My FREE BOOK (Limited Time) + Why Pivoting and Experimentation is KEY in Self-Publishing

simpleselfpublishingsuccessstrategiesWho doesn’t love a FREE BOOK? Especially one that’s packed with simple, turbo-effective strategies that are easy to implement and can make a big difference in your author journey!

I’m on day two of a three-day freebie promo for my slightly rebranded Kindle book, Simple Self-Publishing Success Strategies: How To Sell More Books and Build Your Audience, which you can still grab on Kindle for FREE (for a limited time).

If you already have the book, or pick it up and enjoy it, I’d really appreciate it if you’d take a quick sec to leave a short review and rating on Amazon. That’s super helpful and part of the reason why I run freebie promos to put my books in the hands of new readers.

Sooo…yeah. Why free? Why the new cover and tweaked title? If you’re curious, then please read on for some self-publishing shop talk on why and how I’ve done so much experimentation with the title and cover for this book!

Experiment, Learn, and Adapt!

It’s important to try new things and think out of the box with your creative and professional world. This lets you see what works and what doesn’t, then learn and adapt as you go. I’ve made experimentation one of the cornerstones of my self-publishing world (and my related game development and other entrepreneurial dabblings). Over the years I’ve tried some BIG and WEIRD experiments.

I’ve been bold in my willingness to go out on a limb, and while it doesn’t always yield the results I had hoped for, I learn a LOT from every experiment. I’ve also had some of these experiments really click and boost my self-publishing world in some powerful ways.

That’s in-part why I love writing short, info-packed books instead of big meaty tomes that people don’t want to trudge through. It lets me create killer content on a much shorter time frame and at very minimal cost, then learn and pivot based-on how well each book performs.

And being willing and able to pivot is KEY. Which brings me to this book.

Tinkering With Your Books and Relaunching

As a self-publishing author, you pretty much have total control over every aspect of your books, which means you can update your covers, change your titles, add or remove content, re-brand, and do all kinds of other crazy things to see if it helps you attract more readers. If your book isn’t performing the way you’d like, then why not try something different?

I’ve been using SSSS as my guinea pig in the Indie Author Success Series

WSKDKindleCoverTo be honest, I never expected the first book in the series, Write Short Kindle Books, to catch fire like it has this year. It’s my first super successful book, out of the eight I’ve launched to date, and it continues to sell really well, even though it’s slowed down a bit from the first few months of being a straight #1 Bestseller in its respective Kindle categories on Amazon.

To date, I’ve sold about 4,844 copies of WSKB in roughly 6-7 months. I did a big promo push in the first month, and I’ve run a few small sales events and been creative with getting the book out there. But aside from that, I haven’t spent a lot of additional time or (any) marketing money on the book. Not too shabby!

So when you have a book take off like that, it’s easy to assume that your next book will do just as well, right? WRONG!

Sequel-itis and Re-branding

When I launched SSSS initially as “Indie Author Success Strategies”, it did ok, but it never gained the same traction as book 1. It had a bright, punchy cover, a well-researched SEO-friendly title and keywords, and I worked hard to incorporate reader feedback from the first book to improve the way I presented info and make it even more digestible and easy to reference.

Reader response to the book has been overwhelmingly positive, and it IS selling, but nowhere near as many copies as WSKB. And that’s ok. It’s a different book, with a different focus. It complements WSKB well. I’m happy with its quality.

Because I have numerous other books in the works for the Indie Author Success Series, I’m not banking on the success of any one book in the series. WSKB got things off to an amazing start, and I’m really excited to share the ebooks and courses I’m working on the series (#soon).

What’s been interesting out of all of this, is that it’s helped me let go of worrying about SSSS’s success and just have fun experimenting with the book to see what happens.

transform

Cover Re-designs and Branding

Let’s not beat around any shrubbery: covers and titles sell books on Amazon. Your content could be amazing, but if you’ve got a bad title, a crummy cover, or are writing in a subject category that just doesn’t have a strong audience for the type of book you’re slinging, then you’re going to have a hell of a time gaining traction and sales.

I was really happy with the bright cover I came up with for book two, and I stand by the quality of the content and advice within, but I wasn’t quite sure about the title and subtitle. And when the book wasn’t kicking butt during its launch week, I did something drastic and possibly stupid: I changed the book cover and title mid-launch.

I’ve changed the title and subtitle multiple times, and while each attempt has fine-tuned the focus and message, there’s no wool-pooling shenanigans going on here. Every title and subtitle has been accurate about the content in the book. But sometimes it’s the WAY you present your message and the words you choose that makes a difference. Hell, it’s almost ALWAYS the message and the way you word it that makes a difference.

So…at first stab:

Title 1. Indie Author Success Strategies: 19 Tips To Boost Your Kindle Book Business

A lot of authors get rankled by being called “indie.” Not me. But I was hesitant to use the term both for SEO keyword purposes and based-on how it might or might not resonate with readers. Some people dug it. Others didn’t. I decided to change it. Also, “business” is a touchy term.

The most successful self-pubbers KNOW that the business side of self-publishing is critical to understand and embrace. Yes, you’re being creative when you write a book and share information. But YES it’s also a business. You can have fun and be inventive AND make money. Not everyone things those things can or should be intertwined.

So “business” rubs some people the wrong way too. Bzzzt. Which led me, quickly, to iteration two:

Title 2. Self-Publishing Success Strategies: 19 Tips To Sell More Kindle Books and Grow Your Audience

Kablammmo! I made the title/cover change mid-launch. Sales seemed to pick up a bit, but it wasn’t a dramatic change. Still, I was happier with the title. People want to “sell more books” right? I certainly do. If you’re an author of any sort, I’m sure you do, too! Either way, it’s a bit stronger message-wise and keyword-wise. And all of the info in this book applies to just about any kind of ebook you’d want to write, not just Kindle books — that was yet another keyword marketing decision.

And what about “grow your audience”? Sounds a lot more writer-friendly than “boost your book business” even if they’re essentially the same thing.

Then there’s the core title change: Self-publishing. That decision was based on keyword search and weighing out the popularity of different terms. I’m also an alliteration nerd, which leads me to title (and cover) number three!

Title 3. Simple Self-Publishing Success Strategies: How To Sell More Kindle Books and Build Your Audience

OK! Where to start? First, the core of this shift was around adding the word “Simple.” Part of why I think Write Short Kindle Books has sold so well is that it very clearly offers a call to action that solves a big problem that many authors struggle with. They want to write and publish a book, but the “traditional” approach of writing massive 75,000 page books is just TOO DAUNTING (or too much of a pain in the ass).

The idea that, not only is it feasible now to write books that are shorter, in the 10,000 to 25,000 word range, but that you can do so and actually charge less, make potentially a lot more money, write books faster, and sell more books overall because many readers like and have even come to prefer quick reads for certain types of books? Yeah. That’s pretty powerful.  Faster. Easier. More flexible. More focused. That’s the benefit of WSKB, and it’s powerful, powerful (powerful) stuff.

In contrast, the information in “Self-Publishing Success Strategies” is just as valuable, and possibly even MORE valuable (even if some tips may seem common sense or be repeat info if you’ve already read a ton of similar books). But it’s not as SEXY. It doesn’t have that insta-grabbiness to it. It’s more general, bigger picture advice. Which is good. But yeah.

So ALL of the core tips and tidbits of advice in SSSS are quite easy to implement, and they can make a huge difference in your chances of success and overall authorly well-being. Plus people like to take action when they know it doesn’t require as much effort (even though by its very nature, self-publishing requires a lot of time, effort, and focus). They want the easy win.

There ARE no easy wins, but if careful phrasing entices a reader to check out the book, the info they’ll get from it can really help change their writing and self-publishing world. It’s not mind-blowing wizardy-type stuff. It is, however, effective. Best of all? It’s SIMPLE.

Why “SIMPLE” and not “EASY”? Again, based-on keyword research using the Google Adwords tool. BOOM.

So I added that bit to the cover in BIG, BOLD-ass, BRIGHT letters. I think you’ll admit, this cover jumps out on the page. It’s maybe not my best work, design-wise, but it does what it’s intended to do, I think, which is draw your eyes to it on the Kindle book storefront.

simpleselfpublishingsuccessstrategiesI also tinkered with the cover design slightly, removing the black bar in favor of a more visually cohesive red one to match the bottom of the cover. I could probably keep tinkering with it and improving it further, but I’m happy with it, considering it didn’t take long to update.

And that just leaves the subtitle.

I took out the tips. Yes, it’s a tip-book, but I don’t want people to hyper-focus and get hung up on the number of tips (yes, there are still 19 core strategies and 70+ action tips). I want them to soak up all of the information as a whole and apply it to their self-publishing battlelpan. To think bigger picture.

“How to Sell More Books and Build Your Audience” is a further fine-tuning based on streamlining the message, appealing to popular keyword combinations, and trying to fine-tune the message. (Yes the Amazon page still says “Kindle Books” and  “Grow your audience” due to a cover draft uploading snafu but it should update on the storefront soon). Using “build” instead of “grow” was another Google Adwords tool-driven decision. And “How to” do anything usually grabs eyeballs on the marketplace.

It’s not a dramatic update, but I think these minor wording tweaks and design changes make it a more compelling “at a glance” grab on the Amazon storefront.

I also updated some of my behind-the-scenes keywords to ditch some older stuff I had in there that wasn’t as well-targeted and replace them with much stronger key phrases. We’ll see what that does down the road.

So what about the inside of the book itself? It’s essentially the same as it always has been. I updated a few of the chapter titles, the table of contents, and the title inside the book. Otherwise, it’s the same book. And I still stand by the info in it.

It’s funny, though, how much of a difference the way you design and present your book can impact how it sells.

I’m running a short 3-day Free promo for Simple Self-Publishing Success Strategies (ends in the afternoon on EST on 9/3/2015), so if you don’t have a copy, please grab one for FREE, check it out, and if you enjoy it don’t forget to leave a short review on Amazon!

After the promo runs out, I’ll likely be offering it a discounted $0.99 for a week or so to try to generate more sales momentum before bumping it back up to full price. Basically, I’m rebooting it with a mini-relaunch sequence. We’ll see how it does!

Either way, I’ve already moved on to work on my new few books (and courses) in the series, so taking a day or two to tinker and try to put some more gas in the book’s promo tank just to see if it makes a difference feels worth it regardless of the outcome.

Cheers!

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