In my last article, How To Turn Your Life Experience Into A Business, I looked at opportunities to create a business from life experience with Mark “Hammer” Dixon and his book, Bash for Cash, as the example.
Once you have a book, you need to have a successful launch to get the word out there. Creating an author platform provides those opportunities.
Here is our interview:
I wrote my first book “How to Enjoy Your Job” in 2008 and made all the mistakes in the world! I had a book I believed in and had spent a year working on. It was available on Amazon.com but no one was buying it. It was humiliating and depressing; plus I had outlaid my own money for the self-publishing aspect and the book just wasn’t going anywhere.
So I decided I needed to learn about marketing. I started with the traditional angle, learning about press releases, radio and TV pitching. I made it onto TV with “A Current Affair”, national newspapers and radio, but despite all that I didn’t sell any more books.
I knew I needed to find another angle, I needed that global audience so I needed to go online.
In early 2008, I did Yaro’s Blog Mastermind course and after a couple of false starts on blogs that went nowhere, I settled into www.TheCreativePenn.com: Adventures in Writing, Publishing and Book Marketing.
I was determined to help other authors avoid the mistakes I made and save people time, money and heartache along the way. I also knew that I could build the blog into the basis of a platform for marketing myself and my books.
One of the most important things with blogging is to be persistent over time, and it helps if you are passionate about your topic. I never run out of things to say about my niche – it’s a new adventure every day with the changing world of publishing. As ebooks have taken off over the last two years, I have also found myself part of the cutting edge journey of authors using new technologies to write, publish and promote online. The tech world is finally catching up!
The blog has enabled me to start a speaking career, both locally and internationally, and in October 2010, I led a writer’s retreat in Bali. It has opened up opportunities I could never have anticipated when I first started.
After writing a couple more non-fiction books, I decided to finally take the plunge and write a novel in late 2009. With my knowledge of publishing technologies I knew I would self-publish, but this time I was determined to make the book launch a success by combining everything I’ve learned along the way about marketing. I love fast-paced action movies and thriller novels, plus I have a Masters degree in Theology, so the book is a religious thriller – Dan Brown meets Lara Croft!
Here are the main aspects of the launch process:
All the above costs time but not money. It was based on a consistent blogging and social networking approach for the last two years. Although it started out as a marketing exercise, I now define myself as a blogger. It is intrinsically rewarding and I love the blog network I am in.
In terms of budget, it was very small. I did run a competition for people to win prizes as well as one day of Facebook advertising on launch day. The book trailer did cost some money as I used high quality resources, and I also used Kindle Nation sponsorship, which was fantastic for driving Kindle users to the book.
So how did it go? Amazon change their rankings every hour and I did sleep during launch week, but Pentecost by Joanna Penn made the Amazon bestseller lists – these were the best rankings:
This adds to around 600 books in the first week, which is a great start. I’m pretty happy with the result and most independent authors see book sales grow as they add more to their backlist. I am starting the sequel “Prophecy” in the next month. So this time, I am not sitting at home lamenting the lack of sales, I’m celebrating!
Interview by Kerry McDuling