Why is it that all the best secrets hide in plain sight?
I remember the exact moment my book went #1 (in my category) on Amazon.
I was at the bar with a smile stretching off my face, obsessively refreshing my browser like it was the end of an eBay Auction. When much to my chagrin, I saw a number this writer actually cared about.
I cheered so loud that the bartender thought I was being stabbed. And to be fair, wearing a beer-spilled red shirt didn’t exactly help my case.
Fast forward about a year later, and I ran a similar promotion. The result?
Not too shabby for a guy who’s been criticized for having a conversational writing style.
So what does this all mean, and why should you care?
Success on Amazon is repeatable if you have the right game plan.
If you’re anything like me, the one thing you want more than anything in the world is for someone to read your work. It’s your art, and it’s how you share your message.
And having found repeatable success on Amazon, I’d like to share the exact game plan I used to promote my book to #1 in hopes you can do it too.
Welcome to the Thunderdome.
#1. Write The Book You’re Proud Of
Promoting your book to #1 starts long before you unveil it to the public. It starts with you, in the quiet of your home, pouring words onto paper.
Start by giving your book everything you’ve got. Don’t try to write any book. Try to write the best book you possibly can. It’s your name on the cover; make sure it means something.
And I don’t say this motivational quip like a High School football coach trying to convince 11 half-baked seniors to play harder. I say this because this mentality gives you an advantage. In a word:
And confidence, my friends, is the secret sauce that makes the world go round. Because behind every successful promotion is someone believing in their product.
And if you firmly believe that you wrote a book worth reading. And believe me; your book is worth reading. It’s going to help you feel more comfortable sharing your work. Which is what you eventually have to do.
So give your book everything you’ve got. Write the book you would be excited to read. And most importantly, enjoy the process because you’re the one in it.
#2. Find Your Starving Crowd
So you wrote the book you’re proud of and are feeling like a weirdly energized football player ready to run through a wall.
Ok. Well… hold your mustard because you’re about to learn nearly everything about supply and demand from a hamburger stand.
Let me explain.
Gary Halbert is largely considered one of the greatest direct-response copywriters of all time, and he had an ingenious riddle he shared with his students to teach them how to find demand.
He would start by asking his students a simple question.
“If you and I both owned a hamburger stand and we were in a contest to see who would sell the most hamburgers, what advantages would you most like to have on your side?” And I imagine he’d wait and stare with a shit-eating grin.
His students would cry out answers any entrepreneur would love to have.
“I’d use the finest quality ingredients.”
“I would sell the cheapest burgers!”
“I would choose the best location.”
And Gary would nod, smile, and then drop this bombshell:
“You can have all those advantages, but if you give me this one edge, I’ll sell circles around you.”
“Well, what is it Gary?”
“A starving crowd.”
And ain’t it the damn truth.
My book is a sales advice book, and the starving crowd I chose was freelancers.
If you’re a freelancer, the one thing you want more than anything in the world is knowing how to find and sign new clients. You need them to support your business.
And many freelancers haven’t had the outside sales experience of going out in the field and finding customers. To them, signing a client can seem like climbing Mt. Everest.
So when I presented my book, it was like a helicopter ride to the top, and they hopped on quicker than you can say birds-eye-view.
That’s a starving crowd.
So what do you need to do is find your starving crowd? Here’s a hint:
Check online groups.
Whether it’s a Facebook group, A Reddit forum, or even a popular page on Instagram, the beauty about being alive today is that it’s never been easier to find your audience.
All you need to do is figure out who would actually benefit from reading your book and go find them.
For me, I think it’s easier (and more fun) if you think of it as a giant game of hide and go-seek. Since who in the Hell doesn’t love games?
And here’s the hint of hints. Usually, your book will be enjoyed by people like you. In other words, most authors write for people like themselves.
So find the groups you’re interested in and immerse yourself in the community. That’s how you find your crowd.
#3. Make A Value First Post
So now that you have written a killer book and found your starving crowd, what should you do next?
Promote the damn thang!
After all, if people don’t know your book exists, how can they read it?
And if you’re anything like me, it’s easy to feel nervous about promoting your book, as you do risk rejection.
But what I’m about to say I truly hope brings comfort: I’m an introvert who doesn’t like attention and genuinely doesn’t feel completely comfortable promoting myself.
And yes, this must seem weird reading this very public post on a very public internet.
But I say that to say if you have ever felt uncomfortable putting yourself out there — I can relate. And I found a way to help you feel a tad better about it.
Make a value first post.
This means word your promotion so it’s to the benefit of the reader to act on your offer. In other words, make it more about them than about you.
For example, here is the word-for-word exact post I made in one of my freelancing groups. See if you can notice how it’s more about the audience.
“100% Free Download (next 3 days)
I want to give back to the group that helped me launch my second life.
Before I was a copywriter, I was a salesperson.
As a natural introvert, the idea of cold calling, cold pitching, and making sales was COMPLETELY out of my comfort zone.
I was so nervous and shy that I cringed whenever I had to reach out to someone.
The more you do anything, the easier it becomes.
I ended up becoming so proficient at sales that I won many salesmen of the month awards, was a part of the best-selling team in the country (for my product), and learned how to make a living doing the seemingly impossible… sales.
This is a book I wrote a few years back on everything I wanted to learn in sales as if I was a complete beginner.
It’s a common-sense approach to sales, the chapters are short, and it’s one of the only business books that tell jokes.
I’m a comedian at heart, so it was written to be entertaining and informative. It should help you with cold pitches.
It’s free for the next 3 days on Kindle, and I wanted to share it with you.
As a freelancer, it can be scary pitching, but it really doesn’t have to be.
If this is against community rules, take it down.
But please view this for what it is: A free pitching resource from a fellow copy member.”
And that’s it. It wasn’t cringy. It wasn’t self-promoting. It was simply sharing my story and offering a pretty damn good deal.
And that is what you should do in your own way.
Write a post that says who you are, relate it to the crowd, and ask them to read/try or download your book.
#4. Interact, Rinse Wash And Repeat
So now that you finally promoted your book, what should you do next?
Interact with the people who interact with you and repeat the process.
Call me old-fashioned, but I like to think of this principle like the Wizard of Oz.
You never want to be the Wizard, a giant floating d̶o̶u̶s̶c̶h̶e̶ head who hides behind closed doors.
You want to be more like Dorothy, someone who leaves a good impression on everyone you meet. (Well…maybe not the witch.)
This means when people respond to your post, interact with them. Show them the real you.
Not only does this form a connection between the author and the reader, but it also boosts your posts and keeps the conversation going.
Not to mention — it’s the right thing to do.
If someone took time out of their busy day to interact with you, thank them! That’s how you build an audience. That’s how you avoid becoming a douche nozzle.
In life, it’s the little things like this that become big things in other people’s minds. So when you’re getting ready to reply to a comment, pretend your favorite author is writing to you, and think about what you would like them to say. Then, whatever that is, say that… it’ll make a difference.
And when you’re done, find more groups and post more. After all, putting your work in front of more people does mean more eyeballs on your work.
I opened up this article with the sentence: Why is it that all the best secrets hide in plain sight?
And the answer is simple…
It’s because they do.
The secret is there are no secrets to good promotions.
So stop trying to look for one; instead, focus on what you can control.
Write the book you’re proud of, find your starving crowd, create a value first post, interact with whoever interacts with you and repeat the process.
Don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be; life is already complicated enough.
While I’m blessed and proud to have my book go #1 on Amazon’s Best Sellers list, I want to share some final thoughts.
#1 You should never tie your ego to anything you can’t control.
And by this, I mean the rankings. While it feels good to have #1, it doesn’t actually make me a better person or anything. The rankings are artificial. Fugazi. Made up. And I have no control over them.
Instead, attach your pride to the fact that you wrote a book. That you wrote a book you’re proud of. That you created an asset to share with the world. If you do that, no one can take it away from you. It’s yours.
The biggest trap people have today is giving their self-worth away when instead, you should protect it like it was the last piece of pizza on Earth. Don’t let anyone or anything determine how you should feel about yourself besides yourself. That’s how you stay in control.
#2 As someone who wrote the book and this article, I am aware it was on Amazon Kindle’s Free Best Sellers List.
That was not lost on me. But you should know even though it was on the free list, I’m proud of it. And oddly enough, because it was so high on the free list, it made me plenty of sales after the promotion. More importantly, it gave me the confidence to keep on writing and thousands of readers from around the world.
And for me, that’s worth it one thousand times over.
To quote 50 Cent, hate it or love it, the underdogs on top. And on the top of the list are the words ‘Best Seller’.
Congrats on writing your book; now it’s on you to promote it. Have fun with the process; because, remember, you’re the one in it.
Please, like, comment share and tell me what you think. Did you find this advice helpful? If so, share with a writing friend.
Want to read my book? Here’s the link. I tried to make the description funny – if you read it, let me know what you think.