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GOLD! How to Use Book Marketing to Grow Your Business (a Less Common But Powerful Strategy)

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As a businessperson, you might think that writing books is for artists or those “do what you love” daydreamers fooling themselves they can turn their little hobby into a business.

And nothing could be further from the truth.

Have you ever heard about Keller Williams Realty? They’re one of the largest real estate companies in the world with over $350 billion in sales volume. Do you know what kickstarted their meteoric growth?

A book.

Gary Keller, co-owner of the company, shares in his book The One Thing how it happened:

In 2001, I called a meeting of our key executive team. As fast as we were growing, we were still not acknowledged by the very top people in our industry. I challenged our group to brainstorm 100 ways to turn this situation around. It took us all day to come up with the list. The next morning, we narrowed the list down to ten ideas, and from there we chose just one big idea. The one that we decided on was that I would write a book on how to become an elite performer in our industry. It worked. Eight years later that one book had not only become a national bestseller, but also had morphed into a series of books with total sales of over a million copies. In an industry of about a million people, one thing changed our image forever.

We aren’t talking about a guy who wrote a book and then launched a business like so many fake gurus do. We’re talking about a professional who realized that the best way to promote his existing business was to share his knowledge in a book—and it worked so incredibly well for him it was one of his best business decisions.

Can what Gary Keller did help you grow your own business? You bet.

I’ve been in the self-publishing industry since August 2014 (I have a 61-page thread on the inside) and generated through book sales over two millions in revenue. I like to think I know a little about independent book publishing. I decided to offer some advice to help you explore another potential, relatively uncrowded marketing channel. Let’s break it into five questions you might ask to figure out if it’s a viable strategy for you (for readability, each question in a separate post).
 

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How Can a Book Help Me Grow My Business?

As an independent author, my books are my business—the majority of my income comes from book royalties from about 100 published titles (this includes short, mid-length and long non-fiction books, short stories, novels, translations, compilations, etc. in various formats).

I’m saying that to emphasize that you’re VERY unlikely to make millions in royalties from just a single book. But that’s not how you, an entrepreneur running a non-book business, should approach self-publishing. Book royalties alone aren’t worth it. For you, the biggest wins come down to:
  • Build authority in your niche—this can be a hugely valuable asset, particularly if you’re working with more affluent clients who want to work with the best of the best. A professionally-published book is a great way to demonstrate your expertise and position yourself as a thought leader. You may also get press mentions and podcast interview invitations which will further cement your expert status.
  • Get paid speaking gigs and consulting contracts—people who read your book might be interested in hiring you as a consultant or public speaker. I regularly receive offers to speak at virtual events (I always decline as I’m not into that but the opportunities are there) and participate in various joint promos. I made over $1000 from a recent one with perhaps 10 minutes of work and am participating in a similar one this month.
  • Get a new source of high-quality leads—having your potential clients read your book first can help you establish a relationship without lifting a finger (other than writing your book in the first place of course). Then they come to you instead of you coming to them—and they already trust you. Who doesn’t like an easy sale?
  • Give a high-value gift for your new clients—make your new clients more likely to stay with you by giving them a free copy of your book. This serves the function of what Gary Halbert called “a stick letter”—a letter sent after a client bought something from you, intended to reassure them of their decision and stop refunds or in this case, stop doing business with you.
  • Get high-quality employees—that’s what Gary Keller accomplished with his book, attracting A-players who read his book and used his strategies as they grew his own company.
  • Engage in corporate responsibility and improve your image—depending on your industry, you can donate a few boxes of your book to libraries, schools, prisons, non-profits, etc. It’s an inexpensive way to promote your business, do some good, and maybe even change some lives.
 

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How Do I Write a Book? I Can Barely Write a Post on This Forum

Great writing is simple writing. Great writing feels like a conversation, a casual chat with a friend. If you can do that, you can write a book people will enjoy reading.

The thing about non-fiction books is that, first and foremost, people read them to learn something. A great writing style helps but ultimately it comes down to the quality of offered information. If you know your stuff and share your knowledge with simple words, your book will help people. There’s no need to use difficult vocabulary, creative metaphors, etc.

Here are some ways in which you can write your book more easily:
  • Have someone interview you, asking the most common questions your clients ask you and giving advice how to deal with the most common challenges or your general knowledge about the industry.
  • Have someone write it for you—hire a ghostwriter or maybe even ask one of your employees who writes well and could use a bonus check.
  • Write down the most important lessons you’ve learned without worrying about your style; it’s just a brain dump. Then depending on how rough your writing is, hire a writer or an editor to organize your thoughts into paragraphs and chapters.
  • Turn your existing content into a book. Perhaps you already have a blog, a manual for your employees, or standard operating procedures you can expand on to create a book.
  • Read a few books written by people in your industry and write your critique and/or expand on topics they failed to address properly. You can also read critical reviews on Amazon to figure out what readers didn’t like and then write your own book based on this feedback.
  • Interview people in your industry and write a book that’s a compilation of the best practices, tips, etc.—you might develop some new relationships and help others grow their businesses, too.
  • Write a short book addressing a very specific problem—there’s no need to write about everything you know. Focus on a single problem many people struggle with and aim to solve it with your book. Self-publishing allows you to choose how long your book will be—there are no requirements that traditional publishers impose on their authors. I’d try to write at the very least 15,000 words, though (that’s roughly 50-75 pages depending on the format).
  • Publish a low-content book—in some industries nice pictures are worth much more than words. For example, if you run a small boutique hotel or a travel website about a specific destination, you can publish a book with pictures of local attractions. If you run a company that helps with technical issues, then maybe you can write a DIY instruction manual with step-by-step pictures, charts, etc. Or maybe you can even design your own calendar with a useful piece of advice for every day of the year.
 

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How Do I Even Self-Publish a Book?

The easiest way to publish a book is through Amazon KDP, the biggest platform for independent authors. You sign up at Self Publishing | Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, provide a few details and you’re ready to go. There are countless freelancers who will turn your Word document into a properly-formatted ebook and it's all relatively easy.

Unless you decide to publish a hardcover book (that requires publishing it via www.ingramspark.com) you don’t even need to apply for ISBN as Amazon can provide you with a free ISBN for your paperback (no ISBN is necessary for a Kindle version).

If you need an ISBN because you want to have a nice hardback version of your book, you’ll have to buy it through www.myidentifiers.com (that’s for those who are US-based, other countries have different suppliers and in some countries ISBNs are even free).

If you decide to publish your book as an audiobook, too (and you should), then you also need to sign up at www.acx.com, an Amazon-owned company, that distributes audiobooks to all major platforms including Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play. That’s where you can also hire a voiceover artist who's knowledgeable about the ACX submission requirements.

If you want to have the widest reach possible, you should also publish your book on iTunes, Barnes&Noble and Kobo. You can also do that through www.draft2digital.com which takes a small cut in exchange for easier distribution to multiple platforms at once. Google Play is another important player. You can sign up here: Google Play Books Partner Center

If distributing to several platforms sounds too difficult, just ignore it for now. Amazon will be responsible for 90%+ of your sales anyway and if you’re mostly interested in ordering author copies and distributing them yourself, it’s not worth your time to worry about other distributors.

What about cover design? You can find a professional designer on many freelancer platforms. My current favorite is www.Reedsy.com, a marketplace where you can hire freelancers for every single step of working on your book (ghostwriters, editors, designers, marketers, publicists, and people who will help you get book reviews).
 

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How Do I Promote My Book?

My favorite strategy for my own self-publishing business relies on heavy discounting and giving away as many advance reader copies as I can. This strategy is even more effective for entrepreneurs because you don’t focus on book royalties but on visibility and all the new leads and other opportunities a book can generate for your business.

Generally speaking, my strategy is as follows:

1. Take care of the basics: write a good book answering common questions, come up with a good title, get a nice cover and a nice book description, choose relevant book categories. If you need feedback on your title, cover, or book description, use www.pickfu.com. Strive to make your book as professional as possible. Most self-published books fail because their authors design covers themselves (a horrible mistake), because they write about something nobody cares about, or because they pay too little attention to quality. Think of it like investing because that’s what you’re doing: a book can become one of your most valuable assets.

2. Find early reviewers. Before you publish your book, find at least 50 people who will read it before its publication date and who promise to leave a review the day it goes live. Expect that maybe 20% of them will leave a review, so it's better to aim to get at least 100 readers. This is a CRUCIAL step to stand out in the sea of self-published books that have no reviews, meaning no social proof, meaning nobody ever reading them.

Ask people for honest reviews (anything else is unethical and may get you banned on Amazon) and avoid asking people you know well since Amazon tracks and removes biased reviews written by family and friends.

One site where you can find early reviewers is www.librarything.com through their Member Giveaways program. You can also find potential reviewers on social media, ask your clients, reach out to bloggers and other influencers in your industry, drive paid traffic to an opt-in page with your book or mention your book in your email signature (“I’m publishing a book titled X on [date]. It’s about Y. Let me know if you’d like a free review copy”).

3. Publish your book and temporarily sell it for $0.99. This is the lowest price you can set on Amazon and the best price to make promoting your book much, much simpler.

Our primary aim with this strategy is to make your book appear in your chosen categories on the bestseller lists. We also want your book to show up on product pages of similar books under “Customers who read this book also read”. This makes your book visible on Amazon and helps you get steady organic sales.

It doesn’t matter how cheap your book is: a sale is a sale, and each sale makes you more likely to appear on bestseller lists, “also-read” lists and in Amazon personalized recommendations.

I aim to get at least 500-1000 sales the first week. This helps get initial traction and visibility. For the purpose of gaining authority and expert status, when your book shows up in top3 in your chosen category (even if it’s a small one) and has at least 20 positive reviews, you’ve accomplished your goal—you’re a published author with a nice book product page on Amazon that reaffirms your status. If you want, you can increase your price to $2.99, $3.99, or $4.99 later (I wouldn’t go higher given you want to maximize visibility).

How do you get 500-1000 sales? I use the following tools:
You can also consider displaying ads on websites your potential readers visit regularly, promoting your book with Facebook Ads or Google AdWords, and maybe even doing some local marketing if you’re known in your community. Note that your own orders (those you place through your KDP dashboard) don’t count toward improving the rankings of your book.
 

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Can You Show Me Some Real-World Examples?

To answer this question I browsed through the non-fiction bestseller lists on Amazon. Note that it took me maybe twenty minutes to find these examples, meaning that it’s already a proven strategy and that I wasn’t particularly picky just to prove my point:

1. The B Corp Handbook by Ryan Honeyman and Tiffany Jana—a book about using business as a source for good, aimed mostly at CEOs. No average Joe is going to read this book; it’s a beautiful source of pre-qualified leads and an excellent way to cement expert status. I checked Ryan’s bio and it led me to his company LIFT Economy offering corporate consulting for clients like Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s.

2. YouTube Secrets by Sean Cannell and Benji Travis—Sean offers courses and runs live and online events for video influencers at https://www.seancannell.com/. What’s interesting is that he wrote a book about something that’s actually best explained via video, yet it’s still very popular and probably generates a ton of leads.

3. The Tax and Legal Playbook by Mark J. Kohler—Mark is a partner in a law firm (www.kkoslawyers.com) and a CPA firm (www.ke-cpas.com). Would you rather hire him, a published author with several bestselling books, or a random CPA or lawyer?

4. Career Rehab by Kanika Tolver—Kanika is the CEO and Founder of Career Rehab that focuses on assisting career transformations for students, professionals and retirees. She’s also a public speaker, coach and consultant. Is a student looking for solid career advice more likely to trust a published author or a random counselor at their college?

5. Curly Girl by Lorraine Massey and Michele Bender—I absolutely love this example because it shows how versatile book marketing is. Curly Girl is an extremely successful book for women with curly hair, written by the founder of several curly salons in New York City, DevaChan, and online store DevaCurl. Now, if you have curly hair and live in NYC, which salon would you visit if you read and enjoyed Lorraine's book? If you weren’t from NYC but wanted hair products for your curly hair, where would you get them online?
 

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If you have any questions, feel free to ask them.
 

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If you have any questions, feel free to ask them.

Very nice writeup. So have you double-downed on the writing and authorship or have jumped more on the course creation trend?

You already know a lot but might be worth it to follow gumroad's creator https://twitter.com/shl

and teachable's https://twitter.com/ankurnagpal

as they give info on trends. They just mention success anonymized, like Teachable had a creator hit over $1.6+ million in February, probably same one that mentioned hitting over $10 million inside 2 years.
 

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Great thread @MTF

I wrote a book for the same reason KW Realty did - to be seen as an authority in the industry.

I self-published it on Amazon, but I was considering my next book to go the traditional publishing route -- despite the low royalty % at least it could potentially have a larger distribution reach.

What do you recommend?
 

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There's insane value in your posts. Thanks a lot for taking the time to share them. I might post a few questions later on.
 

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Very nice writeup. So have you double-downed on the writing and authorship or have jumped more on the course creation trend?

Thanks.

No, I'm good at writing books and that's my main focus. Online courses are too different, particularly when it comes to marketing.

Great thread @MTF

I wrote a book for the same reason KW Realty did - to be seen as an authority in the industry.

I self-published it on Amazon, but I was considering my next book to go the traditional publishing route -- despite the low royalty % at least it could potentially have a larger distribution reach.

What do you recommend?

I wouldn't go with a traditional publisher because they won't promote you much, if at all, unless you already have a big following. And they might not even accept you if you aren't a well-known author.

As for distribution, you can reach all the most important channels with self-publishing. Yes, you won't be able to reach traditional bookstores but IMO it's not that big of a deal considering that Amazon is quickly becoming the only place to go to buy books.

I signed foreign-language deals with three different traditional publishing houses in China and Korea and so far haven't seen anything but my advance. I'm pretty sure they've already moved on to someone else and never gave my book a chance, despite me offering help promoting the books.

Ultimately, nobody is going to care about your book as much as you—and that applies particularly to marketing it. An average traditional publisher releases way too many books to have time and resources to focus on all but a handful of them (written by someone with a huge and hungry audience already so that they don't have to do much work).

There's insane value in your posts. Thanks a lot for taking the time to share them. I might post a few questions later on.

Thanks.
 

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I deliberately skipped a way to get even more leads to your business but I think I should have mentioned it anyway (with a caveat) as it might be useful to some of you...

Namely, you can offer your book for free on Amazon.

It's not available from your dashboard as there you can only set a free promo for a few days if you're enrolled in Amazon's KDP Select exclusivity program. Otherwise, the lowest price is $0.99.

To make your book available for free on Amazon permanently, you need to distribute it on a few platforms (like iTunes, Google Play, or B&N), set its price to $0 there (other platforms allow it), and then email Amazon and tell them to price match it. Voila, your book is now permanently available for $0.

What's so great about it? Tons of organic traffic. It's extremely easy and cheap to generate a few thousand downloads of your book (with the same tools I've already mentioned) and climb the free bestseller charts (there are separate lists for free books - example for free non-fiction books here).

So what's the caveat? Possible low-quality leads since free stuff often attracts freeloaders.

BUT this depends on your niche.

In general niches like self-help, dieting, fitness, basic business advice, etc. you'll probably get a lot of tire kickers and/or people from poor countries who just can't afford to buy anything. But in more specific niches that no average Joe is interested in you can possibly get many high-quality leads—and because it's so easy to get into top3 in the free categories, maybe even more than if you were to sell your book for $0.99 and had to compete with other paid titles.

Something to consider if you're looking for another consistent, often semi-passive source of leads (I rarely promote my free books myself, it's mostly organic traffic and Amazon promos).

Here's a screenshot of my free downloads for the past month:

32208

That's about 500 downloads a day on an average day and up to 24,000 on an epic day. To be clear, this is mostly international traffic (from various free promos to which I was invited by Amazon, particularly in India) but free downloads from Amazon.com alone are pretty good, too:

32210

That's on average still about 100 downloads a day and up to 1,000 on a big day.

How much do you pay to get a few thousand people download a free resource on your website? Of course, this is different because you don't get their emails like you do through an opt-in page but you can put in your Kindle book links to your website and at least some of them will end up visiting it.
 

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I wouldn't go with a traditional publisher because they won't promote you much, if at all, unless you already have a big following. And they might not even accept you if you aren't a well-known author.

As for distribution, you can reach all the most important channels with self-publishing. Yes, you won't be able to reach traditional bookstores but IMO it's not that big of a deal considering that Amazon is quickly becoming the only place to go to buy books.
What exactly is IngramSpark? Are they a legit publishing company?
 

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What exactly is IngramSpark? Are they a legit publishing company?

They're as legit as they come. If you want the widest reach possible for your hardcover (for paperback, Amazon KDP is IMO sufficient in most cases), you go with them. They have partnerships with over 40,000 independent bookstores, chain stores, universities, libraries, and of course online stores (including Amazon—a hardcover published through IngramSpark is available for purchase on Amazon). Their print quality and customer service is top-notch.

IngramSpark is actually a business unit of a much larger operation, Lightning Source, which offers print-on-demand services. Think of Lightning Source (main company that offers print on demand) and IngramSpark (a solution specifically for independent authors) kind of as of Amazon (main company that owns the online store) and KDP (a solution specifically for independent authors).

More info on Wikipedia:
 

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They're as legit as they come. If you want the widest reach possible for your hardcover (for paperback, Amazon KDP is IMO sufficient in most cases), you go with them. They have partnerships with over 40,000 independent bookstores, chain stores, universities, libraries, and of course online stores (including Amazon—a hardcover published through IngramSpark is available for purchase on Amazon). Their print quality and customer service is top-notch.

IngramSpark is actually a business unit of a much larger operation, Lightning Source, which offers print-on-demand services. Think of Lightning Source (main company that offers print on demand) and IngramSpark (a solution specifically for independent authors) kind of as of Amazon (main company that owns the online store) and KDP (a solution specifically for independent authors).

More info on Wikipedia:
The traditional publishing model seems broken, but the self-publishing route is pretty confusing/arduous too. I'd suspect there is a market for authors who just want someone else to take over the entire process after they're done creating their draft(s).
 

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The traditional publishing model seems broken, but the self-publishing route is pretty confusing/arduous too. I'd suspect there is a market for authors who just want someone else to take over the entire process after they're done creating their draft(s).

There are people who offer such services, for example www.scribewriting.com.

Actually, I could offer such a service, too—if one is serious about saving his or her time and can afford to pay for expertise.

Learning it all on your own does take at the very least several dozen hours (plus writing the book). I believe it's an acceptable investment considering the potential upside, but there's a way to reduce it to the minimum if one is willing to spend money instead of time.

As with every marketing strategy, if you do it wrong (a bad cover alone can ruin everything) you can lose a lot of time and money, so hiring someone to help does make sense if you can afford it.
 

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Upgraded to GOLD!

What exactly is IngramSpark? Are they a legit publishing company?

Yes, I use them with some great results. A bit pricey, but helpful.
 

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At the next Summit imma run really fast straight up to you and then give you a very proper and completely appropriate side hug like a good Southern Baptist.

Dude! I’m sooo .. just.. in awe.

THANK YOU. I love this forum so much. Soooooooo much.

Imma go talk to my bf and get really overwhelmed and terrified and then pragmatic and then procrastinate and then, possibly 2-3 weeks from now, I’m gonna wake up and say “f*ck it! I’m writing a book.”

And do you know why? Because you took the time to show us how incredibly easy it is in a clear way. Sometimes it’s these how-to threads that break me the fastest.

I’m all “The excuses I’ve been using for years just got obliterated. Ughh I’m sitting here having to admit my own issues and I don’t like that one tiny bit. It’s like having someone dump cold Pellegrino all over my head. But damn I feel refreshed!”

Thanks man.
 

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MTF

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Haha thank you, @Primeperiwinkle. I'm happy to hear that you found my thread valuable and that it has helped you get rid of all the excuses. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!
 

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I posted a marketplace ad with my services:

And wanted to mention one more thing: if you already have a book available on Amazon it's relatively easy to turn your book into a Udemy course to get further exposure without writing new content.

If you don't want to record yourself, hire a video designer to create a whiteboard animated course or perhaps a PowerPoint presentation that you'll narrate (or hire someone else to narrate). It doesn't have to be a long course. Even just an hour is fine (and actually that's what many people prefer).

Four of my books are available as video courses. In total I have almost 65,000 enrolled students. That's a lot of additional exposure without much work involved.
 

MTF

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Improving an Existing Book - a Quick Critique

I stumbled upon this thread by @alikl and decided to offer a quick critique to help generate more sales.

Here's the book:
Own Your Future with Real Estate: The Quick-Start Guide to Replacing Your Salary by Renting Out Single-Family Homes: Levin, Alik: 9780578622446: Amazon.com: Books

And here are my suggestions (just the main things that should result in the biggest improvement):

1. Not enough book formats

Unless there's something wrong with Amazon, I can see only a paperback version of this book.

This is a big, big mistake: with the exception of just a few niches, most sales are now driven by Kindle and audiobook. Not having your book available in at least these three formats (a hardback for business non-fiction makes sense, too) means you're getting at most 15% (my unscientific estimate) of sales, if not less. If I can't buy a book in a digital format, I'm not buying it—and I'm definitely not the only one.

If there is a Kindle version but for some reason it doesn't show up for me, I apologize (let me know what's the current Kindle price). The point about an audiobook still stands, though—this is particularly important for business non-fiction, which is often aimed at people strapped for time. They don't have time to read books but they have time to listen to them, so having an audiobook is an absolute must.

2. Paperback pricing

The paperback price is $24.95. This is pretty steep for a book with 176 pages. I wouldn't go higher than $20. For this length, I'd probably sell it for $14.99 or maybe $17.99. Royalty rates for paperbacks are still pretty high.

3. Reviews

You need at the very least 10 reviews to make your book product page appear credible (but 20+ is much, much better). Also, no reviews are verified and two are very short which makes them less credible, too. I'd start participating in real estate/retire early/personal finance forums or pay to advertise there to give away some review copies.

LibraryThing.com Member Giveaways might possibly work to find a few reviewers. Maybe running a giveaway with Prolific Works could work, too (I'm yet to test it). You could also run paid traffic straight to an opt-in page where people can get the book for free in exchange for a review. If you do it right, you should reach 10+ reviews by giving your book to maybe 30 people.

4. No author bio

Another critical mistake. Many people check author bios to learn more about them, to find a link to their website or just to get a feel if they resonate with the author or not. Sell yourself in your bio. Explain why you're the right person to listen to and why you're so knowledgeable about real estate investing. If you offer consulting, you can mention it in your bio, too.

5. No editorial reviews and other AuthorCentral bonus product page content

In your AuthorCentral dashboard you can set up additional content that will show up on your product page. Grab a sentence or two from your current reviews and highlight it under "Editorial Reviews." Use the field "From the Author" to tell people why you wrote the book (you can copy & paste a part of your book introduction).

6. Sales copy could be better

It fails to appeal to emotion and is very dry, as if the author had a background in IT :) On a more serious note, what makes your book different from other similar books?

Let's say that your unique hook is that it's a guide for busy professionals who are afraid they won't have time to manage a real estate property. How do you communicate this benefit to your target audience so that when they read your sales copy, they immediately click "buy" thinking "wow, this guy knows me so well!"? Tip: you can browse through critical reviews of similar books to identify common complaints and address them in your book description.

Lastly, if you got very few sales, I'd consider relaunching your book, maybe with a new cover and a new title (or as the second edition) as it's usually difficult to revive sales if you failed to do a proper launch.
 

alikl

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Improving an Existing Book - a Quick Critique

I stumbled upon this thread by @alikl and decided to offer a quick critique to help generate more sales.

Here's the book:
Own Your Future with Real Estate: The Quick-Start Guide to Replacing Your Salary by Renting Out Single-Family Homes: Levin, Alik: 9780578622446: Amazon.com: Books

And here are my suggestions (just the main things that should result in the biggest improvement):

1. Not enough book formats

Unless there's something wrong with Amazon, I can see only a paperback version of this book.

This is a big, big mistake: with the exception of just a few niches, most sales are now driven by Kindle and audiobook. Not having your book available in at least these three formats (a hardback for business non-fiction makes sense, too) means you're getting at most 15% (my unscientific estimate) of sales, if not less. If I can't buy a book in a digital format, I'm not buying it—and I'm definitely not the only one.

If there is a Kindle version but for some reason it doesn't show up for me, I apologize (let me know what's the current Kindle price). The point about an audiobook still stands, though—this is particularly important for business non-fiction, which is often aimed at people strapped for time. They don't have time to read books but they have time to listen to them, so having an audiobook is an absolute must.

2. Paperback pricing

The paperback price is $24.95. This is pretty steep for a book with 176 pages. I wouldn't go higher than $20. For this length, I'd probably sell it for $14.99 or maybe $17.99. Royalty rates for paperbacks are still pretty high.

3. Reviews

You need at the very least 10 reviews to make your book product page appear credible (but 20+ is much, much better). Also, no reviews are verified and two are very short which makes them less credible, too. I'd start participating in real estate/retire early/personal finance forums or pay to advertise there to give away some review copies.

LibraryThing.com Member Giveaways might possibly work to find a few reviewers. Maybe running a giveaway with Prolific Works could work, too (I'm yet to test it). You could also run paid traffic straight to an opt-in page where people can get the book for free in exchange for a review. If you do it right, you should reach 10+ reviews by giving your book to maybe 30 people.

4. No author bio

Another critical mistake. Many people check author bios to learn more about them, to find a link to their website or just to get a feel if they resonate with the author or not. Sell yourself in your bio. Explain why you're the right person to listen to and why you're so knowledgeable about real estate investing. If you offer consulting, you can mention it in your bio, too.

5. No editorial reviews and other AuthorCentral bonus product page content

In your AuthorCentral dashboard you can set up additional content that will show up on your product page. Grab a sentence or two from your current reviews and highlight it under "Editorial Reviews." Use the field "From the Author" to tell people why you wrote the book (you can copy & paste a part of your book introduction).

6. Sales copy could be better

It fails to appeal to emotion and is very dry, as if the author had a background in IT :) On a more serious note, what makes your book different from other similar books?

Let's say that your unique hook is that it's a guide for busy professionals who are afraid they won't have time to manage a real estate property. How do you communicate this benefit to your target audience so that when they read your sales copy, they immediately click "buy" thinking "wow, this guy knows me so well!"? Tip: you can browse through critical reviews of similar books to identify common complaints and address them in your book description.

Lastly, if you got very few sales, I'd consider relaunching your book, maybe with a new cover and a new title (or as the second edition) as it's usually difficult to revive sales if you failed to do a proper launch.
Very thorough, much appreciated!
I am acutely aware of thin review part. This is my key focus. Loved the insight on additional content to make it available on AuthorCentral. Good stuff!
 

Ing

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Thank you for that write up.
Makes hope.
 

MTF

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Ing

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When I write a book, and do it parallel in German and English, is that one book on Amazon or two different ones?
Exact: are reviews only for the book in one language or do the appear in both?
 

MTF

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When I write a book, and do it parallel in German and English, is that one book on Amazon or two different ones?

You'll publish it through kdp.amazon.com so it will be distributed worldwide and you'll be able to buy both versions on both Amazon.com and Amazon.de (and other local platforms as well).

Exact: are reviews only for the book in one language or do the appear in both?

Separate books (each translation is considered a different book) means separate ASINs means separate reviews.
 

SEOguy

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1. Not enough book formats

Unless there's something wrong with Amazon, I can see only a paperback version of this book.

This is a big, big mistake: with the exception of just a few niches, most sales are now driven by Kindle and audiobook. Not having your book available in at least these three formats (a hardback for business non-fiction makes sense, too) means you're getting at most 15% (my unscientific estimate) of sales, if not less. If I can't buy a book in a digital format, I'm not buying it—and I'm definitely not the only one.

If there is a Kindle version but for some reason it doesn't show up for me, I apologize (let me know what's the current Kindle price). The point about an audiobook still stands, though—this is particularly important for business non-fiction, which is often aimed at people strapped for time. They don't have time to read books but they have time to listen to them, so having an audiobook is an absolute must.

My book has a separate listing for Kindle and paperback - is that normal? I notice most authors have just one page with the available formats.
 

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