Sometimes when promoting a book, you have to turn over the apple and take a bite from the other side. I mean, think about it—imagine if you had unlimited money and you were trying to get a product out to people. A product you believed was truly exceptional. A product you just wanted people to take, and try, and enjoy. What would you do? You’d make it free, right? If you made a product free and that product was then taken by, say, one million people—and the product was good—what would happen if you released a sequel to the first product? Well, a great number of those folks would want to get that sequel. Why? Because it’s human nature to want more, more, more of something that they like and to stay up to date. It’s something you can’t fight. It just is.
So, you have a product in the hands of a million people—and the second product costs 99 cents and half a million of those people purchase it. You’ve made a little money, and you’ve started building a brand.
From that brand, you could release a series of products. You’d already have a base to sell to. That’s what a lot of publishers fail to understand about our business. Product is product, and people have to try product, own product, enjoy product to know to purchase more product from the same seller.
The fact is that too often people start with a product, and that product has dollar signs attached to it. They believe their product is so good, or as good as anything else. This makes them believe that their product will make a pile of money from the word “go.”
Truth is, it takes time to build a brand. Take any of the super successful Western authors of today. For example, Paul L. Thompson had written fifteen books before he struck success with “Revenge of the Bullet.” That was the book that made him probably one of the most consistently profitable authors of today. All it took was one look at “Revenge,” and we all knew it was going to be a smash. Two years later, he’s still on top and has made Outlaws Publishing the most profitable of the publishing companies in our genre.
And then we have Robert Hanlon who had written ten books and had only sold a couple of copies before we got together and decided he was going to be a hitmaker.
And let’s talk about Gary Church who had been self-published before he signed with Dusty Saddle Publishing. His sixth month of success saw him move more than 4 million pages of product.
Then there’s John D. Fie, Jr. who had sizeable run of successes before signing with Dusty Saddle Publishing and creating a string of hits that have been very satisfying. What caused that? Branding, patience and a lot of hard work.
And so on, and on, and on… and how did a lot of these authors become successful? Advertising played a part. Proofreading and editing help played a part. Covers played a part. Continuous work played a part… and the pure genius of making sure a lot of people owned their first books through this marvellous thing called FREE.
For example, everyone at Outlaws Publishing knew that Paul L. Thompson was going to be a hit, but even though he had written fifteen books, I think he sold about 15 dollars of books per month. So, we took “Revenge of the Bullet” and gifted, gave, sent, mailed out thousands of copies to readers. It was a risky strategy—and yet, little by little, his sales increased and then doubled, and then tripled. By the end of that month he was alive… by the end of the third month of the promotional program, he had hit number one in two different countries and had moved enough books to push fifteen of them into the bestseller chart.
Now, I know, authors want to make money. Heck—everyone has to eat. But sometimes you’ve got to think about what you’re doing. Western authors do not have the benefit of TV advertising, radio, newspapers or MTV. They have product, and the only way people can learn about a Western author is through their product—so what better way to build a brand than to make sure a huge percentage of the readership owns product by that author?
Makes sense, no?
Now, as always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me using the form below. It’s always a pleasure to hear from you.