s Stone, but the main reason for this was to examine how Rowling handled the darker issues found in Chamber of Secrets and to also study how she deftly recaps the previous book in the series without losing reader interest.
  • There’s one other reason I studied the early Harry Potter books: Rowling’s masterful use of foreshadowing and seeding future plot points. Since I’m writing all three books at once, I wanted to take extensive advantage of this. Here’s a huge list of examples in the Harry Potter series, also known as the Chekhovs Gun device.
  • The Shattered Sea Trilogy: I am a huge fan of Joe Abercrombie and love his author voice. I chose this series because of the diverse YA/NA characters. Abercrombie also presents his characters with real-life adult issues — nothing sugar coated. This was the sort of tone I aimed for with Gryphon Riders: hold back the language and sex, but throw in all the challenges readers in these age groups face.
  • Enchantress: This is a constant bestseller on Amazon in the NA and YA genres. I studied this for character but also to see how the author developed a high-concept magic system that plays a heavy part throughout the book/series. James Maxwell nails the tropes.

UP NEXT: Part VI – With a foundation down, I actually had to arrange all of these tropes into a familiar yet unique story.

© 2017 The Everyday Author

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑