Today I will be revisiting a book earlier discussed, Write Publish Repeat, by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant (with David Wright). Most of the information below is pertaining to e-books and not print, so if I say something confusing about a link at the end of a book or anything equally as improbable, you know why. Enjoy!
I will be touching on two major aspects of fully sustaining yourself as a self-publisher in this post. 1) Project Funnels and 2) Mailing lists. The author’s do a great job in both exampling these topics and emphasizing the importance of them, if you want more in depth explanations on either I highly recommend reading their book.
In my first post about this book I hinted at the fact that project funnels are very important to a self-publisher, but didn’t go into much detail. This would be because although they where mentioned every five minutes, not much detail was given. Now having read the whole thing, I agree. Project funnels are ESSENTIAL to being a successful, full time self-publisher, and it involves making some of your work free. I know, it sounds crazy, making your priceless work literally priceless makes no sense, but it will, trust me. If you don’t think you could ever do this, then full time self publishing isn’t for you. Here’s what Sean and Johnny have to say about funnels:
Simply put, a product funnel is way of organizing your works so that one product leads logically into another. You’ll do this by setting up a series of pointers – in the back of books, in product descriptions – in order to steer readers to the places you want them, and to give them compelling reasons to do so. Understand: A good funnel isn’t a straight chain where Product A simply leads to Product B. It’s a funnel – which, like a kitchen funnel, is wider at the top and narrower at the bottom. You want to scoop as many people into the funnel as possible..” (273)~ Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant
Yes, I am aware there is a typo in the beginning of this quote. No, it was not me. Yes, I somehow managed to find a typo in this book, which emphasizes the necessity of producing professional looking, error free content. To be fare, I only noticed the typo when re-typing the quote for this post, so it’s not earth shattering. I bet you didn’t even notice it until I just pointed it out here. Ha!
An even easier way to understand, if that was too confusing, can be found in the below quote. Sean and Johnny are huge fans of real life example’s, which are sprinkled throughout the entire book, and can be very helpful. Although often related to and promoting their own work, sometime’s something truly great is thrown in there: (not to say their work isn’t great, but come on, Friends is great, which is what they are referring to below)
“At first, the networks gave that show to us for free. Sure, the show was getting paid, but we didn’t pay that price. We just sat back on our -over-the-air-with-no-digital-converter TVs at the time if that’s all we had, and absorbed all of the entertainment for free. We said yes to the show over and over, because there was no barrier to entry. And then in the end we bought it because we’d been given a taste and knew we liked it.” (277)~ Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant
My Breakdown of Funnels:
- The top of your funnel needs to be easy to say ‘Yes’ to, it need’s to draw readers in so that they can be lead to items further down. This often means making the first book in a series free, or making a short story that spins off your series free. (This can also be a nice bonus for your loyal fans, or incentive to join your mailing list, explored briefly below)
- Once you’ve capture a reader, give them a very easy way to stay. Someone who loved your book may be willing to seek out the next one’s on their own, but you’re going to have to make it very very easy for someone who simply enjoyed your book but isn’t totally sold yet to find the next one.
- To do this, include a link at the end of your book to the next book, or another similar work if it’s the end of a series or a standalone. Make sure the link leads to the book in the same platform the current one is from. If the book was purchased form Amazon the link should lead the the next book on it’s Amazon page, as well as Barnes and Nobel etc.
- Make sure to offer and mention bundles or potential discounts, it’s easy to say ‘Yes’ to a purchase that seems worth their while. Offer bundles like a three in one for the next three books in the series, which is cheaper than it would be to buy them individually, or offer a discount on their next purchase. Be careful with discount’s, however, as you could possibly lead your reader into expecting one at the end of every book.
- Make sure to direct readers to your mailing list, which is a vital tool for self-publishers
Mailing List Tips and Tricks
- Have one
- Have one
- Did I mention have one?
- Yes, social media is good and helpful, but a mailing list is your way as an author to communicate with your loyal fans, the one’s who already like your work and are eager for more
- In order for a mailing list to work, you need to have people on it. Distribute a link to your website (oh yea, have a website) where someone can sign up for your mailing list. Put this in the back of books, on whatever social media you choose to use, etc.
- Have some sort of incentive for signing up, like a free, exclusive short story or standalone novel. Maybe cannon for your popular series. I know there’s lot’s of giving things away here, but if giving away one thing leads to selling three times as many of another, it’s a fair trade off.
- Once you’ve got people on your list, make sure to send emails regularly. They suggest weekly, or monthly at the very least. Have your readers expecting regular updates and get them into the habit of opening your emails every week. Loyal readers will enjoy getting little updates in your voice regularly, as it is your writers voice that has drawn them to you.
- Include announcements for work you have in progress or have finished, and include a bonus of some sort for those who heard about it from the mailing list. For example offer them physical books rather than the otherwise available e-book, or offer them an exclusive chance to read the work a week before it’s officially released.
- On weeks that you don’t have any exciting news, make sure to provide them with work in you’re voice, since that’s what caused them to want to sign up. Maybe send a blog post kind of content, or a funny life update, or a picture and short story of you going somewhere that’s an inspiration for your current project. Make them look forward to opening your emails
Finally, one of the most essential pieces of advice I found in reading this book, don’t let the bad reviews get you down. My favorite quote from the whole book is this:
“Understand That Bad Reviews Are a Sign That You’re Relevant” (348)
~ Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant
All I have to say is this, everyone’s heard of Fifty Shade’s of Grey, it’s a very popular title, does it matter that a quarter of the reviews it had at it’s peak awareness where one star rant reviews? Nope.
That’s all for now, I hope this helped someone out there! Have an incredible day!