Social Media Experiments – Google+

As I have said this is a blog to show you what I am doing. What is working and what isn’t.  I have a strategy when it comes to my social media. I want to build a following of people that interact with me every day and like my content. In time these people will become true fans and purchase what I produce.

Building a Following

The first thing you have to do to be successful is to get your name out there.If people don’t know who you are they wont see your posts. If they don’t see your posts you wont get followers.  I have to basic strategies. The first is to follow people with relevant interests. The second is to become active in communities. Finally actively engage with people that have large followings and relevant interests.

How to find people to follow

circleOn Google+ you can only follow a total of 5000 people. After that you are blocked. Unless you have a similar amount of followers.  So what I do is I do a Google search for a term that is close to who I am followed by circle. People share circles on Google+ and you can just click on their entire circle and add them.

There is a limit to the number of people you can add. Additionally when I hit 5000 I want to be able to add new people. So I put all of these people in a group called “Sub 5000″ so I can just remove them when I am done.

I make sure to move active people that engage with me into other circles so that I don’t lose a fan or someone that I am interested in.


Find active communities

This is just a basic search. Go to communities and find writing ones in your genera. You can also just find generic writing communities. The key to success and gaining followers is activity. You have to be active. If you are not commenting on peoples posts with relevant comments you are wasting your time. You have to build a relationship of trust with these groups. In time they will view you as an authority on the subject and seek you out. Well that is my hope anyway.


Engage actively with big names

Find someone with a large following. Then be their friend. When they do blog posts, make sure you are posting on Google+ about it. Mention them by name in those posts and thank them for something in the article. Engage in a conversation about something that they have talked about.

I have found that this takes the most time but has given me the largest return.


Some Stats and other Junk

I started on Google+ just 18 days ago. In that time I have gained 385 followers. Or as Google calls it, I am in 385 peoples circles. Below is a graph of my growth.

Google +


In the future I will go over what I have successful in getting +’s and reshares. I will also show you what hasn’t worked for me.

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Blogging by the Numbers

How SEO will get you there.
I made this blog to share with you what has a worked and not worked to sell books and find new readers. It is to be the place that people go to learn about me and hopefully learn from my mistakes. So the only way to know if it is successful or not is to track stats. Those being anything from visits to book sales. Also how well I am doing in the social media sphere. I plan on being as transparent as I can. Without that you wont know what worked.

I am tracking what people call Key Performance Indicators or KPI’s. Those are things like page visits, followers, interactions, etc. Each month on the first I plan to post all my KPI’s and how well I am doing. Which idea’s for the month brought the most visits to my site and interactions in social media. I will also document how my SEO plan is going or not going. These stats will be posted on the first of every month.

Right now I am tracking how many fans I have on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pintrest. Additionally I am tracking Page visits and performance of individual blog posts.

Social Media 

My basic idea is that if I get followers on social media then those will turn into some of my 1000 true fans. Those that will consume the original content I provide. Be that a book, photo or blog post. They are the core I am looking for. How I go about getting them will differ between each site and my experiments. Over the next few weeks I will outline my plans for each social site, and let you know what has worked and what hasn’t worked.

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Why I am Self Publishing


Over on Terribleminds Chuck Wendig has done an outstanding post on self publishing called “25 steps to being a self published author“. If you haven’t read it go read it now. It is and will be the definitive guide out there. Follow those 25 steps and you can’t go wrong. I wanted to talk about one step here.

In Step 4 “Adjust Your Mindset, Part III: Bitterness Does Not Become You” he says

If part of your publishing plan includes, “Go find a forum on the Internet to bitch about traditional publishing,” you’ve already @%#%$ed up. And you’ve already outed yourself as an amateur hour bush league @&^hole who isn’t publishing his own work because it’s the right choice but is doing it instead because you’re pissy about perceived oppression.
Chuck Wendig

He couldn’t be more right. He goes on to talk about how you need to give and not be a drain. This is what my blog is about.

Traditional Publishing

In my blog I will be talking about traditional publishing. How I feel that it and many other forms of old school content distribution is coming to the end of days. I feel that in time ebooks will overcome traditional dead tree printing. There will always be a market for pressed tree pulp with words written on them. I repeat there will always be a market for traditional publishing. It will get smaller and smaller. It will adapt and it will not die. It will always be a viable way to get our books into peoples hands. Anything bad I say about it in the future remember my words writen here. Please come back to this post and read it. because if you give me crap about it in the future I will just link you to this post. I’m not being oppressed, I’m choosing a different path. Maybe, just maybe I am also trying to entertain. I am a writer after all.

If a traditional publishing house approached me and offered me a contract I would take it. I would take it in a heart beat and I would love every minute of it. The idea of writing query letters instead of blog posts. Or finding an agent instead of pushing my brand in social media turns my stomach. I can’t think of a greater waste of time than trying to win the lottery of slush pile roulette.

Market Yourself

You will always have to market yourself. At not time during your author ride will the marketing just get done for you. Even your J.K’s and Kings had to talk to fans and put in their time at some point. You will too. So any time you spend doing that will not be lost. It will not be wasted. But writing and sending a hundred query letters and never getting your treasure published. That my friends is the definition of wasted time. I’m not willing to play that game. I want to be the master of my fate. I want to have complete control. It is a calculated plan and I haven’t jumped into the self publishing world lightly.

It is also to hone my skills at SEO/social media. It is to test and experiment with new ideas. To see what works and what doesn’t. My end goal is not to give up my day job. My goal is to learn and be a better person at the end of it. Having someone else at the helm takes that away from me.

So get in hold on and shut up. I have enough room for all of you. But this is a ride with self publishing at the end. Not because I think the old guard is going to die. It wont. It will change. It will adapt. They have to much money on the line not too. It is just not my path. I have a different white whale to slay and I need a good Queequeg!


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8 Hour Challenge and My First Published Work

brony survival guide

Last week Joe Konrath talked about a few short books that he wrote and published. The amazing thing is he did them to challenge himself and to prove to the publishing industry that you can do it for less and still be successful. The question is how successful. Well he is only making 10 bucks a month per book.  With four books at 10 bucks that is 40 a month or 480 a year. Not to bad for four hours of work. Where else can you make 120 an hour?

In his blog about this he callanged his readers to attempt to replicate his success. By writing, editing, and publishing a book all under 8 hours. I took this challenge to heart and published my first work. I wouldn’t call it a book. Although Amazon does. It is called “The Brony Apocalypses Survival Guide”. I will be posting my efforts to promote it and what has been successful and what hasn’t been. So far 8 hours after publishing I have sold Zero copies. So it is a easy mark to beat over the next week.

Now about my book.

Title: The Brony Apocalypse Survival guide

Elevator Pitch: Real My Little Ponies have decided to use their powers of cute to destroy our world. A guide to living in this new world.

6 Sentence Pitch: A lover of the “Our Little Pony’s” and lifelong theoretical physicist has opened a portal to the Pony’s world. Through this portal the Ponies have come. The creatures have decided to make this world theirs and that mankind is the only stumbling block to stop them. Here is the survival guide for every new recruit into the Brony Apocalypse Resistance Force or B.A.R.F. Contained in this volume are the origins, myths and truth about our new pony overlords. In this parody you will also find how to kill them and win our world back.

Go check it out if you want. Leave me a review if you read it.

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How I’m Going to Make Money Giving My Book Away

*Content warning. This is LONG and a little bit of a soap box for me.
TLDR: Give your book away. You will get fans and fans means money.

book_wallIf there is one thing I have learned in my few short years about marketing and great products it is this. Good products sell and crappy products don’t. The Iphone and Ipod are amazing products. When they came out they were ahead of the curve, they were cool and they gained amazing loyalty behind the products. Since then other companies have been playing catch up. No matter how much I bash the Apple fan boys out there, I have to admit I am jealous of Apple. They did it right. They knew how to make an amazing product that appealed to the masses. Looking at the SEO of one of the sites I help administer yesterday, I saw that 79% of the visitors came to the site on an apple product. Bravo Apple, Bravo.

So the number one way I am going to make money with my book is to write an amazingly killer book. It is going to have a great cover, it is going to be well edited by a professional editor, and it is going to be properly formatted. So when you read it your eyes don’t bleed from stress. Instead they will be caressed into a joyful bliss. But above all, it had better be a book that people will want to read. None of the rest matters if I accomplish that. If the book is good then people will give me money. Everything else is really just a gimmick to get people to talk about it and become followers of the a new brand. The brand of ME!

So my Business Plan is as follows:

1. Write and self publish the best book I can. Making it as perfect as I can.
2. Making that book as accessible as possible.
3. Make Money.

Making that book as accessible as possible.

I’m going to skip number 1 for now and focus on number 2. Making that book as accessible as possible and why that is the key to number 3.

The RIAA, Major Gaming Companies, and the big 5 in Publishing want to tell you that Pirating is killing their industries. That for every person that downloads a copy of their product or intellectual property a fairy loses it’s wings. Oh wait That can’t be right.. A company executive get one less Mercedes in their Christmas bonus. Crap… I think I still have that wrong. They lose a sale. (Nailed it.)

  • RIAA’s Own website talking about the scope of the problem. Link
  • Major Gaming Site talking about how piracy is KILLING the industry. Link
  • Major news sites report on ebook piracy and the evil that it is. Link and Link

I call BS on the whole thing. Online piracy in music, games and books doesn’t hurt them in any way. In now way is it a lost sale. People who pirate don’t sit in their basements contemplating buying vs pirating. They get access to the content they want the easiest way they can. At no time was it a sale to lose. It was always a no sale. You can’t lose something that you didn’t have. I’m not going to get into if this is theft or not. I am just talking if this is a lost sale. It isn’t.

Where they lose a sale is when someone wants their product, would pay for their product, yet can’t buy it because the IP holder has made it easier to steal then to buy. They go about putting DRM in the products that make it less desirable then the pirated versions. Or in some cases making the product just plain unavailable in a simple to access format.

HBO’s Game of Throne’s a perfect example. Their are many people that don’t want to buy a major cable package just so they can get HBO, in order to watch a single show. It is not easily accessible so they pirate it. Making it the number one all time pirated television show. But the question is: has this hurt HBO? Well, HBO’s own executive team doesn’t think so. They think just the opposite. They feel it has been free advertising for the show and for HBO as a company. (CEO says pirating is better then an emmy).

I feel the same way. Instead of worring about pirates and free copies of my books floating around the interweb. I will instead be encouraging it. Because for ever person that reads my book and tells a friend saves me money on marketing. Gaining a fan will do more for book sales then any PPC campaign, SEO strataigy, social media blitz, bookstore/library visit, or guest blogger article. Instead I can focus on writing. Let my fans be my marketing and sales team. Let them be the ones that tell their friends and family about it.

Below is a graph about how people will be getting access to my book. Each dot represents a person and the lines are formed by relationships. The white ones are people that “pirate” my book. Or gain it through means I didn’t directly put into place. The Red dots are people that download the book from places that I provide it for free and the black ones are people that pay me for my book.



So how am I making sales is the big question. Its all about accessibility. You have a group of people that will be happy to use a torrent to get their books. Those are your white dots. You will have a group that will be very happy to download the book from my site. Those people are my marketers and my salesmen. They are also the people that are technically capable to figuring out how to read that book in their eReader of choice from a download. Those are the red dots. The black dots are the people that will pay to download it from amazon at a cost for the ease of having it put directly in their kindle library. They are also the people that feel you should pay for what you like, so you can continue to get those products. My bet is that the black group will be big enough to make enough money to take my wife on a date.

If I can get 1000 of the red dots that branch directly off of me, then the people that are paying for it should be enough to be successful. 1000 true fans that love what I do and want to be a part of it. Can you imagine with you could do with a 1000 marketers working for you? Telling everyone they know about how amazing of a find you are. How their lives are better because they found out about you. But more then that think of how much money their friends will have.  The average Facebook user has anywhere between 141 and  245 friends. So if everyone of your 1000 true fans share something about your book twice it will be seen 282,000 and 490,000 times. If 3.0% of them buy your book that’s 14,700 sales. A successful book by any standard.

So stop worrying about people stealing your book. Give it away for free and try to get a true following. Then you are bound to make money.




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The First Rules of Write Club


I would say that the fist step to getting your book published is to finish your freaking book. Nothing I will do on this site, no piece of advice will I give, and no amount of hand holding will
matter if you don’t have a finished story. It doesn’t matter how crappy it is or how much you are in love with it. Just get it done. Get off your couch, stop watching Down Town Abby and write. Nothing else matters if you want to publish your book.

If you are just happy messing around at Starbucks. Looking cool and hanging out with the other no body writers. Then fine, you already have your reward. As for me and my inner writing fiend. We want to get a book out there in the wild. Being read and loved by perfectly wonderful strangers. So stop reading this and go write.

You still here? Fine here are the First Rules of Write Club.

1. The First Rule of Write Club is …. WRITE — Get off your lazy butt and go write. NOW! Go do it. Writting is hard. Finishing a book is even harder. It most likely will be the hardest thing you will ever do. I said hardest not most painful. I ran my fingers through a pizza dough roller. It isn’t the most painful thing you will do, trust me on that. Very few people that set out to write a book finish it. WHY? Because it is hard. Dang Hard. Take it from me. I am right there. Not finishing my first book. Not writing on a Wednesday night because Survivor is on.

2. The Second Rule of Write Club is … WRITE — Are you still here? Stop reading right now and go write 100 words. I don’t care what they are about. Just go do it. You have to write to get better. You have to write to finish your manuscript. It will suck, don’t stop to edit it, just write. Editing is for later. When you don’t feel like writing, then go write. If you still don’t feel like writing then go read a book about writing, or listen to a podcast. I would suggest Stephen King’s book On Writing or listen to the Writing Excuses podcast.

3. The Third Rule to Write Club is … There are not other rules. Now go write. Well fine. There are other rules. But they don’t matter unless you get your first draft done. So go do that. Then we can have a chat about rule #3.

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You have to start somewhere

1000 FansYou always have to start somewhere. Doesn’t matter if your working on a book or a blog. So
here we are at the beginning. It is always appropriate to start at the beginning but sometimes things work out better in the middle. This is not one of those times.

The purpose of this blog is to take you along with me on my journey of self publishing. I want you to see my step by step attempts to make this writing thing work out. You’re going to see me fail and succeed. But more then that you will see how I get their.

I have some theories and ideas that I will be trying out and those will show up in addittional blog posts. All of these will be to answer one question. “Can you make money as an author, by giving your book away for free?” I believe the answer is YES!

So how are we going to do this? I think that there are two factors to be successful at this endeavor. The first is the 1000 true fans theory and the other is the Oprah effect. I will get into each in later posts. But for now in a nut shell I will be attempting to garner 1000 fans that will buy anything and everything I create. Fans that will respond with positive comments on my content anywhere it is formed and published on the web. Who will come to my defense from every troll that sets out to hide under my bridge.

After I have 1000 true fans I will use the Oprah Effect to get those people to buy my book. You might be saying, “Jeremy, that isn’t giving your book away for free. That is getting 1000 people to BUY it.” You would be right. But those 1000 people don’t need to buy it. They will be able to get it here on my website, on a torrent site, or a hundred other ways. My goal is to get them to want to buy it. That they want to support me as an author. Then we can make money on anything we want… And then we can rule the world… Or something

Stay tuned for additional incite and to watch me fail at ever step.


Additional Reading:

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