My Open Source Low Budget Self Publishing Author Marketing Campaign

I’m fine-tuning a low budget marketing campaign for Arcane, my debut fantasy-adventure novel from The Arinthian Line series. The aim is rather simple: gather 50 core people that enjoy the book enough to talk about it.

This is a fluid list as I come up with more / better ideas, and will take into account suggestions from others.

What I have so far, in order:

  1. Cover + blurb reveal on kboards (with release date?)
  2. Cover + blurb reveal on facebook / twitter / myspace / my music website / this blog / my email list (with release date?)
  3. Post a 50 page sample (at end of sample give link to buy rest of book – if logistically possible, give discount for buyer)
  4. Announce release date on all relevant social media (and update gravitar / widgets / connect blog to google+, etc. The key is uniformity of message.)
  5. Respectfully solicit reviews on Goodreads / Amazon / twitter / LibraryThing / relevant blogs (emailing a free copy of book). Or maybe just email the book and not ask for reviews; if it happens, it happens. Choose either Goodreads or Librarything (I don’t have energy for both).
  6. Find influencers (regular people, not industry pros) in my genre and give them a free copy to read. Look for ordinary people who can’t help but tweet about their favorite fantasy books. [EG: Search for “fantasy reader” on twitter and add them]
  7. Politely ask other Fantasy authors to contribute an endorsement tagline
  8. Reddit: Been a redditor for 2 years. Only post to r/fantasy after months of spending time there, and only then — so this is a maybe right now, depending on time constraints. For anyone else even thinking about posting on reddit, read THIS first. I’ve witnessed plenty of crash and burns, so tread at your own risk.
  9. Small Blog tour (maybe 2-4 a month). It has been suggested I do more. (Oh, and I still have to learn exactly how to do a blog tour, hehe).
  10. Print business cards of book and give them out like candy
  11. Go to this board and ask these guys where to get the word out. It’s a java based irc applet, but those guys know fantasy.
  12. Paid advertising: ENT, BookBlast, KindleBooks, Bookbub (with enough reviews that is).
  13. Go to the Kboards Tips & FAQ and carefully read and implement all points.
  14. Possibly do a small print run of 50-100 copies and hold a physical book launch in ONE local store and invite ALL my goo friends. I could offer said bookstore exclusivity to sell it in town. (Opinions?)
  15. RELEASE THE BOOK! (oh God, what do I do for release day — get drunk?)
  16. You may post one thread about your book, in the Book Bazaar board (again, kboards). You can use that thread to introduce your book, include a brief review, etc.
    – Price: $2.99 for a 98,000 word ebook (and when three in series are released, make 1st one perma free)
    – Should there be the demand, release a print book and an audio book (will use funds from sales).

The Russell Blake rule: After release, spend 75% of my time writing book four in the series, 25% on marketing.

That 25% will consist of the following:

  1. 90-95% of the time tweeting about my indie publishing journey / things I’ve learned / fantasy / writing how-to’s / advice columns / advice blogs; the remain 5%-10% on my personal book and blog. Tweets scheduled using Hootsuite (I love that app!).
  2. Blog tour / commenting on other blogs I find interesting
  3. Be a little more social on facebook (sigh … I hates FB)
  4. Post photos of the writing life in all it’s glory (don’t read into that you)
  5. Be creative — come up with a video for book (and if you haven’t seen my last video for my music, it’s HERE)
  6. Build email list, only emailing for releases
  7. Blog Once a month (I’m a convert of slow blogging, as introduced to me by Anne R. Allen in this post).

So did I miss something? Have a trick to add to this list? Let me know! And of course, use what you like for your own campaign :)

Thanks to the following for throwing in ideas for this specific post:

Cindy Johnson
Kathryn OHalloran
Pamela Kelley
Joe Nobody
jtbullet
Sandra K. Williams

Why It’s Important to Follow Your Dreams on a Daily Basis

“This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time.”
— Quote from the movie Fight Club

I often scroll through an ocean of blog and article links looking for quality content, content I can grow by and use practically. Time is precious online, especially because we’re so easily distracted. All it takes is for one of those links to strike the right interest chord and there goes ten minutes of your time. Sometimes that interesting link leads to another, or to a video, and next thing you know, an hour has flashed by.

Scientists have discovered that we get a miniature heroin-like dose of joy from clicking links and reading articles. Infotainment is actually that addictive. And therein lies the crux, for amongst this sea of cerebral masturbation one must separate out what is valuable and what is useless. Working from home poses these challenges; we must discipline ourselves to skip those things that hamper our goals.

So what are your goals? Do you want to own a house, have kids, work in a certain career? Do you want to work from home, have a wife or husband, or travel the world? Do you want to make a certain amount of money a year? What is success to you? What do you want to spend time on?

The hours add up quickly. Our daily micro judgements on what we spend time on become valuable. The framework for making those judgements becomes valuable. At work, we are paid hourly for our time. Everything we own is on loan, paid for with time. We give it all back in the end; we can’t take anything past death. Time is the new currency.

Now apply that to following your dreams. Imagine your time is worth, say, $20 an hour. If you spent four hours surfing the internet looking at infotainment, you spend $80 of your time doing so. Now here’s the question: did you gain back $80 worth of knowledge from that surfing?

These are just ideas in productivity. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have any fun — no, what I’m saying is we must be conscious of the daily micro decisions that add up the grandiosity that is our life (and learning to relax and enjoy ourselves is another skill beyond the scope of this blog post).

And that’s why it’s so critical to follow our dreams on a daily basis. Step by step, word by word, link by link, we build the lives we want. The lucky ones do it consciously; assert greater control over their micro decisions; choose progress over lethargy.

Imagine getting paid for doing things we love. Imagine finding love in what we already do. I believe that, if we are conscious of our daily micro decisions, these things just … happen, yet they happen slowly. Only when we pause and look back can we appreciate how far we have come.

Time is precious. What you are doing this moment is your life; who you are right now.

On Becoming a Self-published Author from Scratch — Goals and Checklists

Greetings!

This is my first blog post for an entirely new endeavour: becoming an author. I’m starting completely fresh, though some of you may already know me from my other project, Tribal Machine. So allow me to introduce myself with a …

SUPER BRIEF HISTORY

For many years I pursued music as my only career. It surpassed all my expectations — I made the record of my dreams, “mastered” by the best in the world; I had my music placed in a full-length feature film (The Gene Generation); I independently (and laboriously) accumulated half a million plays on Myspace; I went on live radio; I had my ego stroked and destroyed numerous times; I had mind-blowing moments on stage (as well as some horribly embarrassing ones); I met and recorded with some amazing people, and I got to play on the road.

Except I lost all interest in touring, which is a minor complication if you want to have a successful band in the digital age. But it doesn’t matter — eventually I’ll take up music again. I’ve just been doing it for so long (and life is really short) I want to pursue some other dreams of mine — like writing.

Even while I was making music, I knew that one brave day I was going to write. That day came three years ago, though I’ve kept very quiet about it — only a few people knew I was writing, even fewer that I was writing fantasy. I’ve written three books in a series, the first spanning 100,000 words, the second close to 200,000, and the third as yet undetermined (still editing). For reference, the first Harry Potter book, The Philosopher’s Stone, is 76,944.

About ten years ago, I began writing a dream novel. I was about 20,000 words in when the computer crashed, garbling my beloved manuscript (my preciousssssss).
I was crushed, though I learned a harsh lesson: always backup your data. It wasn’t a total loss, however — that idea went on to become The Orwellian Night, a full length industrial-rock concept album.

NEW BEGINNINGS

It’s absolutely terrifying and exciting to impart on another new adventure, especially one that, when muttered in private company, draws knowing nods or skeptical looks (or the infamous “Look over there!” distraction escape method). Even the words “self-publishing” have an arrogant flair to them, as if the wannabe author dares to presume himself worthy of joining a most prestigious and elite club.

That said, there are plenty of authors nowadays that choose the self-publishing route over the traditional one (here are six stories of success — but there are many more). There are also a great number of guides and message boards dedicated to the subject. Generally, the community of self-published authors is open and giving, sharing their numbers, successes and failures. I hope to continue that fine tradition.

So, what’s going to be the focus of this blog? Simply put, I’m going to share my exploits in self-publishing from the perspective of a learn-as-I-go newbie.

All right, I’m not a total “noob”. Prior to this blog post, I’ve read numerous books on how to self-publish, edit, etc. The one I’m currently reading is David Gaughran’s Let’s Get DigitalI’ve also done a lot of forum reading. Nonetheless, I haven’t actually put any of this knowledge into practice.

So let us begin with …

THE PLAN

– Self-publish multiple fantasy books in series (3-7 books or more per series)
– Learn
– Interact, share, blog about the process
– Write a lot
– Learn some more.

DESIRED OUTCOME

– A dual career in writing / music (though at this time, I am strictly concentrating on authorship).

LONG TERM GOAL FROM WRITING

– Earn at least $1000 a month through writing

WRITING SUCCESSES

Finished two books already, third nearing completion.
Best average: 5000 words a day.
Best day: 9000 words.
Best month: wrote 100,000 words.

THE SELF-PUBLISHING RELEASE CHECKLIST
Please visit HERE for a frequently updated version of this list

– Finish a book (done: finished three)
– Edit at least three rounds per book (done: 8 / 4 / 2 respectively)
– Domain registration (done)
– WordPress blog (done)
– Twitter account setup & sync (done)
– Mailchimp setup & sync for both Tribal Machine and Sever Bronny (done)
– Register blog with google (done by default)
– Read 20 recommended books on publishing and self-publishing (done)
– Discover 50 great bloggers
– Establish a regular blog schedule and number of blogs / month
– Print custom new business cards with book info
– Announce release date (shooting for sometime in December for book 1; books 2 and 3 every two months thereafter)
– Final beta read
– Final read through
– Final professional edit book 1
– Final professional edit book 2
– Final professional edit book 3
– Officially name series
– Officially name book 1
– Officially name book 2
– Officially name book 3
– Blurb
– Start an indie publishing company
– Hire cover designer
– Format for publication
– Smashwords registration
– Amazon registration
– Create Author Central account
– Create Goodreads account and link blog
– Pricing strategy
– EVENT: blog posting announcing release
– EVENT: Release party (optional)
– Update blog widget sidebar with all relevant info about book (cover, price, retailers, etc)
– Social media pre-release (see marketing campaign)
– Link to first chapter(s)
– Update links to book in all forum avatars
– RELEASE FIRST BOOK IN SERIES
– Implement Marketing plan
– Establish 75% / 25% writing to marketing ratio after first release
– Write at least 2000 words per day post release of first book
– Develop a deeper understanding of the blogosphere
– Blog tour
– Release book two in series
– Release book three in series
– Write and release 2-4 books per year
– Learn how to conduct a successful independent marketing campaign
– Respectfully solicit reviews on Amazon

Phew — that was tough to assemble. Anyway, the above checklist is ongoing and will be available in the “Checklist” link above. It will be updated as I go.

Now I realize I have zero subscribers on this thing (it is, after all, only day 1), but should you, dear reader, come across this post at some unknown pre-apocalyptic future date, I’d love to read about your goals and checklists :D

Also, for anyone interested in my fantasy-adventure series, you can subscribe to get an email of release here (I will only email when I have a release – no damn spam!).