Nov 142016

Homepage of“The more you contribute the more feedback you receive.” is an interesting concept—a peer to peer website review portal. You create a free account, submit your website, and start reviewing other users’ websites. (start-up owners and web designers form the majority of user base).

You earn one credit for every submitted review, and each review cost you one credit. Putting it simply, if you review 10 websites, you’ll get 10 reviews of your own website(s). Note: You an also buy credits, if you do not feel like reviewing websites.

Site moderators check each submitted review, and users rate reviews they receive, which helps to eliminate spam, and ensure that your credits won’t be wasted.

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Nov 082016

Visotrs overview, May-November Our long term book marketing strategy consists in the following promotion techniques:

  • Driving traffic to the book landing page through our YouTube channel
  • Gaining organic Google traffic with the help of search engine optimization
  • Building my brand as a writer and thinker, posting comments to relevant videos and participating in discussions on philosophy forums


These promotion techniques form our long term marketing strategy, as we try to promote University of Solitude to the world. In this post I’ll update you on the progress we achieved so far, and describe lessons I learned along the way.

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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 242016
Some of my books, most of them read from 2013 to now, when I started to read much more than I did before.

Some of my books, most of them read from 2013 to now, when I started to read much more than I did before.

Word of mouth—the oldest marketing, and for a long time the only one. We can probably call it the most honest promotion as well—you spend nothing, and you get nothing for your effort, unless you’re recommending your own product or service (which wouldn’t be a true recommendation anymore).

Don’t worry, books like University of Solitude spread by word of mouth,” a Slovak friend of mine said after a tennis match we played back in July, earlier this year.

He has lived abroad for a past few years, and he really liked my work (he read the original book back in 2014). In July, after we finished the tennis match, I told him that we were not doing great with the English edition of the book, selling just a few copies here and there. He was not worried, however, believing in the power of personal recommendations. He himself recommended the book to a few people, or at least he ensured me about doing that.

We talked for about half an hour and said goodbye to each other afterwards. I haven’t seen him since that rainy afternoon, and I soon forgot what he had said about my book.

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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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