Please note, this post was originally posted January 30, 2014 on our MandMMonsters.com website before we started this blog!
Why Kindle Ebooks Rather Than A Book Book
Why did we decide that ebooks were the way to go rather than a “real book”? Well we wrote a real book last year. We spent a couple of months meeting and recording the content and then had a transcriptionist transcribe it and it is at the publisher right now. As far as I can see, we are right on track for how long it takes to complete a book. That said, many of the concepts that we discussed (it was about free marketing ideas) have now either disappeared or become ineffective.
I am sure that we will get it back and need to have many revisions to make it relevant for today, at which point we will send it back to the publisher…sigh…for us, this is just not a great fit. Tara has serious “get her done” issues and while Rebekah is WAY more patient, she has been the torch bearer for a while (like 4 YEARS) that we should be writing book.
Great! So a Kindle Ebook it is.
We also have a friend, Chris Lang, who had just published his first novel on Kindle so the use of the platform was banging around in our head.
Why 52 Kindle Ebooks This Year?
Hmmmm…this one is harder. We are BHAGS (big audacious hairy goals) kinds of gals anyways. Monthly we come up with a plan to do things like spend three hours a day on social media, grinding out an hour of that on specific site (many times ones we don’t like, Tara HATES LinkedIn and Rebekah is not a Tweet lover). We have had months where we make a video a day for a month just to see what will happen, so there is a precedence for this kind of insanity.
Lastly, Tara a pretty prolific writer in her own right. She is able to churn out blog posts at a pretty consistent rate and has done so for about 8 years now. That gave us a firm foundation for WRITING a Kindle book a week.
Because we know many of you will be reading this while considering writing your first book, there are a couple of things to think about. 1) if you have never written anything, please start a blog and make sure you like doing it. 2) if you are a selfie taking fool, consider doing Instagram instead of writing. Go with what you are good at and do it A LOT!
Where We Get The Books
This one, How To Succeed At Stock Photography: A Designers Perspective (the first book we published) was wholey written and sitting on the hard drive. It was not a perfect book, but it was good enough to get going. In reading about publishing on Kindle, I have seen A LOT of info about having ghost writers or buying books. The prevailing thing that I have also seen is that it is mostly harder to edit those than it would take to write a book and that there is a lot of plagiarism. We are not going to buy any books, just write from the heart and what we know about!
Surprisingly, once we decided to do this, we figured out we had between 6 and 7 books almost ready to go. They were bonuses we had used for our websites that had never been published online, course materials for when we gave talks and then Tara just has an issue with writing things and leaving them lying around, not doing anyone any good.
What We Are Writing About
Botice rippers and vampire books are hot on Kindle right now, but we are marketing people so we are going to write about things that are interesting to us! We have, in the past, attempted to hop on a “hot trend” and find that it is not sustainable as a business model. The amount of time we have to take to research is overwhelming and would SO not be conducive to a book a week.
So, we sat down and figured out what WE would write about (your list would be different)
- Social Media (if we have to)
- Goal Setting
- Time Management
- Disc Personality Profiles
- Perfect Customer Profiles
- Customer Demographics
That was enough to show that we are on the right track and that we have enough to say that people are actually interested in.
How Can We Guarantee That The Books Will Get Done?
First off, it is easier to do something when other people expect it. We are buddies and so enjoy spending time together and planning out books. We have been meeting weekly for a year anyways…I (Tara) don’t think this would be possible alone.
Secondly, if it is our goal to do this, everything else has to be second place or scheduled out. Tara is the writer-writer and Rebekah is the promoter. Planning is done on Tuesdays, writing and formatting starts Wednesday and continues until the book is done. End of sentence. “Stuff” will always fill the amount of time you give it and get in the way. Then Rebekah goes into high gear and we are heavily promoting them for two weeks each.
Week One – Crap I Had To Figure Out That Had Nothing To Do With Writing A Book
I KNOW, you want to know about publishing books. Here is the major stuff that is beyond just writing.
Help With Formatting
So I was sitting there with a fully done InDesign document and come to find out, MS Word is the program of choice for publishing a Kindle book…crap! Okay, what is the plan now? Well I did some online research and then figured out that the Kindle authors might know a thing about publishing a Kindle book so I bought 2 REALLY good books.
- Formatting of Kindle Books: A Brief Tutorial by Charles Spender
- From Word to Kindle: Self Publishing Your Kindle Book with Microsoft Word, or Tips for Designing and Formatting Your Text So Your Ebook Doesn’t Look Horrible (Like Everyone Else’s) – Aaron Shepard
So, in a perfect world, everything would go perfectly. In real life, using a Mac means doing a Table of Contents that works is heinous and we were never able to get it work right. Published it anyways!
Seriously, what were our options, continue to bang our heads against the wall, uploading and re-uploading ad nauseam WHILE trying to figure everything else out at once? Once we get better at the formatting, we will revisit the table of contents, but seriously, sometimes good enough has to be good enough!
The best! We hit number one for our category…:)
Why that is so cool. We are not stock photography experts…we are marketing people. This was our first book and it was not meant to be a best seller, we were just happy to have something live!
Sales wise we are not setting the world on fire (yet)…we had 10 sales this week, one unit borrowed and one unit refunded.
What we have read though is that succeeding with one little book is tremendously hard. You have no critical mass to show up in related searches and frankly you are just one in a sea of many.
Things We Did Marketing The Book
Now, we are marketing people so this is the fun part. Unfortunately for us, almost none of our “peeps” are photographers, they are small business owners who want to know about marketing…oh well…we are published authors anyways!
- Website – have a page dedicated to our marketing ebooks (just the one there now, but later today it will be two and next week…)
- Website – have a dedicated page for that stock photography ebook
- Website – put a link on the side bar with a banner to the page dedicated to our ebooks
- Internet – get the domain name www.MonsterMarketingBooks.com that points to the page dedicated to our ebooks
- Internet – get the domain name www.MandMMarketingBooks.com that points to Tara’s Author Page on Amazon (sad that we can only have one at a time…oh well)
- Amazon – set up Author Central page for Tara (this is where you can do your bio AND hook your book to your people, and see your sales reports!) – check out Tara Jacobsen’s Author Central Page
- Twitter – two week campaign targeted at photography people followers (we have no great social things for this one!)
- Social Media – Rebekah has blasted, made events, and generally scheduled out social love for two weeks!
Not sure I will be posting every week about this…it seems like a lot to commit to in addition to a book a week, but I will definitely keep you in the loop as we go when there are important milestones!