Episode 148 – Indie Co-ops, Midlist Managers, and the NY Times Bestseller List

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Question of the Week: What should indies who’ve been targeting the bestseller lists do with their time and money now that they have less of a chance to make a list?

Never fear, the Kukral Bestseller List will always cater to indies! This week, Bryan went solo to tackle stories about the NY Times cutting some ebook lists, the trials and tribulations of Jeffrey M. Poole’s KU account, and several ideas on what indies and publishers can do next to find success. After thanking the SMBS patrons The Efficient Writer, Gone, and The Cordova Vector, Bryan also took on tips about 2016 marketing strategies, bad reviews, and DBW findings. This week’s Question of the Week: What should indies who’ve been targeting the bestseller lists do with their time and money now that they have less of a chance to make a list?

What You’ll Learn:
  • What made the top marketing strategies of 2016 and what to expect now
  • Why authors shouldn’t take down books with bad reviews and what they can do
  • What marketing advice authors can use from the Digital Book World conference
  • What authors stand to win (and lose) in Amazon’s Storyteller Contest
  • Why the publishing industry should imitate the 90s-grunge music movement
  • Why one author thinks indies need to ban together and form a co-op
  • How one author’s KDP account was suspended and how he got it back
  • What changes The New York Times is making to its bestseller lists

Question of the Week: What should indies who’ve been targeting the bestseller lists do with their time and money now that they have less of a chance to make a list?

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  • I just started out with my first book (axiom, the parallax) and I don’t see much happening with kdp with out promos. For that reason, since I am just starting out I can afford to go wide and build something more stable in the long run. If I have to build it, than I might as well bui,do something I have more control in.

    • Bryan

      Good point, Cetriya!

  • Simple. Keep it movin’. The industry is constantly changing, and so should we in regards to goals and strategies. NYT shouldn’t be the end-all-be-all objective for authors anyway. Sure, it’s a nice fancy title to have when introducing one’s self, but we shouldn’t feel as if this is/was the only way we’d ever obtain credibility as storytellers.

    • Bryan

      KEEP IT MOVIN’! Good call, Raphyel.

  • CE Martin

    Answer of the week: Authors should spend time and money on keeping the readers they have satisfied. Namely by writing more of what your existing readers want. I tried chasing after new readers last year. Terrible results.

    As for “PWMs” promoting authors? I think we’d have to call them “Book Sharks”. These savvy purveyors of prose would fund promotion of promising scribes in exchange for a healthy share of profits. Not much of a different idea from ABC’s’ Shark Tank (BBC’s Dragons’ Den).

    A promising idea, but are there really any Book Shark sugar daddy/mommas out there? Hard to imagine someone other than a lottery winner having an inclination to curl up with all those books rather than go back out and make more money the way they got their first fortune.

    Still, a great idea. Sign me up.

    • Bryan

      Book Sharks, I like that CE!

  • Lavie Margolin

    I did go to DBW Indie and it was great. I’d been to 3 other conferences in the past and although it was corporately run, it was not a money grab or an opportunity to sell flim flam services. Jane Friedman, Orna Ross and Data guy were in the house- what else could you want?

    • Bryan

      I want to hear more about your experience, Lavie. What did you learn there? Got any notes? 🙂

  • I heard that an indie multi-author box set (Dark Humanity) just made the NYT list, so it’s still possible. Harder because of less spots, but not out of the question.

    • Bryan

      I saw that too, Stacy. Glad to hear there’s still hope!

  • Laura Martone

    Although Dan and I have yet to target the bestseller lists, I imagine that difficult doesn’t mean impossible. Still, I suppose I would just use that time and money on the blogs, websites, Facebook groups, and ads that appeal to our target readers. Ultimately, the quality of fans (versus the quantity) matters more to us anyway.

    • Bryan

      Hooray quality!

  • Chris Syme

    I think that targeting a bestselling list is more about the author’s ego (sorry) and not really anything that helps you sell more books in the long run–at least for indies. Maybe work at getting a higher ranking on Amazon so that Amazon will help you promote your book to potential readers through discovery. I recommend reading Chris Fox’ latest Six-Figure Author for info on how to do that.

    • Honoree Corder

      Totally agree with your assessment and book recommendation! 🙂

    • Bryan

      I think in many cases you’re right, Chris!

  • Patrick O’Donnell

    I could care less about any kind of list. I care about $$$$ and the amount of copies sold. I’m a novice author and I might think differently if this was my primary job. I did make the Amazon “best seller” for a how -to book I wrote under a pen name. It lasted almost a whole day. I showed my kid and we both got a chuckle out of it. If you toss your ego to the side and put your head down and push forward being the best business person you can be, I think you will be much better off.

    • Bryan

      Great points, Patrick!

  • QOTW – I think the badge of having made the list could help sell more books, but it was a lot of work and money to spend to try. That same money and effort is now better spent over a longer period of time to keep the books up in the ranks and give them more attention over the long haul.

    • Bryan

      We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!

  • Honoree Corder

    {QOTW} I’ve never targeted lists, I’ve only focused on consistently putting out quality books (in my case, non-fiction) that helped my readers … I figured I would “do well from doing good” and I was right — I am a full-time 6-figure author. Next up: fiction, where I will “do well from entertaining well” (at least that is the goal). If I ever hit a list, it will be a by-product of my own bigger picture.

    • Bryan

      Great points, Honoree. Can’t wait for the fiction :).

  • Honestly? Just forget about those lists and spend their time catering to their public, by either writing or getting in touch with readers/promoting their work. If your work is good enough, doing just that will get you pretty far. Most of us write such a specific niche its hard to get on such a list anyway. I’d much rather excel at what I do in my niche.

    • Bryan

      Excel! Excel! 🙂

  • Oh agony, upon agony, Indies forever banned from trade pub NY Times BS List! Hey! Isn’t that why we are indies, after all? They don’t want us to begin with; we don’t need no BS to sell our books.