A wide-ranging discussion with Tim Grahl about writing book titles that sell, productivity and habits for writers, how to build a platform around you rather than your book, and marketing for introverts. Super fun!
In the intro, I mention the upcoming self-publishing conference, IndieRecon.org, which is a free event with some amazing speakers so make sure you register and check out the schedule. I also talk about my trip to Charleston for PubSense, some of the plans I have underway with my new agent, plus Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur, now available in audiobook format.
Tim Grahl is the author of Your First 1000 Copies: A Step by Step Guide to marketing your book and the founder of Out:think, a firm that helps authors make money with online marketing tools.
- How Tim started out in the more technical side of the internet and started helping authors with their marketing. He’s always been a big reader so working with authors was preferable to big corporates.
- Tips for book titles. Authors are generally too close to the project to make a good decision. Your own fans know you so they aren’t the best either. You want to know what title will make someone new click to look at your book further. Tim advises using data to make a decision and talks about using PickFu.com to work out what gets clicked the most. It is unlikely to be what you think. You can do this with titles and sub-titles, which is how Tim ended up with his. You can also use PickFu for book covers as you can use images. [I talk about my own title change based on SEO reasons]. We also talk about fiction book titles – which are very difficult! It’s more about genre, reviews and author brand and the eco-system around the book than title.
- On reaching 1000 readers. Most books sell around 250 copies (that includes traditionally published). If you get to 1000 copies, you’re doing something well beyond your own network. Measuring goals and moving the goal posts around numbers sold. Celebrating achievements and re-evaluating the next goal. I mention my own success journal that I got from Austin Kleon’s logbook idea. Tim mentions Autofocus productivity system.
Ruthlessly cut out everything that doesn’t get you what you want out of life.
- Social media is automated with MeetEdgar. Social media is fun, but it’s not moving the goals forward. Tim has a structured day and has specific creative periods. He focuses on achieving goals based on a systematized life. It’s much harder to procrastinate when you have structure. He mentions a Facebook news feed extractor so Facebook doesn’t become a time suck. Structure your life so it’s easy to make the right decisions. I mention Gretchen Rubin’s book, Better Than Before. It’s about your WHY. That will drive you to get up and create.
- The difference between fiction and non-fiction marketing. Tim is also writing fiction, and is part of Apocalypse Weird. He talks about building a platform around you, the AUTHOR, not around the individual book. Think about building a platform around who you are and what you’re interested in. On permission, content and outreach for marketing – the underlying systems and strategies as opposed to tactics. We both agree that doing podcasts and audio is so much more preferable now to doing text based interviews or guest posts. Tim talks about driving people to email as his main marketing goal as it is the best way to stay in contact.
- Marketing as an introvert. What suits introverts in terms of alone time and online marketing. Don’t use introversion as an excuse, and don’t confuse it with fear of rejection, which everyone has. Find what works but also push your comfort zone. How it all gets easier over time, and how we are STILL nervous – but you just deal with it.