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10 Rules To Maintain Your Author Mindset

The truth is, there is no set of steps I can offer that will guarantee the most effective and productive author mindset. The best approach to developing the right mindset will vary greatly depending on the multiple variables that exist within your life.

However, there are a few thoughts to consider as you begin your author/self-publishing journey. If you get stuck or frustrated along the way, I encourage you to return back to this post.

It is perfectly normal to encounter obstacles and become discourage depending on the size of the obstacle. The key is to develop a strategy to work through those low points. Which is a perfect segue to a list of rules I recommend you to impose upon yourself to increase your odds of success.

Rule #1: Do not expect to become rich off of your books. I’m not saying that you can’t make a great deal of money. I am saying that it will likely take a significant amount of books to start earning legitimate full time job money. Before you get discouraged though it is important that you know that a variety of backend opportunities exist if you can develop an audience of readers who trust you because you consistently provide quality.

Rule #2: Do not expect this process to be quick, especially if you are low on capital to produce your book. As mentioned earlier, this book doesn’t focus a great deal on the writing process but that does not mean it is a fast and easy process. Quite the contrary, writing a 20K to 30K word first draft can take quite a bit of time consider it takes roughly an hour to write 1000 words (assuming you already have your research and outlines complete). In addition, publishing a book typically does not open flood gates of sales. If you’re like me and you start this process without an email list then sales are especially slow at first.

Rule #3: If you are a successful self-publish author then you are officially an entrepreneur. This is great and exciting, but it is a true statement because in addition to writing you’re focused on networking, promoting, branding, design, book keeping, and much more. It is fun and exhilarating but it is not always easy.

Rule #4: Self-publishing your first book needs to be viewed as a learning process. Strive for high quality but continue moving forward so that you can learn from your mistakes and improve your abilities.

Rule #5: Reach out to other authors. Check out the free Facebook groups Authority Self-Publishing or Pat’s First Kindle Book (From Start to Finish). These are both virtual communities of authors and aspiring authors who consistently go above and beyond to help each other out. I am a part of both groups so I hope to see you on there!

Rule#6: Once your words are in writing, made available to the world, and attached to your name then you are married to those words. Don’t publish anything you’ll regret or be ashamed of. Later on in this book we’re going to discuss strategies to identify profitable topics to write about. There is quite a bit of data that could encourage a desperate writer to focus on a topic that is either embarrassing to admit and/or takes advantage of others. There are courses out there that encourage writing about topics that are targeted towards people who need urgent help (i.e. addicts, ill, anxious, etc.). These topics are fine if you can provide helpful information. If you’re just writing non-sense because you think you can profit off of these people then I urge and insist that you reconsider.

Rule #7: Love the topics you write about. If you’re successful you may be asked quite a bit to discuss your book. If you don’t have a genuine interest in the topic you write about then you’re eventually going to lose interest in talking about your books which would cause your marketing strategy to potentially take a hard hit.

Rule #8: Be proud of yourself. I remember when I held my the first book for the the first time I didn’t experience any of the joy that I had anticipated. For some reason my mind immediately minimized the accomplishment because it was a self-published book. I felt like I had bypassed a huge part of the publishing process by publishing it on my own. Therefore, I had a difficult time giving myself credit for the accomplishment of writing a book. Do not let this happen to you. I later came to realize that all the really matters is if my books help people solve a problem and/or experience genuine entertainment. To this day, whenever I find myself discouraged I find that first book that I once took zero pride in and hold on to it to remind myself how great this business can be.

Rule #9: If you are a non-fiction writer then you it is imperative that you are honest about who you are and the experience you have. You do not have to be an expert in everything you write about but you must not claim you are if it isn’t the case. Readers are perfectly content reading information that was gathered and organized by a non-expert author if he or she provides thorough research based reasoning.

Rule #10: You are an author. Whether you’ve published a book or are trying to, if you do not view yourself as an author then you never will be.

Now that you have the ten rules, enjoy the roller coaster that is authorship.

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Step By Step Instructions To Upload To KDP

You are officially ready to being uploading your book to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

This is pivotal point in the process as it represents the conclusion of the book preparation phase and segues into the book promotion and marketing phase. If you’re not a marketing wiz or if you have zero marketing experience do not fret, when I first began I had the marketing skills of an infant.

If you’re open to learning more there are plenty of great books and other resources than can help you take your book promotion and/or marketing skills to the next level. However, lets take a step back and get your book live!

Uploading Your Book To KDP

– Click the rectangle with the plus sign (+) in it over the words “Create new title”.
– I recommend you check the box next to “Enroll this book in KDP Select” because at the time I write this I beleive it is most the most profitable option. However, do your due dilligence, read the instructional content that Amazon provides and decide for yourself.
– Under “Book name” enter your title.
– Under “Subtitle (optional)” enter your subtitle.
– Skip everything else until you arrive at “Publisher”. Enter your full name or your business entity name if you have one. Paste your description that you will make directly into this section.
– Click “Add contributors” and enter the appropriate information. Again, we’ll discuss pen name vs. real name in a little bit so if you’re unsure continue reading then come back to this point.
– Click on the circle next to “This is not a public domain work and I hold the necessary publishing rights.”.
– Click “Add categories” and add your chosen categories.
– Type in your 7 chosen keywords (be sure to separate each of the seven terms with a comma).
– Upload your Book Cover.
– Upload your Book File. I select “Do not enable digital rights management”, however, it may be worth reseraching further to confirm as I am not an expert in this arena.
– Once the book is uploaded you will have the opportunity to review your book as if it were used by a particular device (you’ll have multiple options). If you had it formatted correctly then you should be all set. If not you may want to send any required revisions to whoever formatted your book for you and see if they can make the changes.
– Click “Save and Continue”

See you on the other side you successful author you!

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Four Strategies To Obtain eBook Reviews

For any of you Kindle authors out there, we’ve all experienced the trials and tribulations of obtaining reviews. Enjoy the four strategies below to help get you focused and productive.

Strategy 1 – Personally reach out to friends and family. If you’re like me then this is going to be difficult for you. When I began writing my first book I think the only people that knew about it were my wife and my parents. The vulnerability that comes with sharing your thoughts and ideas in writing can be extremely revealing and for me a bit discomforting. Despite this, I had to work past it because I knew I needed the support. Once you’re ready to begin asking take a personal approach.

Whenever possible, mention to friends and family members that you’ve written a book and it is going live on Amazon very soon. They’ll most likely be surprised if they don’t know about it already. Use this conversation as a means to ask if they’d be willing to leave you an HONEST review. Be careful not just to blurt it at the person but be sure to make the specific request. Do not give yourself an excuse as to why it didn’t seem like the right time. Just ask politely. Here are some examples to help guide your request:

“It is crazy because I always thought the hard part would be actually writing the book, but it turns out the whole marketing side of it is just as difficult if not harder. You know what so helpful?”… “If I got you a copy, would you be willing to leave me an honest review? It truly makes a difference for the success of the book.” 

If they seem interested in the topic of the book then use that to your advantage by saying…

“Yeah to be honest the book is a lot different than I had originally intended.” “If you want to check it out, I’d be happy to provide you a free copy and you could leave an honest review if you’re willing.” 

If they don’t seem interested in any way shape or form then just come right out with it…

“So I know the topic isn’t your thing but it would be a huge help if you could leave an honest review.” 

Obviously, you know the people you’re asking more than I do so if the examples I provided don’t really make sense within the context of your relationships then don’t feel the need to stick to them, they’re just a guide to help get you in the mindset of asking people you know.

The key to remember is that everybody once and awhile needs help and support from people they’re closest to. This is one of those times and you shouldn’t be ashamed of it.

I also want to point out that this strategy is also going to be used to obtain verified reviews as well but the difference is going to be in the exchange of the book. Once your friends have agreed, follow up with an email with an attached pdf. Be sure to include instructions in addition to a sign of appreciation.  Here is an example…

Dear Name, 

Thank you so much for helping me with this. 

I’ve attached a pdf of my book. When you finish just visit insert link here. When you’re writing the review please be sure to state that you’ve received the book for free in exchange for an honest review. 

 

Lastly, if you’re able to leave the review no later than Promotion Day 1 date here that would be a tremendous help. 

 

Thanks again for doing this!

 

Mike” 

 

That is it. Keep it quick but informative. To obtain the link for your book review page just visit your title page and click on  the “write a review” button.

Before moving on to the next strategy I want to you to be aware of the fact that many friends and family members, despite loving and supporting you will most likely not follow through with leaving the review. Do not take this personally. You’re asking them to do you a favor and it can be a bit time consuming as well, so be grateful that they even considered doing it.

Send follow up emails to these people but don’t put yourself in a position where people are avoiding you because you won’t stop hounding them and/or you’re avoiding them because you feel betrayed that they didn’t come through for you.

Just move on to the next strategy.

Strategy #2Target top Amazon reviewers. You may or may not have been aware of this but there are actually ranked reviewers on Amazon that have thousands upon thousand of reviews for products sold through Amazon. The focus of this strategy is determining which of these reviewers cover books then asking them for a review. Follow the steps below to best take advantage of this strategy.

  • Visit http://www.amazon.com/review/top-reviewers.
  • Begin by viewing different profiles.
  • Make note of previously reviewed books and items to develop a sense of what the person prefers to review.
  • Identify contact information underneath profile image (some may not be public).
  • Record this information in a spread sheet under the following columns: Name, Contact Information, Notes.
  • Begin sending personable, quick pitches including how you found them, why this will be a good experience for them (refer to your notes), a free book offer, and a show of gratitude.

When you begin contacting potential reviewers you want to be sure that you’re not just copy-pasting the same message to each reviewer. This is how you’re going to utilize the notes section within your spreadsheet. Additionally, in terms of amount of reviewers to contact, you should assume that only about 10% to 25% of the reviewers will pan out. Determine your goal and act accordingly. If you’re shooting for 20 reviews from Amazon reviewers then try to contact 100 to 200. This will be time consuming but can be worth it.

Strategy #3 – Target bloggers within your niche topic. This strategy is a little bit trickier in that there is no common link I can provide to help you with this. You’re going to have to find bloggers by searching for them yourself. One way to do this is to search each of your chosen keywords. Check out the top ranked items that come up. If any blogs appear then begin reaching out. If YouTube videos come up, subscribe to the channel, and see if you can find the website of the YouTube channel owner. Similar to the strategy above, I recommend you create a spreadsheet with the same columns for each potential blogger you can find.

Once you’re ready to contact somebody be sure to send him or her a quick email that explains that you’ve just or are just about to publish your book. You believe the book would provide tremendous value to the blogger’s audience. Ask him or her if there is any interest in reading a free copy and leaving a review. You can offer to compensate them for writing a post review on his or her website about your book but you must make it explicitly clear that any compensation would only be for the post review and not the review left on Amazon.

If you need to provide an incentive to encourage the blogger to leave a review on Amazon, you could offer to link directly to the post that he/she wrote on their blog within the first couple pages of your book. You could then create a page towards the very beginning of your book that links to blogs that review your book. This serves two purposes. First, the blogger just earned a strong back link to his/her site and you provide further encouragement to any potential reader that is viewing a free sample of your book which is the usually the first 10% of the book.

Just a quick note before moving onto the next strategy. This is also an opportunity to network with people that are targeting the same or a similar market as you. Be sure to keep these connections alive. Look for ways to help them and one day it may payoff (or it may not but at least you’ll have helped somebody).

 

Strategy #4 – Utilize your email list.  Before you get upset with me and call me out on the fact that I have stated multiple times that an email list is not required, just hear me out. If you included a link to a lead magnet within your book you may end up developing a list. It will probably be small but it will be a list nonetheless. As readers subscribe to your list you can offer some sort of email sequence that incentivizes leaving a review on Amazon.

For example, a new subscriber could automatically receive an email that if he or she were to leave an honest review on Amazon and send the screen shot via email then he or she would be entered into a contest to win something. If you’re a non-fiction writer that is focused on helping a person solve a problem you could offer a 30 minute phone consult. If you’re a fiction writer then you could offer to include that person as a character in your next book. Be creative and interact with your newly found list. Again, it may not be a huge list but this can actually work to your advantage.

An author with a list of 10,000 readers is not going to be able to have as close a relationship with the audience as an author with a list of 50 readers. This is your opportunity to truly engage with people that have read your book. Ask them for feedback. Welcome their input. Turn them into raving fans that read everything you publish in the future (and leave a review each time).

 

Hopefully at this point you have enough information to begin the process of trying to accumulate reviews for your book. To be clear, these reviews can occur at any point while your book is live but the key is you want these reviews to be posted no later than the promotional period. There are two reasons for this. First, more reviews encourages more downloads and second, some sites that were included in the list to help you advertise your book promotion require a minimum amount of reviews.

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Choosing Your eBook Categories

Choosing your categories is another factor that can play a significant role in your overall ranking. To clarify, you have two subcategories that you can pick when you go live with your book. These categories, depending on which categories you pick, you can help you boost your initial book downloads during your promotion period (which we will strategize later on).

To best explain the strategy I recommend you take when choosing your categories it is easier to understand if we focus on one category at a time.

Category #1 – This should be your niche category. This priority of this category is that you rank well within it. The goal here is to drive enough downloads to this book during the promotion period that you make it to the top 3 in “Hot New Releases”. A secondary goal, which is a bit more ambitious, is that you make it to #1 within the Free downloads (during your promotion period) for this particular category.

This category is going to require a bit more time to identify because you want to find one that aligns to your book topic but is one that has minimal competition as shown by low review counts among books within the same category. If you can find a category that contains books that meet this criteria while still maintaining decent overall rankings then you’ve found a niche with great potential.

More specifically, if the top three books have an Amazon Best Sellers Rank anywhere from 1 to 50,000 and the review counts are 30 or below then you have found your first category. If you can’t find a category that meets that criteria then you want to strive for a category closely related to your book that has as close to that criteria as possible.

If you were curious about which number should hold a priority for category then I would recommend it be the review counts among your competition. Once you find a suitable category select it.

Category #2 – First and foremost, if you find a second category that meets the criteria of top three books that each contain an Amazon Best Sellers Rank anywhere from 1 to 50,000 while the review counts are 30 or below then go with that one. The reason why I designate a different focus for the second category is because it is often extremely difficult to find these niche categories and depending on the topic of your book, potentially not possible.

If you cannot find the criteria from Category #1 a second time then you want to view this category as your experimental volume category. Your focus here is finding a category that the top six or more books in the 1 to 50,000 Amazon Best Seller Rank (ABSR) range. Ideally, if you can find a category with these numbers with a low amount of competition then you’re in good shape. In this case, when I say low amount of competition I’m saying that the amount of books sold within this category is lowest you can find while keeping the Amazon Best Seller Rank criteria as the priority. You find this number out by following the steps below (similar steps also available in Chapter 3):

– Visit Amazon.com.
– Click “Shop by Department”.
– Select “Books & Audible”.
– Click on “Kindle eBooks”
– Towards the left is a column of categories. Select one that is applicable to you.
– Within the category you selected are subcategories with small gray numbers to the right. This number represents the amount of books available within that particular subcategory.

The lower this number while maintaining the top 6 books ABSR range of 1 to 50,000 (or as close to it as possible) criteria the better.