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I had the pleasure of meeting Marquita recently in a Google+ community and when she asked for advance readers of her new eBook about using Amazon’s KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) program, I jumped at the opportunity.
The thing is (by way of true confessions) I have no idea how to use Amazon’s Kindle publishing platform. So if anyone was going to give Marquita honest feedback about how helpful her eBook was, it was going to be me!
So let’s start this review by saying that not only do I now have a pretty good grasp on how Amazon’s program works but it sounds like something I’m ready to try with my own book coming soon (new year’s resolutions and all). But more than that, I’ve got a super comprehensive resource of websites, groups, platforms and ideas for promoting any eBook, no matter how it’s published.
If you’re wondering where the heck to start and want to take your eBook for a spin, Marquita has you covered. And trust me, you don’t have to care one little fig for Kindle to use this book. You could ignore the Kindle section completely and still get a ridiculous amount of value out of the promotional ideas and resources in this book, even if you’re just selling yours in PDF format off your website or blog.
Warning: Do Not Attempt To Read While Watching TV, Listening To Podcasts, Feeding The Baby Or Doing Anything Other Than Reading!
This book is a resource.
You’re going to want to highlight, make notes and start putting together your to-do list the second you start reading.
In fact, grab a few tools now, like some mindmapping software and a task management system so you can be prepared. As Marquita so eloquently states in her book, writing the book is the easy part. It’s once you’re done with the book that the real work begins. Fortunately for all of us, she’s lending a helping hand.
The first half of the book is full of advice about putting together your marketing plan (yes, you do need one) and a laundry list of FAQs that might have been pulled right out of my brain.
Here’s just a tiny glimpse into what you’ll learn:
- How to identify and reach your audience. This is solid advice, and arguably “identify” is something you should have done before writing, but “reach” is absolutely something you need to figure out how to do now that you’re ready to promote.
- How to identify your competition. Check reviews, do some Google searching and borrow liberally from what works for others.
- Pricing suggestions. Did you know you can pick a price… then change your mind? And change it again? It’s all about starting with a baseline and finding what works.
- Ideas for setting goals and measuring results. Sales, earnings, reviews, interviews… along with making a plan for promoting your book, this is some of the best advice you’ll get. It’s vital to know what you’re aiming for so you can work towards it and see whether your methods are working.
The “Tips” Section Almost Does The Work For You
There isn’t an ounce of fluff in this book.
A dozen pages in you’ll get what amounts to Marquita’s own marketing plan. When I read this section I felt like I was getting a truly behind-the-scenes look at exactly how a successful author promotes a book.
You know all those books and blog posts that promise you a “secret”? The ones I constantly complain about because there are no secrets, just gimmicks?
This section is as close to a secret as you can get without calling it secret. There’s a treasure of valuable “I tried it myself” tips and ideas that you can use to get started without getting overwhelmed.
If you’re smart about planning, goal-setting and measuring, you can follow Marquita’s roadmap and adjust as you go.
Here’s a sneak peek into a few of the tidbits you’ll pick up:
- Don’t wait for reviews. You may want a few five-stars before promoting, but you could be losing sales in the meantime.
- Choose promotion days wisely. Mondays stink. So do 5-day-long promotions. There are better ways and times to promote.
- Play with pricing. Remember how I said you can change your mind about pricing? Doing it strategically within your promotion cycle can boost your sales.
- Don’t sweat a downward trend in sales. You may be tempted to run multiple promotions to keep sales up, but that could backfire. There’s a great section on how to stagger and run promotions.
- Monitor results. Amazon gives you plenty of tools to do so, if you know where to look and what to look for.
And Then There’s The Promotion…
The second half of the book is devoted to pages upon pages of glorious resources for you to use to list and promote your book. Marquita goes through the effort of providing a really useful key that tells you which promotional sites are free, which are paid, which require membership, which you can submit to now and which require you to plan your submissions weeks ahead.
Top that off with a list of author support sites, review groups, social networks and forums and you’ve got yourself a self-publishing dream. Each listing comes with advice, pros, cons and the “good to know” stuff you usually only find out after the fact and wished you knew.
Plus the great thing about having this in eBook format is that all the links to websites, forums and resources are “hot” – just click through from right within the book. How much easier does it get?
Seriously, I know how much effort it takes to sift through the incredible amount of junk on the internet and find even a few useful sites and groups, let alone a list this thorough. I guarantee you’ll be referencing this section repeatedly as you promote your book.
What This Book Is… And Isn’t
This book is meant to help you promote your eBook, with a guide for using Amazon’s KDP program.
If you want to know how to get your book printed or where to get an ISBN (which, incidentally, you don’t need for this program) then you’ll need an additional resource.
But even if you ignore everything about the KDP program, you still get a ton of useful and worthwhile advice for promoting your book. This book is full of resources you can use as an author, and anyone can use the promotional tactics for social media.
This book is not a dummies guide… if you don’t understand how to use Facebook, Twitter or social networking in general then you’ll want to get acquainted with those first. If you jump in and start spamming links out to your books without following the “rules of engagement” and good marketing practices then no amount of advice is going to help you make a sale!
There’s also a nice section on setting up Pinterest to promote your book, which can be a real boon for authors who can pin their book covers and share links and reviews.
And there are no “rules” in this book. That happens to be one of the things I loved about it. Marquita and I share a philosophy here: there are guidelines, there’s “what’s worked for me” and there are places to start and best practices to test.
But there is nothing that substitutes for your experience, your efforts and your results.
Follow the roadmap… but get off the pavement and see what’s out there in the weeds.
If I may borrow a quote from Marquita’s book:
“Half my life is an act of revision.” –John Irving
Plan, try, revise. That’s your roadmap to success.
The 10-Second Wrapup
This book is well worth your time. It’s the antidote to every vague, motivational-but-not-so-practical book you’ve read about becoming a profitable author.
If you’ve never considered Amazon’s KDP program, you’ll find some good reasons to try it out plus detailed advice on how to do it. And even if you never go down that road, the promotional ideas and resources are well worth the price of admission.
Finally, Marquita adds pages of author- and writing-centric quotes at the end, a sort of “inspirational manifesto”. These were a lot of fun to read, and you’ll probably see a few of them show up in my Facebook and Twitter stream. If you like to share quotes, you’ll love this added perk!