Nov 012016
One of my ads displayed on

One of my ads displayed on

Amazon ads. I was tempted to give them a try. After all, they differ from all other promotion we have done for the book so far.

When people click the ads, they’ll land on Amazon product page of University of Solitude. In all my previous and ongoing marketing efforts, I have tried to bring visitors to website, and not to Amazon. Could bringing them to Amazon yield better results, in terms of sales? I decided to give it a try.

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Oct 192016

Our book on AmazonNearly six months has passed since we published the University of Solitude on Hard to believe, isn’t it? Six months, that’s exactly how long I’d been imprisoned in Iran.

Those memorable six months, from August 2012 to February 2013, felt like a few years to me. The last six months of my life? They just flew by. . . . The perception of time is indeed relative.

But I do no want to be nostalgic, or summarize what we have achieved with our English publication so far. There’s nothing to brag about anyway 🙂. We’ve sold just a couple of dozens of books. That will neither spread my philosophy of life, nor help the Red Cross in their humanitarian operations (we donate all the book royalties to Red Cross).

There’s nothing to brag about, and there’s also nothing to summarize – since we are far from done yet!

Six months, however, is about a right time to start building backlinks to, in order to try and rank on Google for the keywords of our choice. I’ll try to outline my strategy, what we want to achieve on and how we’ll progress to do it.

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Oct 052016

How to rank your video on YouTube?

How long will it take to reach the top? Can we game a system and boost our rankings on YouTube in a very short time? And, if it is possible, how much time and money will such a ranking manipulation cost?

As I already mentioned in my earlier posts, I came to a conclusion that the only marketing campaigns worth investing our time in are those with a potential to bring targeted, recurring traffic to our book landing pages.

Building your own YouTube channel and ranking the videos for keywords relevant to your book belongs to these techniques.

If I, for example, managed to rank a video for a keyword “prison stories” on the first page of YouTube search results (or Google search results), I’ll get a number of targeted views every day. People search for this keyword all the time. Just see:

2 days and so many views

More than one million people have seen the second video on the list in last three years… Can you imagine our book trailer holding that spot? The first video has 8K views only, but it was uploaded just two days ago! Their high ranking is a result of 100K subscribers, and probably some algorithm manipulation (We’ll talk about it later)

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Sep 232016

Serious marketing requires serious effort. Success of your book (website/music album/business) does not primarily depend on your creativity. It depends on your willingness to work hard.

Shortcuts do exist, true, and creative social media campaign can bring big traffic to your website (see my Reddit experiment as a good example of it happening). But, speaking from long term perspective, you will never build your business on foundations of these campaigns. The traffic from social media campaigns simply doesn’t last. Once the campaign ends, you will end up without any visitors. And you can’t repeat the same thing time and again. It won’t be effective anymore.

Therefore we should primarily focus on long term marketing strategies that will eventually result in recurring traffic to our websites.


I have three such strategies in mind for the University of Solitude. All of them require a lot of effort and patience, but I don’t mind.

Ninety-five out of hundred people are either lazy, or they give up too soon. They will not devote enough time to these long-term strategies, or they will quit too soon. Which means less competition for me and you, so nothing to complain about… I am not lazy and hope you aren’t 🙂

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Sep 142016

Unknown website visitorAn unknown person, let’s call them X, reaches our landing page. We know little about them—how old they are, what they do for living, where they come from, how they feel today.

Person X simply reached the website of the University of Solitude—that’s all we know. They may scroll the page, they may read the excerpt, or they may click the menu. They may do all kind of other things as well.

But eventually, doesn’t matter who they are and what they do, and how much attention they pay to our message, they’ll either leave the website, or click “buy now” button and navigate to purchase the book on

Most people will always decide for the first option—leaving the website. And it doesn’t matter how good your landing page is. That’s just how things work in the world of internet marketing. Just a fraction of visitors (always less than 5%, doesn’t matter what niche we talk about) will eventually make a purchase.  

But a small percentage of people will actually purchase the book, or  at least complete some other, desired action (like the website on FaceBook, subscribe to your newsletter).

Now, the question stands: What decides whether they leave the website, or whether they purchase the book?

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Sep 102016

Ten days ago I had a conversation with a good friend of mine. Knowing most of my activities and plans, he suggested I should proceed with opening a vegetarian restaurant, something I intended to do one day, most likely in a horizon of few years (he himself started the vegetarian diet recently)….

“Eating well and being healthy are the most important things,” he said. You should focus your efforts on this rather than philosophy. Vegetarian restaurant is something realistic, tangible, a place where you can see the results of your work immediately, in people coming and trying something new, potentially changing their eating habits. And that will result in an improved quality of their life. You should go for it now.”

(Note: There aren’t any vegetarian restaurants in my city, or in a bigger city nearby. We combine together for nearly 100,000 inhabitants.)


Philosophy, the queen

I thought about what he said for a second, and gave him my reply:

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Aug 182016

People strive for recognition. We like when others listen to what we have to say, and when they give us credit for our thoughts and opinions.

And that’s exactly why discussion forums haven’t died yet, and probably never will, unless the end of the world really arrives. 🙂

Whatever your specialization, whatever you think about, dream about, or write about, you can certainly find forum boards where people discuss the topics of your choice.

But can you promote the book on discussion boards? I will try to answer the question in the following paragraphs.

Three main marketing techniques

You can apply different promotional techniques on discussion boards:

  • Paid banner advertisements (negotiate the conditions with forum owners, and pay a flat monthly fee for direct promotion of your book)
  • Forum spam (spam relevant (or even irrelevant) discussion threads with a link to your book, difficult to carry out on moderated boards…)
  • Joining the forum and building your authority in the niche (engaging in the discussions, making relevant comments, promoting your book or website in the signature (signature is typically allowed for senior members, and you can achieve the senior status by reaching certain post count, typically one hundred posts).

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Aug 102016
  • Can you rank your book in Google with a help of YouTube channel?
  • How do people rank their videos on YouTube, so other people will find them when searching for relevant information?
  • And does it actually make sense to spend time with YouTube, editing videos and trying to rank them on YouTube or in Google search results?

I will try to find the answers. . . .

Ranking in Google

In two of my previous posts about Google marketing (lesson1, lesson 2), we looked into non-orthodox methods of getting traffic from We tried commenting on articles and blogs that already ranked in the search results, making our website visible to the people who read the articles. We even considered acquiring some domains from their owners.

But the most common, and the most rewarding Google marketing technique consists in ranking your own content—your website, blog, book page on Google. Or your YouTube video?

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Aug 042016

Google, Google, Google. I’ve used the most popular search engine dozens of times since I wrote the last article about promoting a book there. People all around the world have been doing just the same, day after day. When they had a question, or looked for information, they’d google it.

50,000 searches every single second, remember?

In the first post we analyzed keyword research, trying to identify keywords relevant to our book, and how many people searched for them on Google every month (with a help of a free tool called Google Keyword Planner). We made a database, specifying the average monthly searches of each key term, and assigning a relevance factor to each phrase in the database.

Now, finally, we will use the database, and try to promote the book.

As I said earlier, there exist several ways of benefiting from Google traffic. They range from paid promotion (Google Adwords), to SEO (search engine optimization), the two most orthodox methods. But you can find many other methods, and today we will look at one of them.

We will try to benefit from the websites that already rank in the top 10.

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Jul 252016

I promised to throw in an occasional marketing experiment, while working on my long term goal—building a personal brand as a writer and thinker. I did one such experiment last Tuesday, and it concerned YouTube.

Then idea came to me while browsing some SEO blogs in the afternoon. I landed by chance on a stupid YouTube video and was surprised to see that it reported one hundred millions views. The video was uploaded just a year ago. I did a quick math in a second:

If 100,000,000 people really watched that video since it was published a year ago, it actually means that in average, more than 250,000 people watched it every single day. That’s not a little number, I thought.

Stricken by this idea, I started to look for the videos that boosted the highest number of views on Youtube. I discovered a playlist that featured 500 most viewed videos on the entire network. You can find the list here:


An example, a second video from the list, right after Gangnam style :):

Youtube example video with many views


This stupid song actually boosts a whooping 4 millions views every single day! That’s huge. YouTube users can comment on the video, and a certain percentage of viewers will definitely check the TOP comments while watching it, or after they finished watching.

Now, imagine that just five percent of people checked the top five comments of Wiz Khalifa’s song. If it was true, and it easily can be true, 200,000 pairs of eyes would see the top messages today, and tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow…

Remember, we still talk about one single video.

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