Undoubtedly, this pack is a real value for money, as it is a box set of three truly classical books on self-publishing: Write, Publish, Repeat by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant, Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran and How to Market a Book by Joanna Penn.
If you are, however, looking for quick fixes or ‘How-to-strategies’ to game the Amazon eco-system, I must warn you that these three will leave you frustrated. So, invest in this pack only if you are serious about pursuing your writing career, in an upright and ethical manner, regardless of whether you write fiction or non-fiction, or both.
Write, Publish, Repeat
This book is ‘chock full of advice,’ coming as it does from two legendary authors, Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant. It covers anything and everything that you need to know about self-publishing. I especially liked the fact that Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant talk about their struggling days and how they reached where they are now. The first few sections make you realise that there is no shortcut to success or “overnight success”. For me, this was a great personal touch.
Incidentally, the duo claim to have written more than 1.5 million words in a single year!
Coming back to the book, it goes in great detail about the changing landscape in the self-publishing ‘industry’ and answers questions about the truths and myths commonly floating around both in the self-publishing and traditional publishing world today.
It next discusses the nitty-gritties of writing the kind of books your readers will love. This section covers planning your story, finishing your book in a month, hiring professional editors (or working with editors at no cost, which is possible only if you are married to one!) and steps to take to avoid looking like an amateur.
The book next talks about marketing. My biggest take away has been on the concept of funnels. Simply put, a product funnel is a way of organising your works so that one product leads logically into another. This means that if you have a series of books, price the first one as permanently free or ‘perma-free’ as is widely known in the indie author world. In this post, I will not explain how can you make your book perma-free but I will dive straight into the heart of this strategy.
One of the biggest challenges that indie authors face is that they are pretty unknown to their readers. Your book does not stand out from the million other books floating in the Amazon stratosphere. Readers are hesitant to spend money if they are unsure what they will get in return. Therefore, to earn the trust of the readers, the best strategy could be to make your first book permanently free.
This is your funnel. This ‘perma-free’ book should mention your other books and invite readers to join your mailing list at the end. Readers who thus want to sample your writing style are enabled to do so at zero risk to them. Suddenly the barrier between you as an author and your readers is removed.
Unless of course you are a Dan Brown or J.K. Rowling and can sell millions of copies in a single day on your own!
However, if you struggle to sell even a few in a weeks’ time, you need to think about implementing this strategy seriously.
Think about Angry Birds! Would they have made millions if their basic version of the gaming app was not free to download on most mobile phones?
Just remember, most free books are not at all read. Some will read your book and say that it is “not their cup of tea”. However, your goal is to reach and then focus on that small group of readers who love your book and want more from you. The ‘funnel’ or ‘perma-free’ strategy could then be one of the best and the most cost efficient way to building your tribe.
Incidentally, following this advice rather seriously, I have made my cookbook How to Create a Complete Meal in a Jiffy perma-free.
The basic mantra of the book: Write, Publish, Repeat is that as a writer, your job is to keep writing. Without writing, nothing will work. No book will sell. And obviously no marketing strategy will work. The more you write, the more confident you become, and the more can you experiment with titles, keywords or your perma-free books.
After publishing nine books, I have myself realised that my confidence has grown by a good 5000 times than last year.
How to Market a Book
As a self-published author, your job description (if I may use that term) entails not only writing books but also marketing them. NY Times and USA Today Best-selling Author Joanna Penn has, in that context, written a fantastic book on marketing.
This is probably the best marketing book I’ve read so far. The book covers both short term and long term marketing strategies. It includes strategies like optimising your Amazon sales page, searching for relevant keywords (short term marketing) and selling your books via your blog and e-mail list (your Author Platform or long term marketing).
I’ve done a more detailed review of this book here.
Let’s Get Digital
This is another excellent book on self-publishing written by David Gaughran, author of two historical adventures, “A Storm Hits Valparaiso” and “Mercenary” and a non-fiction book “Let’s Get Visible”.
This book covers more or less the same issues as the previous two in the Indie Author Pack. However, what I really liked about David is his sincere and rather upbeat advice. He tells us not to worry about book sales too much and focus on larger issues. The best part of the book is that it has a long list of interviews of successful authors.
On the downside, there is some overlap between these three books (which in my opinion is hardly anything bad!). For example, all three discuss the importance of building up your email list which just reinforces that this strategy must be your No. 1 priority, if it is not already.
On the whole, this box set is great value for everyone, regardless of whether you have just started out or are already an experienced Author.
Sadly, the book is no longer available on Amazon but the three books can still be individually purchased.