1st May 2016, 11pm. One day before launching the University of Solitude.
Did we do everything right? Tossing around in bed, I am thinking about the year past. I can’t really fall asleep.
Many artists may have the same problems tonight, since thousands of new books, songs, movies, and other works of art will be indie published tomorrow. And the day after tomorrow as well. . . . 1000s of new books, every single day.
Is it exciting or terrifying?
So did we do everything right?
- Did we design the website and the book cover in a way that they will reflect the message we try to convey to our audience?
- Did we translate and proofread the book to the highest possible standard?
- Did we prepare a clear marketing plan, knowing our USP and also how we want to stand out from the crowd, and how exactly we want to execute that plan, week after week?
It would be bold to claim that we did everything right. I may see the things brighter as they really are with our book–every writer does feel the same way about their work. 🙂 Or don’t you?
However, I can honestly say that we tried our best, and that’s good enough for me. It should be good for every writer.
But why can’t I fall asleep tonight then?
Maybe there’s one thought in my head, a doubt, and this doubt suggests that all our efforts might not matter at the end and turn futile.
Thinking about an over-saturated book market, about millions of other book titles we’ll compete with tomorrow, and about big publishers with deep pockets (who invest huge sums of money to build awareness of their brands), one can easily start feeling small . . . very small.
But doing everything right before launching your book (or song album, documentary, etc.) still matters. It’s actually necessary to do it right.
There will come a point in a lifecycle of every book (both indie published and “professionally published”) when the readers will decide about the future of your work.
If there’s no quality, or no marketing plan, having money or building awareness of your title won’t help you. Negative reviews (or an inability to follow up on positive reviews) will soon mark an end of your publishing journey.
My conscience is clear
- We designed a cover that will immediately tell the reader what my true story is about (notice a picture and both subheadings).
- We invented a clear and unique message that will tell the reader how our book stands out from the crowd (the inspirational true story of a young man’s search for God and freedom amidst games of international espionage).
- We designed a website that will allow us to communicate with the readers prior, and after their purchase (notice mailing list sign up forms, sharing buttons, read buttons, blog section, etc).
- We connected everything together (you will find the links to this website at the end of the kindle book and paperback, our main message shines on Amazon, and we also used many call to action statements in the texts of this website, helping the visitors to take the right action.)
- And, of course, the final text of the University of Solitude is great and you won’t find any mistakes in the chapters (read it yourself if you don’t believe me :)).
But what about your work of art? Did you do everything right before launching it? And will it actually be enough to succeed? Let’s think about it together!
To have a chance to communicate with your readers (through the medium of your book, your website, your social profiles, etc.), so they can start spreading good word of your work, we firstly need to somehow bring the target audience to your thoughtfully-planned website. Or we need to help them to see your book on Amazon, to get the unique message you want to convey, to ensure they will look inside.
None of that will happen automatically. That doesn’t surprise you I guess. . . . You need to promote your book and make it happen.
I earn a decent income from internet marketing. This income allows me to donate every single cent of proceeds from the sales of the University of Solitude to the International Committee of the Red Cross.
It also allows me to cover the expenses for translating my book to English, and to devote most of my time to non-profit projects and various other things that I consider important.
If you evaluated skill of a person according to their results, you would certainly not call my marketing skills too shabby :).
But will my marketing skills and experience help me to succeed on a book market?
Only time will tell. Considering our starting point, it won’t be easy to succeed.
- Nobody in the United States knows me. Or have you ever heard of Matej Valuch?
- I don’t even have a Facebook account. Hard to believe, right? 🙂
- This is the very first book I will publish on Amazon. Hopefully tomorrow.
- We will use no free promotion in our campaigns. Giving away the book for free is regretfully the only marketing technique many indie publishers use. . . .
Is your starting point better? I sincerely hope so!
Anyway, if I can succeed against all the odds, you can succeed as well.
Creative marketing techniques and tools
I plan to show you all the marketing techniques and tools we will use to promote the University of Solitude. And I will post here reports that will prove the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of each tool and strategy we will apply. I am sure you didn’t think or hear about many of these techniques before. . . . Once you know them, you can apply them to your own marketing plan.
But before you even start to think about promoting your book, you need to try your best to ensure that your first visitors, readers, and reviewers (once you gain them) will give a good verdict to your book, and do what you want them to do (purchase, like, subscribe, recommend, you name it :)).
It would make no sense to promote your book in any other case. Such an action would only hasten the end of your hopes.
Details hold great importance. Every element on your website and on your book cover matters. Each sentence in your description on Amazon, and of course each sentence in your book counts (think front matter and back matter as well).
Inspire yourself with this post, and have a look at the book covers, blogs, and websites of other successful indie publishers. Marketing starts long before the day you publish your book. Get it right and then we can start reaching the audience together! And maybe we will both succeed, against all odds :). . . .