To say that things change fast in the self publishing world is a dramatic understatement. They can change overnight. But that’s a good thing—the market is always improving. Unless, of course, you’re trying to figure out your launch, your marketing plan, and how to work your audience. At that point?
It’s a nightmare.
Does this mean you should do that? No. Research, study, and pick what feels right for you.
With five years of experience and many happy clients behind me, I can confidently say I would go forward like this.
What I Would Do
- I’d set up my mailing list with MailChimp. (Or AWeber or whoever else you want.) Just so it’s available should someone need it. But then . . .
- I wouldn’t focus too much on my email list just yet. Not yet. Until I really have something high value to offer and everything set up, I’d focus on writing the books, telling people about it on social media, and setting up a stunning website.
- Make sure I had a series with at least four books. This is more bang for the buck—and it optimizes the use of your budding email list. It also gives you room for expansion into more books later, if you want.
- Wait until I had two books ready. I know. I know. You probably don’t like this answer, but I would absolutely do this if I were starting from zero again. Here’s why: my focus would be on building my email list. (Because I would want to set myself up for success with later book launches.) So I’d set the first book into the universe, and in the back matter, offer the second book for free to subscribers.
- Have a website. When I set up ads or anything else, I want to funnel all people to my website and start taking ownership of their interest and create brand awareness. Basically—I want them to see me, know what my stuff looks like, and remember it enough to come back later.
- Set up stunning landing pages. Thrive Themes is the best for this. (It’s a WordPress PlugIn that’s crazy affordable—nothing like Click Funnels $197 PER MONTH rate). If you need help, I can definitely help you sculpt the perfect landing page that converts to sales at least 50% of the time.
- Create a high value lead magnet. I feel this is where most email lists fail. To really do its job, a lead magnet needs to be an offer they can’t refuse—like a free second book. Trust me. Additional short stories or prequels can fail horribly. #experiencetalks
- Create a trusted launch team. The power of a good launch team cannot be understated. I would pull in any friends, family members, or random people that loved to read into a Facebook group. I’d give them updates, ask them questions, send them funny memes, pictures of my progress, free copies of the book a month before release, and when launch day came, I’d send them a list of tweets, Facebook posts, and pictures they could use to help me spread the word. T-shirts are always nice too, if you have the budget.
- Learn how to run successful ads. I mean really make a great Facebook/Pinterest/Twitter/Instagram ad. They really can drive traffic to your website, and then the stellar landing page and high value Lead Magnet will convert them to customers. A great course (for free) on Facebook ads is with Mark Dawson. Pinterest constantly offers free videos and webinars on their advertising (so upgrade for free to a business account.)
- Segment and prepare my email list. If you click over to my fantasy list (you don’t have to subscribe), you’ll see that I give subscribers options so they’re getting the content they want—and only content they want. I would do that from the beginning. (Consequently—if you do subscribe, my first book is free on Amazon and I give my second away!)
- Email automation. I’d have automated welcome messages preprogrammed into my mailing list the way I do now.
- Start with KU for one term. I’m definitely an entrepreneur that believes in the power of diversification—I like having many streams of revenue, which is why I always stay wide with my books. (That means I don’t publish exclusively to Kindle under the KDP Select program.) But if I were starting out and had all the above going for me, I’d do one term in KU, then go wide.
That’s a lot!
Probably feels like like a firehose. But this post will always be here–so feel free to reference back to it!
If you have any questions, be sure to ask to join my Indie Author Life Facebook Group and post them there, there are lots of people to help, meet, and network with! (I always track the questions too!) And if you want to go more in-depth on this process with your book, then you know where to find me.