These are the steps in the writing process I didn’t conduct before I released my first three books – not that I intended to, as my first three books in Lord of Columbia were specifically released for anyone who joined my then-fledgling platform, and nothing else. It was my way of saying, “Oh, by the way, I have a product. Why not download my free series starter?”
When I released Raven’s Flock, I started transitioning to this phase but didn’t fully transition – probably a small mistake on my part, but you live and learn. Now, with my next Lord of Columbia release PLUS the release of The Renegades, you can bet I’m going to be hitting home big time on this one.
But, what should you do pre-release?
Today, I explain the steps.
Start Talking About Your Book ASAP
As in six to eight months before its release – which is why I’m often blogging about Tarja Titan over at my author website. Lord of Columbia is sort of coming into its own with readers and reviewers – Northern Knights and Raven’s Flock, anyway – I’ll explain my logic in a later article as to why I’m hitting Raven’s Flock as hard as I am Northern Knights, but it’s beyond the scope of this discussion.
Anyway, now that I have a social media following but more importantly blog traffic and a mailing list that has seen nearly a 14% increase in the first two weeks of April alone, it gives me serious leverage in my newsletters Assuming this increase continues (and it will), Tarja Titan and The Renegades Series will be exposed to potentially a four-figure number of readers.
Better yet, with Braden Hawk and Brock Gauge getting released either simultaneously or almost simultaneously with Tarja Titan, it’ll allow readers access to all three works – which will be debuting as Perma Free (Titan), 99-cents (Hawk), and $2.99 (Gauge).
If I get Episode IV, Liza Fury, ready in time, then the book will go up for $4.99. And again, we’re looking for four-figures to blast emails to MONTHS before the books are out. This is something I didn’t really do with any of my Lord of Columbia works – again with the first three being released while I was platform building to show I was an author whose actions backed up his words.
Blog, Blog, and Blog Again
Yes, you need to be starting your self-hosted blog right now and I can’t stress how important it is to have a legit, self-hosted blog over a free WordPress.com, Blogger, WixSite, or other identical platforms. For one, I don’t view those authors as legitimate. I view them as amateurs who aren’t willing to make an investment in top-of-the-line work.
You can use my author’s website and compare it to that of other authors who use free platforms. I wish I had my original author websites by the way – I had two prior to joining the WA community and gaining my current template through AuthorCats. My websites were miserable, by the way – they were clunky as hell, my landing pages sucked and trying to integrate pages through free methods caused nothing but migraines and wasted time.
And by the way, I also thought it was a good idea to combine political, NFL, writing, creative writing, and other niches into one site. I’ll just create tabs with each niche! I’m laughing at my past stupidity.
Finally, I buckled down, joined WA for $359/year, and over time, created several niche sites, beginning with The Helmet and Jersey Stop, which set a new personal record for number of users in a single day on April 13th, 2020 with 306, along with over 400 pageviews.
So, you can definitely see the value in what consistency can and will bring. I post to THJS every day and I’ve only seen a spike in readership – and your author blog will, too, by simply talking about and updating readers on your books. Both existing and future.
Invest, Invest, Invest
Have you ever wondered why investors are rich?
Because they realize their monetary investment will eek a positive Return on Investment, or ROI. This is another reason why I scoff when authors and even book bloggers (proudly) tell me they were able to do everything I’ve done in terms of creating a website and content for free – and that I and others who “buy into” platforms are stupid for doing so.
Okay, show me your website and your marketing plan.
My turn to laugh.
I probably make ONE SALE per ten Shameless Self Promos or Indie April Promos I join – as do most authors. I touched on this subject in a previous article. Pinterest can help you sell but in the long run – and it’s beyond time-consuming to create a Pinterest following and viewership. Endlessly posting buy links to Twitter and Facebook are going to end with more unfollows and friend axes than sales – and six months later you’re going to wonder why you’re still broke.
Often at this point thinking you’re destined to work the pedestrian job you’ve been working – or if you job-hopped for a while like I did – over the past three years and you give up.
No, you thought you could outsmart the system with your own arrogance – and trust me, I find a lot of authors arrogant. They’re out of touch, absurd, and most of them live in false realities. What? You don’t think major publishing houses invest in their authors, marketing plans, websites, blogs, launches, and everything else that goes into publishing and marketing a book?
The same goes for indie authors – successful indie authors who are making six to seven-figures doing what you wish you could be doing. Every single one of them forked out money – a lot of money – to market their books and many outsourced to editors and proofreaders to sharpen their work.
Okay, I’ll admit the only thing most indie authors need to outsource that I don’t is editing – but I also dropped $400 on an editing course during 2017 – I make $21,000 that year. I also invested in Wealthy Affiliate in 2018. I made $15,000 in 2018. My younger brother and cousin racked in more money than I did in both years combined – my brother hitting $40,000 in 2018 and my cousin earning at least $60,000.
But only I invested my time and spent money in what I needed to spend it on to figure out this entire writing, blogging, and author journey.
And now four blogs, four books, a growing reader base, and multiple decent-paying freelance gigs later just 20 months from when I said, “screw the personal training industry, I’m going to live my dream writing,” things are paying off.
Because I invested money in my work, such as outsourcing my covers, buying book promotion, and soon, paying for a summer giveaway that will probably double my readers’ group where I can launch my existing work AND create a buzz for my future work.
So, instead of spending your money on something stupid, maybe you should invest in your own work – and I believe most of us have a $1,200 stimulus check coming – use it wisely. Free money doesn’t come around often. Oh, and by the way, you can buy an entire year of Wealthy Affiliate with the check and still have $841 leftover.
Should be an easy decision.
Don’t Wait to “Sell” the Work
This really ties in with the entire article – don’t wait until Launch Week to say, “By the way, I have a book coming out, and you should buy it.”
Fantastic – I just unsubscribed from your mailing list! Why? Because I haven’t heard from you in six months, I forgot you existed, the Perma Free reader magnet I got was deleted from my Kindle (even if the work was fantastic and it probably was if I finished it), so when I get a random email telling me to buy something, I’m tossing it into my spam.
Any recipient of such should.
So, blog about your work, share your blog with your reader base, share it with any author you conduct cross and joint-promos with, and get the word out there. With cross and joint-promos, you expose your work to tens of thousands of readers even if your mailing list is the size of mine – about 720 as of April 14th, 2020.
Guess what I’m doing?
Talking about Tarja Titan.
Talking about Lord of Columbia.
Talking about how Raven’s Flock is selling for just 99 cents at the Amazon Store until the gyms reopen in my home states of Ohio and West Virginia (I grew up right on the border in Steubenville before relocating across the river to good old, Weirton).
And I email my readers 2-4 times a month – meaning they’re not saying to themselves, “Who the hell’s this guy telling me he has a discount going on?”
It’s because my readers know who I am.
They know The Renegades are coming and they know I’m going to start selling them on the work months before it’s released. They know they can read about the work on my blog. And they know I’m going to sell them on the work WHEN it’s released.
Don’t throw your readers any curveballs, or you’ll be back to square one.
Stay tuned, and I’ll be unleashing the final episode of ‘The Writing Process.’
Did you miss the previous installments? Check out the first three episodes below!
Episode I: Before You Start Writing
Episode II: Writing the First Draft
Episode III: Self-Editing