Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Write, Publish, Repeat

Over the past four years I have read a LOT of books on self-publishing. Yes, I've learned from them. But I must admit that most of them say the same thing about marketing, gaming various algorithms (mostly Amazon) for higher rankings, and price manipulation techniques (free or 99 cent suggestions). Each one purports to have THE  "secret" to making the high dollars the author did.

Perhaps I'm a curmudgeon, or reliving personal issues around trust, but I've never bought into the whole secret handshake concept.  Before making the decision to go indie, I published traditionally in both non-fiction and fiction. Over the past 15 years I learned that a book does what it does and there wasn't a lot I could do to make a difference except write a good book that met the needs of my readers. In non-fiction, it's easy to identify who my readers are. In fiction, not so easy because I write cross-genre stories. My fantasies have some SF too, not to mention possible love interest. My adult romances are too much women's fiction to fit straight into the romance category, and too much romance to fit into the women's fiction category. Then there are the romantic suspense and SF adult stuff. In other words, I still haven't identified "my people." Also, most of these marketing secrets are shared by people who "made it" with their non-fiction book (yes the one about marketing secrets that you just paid $10 for), yet are aimed at the multitude of fiction writers. Many of them have never written a fiction book.

Here's the thing. Non-fiction sells better than fiction because it is based on an easily identifiable readership for the book.  Fiction? Not so much. It's squishy. Readers move between genres, have streaks of reading and then times of less reading, and can be extremely loyal one year and then move to the next big thing in another year. In other words, marketing fiction is a different animal., I rarely rave about a book that purports to finally give you the secret. I have never told my peeps that one of these books is THE one for making sure you become a successful fiction writer. 

That has now changed.

Write. Publish. Repeat. by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant is a must read by every indie publisher. Even traditionally published fiction writers will learn from this book. Whether you are just starting out or on your tenth book, you will learn something from this book--something that can truly make a difference in how you approach publication.

If you are truly serious about writing being your career and you are willing to learn the true secret about how to sustain that career, YOU MUST GET THIS BOOK.  The title completely gives away the secret. Write. Publish. Repeat.  Even if you understand that already (as I did), this book will still hit you over the head with how much more you can be doing by timing and releasing your work in a way that maximizes future sales.  And the things they suggest have everything to do with producing work, and nothing to do with luck or spending gobs of money or time to make your book rise above the hoards.

Yes, I admit the book matches my personal philosophy of publishing that I have been screaming from the rooftops for the past five years (write more books instead of spending hours, time, and money promoting one book). Yes, it satisfying that at least a few other people agree with me--actually I know about 30 people who agree with me. :) However, the book is much more than that. It also provides specific instruction on how to maximize all that writing by making good business choices regarding how to release your books in a way that will maximize profits. It also clearly delineates what part of the process is mandatory and what parts of the process fall in the twenty-percent-only-do-it-if-you've-already-done-the-other-eighty-percent category.

Everything you think you know will likely be debunked. Here are a few of the "myths" they tackle:
  • Only the lucky ones make it in this publishing environment. (I never believed this, but a lot of people do)
  • Stay in one genre, so you don't split your readers. (I believed this myth even though I didn't follow it in my own writing)
  • Make sure your book follows all the tropes, meets the largest number of reader needs. (Yup, I believed this one too and knew it was why I wasn't a best seller)
  • Make your book perfect before releasing it to the masses. (I know I'll never be perfect so ignored this advice)
  • Spend time, money, worry in a marketing and promotion scheme that ensures high rankings. (okay, I admit, even though I KNEW this one wasn't true I still tried because I questioned myself and had this niggling voice that said "you have to make more money now." Okay it was the voice of my DH--but it was persistent)

Of course, if you still believe there is a book that will reveal the one big secret--the easy way to get one book to become a bestseller, then do not buy this book. You will hate it. If you are looking for the easy path, do not buy this book. What they propose is far from easy.

Do I agree with everything they say? Nope. Will I likely buy their fiction? Probably not. I don't think it's my cup of tea. However, I will take advantage of their lead in book(s) to see if I'm wrong. (Part of their funnel approach to gain new readers) Here's the thing. I DO agree with more than 90% of what they say and that is very high for me. I can't think of any book about self-publishing (other than my own) where I can say that. Even my own book has its shelf-life of ideas--that shelf-life began deteriorating the moment it was published.

Please, run and buy this book. For only $5.99 in ebook it is well worth the price.

P.S. I've never met these guys. I've never listened to their podcast. I didn't even know they existed until another writer told me "You have to buy this book!"  Thank you, Elaura!!!


  1. Okay, I will - hopefully what they say will boost my spirits since my "master publishing plan" is falling apart at the seams although I do believe I'll have it all sewed up again by the end of the month.

  2. I am ordering it right after I thank you again for sharing.

  3. I too loved this book -- and the authors will undoubtedly be ruffling feathers out there. But they're up front about that too -- they are all about thinning the tribe from the get-go. For writers who have spent a lifetime trying to please the widest swath of readers possible this "Tribe Building" truth of 1000 authentic followers is going to make a lot of people unhappy. Tough love for sure. I haven't read their fiction either, but I'm tempted by that Unicorn Western.

  4. I suggest you buy the paper copy. I started reading it, then started skipping around, because there are so many interesting parts. I know I'll be referring back to it a lot as I move forward on the indie path. But I must finish reading it. And finish the books I have started!

  5. Maggie,

    I trust you so I am off to buy this book! Thanks for the rec.

    I'm doing the write/publish/repeat, but am interested in learning more about timing a series, as in some say wait and pub it bam, bam, bam to keep it high on the lists and in front of readers.

    Heard a new twist on the # to build true momentum which hit home for me and you since we both write in multiple genres of romance. A best-selling indie/hybrid author said she thinks you need 8-12 books IN EACH GENRE to have the big momentum.

    A bit of dismay for me there, but then I remembered I now have 8 out in sci fi rom, so I'm nearly there. And you will be too!

    thanks for all you do for indie publishing,

  6. Danita bought the book and has been sending me little snippets she's learning. Guess I better get my own copy. Thanks Maggie!

  7. Judith and Anna, when you get it do not attempt to read it all in one sitting. I found that a chapter a night was more than enough. The chapters are long and the information is dense, even though it's delivered in a way that seems they are sitting in your living room and sharing their experiences.

    Barb, good idea about the paper copy. I like ebook copies because they are less expensive and I don't have to find shelf space.

    Cathryn, I do am already doing the write, publish, repeat part but I still learned a lot. They don't really say wait and do it all at once or one a month (though that is one way to do it). Instead they talk about "product funnels" and how one book leads to the next, and how a combination of pricing and getting readers to say "yes" leads them to more books and bundling. I knew some of that in the periphery of my brain but they made it really clear to me.

    I've heard the 8-12 books in each genre thing too. But I'm never going to be a one genre gal. That's the other thing I like about this book. They write across genres too--though a lot of shorter stuff along with the longer stuff. It's all about funnels. :) I think there is no magic number. But I do believe if we keep working our butts off (Oh if only my butt would come off) that we will get there. I truly believe by the end of this year I'll be seeing good money. I'll have 12-13 books out then--even if they are across multiple genres--but my funnels will be in place.

    Paty, not surprised to hear Danita is sharing her thoughts on it . She is one smart gal. Yup, definitely get your own copy. You have enough books already to use a lot of their marketing/placement/funnel stuff.

  8. {waiving from Hawaii :) } Thank for this recommendation, Maggie. Have ordered it for my Kindle. Will start to read on the plane home.