Ep 035: “Marketing The Best Possible Book”

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Welcome to the 35th episode of The Author Hangout, a “Hangout on Air” designed to help authors, especially self-published and indie authors, with marketing their books and improving their author platform. Authors struggle with various aspects of marketing and we are here to help!

“If you are not putting out the best possible manuscript, all the marketing in the world isn’t going to save you.”– Nick Cole

Marketing The Best Possible Book

In this episode, we interviewed bestselling author Nick Cole, who shared some awesome steps about his journey to becoming a bestseller, the marketing tips he is using in his business right now, and other great inspiration for authors like you.

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He’s a Southern California based actor, Army veteran and avid gamer who found success as an Indie author after selling 80,000 copies of The Old Man and the Wasteland on Amazon Kindle. Harper Collins quickly contracted him to write 2 additional Wasteland stories which would later became known as The Wasteland Saga. Since then, he has added several other popular titles to his credit including Soda Pop Soldier and The Red King. Please join me in welcoming Post-Apocalyptic Science-Fiction writer Nick Cole.

How did you become an author and publish your first book?

Here is Nick’s story:

“Alright, it starts in about 2005 actually. I’d written a sort of Hollywood dark catch 22 novel and I actually got an agent based on the strength of that novel. Then that agent tried to sell that novel to the big trade publications and there wasn’t really at that time a digital independent revolution movement to speak of. There were little things you can put out but there was nothing like Amazon… One of my favorite novels is The Old Man and the Sea. I read it about once a year. I sat down and I said, “Wouldn’t it be fun if The Old Man and the Sea actually were to take place after a nuclear war?” And the desolation and the struggle to survive, man versus nature, and all those Hemingway truths…they’re very relevant even in the post-apocalyptic setting. So, I wrote it… I sat in my garden for 4 months and I edited, edited, edited and I do this next step where as an actor, I go through and I actually perform the novel. I perform it out loud. I’m looking for things like cadence and tone and, “Does this make sense?” “Would this character actually say this?””

He shared some really great marketing advice:

“I know we’re going to talk about marketing and everything like that, guess what…we’re talking about marketing right now. If you are not putting out the best possible manuscript, all the marketing in the world isn’t going to save you.”

He also talked about after he hit publish:

“It was really cool to hit publish. Then to start hitting refresh for the next 2 hours and then the next 4 hours and zero and zero and then this wonderful thing happens. This is the next thing I would say to all of us, remember that moment when you were looking on KDP and you saw that someone, no one that you knew, maybe you thought your mom went and bought it, but it was the first person that you had no idea why that number showed up. You just thought, “That is cool someone’s reading me.” It’s so easy in the Indie revolution to lose sight of that and get obsessed about numbers and all these things. That was a truly weird, glorious, wonderful feeling like, “Wow someone’s going to read something of mine.” That was exciting and I have to challenge myself constantly to get back to that. I think I sold maybe 2 novels the first month and that was cool.”

Be sure to listen to the whole interview to hear about the success of his first book.

What is your most recent book or project?

“Right now I have about 2 big projects going on. I’m writing the prequel for a novel that I wrote for Harper Collins and that novel’s called Soda Pop Soldier. It did really well and it actually got a publisher weekly starred review. Which I had no idea, I was like, “Oh yay! One star thanks.” I thought 5 stars were good and someone said, “No, starred reviews are very rare and your book got one.” It’s a really cool book. It’s Call of Duty meets World of War Craft and people really liked it. Now they want a prequel basically telling…because the world building was very cool in that, I think, so now they want to know why.”

He also talked about his newest massive project, with 20+ writers, Apocalypse Weird. Listen to the interview to hear about this massive project.

What one marketing tactic is really working well for you?

He shared this great marketing tip:

“The one thing that I would say is I view every person that reads my book as a reader and I really do think they are a potential friend. I think it’s very important that you thank them and you can do this. I’ll search twitter for anybody who’s talked about my book. I make sure that everybody has channels to get to know me on Facebook or however… Then I was at a marketing meeting with Harper Collins and they said, “We’ve talked to some of the writers who are huge now and we asked them how did you build this before social media.” They did the same thing that I’m doing now. They said, “Anytime anybody wanted to connect with me I talked with them, I wrote them a letter, and I thanked them for whatever they were doing.””

He also shared some non-traditional, but interesting thoughts on sites like BookBub and such.

If you started over today, what 3 things would you tell yourself to help you sell more books?

He talked about building a funnel, which all authors need to have:

“Looking back on it I did not have my funnel what I call the funnel set up. That’s a social media presence that led to a website that led to a mailing list. That allowed you to begin to collect all the people who are going to like your book. That would be the first thing that I would do. I would have had that system in place because the truth of it is those 80,000 readers I effectively lost them once we republished under Harper Collins.”

He said that he uses the website ThirdScribe to connect the social, website, and mailing list altogether.

He shared this tip about using social media:

“I think always post a picture with whatever you do. Always put a picture up. Don’t just put up your novel and don’t make it like your selling, but some way shape or form find an interesting picture and link it to what you’re talking about. The other thing too is to just be real, don’t be a sales machine, and talk about your book. Try to find things like with Soda Pop Soldier I tried to talk about video gaming and Call of Duty and Warfare as supposed to just buy my book, buy my book.”

How can people connect with you?

“A clear called action is to just go to http://www.nickcolebooks.com/ and right there I have a lot of books for sale that you can go to channels. I actually have a free novel that you can get and a free short story that you can also get. I have a newsletter there, but it’s not a classic newsletter. You’ll never hear from me until the day I launch a book. Then I’ll be like, “Hey! This books out. Check it out.” Also the other call you will hear from that newsletter is that I give away free books. I like to get a fair amount of reviews before I put a book up. So anybody on my newsletter I just throw it up and say, “Would you like an advanced reader copy?” I usually get about 100 people who want to read and then not have to buy it.”

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