Episode 190 – Mark From Kobo, Buk, and Automatic Email Sequences

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Question of the Week: Which marketing strategies that work in 2017 do you think will fade away in 2018 and why?

What marketing trends will be old news in 2018? After taking a moment to thank their patrons Rebel Song, Cowgirl, Unexpectedly, and Kiss Kill: Book 1 in The Girl in the Book Series, Jim and Bryan share helpful hints for authors like why authors need to block out other people’s voices while writing, how to use large-scale industry trends to improve sales, what auto-sequence one author uses to hook readers, and how LeadPages can help take the hassle out of Facebook ads. In publishing news, authors can share select passages of their books with sharable links, which market trends will become obsolete in 2018, what one writer predicts for Amazon’s entertainment ambitions, what KDP Print is offering to select authors, and why Kobo Writing Life is saying goodbye to a familiar face. Question of the Week: Which marketing strategies that work in 2017 do you think will fade away in 2018 and why?
What You’ll Learn:
  • Why authors need to block out other people’s voices while writing
  • How authors can use large-scale industry trends to improve sales
  • What automated email sequence one author uses to hook readers
  • How Leadpages can help take the hassle out of Facebook Ads
  • How authors can select passages from their books with shareable links
  • Which marketing trends will become obsolete in 2018
  • One writer’s nightmare prediction of Amazon’s entertainment ambitions
  • What service KDP Print is now offering select authors
  • Why Kobo Writing Life is saying goodbye to a familiar face

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  • I’m touched for the kind words, guys. Big hugs! Love the title for the #1 segment (I’m honored – no, wait, because I’m Canadian, I’m honoured). Coolest thing about the title wasn’t just the brilliant play on words that I adore your segment titles for (keep up the awesome work), but that it’s a brilliantly hidden #earworm. And YES, I now have the lead single from DIRTY DANCING stuck in my head.

    I am sure you’ll still see me around the writerly circles and I will, of course, continue to listen to this show and enjoy the tips, the news, the discussion, the rants, and the mahogany desk syndrome. (Jim, in honor of that, my latest WIP starts with an agent yelling at his client in a NY office: [“WHAT YOU NEED is to get your head out of your ass,” Mack said, slamming both of his hands down on the mahogany desk.] Inserted that JUST for you)

    Also, I so appreciate you virtually cracking open a Molson or a Labatt for me (fun Cdn beer references – although, technically, they’re now owned by Adolf Coors and Anheuser Busch. I’m far more into the SPIRIT of craft beer culture (www.spiritsuntapped.com) <—- shameless craft beer promotion right there.

    Glad you guys also recognize that Christine and the KWL team are absolutely amazing and incredible people who will continue to be there for authors, acting like internal sales reps fighting the good fight to help indie authors continue to grow their sales at Kobo globally. Keep your eyes open for SO MANY great things they have in the works.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends! Enjoy the turkey and family and festivities, but don't let a post turkey coma take you too far away from your NaNoWriMo and other writing goals! XOXO

    • Sorry to hear you’re moving on, but I’m happy you’ll have even more time to devote to your writing!

      • Thanks, Roland. FYI, I also appreciate your intel and insights about CreateSpace, KDP Print and the Lightning Source back end that powers about 95% of the POD services in North America. 🙂

    • Chris Syme

      You will be a tough act to follow Mark. I always appreciated your willingness to talk with anyone and everyone–true down-to-earth guy. Good luck.

    • Bryan

      Love ya buddy :).

  • I’ve been happy with Createspace, but if KDP Print offers overseas, local shipping, I’m excited. We have an audience for print in Europe, and it’s been cheaper to order a book through BookDepository.com than it is to mail them a copy myself!

    I hope there’s a way for us to mail inexpensive batches to Bulgaria (my wife’s former home) when she goes back to do talks and tours.

  • I don’t talk about my day job much, but I’m actually in the printing business, and work with lots of POD and traditional press run book printers.

    Services like Createspace, KDP, and even Lightning Source aren’t necessarily dedicated print facilities just for that company. LS, for instance, prints some CS books in some areas, especially outside of the US. CS has print facilities within other facilities all over the country. Amazon also own BookDepository, which supplies books (POD with free shipping) all over the world, using various printing companies, like LS, CS, and even other privately owned print companies who they contract with.

    KDP Print and CS are more like software platforms, who’s managers contract with different shops to perform POD. They are print brokers in some areas and own their own printers and facilities in others. This is why not all CS books look the same. When someone says their KDP Print looks better than their CS book, it’s coincidence, because they might be printed in the same shop, on the same printer, on the same day OR in a different state, on a different type of printer, using different printer front-end software.

    CS doesn’t even have to print in an Amazon facility. They give the boxes to the printer/fulfillment company and they do it all. Print, stuff, mail. It seems to be getting rarer to have a CS book in the same box as other Amazon goods, but I get traditional books in with my coffee filters all the time. 😉 Or so it seems.

    Most likely, Amazon is only getting ready to migrate CS into KDP because the CS software was not easy to integrate into KDP directly, so they started from scratch, one feature at a time. Remember, you can transfer your CS book into KDP Print with just one click.

  • Robin

    I think with all the rank stripping fears at Amazon…some of the smaller promo sites are going to be abandoned by a lot of authors this year. And it’s not because these sites are doing anything nefarious necessarily; but I do think there’s been at least a small chilling effect with this wave of unjustified rank stripping.

    • Being an owner of a few smaller promo sites I can tell you that this rank stripping is actually helping us. The authors that are scared to use the big sites are coming to us in droves. The biggest is the site where we feature multiple sites over a course of a few days.

      • Robin

        That’s actually great to hear!

        • And I talk to a few owners of other book promo sites and they are seeing the same thing. If you notice the author forums are only mentioning the big site as the cause. Authors are scrambling to book on other sites to level out the spike if the are lucky enough to get a Bub.

          • Robin

            That’s good news.

          • Bryan

            Only the small and mighty will survive :).

  • Another hard question. The way I see it, the only constant in book marketing is things are going to change. Since so many of the tactics out there require 3-5 books to start I am not yet in the position of having a baseline from which to judge where things could go next. My goal right now is to stay on top of developing trends enough to be in a position to jump in when the timing is right.

  • Ethan Jones

    InstaFreebie has lost its efficiency as it’s oversaturated. Unless, they increase their readership, I think IF will disappear in 2018.
    Thanks for the great shows, and God bless,

  • Benjamin Douglas

    I don’t know if I’d go so far as to agree with Ethan that IF will go the way of the buffalo next year, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a diminishing of the “speed + volume” approach to mailing list building, and a return to a more organic growth approach. I keep hearing these doom-and-gloom messages about mailing lists becoming less effective as marketing tools, but I think their primary value is evergreen: permission to solicit. I miss the good old days when the advice was to start a mailing list because “If (read: when) Amazon and Barnes and Noble and iBooks go south, they won’t be able to take your mailing list away; at least you’ll have that, and can sell direct.”

    Speaking of which…

    Two things that I predict WILL show up more in 2018:

    1.) More discussion of selling direct. I don’t know if it will happen on a scale to compete with any of the big distributers, but it’s definitely on the wind. Also keeps showing up in multiple threads of conversation.

    2.) More co-authoring, or attempted co-authoring. When it was just Sean, Johnny, and Dave, it was easy to write off as a fluke. But in a post-Anderle and Indies-On-A-Train world, it’s going to blow up. Taking bets.

  • Chris Syme

    Well you know what I think. 😉 Thanks for the shout out guys!

    • Bryan

      You’re welcome! Thanks for the great info :).

  • Laura Martone

    I don’t really have much to add to the marketing discussion – Damn it, Jim! I’m a writer, not a marketer! – but I would like to express my adoration for the man who will always be known as Mark from Kobo to me. He’s one helluva guy, and I hope our paths cross again soon. Maybe you two (that is, Bryan & Jim, in case it wasn’t obvious) can convince him to come down from Canada for the SMBS Summit. That would be grand!