This week, I review the book Your First 1000 Copies: The Step-By-Step Guide to Marketing Your Book by Tim Grahl.
Tim’s book is all about how to structure your marketing around 4 specific elements to build a fanbase and to sell more of your books: Permission, Content, Outreach, and Sell.
Tim is also offering some book launch bonuses for anybody purchasing his book which is still available as of the time I wrote this review. He includes an interview with his editor, another audio with tips for fiction writers, a video walkthrough on picking a title and a cover, and a video walkthrough covering all the software, equipment, people and companies he used to write and publish the book. After purchasing the book, you just need to forward a copy of your receipt to [email protected].
The book itself really should have been on the topic of his content marketing system, as I don’t think that it’s really limited to the sale of books by authors, but it is a good system with a lot of basic ideas woven together into a workable whole that I need to do a better job of implementing myself. It’s a fast read and worth taking a look at.
(Please note that you can help support this podcast by using the links provided as I do have an affiliate relationship with some of the companies and will be forming one with the others.)
Click here to read the full transcript...
Hello, and welcome back to the Modern Publishing Podcast. I am you host, Blaine Moore. For the show notes for today’s episode, you can get them at mppcast.com/12.
Today what I want to do is talk about a book that I just finished reading called Your First 1,000 Copies, The Step by Step Guide to Marketing Your Back by Tim Grahl, and I’m not sure this is necessarily the best title for this book, but overall, I liked it.
Now, the general idea of the book is to talk about how you can market yourself and get your name and your books out there where you’ll have a raving fan base that will be able to be marketed to, and to interact with you to buy your book so that you can get your first copies off of the shelf and get your momentum moving on each of your books.
I don’t know that this was necessarily the best title for the book. I don’t know what his original title was. I know that if you purchase the book, he does offer some bonuses that include how he produced the book and how he went and figured out the title, and I haven’t gone through all of that yet, but just going off of the book itself, it’s more of a very basic systemizing book for creating a system for your email marketing and your social media.
The fact that you want to sell books is kind of a small matter. I think that pretty much anybody could follow this system no matter what their business is, and they would see some good results from following it. I don’t think that this should be limited at all only to authors.
So his connection system involves four different elements:
The general idea with the connection system is that you need to be relentlessly helpful and you want to foster long term connections with your readers and with your peers in whatever markets you happen to be in.
Now, in order to get permission, that basically means getting permission from people to send them emails and to get them onto your email list. You should have a good offer and you should keep to a regular schedule of keeping in touch with them so that they come to know, like and trust you and so that you don’t come off as a used car salesman who is only there for the hard sell when there is something available.
You want to be an active participant in that person’s life and to provide them with some kind of entertainment value or some kind of use so that they will want to continue to interact with you and continue to give you their permission to be marketed to and to have conversations with you.
Now, for content, you should always err on the side of sharing too much. If you gave away your entire book through pieces here and there throughout the web, it really wouldn’t matter.
In fact, Tim Ferriss gave away his entire book to people on BitTorrent, and he saw way more sales as a result of it. Neil Gaiman did the same thing with American Gods. He convinced his publisher to allow him to give the book away for free on his website for 30 days, and during that 30 days’ period he had more sales than at any other time for that book.
Despite the fact that it was a resounding success that he sold more copies and that he got a lot more fan engagement, it seems like nobody is interested in repeating the experiment to see if that was a fluke or as is more likely the case, that people will reward you for making it easy for them to interact with you and to show that you really care about them as the readers and not just about their wallets.
So what you should do is treat your writing career as an adventure and invite the readers to share that adventure with you. You should reuse things that you already have. If you take notes during research for something in a novel or if you have a video that you created, whatever you might have, share that out with your readers and let them follow along on the journey with you.
If you have something available, even if it’s not going into the book, your readers will enjoy getting those tidbits to see what it is like just to be the life of the writer and what it means to be you, the person that’s behind some of their favorite books.
You can also create some ancillary content from things that you’ve already done. If you do an interview with somebody, you could take that interview and create a transcript from it, or if it’s a video interview, you could pull out the audio and you can offer these too as different pieces of content to your community, so that there are more ways for them to engage with you and they can learn more about you, if that’s what they want to do.
You should try and make the content that you’re producing evergreen so that it won’t go out of style, so if you’re writing about something that’s only relevant for a couple of days or a year even, then there’s not going to be any reason for somebody to engage with that in the future.
So if you have content that you’re putting out there, that’s still going to be useful 5 to 15 years from now, you could potentially be continuing to build a reader base in a community from people who are still coming out and finding you off of these random things that you’ve put up in the past that’s still useful to them and getting them engaged with you so that you can continue to build that relationship and further your career.
The next step is outreach, and this is where he talks about using social media and how it shouldn’t be your main content platform. You should have your own website. You should have your own email list. You shouldn’t rely on the Facebooks, or the Pinterests, or the imagers or any of those other website, the Twitters, to have the only place for you to contact your community.
That shouldn’t be your content platform. It should just be a way for you to share small pieces of content that lead to larger ones and to engage with your community and to have your back and forth discussion with them so that you can then lead them to your website and to your email list, and then that way if something happens where a website goes down or they changed their terms of service or they just make it more difficult for you to interact with your community, you can still actually get in touch with them and you can still have that relationship with them and you don’t lose that access.
The general idea when you’re reaching out is to help others get what they want, and then they’ll help you get what you want, and it’s really the more you give, the more that you’re going to get back, and you want to partner with other authors. They’re not your competition. They’re there to build themselves up, they’ll help build you up, and in the process, you’ll both be able to reach out farther and reach a bigger audience than you would individually.
Readers have more of a need to consume than you have the ability to fill, so trying to compete with other authors and put them down is not going to help you in the long run. All it’s going to do is slow down your efforts and it’s much better to have a good relationship with more people and to engage with those other people in a genuine way.
You’ll also want to try and attend live events and be there for your fans, meet them in person, smile, be happy, be in a good mood and show people how much you care about what you do and about how much you care about what they are interested in. If you aren’t having fun, then you’re doing something wrong.
The last step is to sell, and this is not something that you need to have a bad connotation for. If you’ve built up the permission, you provided good content, you have an outreach system with your community, they want you to sell to them. That’s the whole reason that they’re involved with what you have to offer in the first place, so you’re doing them a service by providing what you’ve created to them.
So what I’ll do is I’m going to read the first paragraph in Chapter 5 about selling where he says, “That permission may be the cornerstone of your connection system. Content may be the life blood of your platform. An outreach may be the big boost your marketing efforts have been looking for, but they’ll all be for naught if you don’t finish building your connection system with the big final piece, selling.”
So I said before, you need to be your own fan. You need to be genuine and enjoy the interaction with your community, and tell them great stories. Get them engaged in what it is you have to offer and don’t forget to ask them to buy, and you should ask them to buy repeatedly because you want to make it easy for them. If they aren’t going to buy right at the first moment when you mention something, then make it easy for them to do it later when it’s an appropriate time for them.
Now, this doesn’t mean you have to be in their face saying, “Buy my stuff, buy my stuff, buy my stuff,” all the time, but it is a good idea to have a length to your book or to point to resources where they can pick up what you have to offer at any given time so they don’t have to go searching for it, it’s always available there even if it’s a part of something else that you’re offering.
So in other words, the book itself would probably be more appropriately titled The Connection System because that’s what he talks about. There isn’t very much in there that’s really specific to authors, but it’s a lot of relatively basic information when you take it as pieces, but putting it together as a system and following the examples that Tim offers, I think that it is a good system, and it’s one that’s worth following.
In that, I certainly haven’t been good enough about doing myself, so I’m going to be taking quite a few pointers. I have a few pages of notes that I’ve taken from when I was reading it, and most of those notes are now here on this podcast so that you can follow along with them as well, and as I said, there will be a link to the book and to his bonus page in the show notes at mppcast.com/12, and what you do is if you purchase the book, all you have to do is email the receipt from wherever you bought the book from to a special address and he’ll respond and give you the links for the bonuses that he’s offering.
I’m not sure how long that’s going to stay up. I know it’s been up since the launch of the book and I expect that he’ll probably leave that in place going forward, but as always, the sooner that you take advantage of it, the more likely you are to actually to get these bonuses, and I think this is a book that’s worth taking a look at. I hope that if you’ve read it, that you enjoyed it as well.
If you have any comments on the book, then I would love to hear about your thoughts on it and whether you’ve implemented or are going to implement any of the ideas that Tim offers. Write in the comments below in the episode show notes. So until next week, this is Blaine Moore, and this has been Episode 12 of the Modern Publishing Podcast.
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