It’s always wonderful to see a Western author smash their way to success. Yesterday it was announced that William H. Joiner, Jr. had broken ahead with a record sales month. With eight Westerns in the top one hundred and pages read numbers going through the roof, it’s likely that “The Bill Who Kills” (as I like to call him) will grow into one of the most popular Western authors of today.
But How Did It Happen?
I received several emails from authors wanting to know the secret to his success—so I decided to write this blog to try and give an overview of the strategy used to promote him. It’s a strategy that has proven itself successful over and over, and took an author with very few sales to the point of a quarter million pages read.
It all starts with catalogue. William H. Joiner, Jr. had been writing for some time and had sold books before. He had several Westerns, and all had been reviewed well by the readers who had read them. When we first started talking, I liked the look of “The Legend of Jake Jackson,” and we decided to go with that one as the anchor.
The Anchor Is Key
With all book promotions, it’s important to have an anchor to hold the strategy in place—one book that pushes the rest of the catalogue. In this case it was “The Legend of Jake Jackson.” We re-released the book, picked the right categories and used inter-author promotions to drive readers to the book. It soon found its feet and hit the top one hundred.
Picking the right categories on Amazon for your Western books is incredibly important. Not only will you have to face competition from across the genre—you will have to displace books that are already highly visible to readers. Pick your categories very, very carefully. They will be half the battle.
Filling In The Gaps
What’s the worst thing you can do when you’ve got a burgeoning hit on your hands? Easy answer—sit around watching the hit unfold. Almost immediately, Bill went to work writing a series of books about a marshal. We started releasing those books, and soon they started making the charts alongside his anchor hit “The Legend of Jake Jackson.”
By the end of the first month, we had several books on the bestseller chart, with “The Legend of Jake Jackson” inside the top fifty. Now it was time to capitalize. The first of these projects was a box set of the first three books in the series, and the second was a box set of other William H. Joiner, Jr. product from his catalogue. Both were very solid sellers and helped cement Joiner on the bestseller charts.
Now at the end of a record-breaking sales month… the question is what to do next? There will be another book in “The Legend of Jake Jackson” series for sure, more Morgan Porter books—and a tribute release. More box sets. More releases. If you find a winning strategy, don’t change your mind and stop the sales coming in.
Understand your catalogue.
What have you written already?
Position the book with the right categories!
What is the book that is most likely to be your anchor?
Once you have your anchor—what do you do next?
What do readers want from you?
Those are the key factors that made William H. Joiner, Jr. a popular Western author. The ability to turn around with a product and say, “That’s the hit. That’s the anchor.” The ability to re-release the book and make it visible using categories and promotions. Concentrating on your anchor but also making sure you have product on the way, and capitalizing on the moment.
There’s nothing in this blog article that you can’t do—there’s no million dollar advertising campaign or billboards in Omaha. There’s just common sense. Pick a good product. Release the product. Position the product. Create more product.
Give it a try—and don’t forget, if you have any questions, you can email me using the contact form below.