Self-Publishing Your Way to Thought Leadership, Leads, Money, and Much More
Have you ever had the idea or urge to write a book? And if so, why haven’t you? There is an infinite amount of excuses and as an author, I have fallen prey to a few myself. However, writing a book can be quite beneficial towards your real estate success and is your ticket towards becoming a thought leader.
In a recent conversation with bestselling author Mike Fishbein, who has written 12 books, he provided a detailed guide on how to self-publish a book on Amazon and the successes that comes as a result.
What is the goal of self-publishing a book?
The first part of self-publishing a book is to identify your goal. What outcomes do you want to achieve with the book?
- Is it a branding tool that will help you build client or partner relationships?
- Will it be an acquisition channel that will attract customers or partners?
- Is it an asset that will generate income, similar to real estate investment?
Having a well-defined goal is important when self-publishing a book because it is what will shape the strategy you will follow to ensure that it is a successful endeavor and not a flop.
For Mike, he has been able to achieve several goals with his books. First and foremost, self-publishing books has enabled him to make money. People are constantly finding his books on Amazon, through his blog, and through his content marketing.
It has also helped Mike build his brand. By putting out a piece of content, it establishes him as an expert on a given topic. As a result, when he is meeting with partners and customers, when they see his books, it increases his credibility and his image.
Finally, it has been a way for Mike to generate leads and build a large audience. Amazon has a much large audience than he does, so by being on Amazon, he is able to attract people that wouldn’t have otherwise found him.
First Factor to Self-Publish Successfully – Traffic
Once have your goal (or goals) in mind, the success of your self-published book comes down to two major factors. First is traffic. You must be able to get visitors to see your book on the Amazon marketplace and on your book page.
When you self-publish a book on Amazon, you are tapping into the world’s largest bookstore – you are literally placing your book on the digital shelves of the largest bookstore the world has ever had. For many authors, and especially for those just starting out that don’t have a huge platform of their own, Amazon is going to be one of the most effective sources of traffic. That being said, it is extremely important that you understand the Amazon algorithm and how they decide what books to promote on their platform.
Amazon makes their money on book sale commissions. Therefore, they want to promote the best possible books that readers are actually going to by. They don’t have a team of individuals manually scouring the online marketplace to find the best books. Instead, they use an algorithm that scans all of the books and determines which ones they should be displaying. The algorithm looks for two main indicators to determine whether or not a book is high quality:
- Number of downloads
- Number of reviews
If Amazon sees that your book as a high number of downloads, especially in a short period of time, then they will promote it. Also, your book will be promoted if it has a higher volume of good reviews.
At this point, you may be saying, “but Joe, how the heck do I get downloads and reviews if this is my first book?” Prior to Amazon’s algorithm taking over, you must first bring readers and reviewers to the table. Luckily, Mike provided a list of tactics to increase your downloads and number of authentic reviews:
- Write a great book – This is absolutely essential, and hopefully, rather obvious. You aren’t going to get sustainable downloads and positive reviews without doing so. It is number one on your list!
- Build a blog audience and email list – Use content marketing to create a blog audience and to build an email list so that you have an engaged audience of people to promote your book to.
- Leverage self-publishing promotional sites – ex. buckbooks, bookbub
- Offer a free bonus – Within his books, Mike offers a free upgrade or bonus that will send people from the book to a landing page where they can opt-in for more content (bonus ebook, free checklist, etc.) After opting-in, they receive an automated email that will ask them to review the book.
- Friends and family – Ask friends and family to read the book and leave an honest review as well.
Second Factor to Self-Publish Successfully – Conversion
Aside from traffic, the second main factor for a successful self-published book is conversion. If you are working with a publisher, they produce most of the book for you (design, book description, title, etc.). However, when you are self-publishing, it all falls on you. It is more work, but you get a much higher percentage of the royalties.
If you look at an Amazon book page, there are a few key elements that a potential reader has to look at in order to determine if they will get value from the book:
- Title – they will see the title before they land on your book page. It both peaks their interest and inspires them to click or they will pass.
- Cover design – it is really critical to get a strong cover design. Find a great designer who can create a distinct design that stands out, engages the reader, and inspires them to buy. Mike found his designer through a friend, so your best bet is asking someone you know for a recommendation. If that fails, check out Upwork.com. Once you’ve found a designer, check their portfolio and start working on a small project from there.
- Description – the Amazon description is where most authors make mistakes. It is critical that the book description encourages the reader to buy and take action. Definitely include what the book is about, but Mike also likes to clearly highlight how the reader is going to benefit from reading this book – using bullet points – and doing it in a way that is really relatable for the target reader of the book.
- Reviews – having a high amount of positive, authentic reviews will increase the chances of a reader not only finding the book (traffic) but purchasing as well
For additional questions on what else is involved in self-publishing book, please comment below!