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I've spent the last 4 years learning about marketing from books and information products. It's been a real-world education that I use every day, so today I'm thrilled to bring you Jim Kukral who is a specialist in this area, as we talk about book marketing.
Jim Kukral is the author of 5 books and a serial web-entrepreneur, as well as a professional speaker and specialist in internet marketing. His latest book is ‘No Publisher Needed: Crowdfunding your book. How I raised over $30k in 30 days.' [Note: Affiliate links used in this post.]
- Jim has been in internet marketing for 16 years. He's been involved in all aspects including web design, affiliate marketing, search, Now he focuses on self-publishing and he loves to produce and market books.
- ‘No publisher needed' was written after he crowd-funded a series of books called ‘Business around a lifestyle'. The problems of marketing and sales are basically dealt with in this way. Jim thinks that anyone who knows something about something should transform it into a book (or other product). When you learn how to do something, you can teach others.
- I promised to come back to crowd-funding as a question, but I didn't! Sorry about that. I read the book and it has some good information on what crowd-funding is and how to go about it. Jim didn't use Kickstarter.com preferring to use his own methods to raise money. It's based on the idea that people want to be part of something. The book also has ideas and tips on building a platform, and tackles the main issues people have about it – no time, no money, no knowledge. It then has a step-by-step guide on how to pre-fund your book and the options you can offer people, as well as what to do when the money starts to come in.
- The broader indie publishing perspective. In 2010, Jim had his first Attention. The business of traditional publishing is too slow. You don't own your work when you're done with it. Bookstores are dying so the one thing they had is fading away. The royalties are also not great. Jim realized that it was a bad business decision to use a publisher for your book. As an entrepreneur, you can do so many more things when you do it yourself. Jim did earn lots of money from his mainstream book from consulting revenue and the cachet from having a hardcover book.
- The stigma is disappearing and there doesn't have to be a difference between traditionally published and print on demand books anymore. Jim really believes in self-publishing right now.
- Is crowd-funding and effective indie publishing only possible when you have a large existing platform? Jim understands this objection. But anyone can build a platform. Yes, Jim did start with an email list which is critical for anyone these days. Even a small, targeted list of people who are interested in what you do is good. But the majority of pre-funding came from new people as it was shared with other people. Emotions create reactions and people only share when there is an emotional response. So Jim included emotion and story as part of the campaign. He told a story about why he was writing these books. That's why it spread. [This is a great idea for all of us – how can you use your own story to sell your books?]
- What are the must have marketing tools? The email list is critical. A great tip is to ask your customers what they want or need. It's also important to have a website/blog which you can have put your list-building on. You drive people to this site through all the other channels. People will find you in different ways. That's how you build a platform. You need to start thinking like a marketer.
- For authors who might be shy. You can make video without being on camera. It's screen-casting. Jim talks about his Online Video Toolkit which helps you to learn how to do it. Video is the #1 way to really make a connection with people. You look the way you look. Get over it. Video is so powerful. [Google has also just redesigned YouTube so it is becoming more respectable and not just about comedy videos.]
- The mindset of the marketer. There's never been a better time in the history of the world to get your work out there. But the trade-off is that you generally have to do it yourself. In the old days, you just paid other people (or the publisher did it) but it's too expensive and so doing it yourself is the better option. You need to do it when you start your own business, and yes, your book is a business. To be a successful artist, you need to think bigger than being just an artist. You have to decide if you really want success and then decide you want to get into marketing.
- On fiction vs non-fiction for marketing. Jim talks about pricing and KDP Select. For non-fiction, pricing can be higher as that's what people expect and they see it as an indication of quality. Fiction is different, it needs to be cheaper as people buy more of it. Get into the head of the consumers. Read Influence by Robert Cialdini [I endorse this too, amazing book!] Jim also suggests Consumerology. Start learning about why people buy.
- Book reviews are critical for social proof. Book marketing begins at inception (for non-fiction at least). Write a synopsis, get a cover designed and a page up so people can start signing up for the email list. It's got to happen right away. Before the book is available, get reviews. You can't go into a launch without reviews on your landing page. One of the main purchasing decisions is that people look at reviews.
- Creating a product vs. a lot of books on Amazon. You have to price Amazon books cheaper than full multi-media products so authors might consider different options depending on their strategy. Make sure you don't fall foul to Amazon's price matching which has affected some authors when they might have run a promotion on it and then Amazon discounts the price. Jim aims to release a lot of books himself over the next few years, and he believes shorter books are the way forward.
- The biggest fail on marketing assuming they are doing it – authors don't think like marketers. It's not your fault. You weren't trained to think this way. But you do need to learn, or you need to pay someone else. The cost of not being a marketer is advertising. Follow what other authors are doing and model their platform building activities. Write a blog about the business of what you do.
- Jim also comments on KDP Select and says it's a game-changer for non-fiction authors to get noticed. It helps you stand out with your ranking as you can get a lot of downloads and people will start reading it. It's a great way to kickstart your book marketing.
You can find Jim at JimKukral.com and NoPublisherNeeded.com and on twitter @jimkukral
His latest book is ‘No Publisher Needed: Crowdfunding your book. How I raised over $30k in 30 days.'