How do you have a successful non-fiction book launch? I had a popular launch and had to learn things from scratch. Gorilla Mindset, five months after release, is #1 in Men’s Health and consistently makes the top 10 list in the brutally competitive personal development section. Category competitors include Tony Robbins, David Brooks, Dale Carnegie, Tim Ferris, and Steve Harvey.
Write two books about the same or a similar subject.
One you give away, one you sell.
Sound crazy? Good. I like crazy.
Among authors there’s a fatal misconception. This misconception is shared by traditionally published authors as well as independent book authors. Everyone believes, like Field of Dreams, “If you write it, they will come.”
If that were true, the average book would not sell 500 copies in its lifetime. Every book that doesn’t sell well is a shattered dream. A book’s pages contain pieces of the author’s soul. A book not selling well is among the harshest form of rejection we’ll ever experience as humans.
That mindset manifests itself in traditional publishing with authors believing Harper Collins is going to market and promote their books. Authors learn HC and the other Big 6 rarely market a book, and indeed they don’t know how to market a book.
Independent authors, sold on online scam courses about Kindle Money Machines, believe their path to wealth involves writing a book, listing it on Amazon, and collecting royalties forever.
A book launch lasts five to ten years.
How long does a book launch last? If it’s a timeless book, years. As long as I’m in the spotlight, people will find out about Gorilla Mindset and buy it.
Even though I knew more about publishing than most, my experience with Gorilla Mindset was a valuable teacher. I had been planning a vacation for months: “I’m going to take a month off as soon as GM stops selling.”
Experts and gurus had said 10,000 copies sold in a year is a spectacular debut for a first-time independent author. They also explained that most of those sales would come within the first month or two.
Great, I thought. I’ll do the launch, sell 5,000 books, let the other 5,000 trickle in while I finally take some time off. (I haven’t been away from the Internet for longer than 18 hours in over a year.)
My belief was that book sales would cool off, leaving me with no reason to talk about Gorilla Mindset.
What the “experts” don’t know. (Hint: Where’s Waldo?)
What don’t the experts know about modern independent publishing? Look at what’s missing.
Think about your favorite non-fiction author. What’s his or her website?
Sure, authors have social media platforms. Where are their SEO’ed, frequently updated websites?
Most don’t have them, and that’s why their books fade away.
Case study: Ann Coulter.
Ann Coulter has a great website. She has a new column each week or two and each column shows her smiling face on the cover of a book. Love or hate her, Coulter moves books.
In fact, Coulter sells more books than this introvert ever hopes to. Her level of fame is something I wouldn’t want to handle.
(I’ve almost approached what I consider a suitable “peak fame.” Enough people know about me. I can live well off of current levels. While more money is welcome, the increased fame it will take to get me there has its own problems, and more money has diminishing returns for me.)
How people buy books. (The D&P way v. the “expert’s” way.)
According to Jeff Bezos, each click costs you 50% of sales. If you’re selling books, you want one-click ordering.
Now think about how most people market a book.
Maybe they go on TV or get a column or write-up in the NY Times. Cool!
To buy your book, someone now has to go Google your name to find it, go onto Amazon, look at the reviews, and then decide whether to add to cart. While the audience attention from a big TV appearance increases your leads, the conversion rate is awful.
Or maybe an author posts something cool on Facebook. The post gets lots of likes and shares. Great!
The person who reads your post still has to take away time from whatever he’s supposed to be doing at work to find your book. More clicks means less conversions!
Now consider the D&P way. People click onto my website to find a new article. They don’t have to Google me or guess who I am. It’s all right there.
There’s my picture, there’s my book, there’s a big gorilla logo.
If you’re offended by gorillas and plain talk, you’re outta here. If you like what you see, now you’re in the mix.
Every article, blog post, or podcast is an audition. If I bring it, then they make one click to Gorilla Mindset, where they can order using Jeff Bezo’s patented one-click ordering.
Non-fiction authors who do not regularly update their websites are committing book suicide.
The right size for a non-fiction book is 25,000 to 50,000 words. You want people to read your book and people do not read longer books. For big printed books in bookstores, there’s a myth that a book should be 100,000 words.
If people read your 25,000 non-fiction book and want more, write another one! Traditional publishing lacks that flexibility and ability to respond to the free market.
Imagine you have two books on the same topic. That gives you one book and 50-100 blog posts. Post your blogs once to thrice weekly.
Every day I write, more people buy Gorilla Mindset than on days I don’t write.
Seems duh, doesn’t it?
Why doesn’t every non-fiction author have a high-quality website?
Show, don’t tell, people you have a book.
Everyone is sick of that guy who won’t stop saying, “Read more in my book!” Everyone knows you have a book. So what? There are millions of books published each year. Why is yours different? “Because I’m an expert” isn’t a good answer.
Show, don’t tell.
Publish free, self-sustaining articles. Each free article or blog post is stand-alone content. No one has to buy anything to take something away from your article.
If they want extra, show them how to buy your book.
Every article must stand on its own.
This article you’re reading stands on its own. You can take away lessons for your own book launch. You don’t need to buy anything from me to derive value.
I do not list bullet points about hidden knowledge.
You’ve seen this post. If you like how I write, then you’re going to buy my book.
Maybe you fall into the 50% of people who take two years before buying a book from someone.
Hey, I’m not complaining. That’s half of my business and means Gorilla Mindset is going to keep selling for years to come. Take your time!
Case Study: 30 Days of Discipline by Victor Pride
Discipline is a timeless subject.
Victor Pride will sell copies of 30DOD for as long as he writes at Bold & Determined. Even if he quit actively writing, he’d sell copies due to SEO.
Someone hops onto Google to find out, “How to be more disciplined.” They find his site.
Sales come in every day.
Case Study: SJWs Always Lie by Vox Day
Vox Day is a science fiction writer and editor who also writes about current affairs. His recent book SJWs always lie was a smash hit, likely surpassing his expectations.
Vox is a brilliant man, but never got into the marketing side of book launches and doesn’t care for it. When I told him my initial Gorilla Mindset sales he was impressed. I told him SJWs Always Lie would probably sell more. He was skeptical.
SJWs Always Lie was an obvious smash hit to a marketer.
Forward was written by a huge star, Milo Yinappolous.
He got early momentum from friends of his, including yours truly.
He had a built-in audience. I am one of those long-time readers of Vox and writing a review was my pleasure.
Overlapping subject matter. Vox writes about current affairs, and SJWs make headlines by ruining lives. Those who enjoy Vox’s blog (myself included) would enjoy his book.
Timeless (relatively) subject matter. The book will be relevant for at least another three years, maybe longer.
Updated for free (the “write two books, sell one” principle). Until hate mobs stop going after innocent people like Tim Hunt, Vox will have something to write about. As he writes about current affairs, new and old readers will want to read SJWs Always Lie.
How to sell a lot of non-fiction books?
Have your own website. Social media is nice, email lists are great, but your own website is king. You own it. Websites are also SEO’ed in ways an email list is not.
For example, let’s say you send out a killer email campaign making sales. That’s great. It’s also one-and-done.
Now imagine you post that same killer e-mail campaign to your website. You sell directly from the campaign and also sell forever via incoming search traffic.
Write enough content for two books.
One book is sold, one book appears in the form of blog posts. You can write these blog posts before and after you publish them.
Some of the material from Gorilla Mindset already appeared on Danger & Play. Only dedicated haters and stalkers left negative reviews complaining about it. They’d have found something else to complain about. Haters gonna hate.
Long term readers enjoyed seeing all of the content tie together into a cohesive system. Gorilla Mindset also contains material never before discussed on Danger & Play.
Since launching Gorilla Mindset I’ve released nearly enough content for a second book. This content sells copies of Gorilla Mindset. Guys who were on the fence (50% of people take two years to decide to buy a book!) see an article, like it, and buy.
New guys find my site as articles and blog posts are shared on social media or discovered via SEO.
The virtuous cycle repeats itself.
How to sell even more copies of your first book?
Write two more books. Repeat the process, above.
Now you have even more momentum. People who find your new books will then go back to buy your old books.
You’ll notice in addition to mindset that I’ve also been writing about social issues impacting men.
You’ll also notice I’ve been writing more about the publishing industry.
Because I write about what I am interested in, and also because my next two books are going to cover the War Against Men and public relations.
I’m already giving away my next two books!
Some might call that crazy.
The only thing crazy is how many books I sell every day.
When you have momentum in your life, keep moving forward until you physical break down. Many a great man lost it all after taking a break.
On this 12 hour plane flight I’ve written over 10,000 words:
- Forward for a soon to be released book,
- Three blog posts,
- Outline for Last Man Standing.
Why? Because I’m at my peak, and peaks don’t last.
When you have momentum, you keep pushing. Your body will tell you when it’s time to rest.
You keep showing up for me and I’ll keep showing up for you.
Back at #1. The only way to sell more books than I do is to price them at $1 to $3. Even then Gorilla Mindset is only out of my spot for a day or two.