52 Weeks of Ebooks Weeks 4 and 5 (Grinding it out)

52 Weeks of Kindle Ebooks - Weeks 4 and 5When you set any kind of giant goal, the reality of the situation will eventually hit you. Luckily for us, these last two weeks have the seen the publications of our favorite two books (Sales and Marketing Success and Authority Marketing Manual) thus far, we continued negotiations on a “traditional publishing” book deal and made some additional sales of current products that we sell (blog and social media setup).

Overall, life is VERY good right now!

As you may have noticed, we moved the updates about writing non-fiction ebooks over here from our Marketing and Media Monsters website. And I guess I forgot to add to our amazing life list that we launched the Non Fiction Marketing site this week.

The reason for this site is two fold. We are super enthralled with non fiction writing right now as we are learning the ins and outs of the marketplace. We feel like there is a hole in the market where no one is really talking consistently about publishing non-fiction and we are looking to jump in when we feel like have something to add. Also, our MandM site was slowly creeping towards a non-fiction marketing site and that is not the purpose of it! We want to provide great industry related marketing information, NOT turn it into our own little self publishing empire!

Let’s get the specifics out of the way first…

Total Sales

So we did have Becoming An Authority on a Twitter ad rotation, but never did it for the Authority Marketing Manual or Sales and Marketing Success. Interesting. Not something we are willing to bank on at this point, but clicks are pretty darn cheap on Twitter right now so will probably get both of those on some kind of click through campaign.

YAY! Our total sales numbers are going up for all of the books and again, it is just time that is making the difference in the total number of product sales. We haven’t really run any free or $.99 specials to drive numbers (and not sure we are ever going to).

That said, we did have a small seminar/networking type meetup last Friday and handed out flyers with a direct link to our Sales and Marketing Success ebook. THAT could have made a bit of a difference.

The Grind

So this week at one of our meetings Tara was all festive talking about how she loves “the grind”. For her, the cool thing about publishing books is that the sales are cumulative, the more people who buy the more other people are exposed to your work and the more books you have, the more potential sales you could make.

Because we are using the Kindle platform exclusively right now, it is easy to track sales numbers and see that older books are doing better than newer books (even though the oldest one has one bad review).

This is GREAT news. It means that if we continue to grind out a book a week for year, never wavering and we use the number of sales of just 10 per month for each title, at the end of the year we will be making $1,000-ish a month doing nothing at all but selling the books already in the system.

But what if we do some marketing? Some cross promoting and adding to our mailing list. Heck, what if we send an email out to our current mailing list about “buy our book”…now we wouldn’t do that, but we could. How about putting links to our books in the sidebars of all of our blogs.

There seem to be a million different ways we could market our books and we are going to test each and every one!

Well I am off now to finish publishing this week’s book. The cover is done, description written and all I am waiting for right now is the final edits back from Rebekah! This book publishing business is FUN!!!

Cool Cover

Perfect Customer Profile Ebook CoverOne last thing, we had what we think is the coolest cover ever for an ebook with the fun little guys and softer friendlier look. Well Tara’s husband was overwhelmingly in favor of that cover (which never happens) and Rebekah’s nine year old wanted to know how she could buy the book because she liked the cover so much. It really is the little things that make all the difference!

52 Weeks of Ebooks Week Three (The Process)

Please note, this post was originally posted February 14, 2014 on our MandMMonsters.com website before we started this blog!

52 Weeks of Kindle Ebooks - The Process
Now getting into habit mode & we are getting some rock star systems in place to produce & market our books (Click to Tweet)

So this was our fourth week of publishing an ebook (the third week of letting you know what happened and how everything is going).

Total Sales

So we have sold 35 total copies of our books thus far (that is $70 in income for a month!) These are in order from the oldest dated published to the newest ones.

Notice anything? The ones that have been there longer have sold more…well that was a “duh” moment. But that would NOT necessarily be so. The stock photography book is a little outside of our core marketing niche so in actuality we are a little stunned that it is continuing to rack up the sales (all be it slowly!)

Thought Process

So our thought process going into this was just that a book a week is a nice round number and easier to manage than two a month or every other week. Now, we know that might sound weird to some people BUT it is now getting into habit mode and we are getting some rock star systems in place to produce and market our books. Additionally, if we were doing one every other week, we have to say that the process would still be the same, we would just screw around for the week in between and then scramble the second week!!!

This is our process…

  • Monday Rebekah does the final content, review and revisions for the book from the week before
  • Tuesday meet to make an outline and brainstorm ideas for next week’s book and do the final edits for this week’s book
  • Wednesday Tara formats and publishes the book, makes the cover graphics and marketing banners that we will use in marketing
  • Thursday promote the new book
  • Friday-Monday Tara writes the rough draft of the next week’s book and Rebekah blasts this week’s book out to the world

Why it works…

We have been working together closely for a year and have finessed some of the things that would have tripped us up. Tara is more anal about getting things scheduled and done, setting up systems and making worksheets. Rebekah is more seat of her pants and do a million things that she cannot explain to anyone but which make a HUGE impact. When we started, it felt like we should both be doing all the different things…this was a nightmare. Figure out what your partners or team members are good at and assign tasks based on ability, not being even steven every day.

Also, we meet on a weekly basis. Tara has a mastermind partner she works with every month and that is great but the “work-work” tends to get done right before the next meeting instead of over the course of the month. By meeting weekly and knowing EXACTLY what we are going to get done by the next Tuesday, we are moving light years ahead of where we would be if we didn’t have that weekly power session.

52 Weeks Of Ebooks Week Two (Getting Better)

Please note, this post was originally posted February 5, 2014 on our MandMMonsters.com website before we started this blog!

52 Weeks of Writing Ebooks - Getting EasierSo this was our second week of writing a Kindle book a week for a year (these posts are one week behind the actual launch). Have seriously considered making these a regular feature so that when we write our opus about writing books, all the bits will be in one handy-dandy timeline!

Honestly, that is a big part of the reason we write, to keep track of all our amazing flashes of brilliance (joking!)

So onto this week’s book, Real Estate Agent Selling Tips: How To Close 98.7% of Your Listing Appointments, Safeguard Your Commission and Sell Houses Faster. She was not as fast a starter, getting up to only third in her category (as of today she is #31 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Business & Investing > Industries & Professions > Real Estate > Buying & Selling Homes)

Amazon Kindle Bestsellers Buying Homes

Couple of notes, we LIKE the graphic nature of seeing our book looking all cool there on the top line! Also, Amazon will not tell you what rank you are in or when you get to the top so you have to obsessively click refresh to see if you are trending. My husband especially likes that aspect of my being an author.

The next awesome thing is that we sold some books! January sales looked like this:

  • How To Succeed At Stock Photography – 10 sales, 1 refund, 1 borrowed
  • Real Estate Agent Selling Tips – 5 sold

Real Estate Agent Selling Tips also got our first one star review by a troll, I sort of feel like we have made it! They bashed the grammer, and me personally (Tara) and used an anonymous account to do it. As no one has requested a refund on that book yet, I am assuming that it was just a nasty person!

This is something that we definitely knew was coming. Yesterday Rebekah and I met to review our process for writing books which has definitely become more refined in the whole 3 books we have written so far. The one coming out this week will for sure be a more high quality product…BUT if we had waited to start until we had something brilliant, we would SO not be getting better.

The other nice thing is that there were three more sales this month for this book so we are up to a total of 18 sales for our first two weeks.

Some thoughts:

First off, it would be SO depressing if we were doing this on a longer timeline. Say we made “perfect” books and launched one a month or one every couple of months. That would mean that our sales growing thing would be happening on a much more drawn out timeline (and we wouldn’t get the trolls out of the way so fast!)

Secondly, from listening to a number of podcasts about self publishing (our favorites are The Self Publishing Podcast and Rocking Self Publishing), it seems to show an overwhelming number of self published authors say that they have increased sales based on the frequency of publication.

Now, it is probably backward that we are publishing to learn the ropes, but how else would we do it? Theory is great but until you put pen to paper and the go through the process of uploading, screwing up, getting great reviews (and bad reviews), you are never going to get better.

So this is about it for this week. Highs and lows (more highs than anything!) The new book is in the can, just waiting on some edits until we upload her TODAY!!!

Happy Wednesday everyone…the Monsters

52 Weeks of Kindle Ebooks – Week One (Starting Out)

Please note, this post was originally posted January 30, 2014 on our MandMMonsters.com website before we started this blog!

52 Weeks Of Kindle Ebooks - Week One Starting OutSo, we decided to do something easy, write a Kindle ebook a week, for 52 weeks. Now, I did NOT say it was simple, but making that decision was easy!

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)

  • Marketing
  • 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.

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 Results

The best! We hit number one for our category…:)

Kindle Number One Bestseller

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.

Kindle Ebook sales

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!

Wrap Up

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!