Have you published your book and wanted to make some adjustments? You might be asking, is it too late to change my book? I will tell you the answer with some tips to help make self-publishing easier for you.
Larry told me, “I guess we should just count my first book as a loss.” I said, “Not so fast.” That's one of the reasons today we're going to be talking about; Is It Too Late To Change My Book?
It was not too long ago; Larry had finished writing his very first book. He got it published and it was a fantastic job since most people don't even manage to get that far when they're going with self-publishing.
He got his very first book on the market. There was only one little problem which was that he wasn't seeing any sales of his book. Nobody was buying the book and he wasn't sure what the deal was.
But his ultimate goal was to put multiple books onto the market. And the long-term thing would be "book after book". He'd build an audience and he would slowly see the traffic increase and the number of people who are purchasing his books.
It just wasn't playing out so he started wondering what exactly was going wrong. The thing was that he was listening to my podcast. He was dealing with the subject of how to optimize his book.
He had heard me comment on the page, that there are lots of things you can do to optimize your book. From your title to your descriptions, to the contents of the book. To the table of contents, to the overall structure, and all of these sorts of things that we can do.
He realized that if he were to drop at this point, drop that first book or count it as a loss, this would have a huge impact on his motivation. He started doubting that maybe even if he did make the changes, it wouldn't make that much of a difference. And this first book should just be counted as a loss.
So, the first thing he tried was taking his book and putting it on Twitter. That is where he would just post links on Twitter and you would use a hashtag like KDP or self-publishing or exciting adventure books or something along those lines.
Usually, it would be within the genre targeting the audience that he was looking for. Like amazing sci-fi books or something along those lines. The thing was that he didn't see any sales coming through, it reminded me of when I first got started.
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I also tried this same trick with Twitter. I was taking Twitter and I was putting out the links to my books onto Twitter and then hoping people would do it. I saw the links; I was using these link shorteners and I was getting 20 clicks on every book that I was putting out there.
Until I realized all of those clicks were coming from robots. They just look at all the links that are coming on Twitter. They simply archive those and then just mark them away.
It had no impact on actual real human beings who would be coming through to look and purchase my book. So initially, I was like “Wow, imagine if I posted this every hour.” Then as you post every hour, you end up getting 20 clicks an hour.
It has no impact at all on your sales, it's just a complete waste of time. And that was what Larry discovered in his exploration of Twitter. The second thing he tried was he asked his family members to go about reviewing his book for him.
Because he heard I had commented on the idea that reviews play an important role. Just don't get it from people who are actually in your household. And that's exactly what he did, he got it from somebody in his household.
What happened was that they took down that review. It is exactly what happened when I was first getting started. I also saw the importance of the reviews but I didn't know how to get them.
Because you would get reviews from people who read and liked the book. But then if you're not getting any sales on the book, why not just have somebody in my household go about leaving a review on their Amazon account?
Well, they did and it was taken down because it was on the same IP address. Now I didn't realize at the time that this was a violation of Amazon's terms and services. But since that point, I've come to understand that you have to be very careful when doing that, you can risk your account.
In fact, by doing this, getting reviews from people who are using the same internet connection in your house to do that. There's nothing wrong with asking friends and family who are not in your household. To go about reading your book and leaving honest reviews when we're first getting started.
And so that's until we got to the point, we're building an email list. But this strategy is a terrible one and Larry also found this frustrating. Because of course without the reviews, it meant that he still was not going to be seeing any sales coming in on his book.
Knowing What Your Audience Is Expecting
That was the point where he realized he should book a free Discovery Session with me. Where we could take a look at his self-publishing journey and see how far he'd come. So, we were working through his first book and we saw his second book and he said “Well maybe I should just quit the first book. I should just give up on it.”
And I said not even close. We are not done with that first book. Now that doesn't mean we're not going to continue writing and working on the second book.
But that first book was a very important one that we definitely want to pay attention to. We do not ignore your very first book because it can be changed afterward. There are several key aspects of the book that can be optimized to ensure that the book itself is going to perform as best as it possibly can.
So, is it too late to change my book? The first thing we did was we looked to see the title and subtitle of his book. We discovered both of them were not targeting any audiences. Nobody was searching for any of the keywords he was using.
Since he was dealing with a sort of like Star Wars. Like a science fiction adventure, he needed to use terms that would be similar to those sorts of books like sci-fi or space opera or these sorts of terms that people would search for.
And then his book would show up. It's not just about choosing the right categories on Amazon. It's also about having those terms in the title itself.
So that was the very first thing that we discovered. From my background, when I first got started, I didn't even understand what a keyword is. I didn't understand the importance that if you use the words that people are searching for, you're going to have organic traffic.
That is people who don't even know you and people who aren't even paying for ads. They're simply going to find your book by coming down and doing a search. Then your book shows up on the first page.
Because you're optimizing your book to show up and rank for the keywords that are relevant to your book specifically. If you aren't including those keywords in the title or subtitle, then you're seriously missing a lot.
That's one of the reasons. I went back to my books and renamed the books themselves to make sure they were targeting profitable keywords. The next thing we saw was that the text on his cover was really difficult to read.
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He decided to have all this small micro text and couldn't read any of it. There's a reason they call it a thumbnail. It becomes the size of a thumbnail on a phone.
Where a lot of people are making their decisions upon whether to buy your book or not. And so the point he needed to focus on is the idea that we need to take your book cover and reduce it to a thumbnail. Can you still read the title?
Now, notice we don't need the subtitles to be read. It's going to contain a lot of this metadata where it will say something like Space Opera or Science Fiction or Keto Diet or whatever it might be that would be inside of that subtitle. To let your reader know what is going to happen.
So, when they see the subtitles, they'll see it together. But on the cover, they at least need to see in large print what exactly the value proposition is. What is it that your book is going to give?
The second thing we discovered was that the artwork on his cover didn't match the best sellers in his exact same niche. And that is a huge one that I see so often. It's where you're writing a book and you're like “Oh I like this cover, it looks fancy.”
But it doesn't match what your readers themselves are looking for within your niche. So, this is a reason why you're going to go back and take a closer look at the top sellers on Amazon. I use KDSpy to do this job.
I look to see within your category who is making the most money in that same type of book that you're doing. And why exactly does your book look different than theirs? One of the examples we had looked at earlier was the idea like for example on Larry's here.
The thing was his cover had lots of grass, green trees, and things like that. I mean it was a very nice cover, it just didn't look like a science fiction book. Where we're expecting to see these huge spaceships coming through in terms of what's going on.
And he decided not to go that route. If you look at the best sellers within the spaceship sci-fi sort of a thing and these intergalactic battles, then that would be the covers that would be expected. And if you can't find too many books that are doing this, well then you can go to movies or other things.
They're going to let you know what your target audience is expecting. So, when they see that cover, they're like “This is for me. I recognize this cover, it's part of the thing.” It looks like you're selling a book on woodworking.
Making Changes And Increasing Sales
You might not want to put a dog on the front. You might want to put something like a table or some woodworking equipment. Something for which the person would be like “Yes, I understand and realize what exactly the value proposition is for your book.”
And guess what? You can change all of this even after you've done the book. Now, there is one exception which is if you're changing your title and subtitle and they've got it fastened to a paperback version, that won't be changed.
But you can still go and change your Kindle version. I have books where they don't match each other. That's okay, it's not a problem, they'll still show up on the same page.
It'll just have a different title when you're looking at the other one, right? Ideally, we would have a perfect title and stuff but it's worth the sales. In order to get those titles, correct even if we made a mistake in the first place.
The other one that we looked at under Larry's was his author's bio. That was the third thing, I did not want to be overwhelmed. Normally, when I'm doing discovery sessions, we look for just one to three things, no more than that.
There's usually a list of about 20 things that can be changed. But in Larry's case, he didn't even have an author's bio. I mean why would he care that nobody knows who he is anyway, right?
Then, when he did come up with an author's bio, the first ones he came up with were books about science fiction. He says “Well I'm just dabbling in writing a book and I hope it's good. I also like to work on my car and I enjoy traveling sometimes.”
I don't know what it might be, do woodworking for example and all of these details are completely unrelated to his book. The one thing that was related to his book that was like “I'm dabbling in writing”, “this is my first book”, these sorts of phrases are red flags.
Telling people this is a bad idea to buy this book. As opposed to saying, “I've had a passion for science fiction and outer space battles since I was a child. Therefore, it has a huge impact on my desire to get books onto the market with exciting stories that readers love to read.”
We're not telling people that we're a brand-new writer who is dabbling in writing. We don't even know if we're going to make it. This isn't what we do when it comes to this whole game here.
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Rather, we don't tell them we've written 50 books if we haven't. We are always honest about what we're writing. But at the same time, we don't have to signal things to show weakness.
There's no point in doing that if it makes sense. In other words, if we were selling something like a service to people's yards, we don't have to say “You're the very first yard.” We can rather say “Look I have a passion for doing a great job. I've mowed lots of yards and I'd love to mow your yard.”
You don't have to say “This is my very first yard ever I'm going to mow.” That piece of information is not necessary. If they ask, then yes, we answer that question.
Remember we always keep it honest. That's the most important thing. But at the same time, we don't have to volunteer information that's going to make it less likely that people want to buy our book.
So, in his case, I looked at these three examples during our discovery session. I realized these remind me of my very beginnings. I realized I made the same mistakes that he was making in his books.
So that was something to pull together there. And the realization that you can go back and fix these things. You will need to fix these things.
Some people have this idea that I'm not going to put the book out on the market until everything is perfect. I won't need to fix anything but that's simply never going to happen. So that's one of the reasons why we definitely want to get this straight in our minds before we go about doing this.
Now, back to the question, is it too late to change my book? Finally, Larry came along and he started looking at his book. He made some of the changes that I had suggested.
Then as he went through it, after making these specific changes to his book, he started to see some sales coming up. It's never going to be an explosion but you start to see some sales and it motivates you. In addition, he's using these very same concepts in his absolute next book that he's coming out with.