SPQ 077: What is the Minimalist Marketing Plan for Selling Books?

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The Question

Lawrence (from Alaska) asks via email: I am a retired guy who has a number of books published by traditional companies and self-published on Kindle and other platforms. I would like to write two to four books a year and bring in a modest $1,000 to $2,000 a month while not working full-time. While I realize this is at the other end of the spectrum from your business accomplishments, what would a minimalist marketing plan look like for a guy with my modest goals?

Biggest Takeaway

Steve’s Answer

This is a great goal, and it’s totally doable. A lot of authors start out and hit that goal within their first few months. When it comes to self-publishing, people tend to get bogged down in everything they have to do. You really only need to worry about a few core tasks.

If you have a modest income goal, Steve recommends following a one-hour-per-day book marketing plan. This plan is based on the adage, “If you only had one hour per day to work on your business, what task would you choose?” Steve considers these tasks to be the core tasks you need to do to succeed with self-publishing.

You should spend at least 30 minutes per day writing. The best way to market your books is to come out with another book. Then spend 30 minutes on your marketing activities.

Steve recommends four phases for building a minimalist book-based business.

Focus on One Niche

  • Drill down to find a specific audience. Steve discussed this in episode 4.
  • Make sure you can make money with your niche. Listen to episode 3 to learn how to determine the profit potential of a niche.
  • Have a solid project pipeline. In episode 8, Steve talked about how he is always thinking about one book, writing another book, and marketing a third book.

Lay the Marketing Foundation for Your Books

  • Create a lead magnet, which is a free piece of content you give to people when they sign up for your email list. Steve covered this extensively in episode 7.
  • Set up a permafree book offer. This is a free book you give away on Amazon. If people like your free book, they are more likely to buy your other books. Learn more about the permafree book strategy in episode 6.
  • Send people content once they sign up for your list. Use an autoresponder, or a timed sequence of emails, to promote your books. In episode 44, Steve talked about what you should send your subscribers.
  • Make sure you have a big book launch. Steve talked about free and paid book launches in episode 72 . A lot of the action that happens on Amazon happens during that first week when you launch a book.

Keep Sales Consistent

  • Write consistently. Steve recommends writing five to six books per year so you have a book coming out every other month. You can bump up your production by repurposing content. Steve discussed that strategy in episode 57.
  • Use a content platform to promote your book. Steve detailed his strategy in episode 39.
  • Hold regular sales events. Steve has been doing this every few months, and it’s made a huge difference in his business. For example, he recently did a St. Patrick’s Day theme event to drive sales. Steve covered this tactic in episode 56.

Scale Your Business

  • Start translating your books into foreign languages. Spanish, German, and Portuguese books tend to sell well. Steve talked about this in episode 60.
  • Create audiobooks. About 10 to 15 percent of Steve’s business comes from audiobooks. He talked about this in episode 43.
  • Create teams around your books so you don’t have to do everything yourself. Find someone to handle the editing, translation, cover design, and administrative work for you. Steve talked about building a team in episode 69.

Steve truly believes you can do all of this in about 30 minutes per day. If you’re just getting started, focus on writing. As you build your catalog, focus on marketing your books.

Resources and Links

SPQ 004: Learn how to choose a niche for your book-based business

SPQ 003: Find out how to determine the profit potential of a niche

SPQ 008: Steve discusses the importance of having a project pipeline

SPQ 007: Learn why email marketing is so important for your business

SPQ 006: Steve discusses the permafree book strategy

SPQ 044: Find out what kind of content you should send your email subscribers

SPQ 072: Steve talks about free and paid book launches

SPQ 057: Learn how to repurpose content effectively

SPQ 039: Steve explains how to build a platform for promoting your books

SPQ 056: Find out why it is so important to hold regular sales events

SPQ 060: Learn how to generate more revenue with foreign translations

SPQ 043: Find out how audiobooks can make your business more profitable

SPQ 069: Steve talks about scaling your business by building a team

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