J.A. Stinger

Words Can Inspire The World

9 WAYS TO HELP YOU FIND YOUR READERS PART II

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Last week I talked through the first five of nine ways you as authors can use to find your readers.

These were all lessons I’d learnt from a pile of marketing books I’d read over the last month. The post was too long to have it all in one blog, so here are the second half of the ‘ways’.

The first five ways included:

  • Defining your audience
  • Connecting in a meaningful way
  • Strategising your social media usage
  • Being your own fan
  • Advertising

You can see the details of those ways here.

WAY 6 – CAPITALISE ON LIFE, THE UNIVERSE & EVERY ATOM IN-BETWEEN

I’m 100% cheating, there’s about eleventy hundred ways in this one. *shrugs*

Anyway, you need to be el Captaino Capitalise. Literally.

Image from Amazon. Purchase here.

Board Game Your Way to A Permanent Salary

One of the principles Joanna Penn talks about is preventing one organisation, say the rainforest of books, from having a monopoly on your earnings. If they fold, you’re in a world of cauldron boiling shit. Penn works on the principle of earning small amounts of money from as wide reaching markets as possible.

The opposing move is KDP but there are debates on the benefits of the exclusive-no-marital-affairs-allowed-KDP programme (like, its really only beneficial if your a first time author, or only have one book in it). She argues you should play the long game and, capitalise on the opportunity to grow your presence on all platforms: iTunes, Kobo, Nook blah, blah, blah.

But it’s more than that. You need to capitalise on each book like its an asset, because guess what, it is an asset. If you write non-fiction, ask yourself whether you could have a workbook to go with your content? Could you create and sell video courses?

If you’re a fiction author have you got both paperback and ebook? Do you have audio books? Have you got novellas set in the same world? or even merchandise? All these assets are different income streams, and if you have them in more than one country, then all of a sudden you have little golden pots of dosh from many, many sources.

The other reason you need to capitalise on your assets is because if you need to sell say 100 books a month to make a living, then only having one book or one asset i.e. only an ebook, makes that quite a task. If you have split your asset into 5 different streams, and have it accessible in dozens of countries, it becomes easier because you only have to sell 20 copies of each asset. If you have 10 books all split into different assets all of a sudden you have created your own little empire and the possibility of selling 100 ‘things’ becomes a LOT easier.  But even more exciting is the fact that having ten assets makes your chances of being seen increase tenfold. It’s the compound effect. Small increments, small sales over a lot of assets = bigger audience and bigger income.

Simply, my point is this: Spread your book seed like you’re a school boy slut.

No Wants Just One Doughnut

If you open a box of Krispie cremes, a box of chocolates or start slicing a cake, lets be honest, no one wants just ONE piece of sugar heaven. Deep down, we’re all addicts. I want to rub that chocolatty goodness all over my body while I motorboat the cake and have a doughnut eye mask for dessert.

But it’s not just food. We are a binge nation, I’ve confessed my binge habits before, but society at large binges on books, TV series and films. We have to consume EVERYTHING NOW, NOW, NOW. So capitalise on it. If you write series rather than one offs, then readers will come back for more, they will consume your series faster than I can munch a bag of cookies.

Also, it is much harder to sell one off books than series. This is because of the principle I mentioned above – the more assets (or books in a series) you have, the easier it is to be ‘seen’ plus you hooked people in once, why waste the opportunity to have them hankering after more?

Perm Your Book 80’s Style

Okay, I don’t mean give it a curl to compete with mine (mine’s like a telephone cable). I mean that nifty little tactic of setting something permanently free.

Usually the first in a series. Why? Because it’s a hook, it will draw people in, you can campaign with it, and everyone loves a bargain. Capitalise on it too – by having links straight to your subscriber list at the end of the book.

Funnel Like a Tornado

If you’re going to capitalise on the referrals from your free book, you need to ensure that wherever you direct them, it’s to somewhere with no distractions (like fun blog posts or interesting social media links) wherever you send them, ensure its a page free from distractions. The only thing you want them to do is sign up to your subscriber list.

WAY 7 – MANTRA MAIL

I know. I know. You’re sick of me talking about email lists. But honestly, I’m just repeating what the big guns say. I’ve talked before about: creating a mailing listerrors to avoid, and ways to increase your list.

But honestly, I can’t help but be sucked in by the glorious silky logic they spout.

Say the book rainforest fails, the company folds and that’s the only way you sell books. You’re fucked. Fucked like Titanic meets iceberg.

BUT, say you have an email list, a method of contacting people direct, something that drops into their personal sphere of attention. All you need to do is email your list and BOOM, you’re selling books again.

The reason email is the best form of marketing, is because unlike social media (where most people scroll past you like their flicking a bogy away) email is direct. Personal. Most of us open it.

If you get them to open it, and you hook them in the first sentence you are FAR more likely to sell them a book.

See… gorgeous logic…init…? *drools*

WAY 8 – GET YOUR GEEKY MAGPIE ON

I can often be found goggle-eyed fingers trying to touch everything in the shiny gadget store that only ever eats half an Apple.

It’s because deep down, I am a child – a magpie child – and children like toys. Well, it just so happens that the magpie god herself has bestowed glorious gadgety wonderment on writers: A plethora of software goodies.

Now, I am not going to go into lots of recommendations because a) I haven’t tried and tested the software and therefore won’t recommend it, but b) because these people great and glorious pen scribbling monsters are authors too, so go buy their books.

What I will do, is outline the kinds of squeal inducing software out there which they recommend in their books:

  1. Keyword tools. Nick Stephenson, recommends a couple of tools that you can use with Amazon to take the hours out of trawling through searches on the book rainforest. The software helps you make strategic decisions on what words to use in your book’s information.
  2. Various plugins to help you customise what they call a ‘squeeze page’ a page to drive people to your email list.
  3. Programmes to trick Amazon so you can have universal links and earn affiliate commission on your own books.
  4. Analytics software to ensure you are measuring campaigns effectiveness and growing your website.
  5. Other non-software related stuff included: Photographers for author photos, book cover designers, editors and websites to help you design and create online courses.

WAY 9 – $64 MILLION DOLLARS OF BLOG HAPPY

Let me ask you a question. Before you became serious about writing, before you put pudgy fingers to clackity keyboards, how did you find the books you read?

As a wee angry teeny bopper I found books in libraries, bookstores and through word of mouth. (the internet wasn’t… ahem, fashionable then didn’t exist.)

Now, (with the exception of all the book reviewing sites like,RosieLindaSarah and Shelley to name but a few, who I constantly get recommendations from), I find books in all the ways I used too, and through a few more too:

  1. Looking at the Amazon ‘recommended for you list’ (which is created when you buy a book – it then suggests things similar to your purchases).
  2. The Amazon ‘inspired by your wish list’ section
  3. I receive Goodreads emails – in particular a monthly newsletter that has the latest releases and hot books in genres I like.
  4. I also get an Epic Reads newsletter that is specific to Young Adult books
  5. Instagram – until I wrote this post I didn’t realise thats how I was getting book suggestions but it actually is. I follow lots of YA reviewers on instagram and they constantly put photos of books up, many of which I either haven’t read, or haven’t heard of. So I trundle off to Amazon and put them on my wishlist.

How do you get book suggestions? Let me know in the comments below.

Why am I asking where you find books? Because there is, or at least there used to be, a myth perpetuating blogging: that blogging should be an authors platform because it sells books. But how can it sell books (in the mass selling kind of way rather than the odd one or two) when readers aren’t looking to buy new books on blogs.

So should you blog?

Well gosh darn now that’s the ultimate evil bitch of a question. Look folks, I ain’t guna sit here and tell you one way or another. At the end of the day, we all have our reasons for blogging irrespective of bloggings book business benefits (#ExcessiveAlliteration). Some do it for the social side, others therapy and all the reasons in between.

Me? Well, I blog in part for the social side and partly because its a timeless place to log all the lessons I’ve learnt on my journey and that saves me looking like the bag lady who carries around 3467 notebooks full of scraps of paper.  Both reasons mean I’ll carry on whether it’s helpful for selling books or not and I hope that’s the same for you.

But some people come to blogging thinking it will sell books. Hate to piss on your bonfire, but it won’t. Not in a strict click-to-conversion style of book selling you’d get from advertising.

The consensus seems to be, and let me caveat this with a big juicy blog sundae caveat, it kinda depends on:

Your business model – Are you a fiction only author? Or do you write non-fiction?

According to the experts, as a purely fiction writer, blogs are less important – I mean, I haven’t google searched the authors of the last few YA fiction books I’ve read, let alone checked to see if they blog and if they do, I sure as shit haven’t read it. And if I haven’t checked I’m guessing most other readers haven’t either.

What does this tell you?

Readers, generally speaking, (don’t be a smart arse and tell me you read blogs and books, of course there are exceptions) don’t read blogs. Writers do.

While writers obviously read, they do not make up the vast majority of the mass page turning book monkey market. So your not likely to find your audience squirrelled away behind the covers of your latest blog post.

If you write non-fiction, then blogging is more useful for connecting with potential readers. If you’re a fan of history, I’ll bet there’s a few history websites you frequent.  I’m a fan of  conspiracy theories  and I subscribe to a heap of stuff because I am interested in the latest news and theories. Same for writing craft books – I subscribe to a ton of writing craft author’s blogs because I’m a content whore and want to know all the best tips and tricks to help me write. Guess what – I find out about books this way too.

BUT don’t hang up your blogging gloves just cause you don’t write non-fiction. There’s squillions of reasons to blog if for no other reason than it’s enjoyable.