Build Your Tribe, Platform, and Reputation
Though I’m a rookie indie-author, I’ve already picked up dozens of awesome tips regarding book sales and promotions. Also, I’m a rookie indie-author who relishes in controversy to the point my friends have branded me a young Alex Jones (though I’m a Trump-Critic Libertarian and not a Pro-Trump Republican).
Either way, as a true capitalist, I love finding ways to hand borderline monopolies a death blow, and Amazon is no different. Sure, I’ll put my titles listed there, but my ultimate goal is to find ways to get readers to buy without relying on a corporate giant who engages in the following:
1. Changes terms and conditions at will.
2. Will ban authors for suspecting wrongdoing, when said authors are completely innocent.
3. Inconveniences authors not enrolled in their KDP Select Program (which from my young experience does absolutely nothing in increasing book sales). I’ve open-published another book and it’s doing rather well.
4. As a continuation of number three, has now found ways to inconvenience authors enrolled in KDP Select.
Do Authors Need Amazon?
I’ll be honest; I published a second book called Fighting Tyranny and open-published the work on any website not named Amazon, just to experiment with a few things. I’m using Fighting Tyranny as a reader magnet, so she’s only a small novella, around 71 pages, 11,000 words.
But, Fighting Tyranny is just that; a reader magnet I’m using to do the following:
1. Build the Tribe.
2. Build the Platform.
3. Build my Reputation as an author.
So far, the results have been decent. On Instafreebie, for example, I’ve already had hundreds of hits and around eighty email addresses in the first few days. Nothing crazy, but for a new author with readers interested in what he has to say, it’s rewarding.
The Tribe, Platform, and Reputation are all intertwined, but different in their own regard. For instance, I consider my Tribe to be my inner-circle of like-minded individuals, reading my work for the message I’m conveying. Such messages have strong Libertarian, nationalist, anti-imperial and globalist leanings, as well as desires for sound currency over fiat currency.
My Platform consists of all readers on my growing mailing list. These are readers who love my work enough to give me their email. They might like my voice, the way I tell the story, or something about my plot or characters that might entice them to come back for more. They may or may not be in it for my deeper themes and messages but are my solid fanbase.
My Reputation is even broader. Sure, not everyone’s going to give you their email; I’m selective on handing mine out because I don’t like being sold to. These people are ones who come across my work, like it, may hand me a good review, and tell their friends about this awesome book they read. In other words, my reputation as an author is traveling far and wide by people who may or may not read another one of my works.
You Have Hundreds of Thousands of Fans
Yep, even if you’re a newbie like me you have hundreds of thousands of fans, so it’s your job to lead them to your blog and website. Think of the following:
2. Friends of friends
4. Family of family
5. Friends of family
7. Friends and family of peers
9. Friends and family of co-workers
10. Old teachers
11. Friends and family of old teachers
The list is endless.
At least one-hundred-thousand people know your name, guaranteed, or your reach is one-hundred-thousand.
Notice I haven’t mentioned anything online here, because these people are offline. Good old-fashioned word-of-mouth. Say one of your old teachers has a son or daughter who loves epic or urban fantasy and they heard a former student of theirs has two books out that will suit their needs.
This son or daughter of your former teacher just found out your name. Maybe they take a flier on your $2.99 e-book with a few decent reviews and like the work. Or if they don’t, they may know someone who likes the work. You just expanded your reach and never even knew it.
People Work for You
People work for you, not giant search engines like Amazon unless your book’s surging. So, now that you just found out your reach is far greater than you’ve ever imagined, they’re working for you.
And no, they don’t realize it. People don’t realize they work for one another. Put it this way, I know of a business owner over in Wintersville. His business consists of tires and other mechanics. The man has no website, no sign pointing toward his business, and he doesn’t even carry a cell phone.
He’s got the best tire business in town.
In fact, if you Google Search the business, it won’t even come up.
The guy’s raking in the cash and he has some of the best mechanics working for him.
I just told you all about this tire business owner in Wintersville, Ohio who totally rocks at what he does for a living. Oh and by the way, he has great customer service skills.
I just promoted him and his business (Pro Tire), so if you know anyone in the Wintersville area who’s in need of a tire change, kindly direct them to him and not the other place across town.
By the way, there are a lot of dissatisfied customers from the other place, who always places ads on TV, has done hundreds of commercials, has flashy signs all over the place, plus electronic billboards. In my own personal experience, his “mechanics” once almost killed my old car’s wheel-bearing. Needless to say, I haven’t been there since nor do I plan on going back, and no, I’m not naming the business on this site.
Once again, people work for people by telling people about their awesome experience at the person’s business.
And people will work for you, too, if they love your product.
What Have We Covered So Far?
We’ve covered both offline and online promotion without needing a search engine like Amazon, their confusing algorithms, corporate structure, intimidation tactics, and will to change the rules every other day.
We also covered the fact I’ve seen greater results open publishing on Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Instafreebie (though this is simply a giveaway site), Google Play, Scribd, Playster, and other aggregate sites for my magnet book…without putting the thing on Amazon!
And even better news; writers, I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but Kobo struck a deal with Wal-Mart to sell the Aura, which is their version of the Kindle. With iBooks being the second largest market to Amazon and Kobo striking this deal, Amazon will be sent panicking, and rightfully so, as all borderline monopolies deserve to collapse.
But, guys, seriously, for us writers, relying on Amazon will eventually be a nail in the coffin. I read articles about when KDP Select first came out, and it was great. Then, things were pretty good. After a while, they were okay. After that, hardly a soul has been satisfied with KDP Select. But, I wanted to try it with one of my books just to see what would happen…nothing good; I should’ve open published both, and I can’t wait until November 2nd so I can open-publish both and try like hell to direct people to the other sites over rules-loving Amazon.
At the end of the day, I’d love to sell my products on my own website, My Freedom Flame, as the books all present an identical message to what I preach on my blog:
3. Current Events
So, do we need Amazon as authors?
Of course not.
But, Amazon owns sixty to seventy percent of the market, which is why authors gravitate toward them.
What’s amazing is that in a free-market, we don’t have to abide by Amazon’s forceful ways. I’ve read enough about Amazon that I’m to the point of just open publishing my other book without worry what they do to my existing account, and the fact Kobo made a huge deal just in time for the holidays is a major plus.
What’s next for me (and you)?
Build the Tribe, build the Email List, build the Reputation.
We all have readers interested in reading our work; it’s all about making them visible to us. Be engaging on social media, give people a reason to give you their email, don’t try to sell them a million things, and let them admire your writing.
If readers love your style, voice, message, and ability to tell a compelling story, they’ll buy your work, and they couldn’t care less if it’s on Amazon or not. Ideally, I’d love to see the day where we’re all selling on our own blogs and smaller book sites, which will deal such a major blow to Amazon their near-monopoly on the book business will implode faster than the Houston Oilers in the 1992 Wildcard Playoffs (they blew a 35 to 3 lead).
Find your people, drive them to your stores and other outlets, forget Amazon is the only kid in the park, and do your part on bringing competition back to the bookstores. In the future, I’ll be adding Amazon to my list of ‘Truth’ posts each time I come across posts of authors they’ve inconvenienced in the past. The more we know about this, the more we can combat this borderline monopoly.
It’s time we’ve brought competition back to bookstores. It’s time we take a stand against Amazon.
I’d like to thank everyone for coming across My Freedom Flame, please come back soon.