Self-publishing was not easy when I first got started. I have made a lot of mistakes and these mistakes cost me nearly $3K.
Making No Sales
Terry couldn't figure out why his books weren't selling. He had tried all the strategies that he could think of. And since he had tried those, he was certain there wasn't a need to find any additional strategies.
That's one of the reasons why in today's article, we're going to discuss These Mistakes Cost Me Nearly $3K. Well, over the last year or two, Terry had written several science fiction novels. He had managed to get them out onto Amazon.
The problem was these specific novels were not selling. Terry had managed to implement some strategies that he had come up with. How to get these books to sell based upon his thoughts of how he would buy them.
What would motivate him to buy something or not buy something? The problem was he wanted to see more sales of these books. And since the books had already been optimized on his own from his perspective, there needed to be something else.
But the books were still not selling. He was tired of making no sales or very few sales on his books. So, he was thinking maybe it is about time to give up on all of this.
Maybe people just don't realize the quality of the books that he was putting on the market. So, the first thing Terry did was test out some covers. He had discovered on Canva you can make your covers.
So, he found some pictures that he felt would be good for science fiction novels. One with a dog and the other with a horse or something along those lines. It didn't look like a science fiction cover.
But from his perspective, this was a very attractive cover. That would be something he would be interested in if he were buying science fiction novels. The second thing that Terry decided to do was to write a book description.
In his book description on his sales page, he wrote down all of the main elements of the plot. He was telling a little bit about these aliens or whatever it was. He was just going through it and laying out every aspect of what was going to happen in the book.
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He just put that right on into the description. Because after all, if he was going to buy a book, he would want to know exactly a little bit about what exactly the book's about. What's going to happen and these sorts of things.
So, the basis of figuring out what the description should look like was based on his personal thoughts of what he would like to see when he's looking at a description. So, he made sure that it had the things that he wanted.
The only problem was that he still was not seeing any sales coming from any of these. At this point, he grabbed a copy of my absolutely free Self-Publishing Secrets Checklist. Where I break down the strategies and go through them point by point.
To ensure that self-publishers like yourself do not have issues. When it comes to getting your book on the market and getting it sold. So, the thing was that after downloading the thing, he got on my email list and we started into a dialogue.
He eventually booked a Coaching Session with me. That was when I informed Terry that I myself had made lots of mistakes. These mistakes cost me nearly $3K because I was ignoring important strategies.
Now the thing is Terry was very confident that he had already implemented all of the key strategies. Well, at least the strategies that he had managed to come up with.
That was when I informed Terry at this moment during our Coaching call that, okay you're going to need to stop this whole process of assuming you know all the strategies. The first rule is that you are not your customer.
So, what it is that you prefer and things like that. The people who are out there in the wild who are buying books, they're not you. They will tell you whether they like what you're doing and the way that you're marketing it simply by purchasing them.
Figuring Out What’s Broken
If nobody is buying your books, something's broken on the marketing front or the content front. But usually, it's on the marketing front that's resulting in very few or no sales on your books. And that comes back to these strategies.
Most of the strategies that I am teaching continually give you the absolute best that I have, the latest strategies. These strategies are not obvious, you aren't going to figure these out.
Even if you had 100 years, you're not going to magically come across them. Because it requires that you test out across multiple books. Across thousands of experiments and testing to see what exactly works.
That's one of the reasons why you do not want to go alone. When it comes to self-publishing and joining something like the Self-Publisher 1-On-1 Program. I have a great way to get into this whole thing.
Start working through the process of figuring out what's broken with the books. Helping you come up with ideas that are going to produce books that would sell on the market.
So, some of the things that he was doing, the mistakes that he was making were identical to ones that I made. The first one was that he was not targeting keywords that matched the exact genre.
He was in “horses are kind of cool” and “dogs look kind of cozy” and stuff. But he was in the science fiction genre and that was not what his readers would be expecting. So even if they would have loved his book, they were not going to purchase it.
Because it didn't look like a science fiction book. And he wasn't targeting the keywords as well that would go along with the science fiction. He came out with really clever titles that had absolutely nothing to do with science fiction.
I pointed out to him that you're going to want your subtitles to be like “a space alien” science fiction. Maybe “possessed animals” science fiction or horror, something like that.
As opposed to putting some furry dog or horse on the cover, you're going to want to put something that looks like an alien. Or something that's going to pull the reader in to get them to click. Because ultimately, that's what we're going to need to do.
The second thing is he had no paperback version on IngramSpark. I was pointing out to him, that I make way more money on IngramSpark than I do on Amazon Print. That is something you're going to want to do which is not an obvious strategy.
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Because why would you want to put paperback books on another site if ultimately it might even come back on Amazon? I had somebody on Quora recently asked this exact question. And the answer is I don't know why this works.
The distribution channels are bigger. So, you have a lot of these sorts of things that you're going to want to pay attention to. When you're working with putting the books out there.
That you're not going to guess the correct strategies. This is something that we're going to need to pay a little bit of attention to. The final thing that he was doing that also cost me thousands and thousands of dollars was not running ads on his site.
Because it sort of made sense to him that maybe that's how he would buy. But this is a complete waste of time. Getting the ads up and running is one of the most important things he and you can do with your books to get them selling.
So that we can figure out what about our cover and our title are going to be a problem. Because if we're getting a lot of impressions coming through to the ads and people are not clicking, it tells us we need to change something.
Learning And Implementing Strategies
They're giving us information on Amazon and they're giving it to us at a very cheap rate. Sometimes, they pay us. And if we're looking closely at the data as it's coming in, we're not going to make the mistakes that Terry was making.
The mistakes that I have made, all of these mistakes. There are 1000 strategies that we're talking about when it comes to self-publishing. Each strategy has layers of depth and so you're not going to learn all of these at once.
That's one of the reasons why you're not going to like Terry's example. You're not going to guess the correct strategies. So, the thing is that it all started in Terry's case.
It was with checking and grabbing a copy of my free Self-Publishing Checklist that helped to pull him out of this exact situation that he was in. It helped him realize that maybe he wasn't testing and trying all of the strategies that would help his book sell.
But ultimately, what happened was he finally realized that maybe he didn't have everything figured out. Maybe some strategies are out there that can be implemented that don't seem obvious.
That you would never work on, at least you think it wouldn't. In reality, most marketing strategies work for us even if we think they don't work. Like silly ads we don't like, even if the jokes are stupid, these ads work on us.
Even as marketers, we understand the nature of how this all plays out. We see that these things are very psychologically effective. We need to pay attention to it.
We need to understand that these strategies are not obvious. So, we need to plug into someone who can speak into that and help do it. That's one of the things with the whole coaching side of things that make it very easy to get in there.
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Where you can start looking and breaking things down and simplifying the entire process. But what happened with Terry was that he eventually did put these things into practice. He started to see an increase in his sales.
He realized that getting this input is incredibly important. Going back and forth with somebody who's published. In my case would be 200 books on Amazon that we're going to have a certain knowledge set that comes to this.
Now you might have other knowledge that's like his knowledge. That would be writing fiction. He knew exactly what to do to write these science fiction books.
His books seem to be quality books. I don't know anything about it. I like to read science fiction but I don't know anything about writing science fiction.
I have no experience with that. So, if I were going to write science fiction, I might approach somebody like Terry to tell me what strategies and tactics would be involved in writing a great novel that's going to pull people in?
We understand that we all come with different skill sets. As we keep doing something over and over and learning the strategies and implementing it, we're going to see our sales start to go up.
Don't get frustrated with yourself and think you need to move super fast. You need to implement everything at once. Just do something but don't isolate yourself from the strategies that are out there.
And that was something that Terry was doing. The thing is that there are a whole bunch of strategies that I never knew when I first got started with self-publishing. That's a reason why you should check out What I Wish I Knew Before Self-Publishing and I'll see you over there.