*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.
If 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.