When I tell people my recent book, Craft Business Power, has been an Amazon #1 best-seller, (proof on my Pinboard)… (and yes, I do do talk about it too frequently, even to complete strangers),
people always respond by saying, “I have a book I want to write, I should get started on that“. Sometimes I get a congratulations, but frequently it’s just the, “I should get started on that” comment.
They never ask, “how’d ya do it?“
I want them to ask, “how’d ya do it?“! They never do.
If they’d ask me how I did it I would tell them the following story…
My mentor, (although he doesn’t know me, or know he’s my mentor), is Guy Kawasaki. And Guy and I were talking (well, he was being interviewed and I was talking to my computer) about his new book APE, Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur. He gave me this…
Tip From APE: Always crowd-source a group of pre-readers.
So to start the project I sent out an email to the folks who follow our business and asked for volunteers to pre-read the book. (I had actually written most of the book several years ago). 388 people agreed to be pre-readers. I set up a blog, and made each chapter a page, and let them leave all the comments they wanted. Guy forgot to mention how brutal people can be when leaving feedback, but I’ll let that slide. Anyway, after 700 comments, we had lots of tweaking to do. We actually have an amazingly gracious group of customers, they are very nice folks.
We made all the revisions (with the help of an awesome editor-for-hire) and reposted all the chapters for a second round of feedback. More comments, but they were more kind the 2nd time.
We used a Fiverr gig to get a cover, then tweaked it a bit.
We also used a Fiverr gig to have someone place it in the .mobi format and put it together properly for Amazon.
We followed another one of Guy’s Tips from APE… Use the Amazon promotional option to make your book free occasionally.
So on the first day it was published on Amazon we made it free. It went to #1 in multiple categories and as high as #142 in all of the free ebooks. That’s crazy. You can see all the screenshots of proof here.
What we didn’t know was that there are Mommy, Craft & Coupon Bloggers who monitor the free Kindle categories and publish anything that looks interesting to their audiences. We got incredibly blessed by having Money Saving Mom post about Craft Business Power being free. Yes, she has 217,000 Facebook fans and a massive readership on her blog. Since then we have had other amazing bloggers post about the book, including Hip2Save.
I also sent a “Thank You” email out to all 388 pre-readers the night before it went live and invited them to get their free copy, and share the news with their friends that it was free. I also asked them to leave a review, and mentioned that, “Lots of 5-Star Reviews help the book get seen by more people”.
Over the course of the next week the book went to #1 in the E-Commerce, Web-Marketing, and Home-Based categories. As you might guess, this was crazy for us. Our little book is out selling against some super respectable authors. New York Times Best-Selling authors. It continues to do very well.
So that is how we did it. We listened to Guy and Shawn, (Guy’s coauthor).
If you are thinking, “I’ve got a book I want to write”, then pick up a copy of Guy’s excellent new book APE. He and his coauthor, Shawn Welch, are veterans at this stuff. If you really want to get your book out there – there is really no barrier. And it can do very well. Listen to what they say and do it.
So thanks Guy! You’re a great mentor!
All the best,
Ps. Yes, it is a total coincidence that my first book, Pinterest Power is paired up with Guy’s prior book, What The Plus. Or did Amazon do it because they knew Guy and I are so close? I’m not sure, I’ll ask my other mentor, Jeff Bezos, next time I see him.