Three Indie Authors Share Advice on Publishing, Marketing, and Earning Additional Revenue.
Writing a book is hard work. Publishing, marketing, and selling that book independently can be even harder. However, thanks to iTunes’s iBooks Author, Amazon’s CreateSpace, and Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) services paired with social media, it’s been much easier for authors to get their work out to the world. Scrappy authors are also finding they can earn additional income, on top of their book sales, when using the iTunes and Amazon affiliate programs – just for referring someone to their own book!
We recently reached out to three different independent book authors, (Nick Daws, Alana Woods, and Dustin Rabin), who have all published books using the iTunes and Amazon services to see what advice they had for other indie authors and to discuss the tools and methods they use to successfully market their books.
Where to publish.
We started the conversation by asking how they felt about publishing digitally versus offering physical copies of their books. All three firmly believed in the power of offering their books digitally because of the low barrier to entry.
“If you’re talking about self-publishing, digital is the way to go,” states Nick Daws. “Kindle, in particular, has become hugely popular, and Amazon has made it very easy for indie authors to publish their work using KDP.”
Dustin also agreed. “I would love to do a physical and digital version of every book, but the upfront costs of printing are too risky in some situations.”
Once the book is published, the “easy” part is done. The real push starts when finding a way to show off what you’ve accomplished and built an audience to buy your masterpiece. When asked about how they reached their audience, each responded with a common thread: social media.
Alana offered up her favorite places to market her material: “In the early days, I plugged the books anywhere and everywhere that was free. I gradually abandoned those from which I saw no return. I now concentrate on the core social media sites: Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Goodreads and to some extent LinkedIn. And, of course, my website.”
Most authors focus on royalty payments from selling books as their return on their investment and don’t realize that when you use the iTunes / iBooks and Amazon storefronts, there is an additional way to earn revenue – using the iTunes and Amazon Affiliate Programs. All three authors that we’ve talked to saw this, so we had to ask about what benefits they offer for independent authors. Nick had some great insights.
“A lot of indie authors are missing a trick by not using affiliate links when directing potential buyers to their books’ Amazon sales pages. As well as boosting your income from book sales themselves, you will also receive a commission on any other purchases made by the visitor at that time. This can greatly boost your profits compared with sales of your books alone.”
How GeoRiot Helps.
Finally, we had some questions about marketing to a global audience because of the challenges iTunes and Amazon present with their international collection of separate country/region specific storefronts. We also asked them about the link translation, management, and reporting services that GeoRiot offers by seeing if they felt it was useful for independent authors using the affiliate programs as a whole. Luckily for us, all gave rave reviews and great advice.
Alana explained, “It’s a time saver, and that’s invaluable. And let’s not forget the value for readers, because the one link/click takes them to the book they’re interested in at their local store. And anything that improves a reader’s experience is valuable to authors.”
Nick also chimed in with what he thought about the reporting that GeoRiot offers: “I love the detailed stats that you provide so I can see exactly where my visitors come from. Before I started using GeoRiot I had no idea such a high proportion of my visitors came from the US. Being a Brit myself, this surprised me, although I’m clearly delighted to have so many American followers!”
Dustin finished with “I definitely think the service is useful. There is no upfront cost, and the peace of mind of knowing that readers will not get any [error messages in iTunes] is invaluable.”
“It was simple to set up, and now I’m confident that all of my affiliate links are working properly globally. Being new to it all, I was stressing about it just before launching the eBook, but [GeoRiot] really helped me get set up.”
If you’re interested in checking out the GeoRiot service, you can sign up for an account for free. The GeoRiot website offers step by step guides on how to sign up for both the iTunes and Amazon affiliate programs. If you’re wanting to get a piece of the affiliate program pie, but aren’t sure where to start, we’re here to help. Feel free to contact us with any questions and let us know what we can do to assist you in earning those extra commissions.