Dan Poynter is the guru of self-publishing; we all know that, but what you might not know is that Dan is a pilot, skydiver, Master Parachute Rigger, and an aviation historian. He is a world traveler—53 countries and the North Pole.
The reason we need to know this is that Dan emphasizes how passion for a specific topic makes it easier to build your brand, and market and sell your books. Dan stated his passion is skydiving and aviation, and he is the author of 132 books, many of them on aviation. He likes to entertain his audience and tell jokes, and claims that at age 76, he’s had many years to write over 130 books.
At the PWSD (Publishers and Writers of San Deigo) meeting on October 25th, 2014, Dan Poynter starts with a quote by John Rakestraw, Book Designer:
“Marketing is hard.
Selling is scary.
But ….talking to people about what we love to do, is something we do every chance we get.”
I enjoy Dan’s honest and straightforward approach to giving indie authors advice on how to find their customers and sell books.
According to Dan here are his 3 dont’s:
- Don’t “Spray and Pray.” This is when you promote to everyone and hope for some sales.
- Don’t “Batch and Blast.” This is when you send the same message to everyone.
- Don’t Hunt with a Shotgun as Opposed to a Rifle.” This applies to those who send their book announcement to more than their target audience.
Dan believes that the Internet, is the modern “campfire,” and as authors know:
- Book promotion is up to us, whether we are traditionally or indie published.
Dan candidly explains that the BIG 5 traditional publishers treat books like products and they don’t care about your topic- like skydiving and where you could promote it. All they care about is the paycheck they are receiving from bookstores, and,
- Bookstores are a lousy place to sell your books.
- Only send information out to those who are interested in your book.
That’s when Dan reminds us that the “Spray and Pray” system where we send our book out to everyone with the hope that someone will buy it doesn’t work.
Dan says we need to:
- Fish where the fish are. (Most of the time that’s not in the bookstores.
- Get the word out to only those who care since this costs less and you only want to find those readers who are interested in your books subject.
How do you find readers who are interested in your book topic?
That’s easy when you have a specific topic like Persian cats, parachuting, mountain biking. You only look for those who are fascinated by those specific topics. For example with cats, only search for those interested in Persian cats, not all cat lovers.
Here are some tips from Dan Poynter that I found very helpful:
- Promote with (other people’s blogs) “Get someone else to blow your horn and the sound will carry twice as far.” –Will Rogers
- Google Alerts (Sign up for alerts on your own favorite topics to get information on your book right away.)
- Join Groups/Forums and get known. LinkedIn, Yahoo Groups, Facebook, Twitter. (Use 5 different photos of yourself and in 24 hours, all those photos will pop up on Google Images.) I found this very interesting and shall test this out. Let me know if you try it as well.
- Leave Reviews, and always add your name, your book and your URL at the end of the review. Dan mentioned leaving your URL on Amazon reviews, however, I do not believe this is allowed on Amazon.
- Spend your time online (in your field,)
- Locate reporters who write about your subject. HARO (Help a reporter out) is one way. www.helpareporter.com
- Book Covers Dan suggested having your name on the top of the book cover, like they do for famous authors, such as Dan Brown. “That way you will appear to be more important in the in the industry. People will ask, “Did we miss this person?” I loved this idea.
- Each book should have it’s own URL, and dedicated website. for me that would be: http://MyGutsyStoryAnthology, or http://FreewaystoFlipFlops.com
Bottom line is we all want to be “DISCOVERABLE.”
Another tip, which I have also said in my previous blog posts, is
- “Do what you’re good at, and hire out the rest.”
Dan Poynter also said,
- “Do not start a blog” if you haven’t got one. Instead, “Contribute to other people’s blogs on your subject.”
You can find Dan Poynter’s books and articles on his website.
We Need More Submissions For Our 2015 Anthology ASAP