If you want to be a successful, self published author, you need two things. I’m not talking about lightning strikes, people like the author of 50 Shades, who somehow wrote the right thing at the right time. I’m talking about having a realistic shot of making a decent amount of money to supplement your income or, possibly, even to replace your day job. So, what are those two things?
- A quality product – My blog is mainly about trying to make you a better writer, and you’re going to have to spend a lot of time to get to a level where you produce something worth selling. Once people get to that point, though, a lot of them put their book on Amazon and expect to become millionaires. What happens? They sell about 10 copies, maybe one or two of those are to people they don’t know. You also need:
- A marketing plan – You need a systematic approach to getting your book before the public. There are millions of books out there. How is someone supposed to find yours?
That’s the purpose of this post. I’ve researched a lot of books on marketing ebooks, and this is the one that caught my attention. I’ll read a few more on the subject before finalizing my plan, but here’s my first review on the subject.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: It’s well written for the most part. The author does his best to make the material entertaining and pretty much succeeds. It’s a fast read and crams a lot of useful information in a short space.
In Chapter 1, Mr. Alvear explains why blogging and social media is a waste of time unless you’re already a successful author. This viewpoint is contrary to most of the advice out there and really drew my attention. I’ve always had a problem with the concept of social media. It’s like: Step 1 – spend a lot of time and effort to build a devoted following; Step 2 – ?????; Step 3 – profit. I think that converting your “followers” to “buyers” isn’t all that easy. The author makes much the same point.
In Chapter 2, he tells you how to come up with a title for your book. Quite frankly, I don’t think this is all that relevant for a fiction author, though he tries to make it so. There are a lot of resources out there with tips on how to come up with a title, and I’m not sure this chapter is worth the price.
In Chapter 3, Mr. Alvear goes on at length about the importance of your cover. The main takeaway: hire a professional?
Chapter 4, in my opinion, is where the book proves its value. He’s all about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Before reading this book, I knew it was something that I needed to research, but I had no ideas other than that. The author provides what seems to me to be great advice on how to do SEO. If it works half as well as the author seems to suggest, it gives me hope that my book can be some kind of success.
In Chapter 5, he illustrates how important choosing the right category for your book is and goes into detail on how to do it.
Be careful about Chapter 6. Mr. Alvear suggests a method that is against Amazon’s TOS.
In Chapter 7, the author tells you how to write a great description of your book that both entices customers and brings the search bots to your book. I found the tips helpful.
Apparently, it’s difficult to use HTML tags to make your book page stand out. He tells you how to add italics and make things bold in Chapter 8. Presumably, this is useful information. I didn’t really get any idea of what he thought you should do with the information, though.
Chapter 9 covered the “look inside” feature, and Chapter 10 covered pricing strategies. I didn’t find either one all that great.
In Chapter 11, Mr. Alvear discusses the importance of reviews. I found the first part of the chapter informative. However, I have some problems with his ethics in the rest of his advice.
Chapters 12 and 13 go into detail about your author page and using your first book to sell future books respectively. I found both okay but not all that earth-shattering.
Chapter 14 is truly interesting. The author did a statistical analysis based on his sales figures versus his Amazon ranking. He’s published a table correlating the two. Mr. Alvear then goes into detail on how and why to use the data. This is a huge value add.
Bottom Line: Should you buy this book? That decision logically is based on whether the increased sales you get from his techniques will outweigh the cost of the book and the time-opportunity cost involved with reading it. My inclination is to say buy it. I can’t say that his methods will increase sales because I haven’t experienced this yet, but they pass the smell test for me.