Episode 25 – Exclusivity, iBooks and Pinterest

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It’s been 25 weeks since Jim and Bryan decided to give podcasting a go. We kept things rolling along with tips about Pinterest, changing your social media perspective and advanced email list building. After touching briefly on Nook’s continued tailspin, Jim and Bryan chatted about KDP Select, giving up blogging, iBooks and Smashwords, Amazon’s new crowdsourcing program and Amazon and Apple’s family sharing plans. Our Question of the Week: Do you use Pinterest for your marketing? If so, what kind of results have you had?

What You’ll Learn: 
  • 15 tips for using Pinterest for marketing
  • One perspective change that could improve your social media platform
  • More advanced tips for building your email list
  • How Nook is continuing to shoot itself in the foot
  • Why 90-days of exclusivity isn’t a big deal
  • What you should do instead of blogging
  • How Smashwords is taking advantage of iOS8
  • How Amazon is testing crowdsourced publishing
  • Why Amazon and Apple are letting families share books
Question of the Week: Do you use Pinterest for your marketing? If so, what kind of results have you had?

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  • Michael La Ronn

    Great show, guys. I went back and listened to every episode, and this is my favorite podcast right now.

    I used to put my book covers on a special board on Pinterest, but I didn’t see any benefit from that. It’ll be interesting to see how other authors are actually using it, especially for fiction.

    • Bryan

      Thanks so much, Michael! Feel free to post your board here, if you please :).

      • Michael La Ronn

        Great. The link to my account is here: http://www.pinterest.com/mlaronn/ (Couldn’t figure out how to post the board in the comments).

        • Bryan

          Haha, very cool. Love the anthropomorphic broccoli.

  • Kim Smith

    I do use Pinterest, but less for marketing and more for inspiration. It is a great place to keep all the pins that you find that inspire you when writing a specific location. I got the idea of an inspiration board from Karen White, the author of A Long Time Gone this past summer at her book signing.

    • Bryan

      That’s a great idea, Kim. Thanks!

      • I think that’s a great idea as well.

  • I seem to have forgotten where my Kindle Publishing bunker is located. Anyone?

    • Bryan

      Check your basement or backyard. That’s where I usually build mine.

  • Jim – Has my personal assistant gotten in touch with you yet? 😉

    • Bryan

      Big time!

    • I’m waiting for the call still.

  • Jason Fuhrman

    Playing devil’s advocate on the “iBooks app pre-installed will be awesome” thing. This COULD be awesome, but there are a couple of points you missed:

    1. Google Play books is pre-installed on every Android device, and in terms of market share, Android destroys iOS. And from what I see, Google’s ebook market share isn’t the best.

    2. It’s more about a good recommendation engine than an app. Amazon still has a much more customer-friendly book discovery system than iBooks, and they keep making it easier and cheaper to purchase books there. Apple’s business model is more about the bottom-line while Amazon reinvests a ton of its profits back into the company. Things like Kindle Unlimited, Amazon Prime, Lending Library, Prime instant movies are all things Apple is not doing. They all cost Amazon a lot of money, but they’re playing the long game.

    3. An interesting side note is Google’s Android One program is delivering low-cost smartphones to India. So BILLIONS of people in that country will be able to purchase a smartphone, and guess what? You will not find iBooks on Android.

    Unrelated #4. And Mr. Humble Cohen, I’m surprised you haven’t talked much about your success on Amazon. You’re holding your own in the ranks and hitting #1 in a category. I think it would be interesting to discuss your sales and progress on the show.

    Keep up the great work guys!

    • Yes, however, Google has no real mechanism for uploading books yet. The Google books/play system is about the hardest thing I’ve ever done. “If” they put a KDP like system in, as I’ve been arguing for years, they could instantly compete with Amazon and this ios8 piece would actually means something. So you’re right, until Google has the inventory, it’s not that huge. But you can get in through direct upload and smashwords.

    • One thing I’m interested to see is when apple fully integrates its purchase of Booklamp. If it works like the designer intended it will be just like pandora but for books. If you haven’t read about Bbooklamp and Apple’s purchase here is an article: http://bit.ly/1uspOpy

      • Bryan

        I think we may have mentioned Booklamp in a previous episode.

        I may have to mark you down on the SMBS quiz ;).

        • When I first read about booklamp they had already closed the website. I really just want to run my last book through it so I can say “you like X well you ‘ll love Y.”

          You guys give so much great info it’s hard for an old dude like me to remember it all.

    • Michael La Ronn

      The iOs 8 thing is nice, but unless Apple actually starts trying to compete with Amazon, I don’t see much good coming out of it. The Smashwords box set thing is nice gesture, but really, if Apple wanted to compete with Amazon, they’d cut out Smashwords entirely, open up their self-publishing platform to everyone (not just Mac users), and offer a KDP Select-esque program. Until something big like that happens, I’m skeptical about this being a game-changer.

    • Bryan

      Good points, Jason!

      Haha, thanks for the props on my book. I’d be happy to talk more about it, but we’ll still probably focus on the news :).

      Thanks for listening!

  • Your point on the guy waiting for copyright is so true. I’ve been in a few discussions on copyright, and there is this handful of people that feels like copyright will save them. I’m not a lawyer and my understanding of copyright boils down to a couple of media law classes and my time as a journalist. But I do know that Berne Convention had the US agree that a written work whether published or unpublished is copyrighted the moment those words are written and that the author can register it during that time of protection. An author can’t file suit against anyone for copyright unless the work is registered.
    The thing of all this is, unless you have a work that is producing significant amounts of money you might not even be able to defend your copyright. An author in Utah is going through this right now, and it will cost her upwards of 10k for the suit.
    I’ve always felt like if someone can sell my work better than I can maybe I should steal it back for the next one and use their methods.

    Great show as always guys.

    • Michael La Ronn

      Great point, Clark. As sad as it is, worrying about copyright paralyzes authors and brands them as amateurs. You’re exactly right when you say that even if someone did steal your stuff, most writers couldn’t afford to defend themselves. Copyright infringement on books is so rare anyways—as long as you’re writing books that only you can, there’s so little to worry about.

    • Bryan

      Thanks, Clark!

  • Thanks for sharing Jane’s tip about changing your perspective on social media. I’ve grown so frustrated with the idea of trying to sell books via Twitter or Facebook, as most of the suggestions I’ve read are totally oblivious to the fact that people hate being sold to. Instead of thinking about “how to sell,” thinking about “what can I give away?” is so much more useful for both writers AND readers. Plus, you may get another book out of it if you do a daily challenge — sweet!

    • Bryan

      Sure thing, Laura. Jane’s post gave me a lot to think about too. Let’s plan some great giveaways! 🙂

  • Perry Constantine

    I’ve heard people suggest using Pinterest for writing, but I’ve never really known how to use it beyond just pinning my books. This tip sounds like something I might try, though.

    • Bryan

      You never know what’ll work, definitely worth a shot :).

  • Crissy Moss

    I enjoy blogging just because it’s a chance for me to get some thoughts out of my head that have nothing to do with my fiction. After I write a blog post it is often easier for me to work on my novel. I’m not really using it for a platform, but, oddly enough, I am getting the occasional person from my blog that picks up one of my books. Also I don’t write “epic blog posts”, I just write stream of thought posts about what is effecting me at that moment.

    I think it just depends WHY you’re using the blog, just as much as any other social media. While vlogging or podcasting is probably the best way to get people to notice you not all of us are as comfortable talking to a camera, or even a microphone, so we have to do what we can.

    • Bryan

      I totally agree. We do what we can.

  • I use Pinterest in a variety of ways and it’s paid off. It’s consistently my highest referrer of blog traffic.

    Some of the ways I use it for book marketing:

    1. I have a board called “My Books” where I post my covers and links to posts that have to with my books. Character interviews, my author interviews, excerpts and more. I also have a board where I “cast” actors to my upcoming series.

    2. A writing board with over a 1,000 writing-related pins. I get a lot of followers through that board.

    3. Boards for my favorite shows that related to my books. I mostly write paranormal romance and my boards on similar shows have a lot of repins and followers.

    4. Similar to my writing board, I have a reading board where post all kinds of things readers like.

    With a little creativity, authors can effectively use Pinterest as a marketing tool. It won’t happen overnight, but I think one of reasons I’ve had success is because I genuinely enjoy Pinterest. Sometimes when I’m stressed, pinning helps me relax. I love pinning stuff from my favorite shows. It’s fun and doesn’t feel like work.

    If anyone wants to see my boards for examples: http://www.pinterest.com/growwithstacy/

    • Bryan

      5,000+ followers! Wow, Stacy. You’re definitely using Pinterest the right way. Man, I need to take each of my writing prompts and have a separate pin for them. I’ll definitely be referring back to your blog for inspiration :).

      Good application of the “doesn’t feel like work” mindset too! Thanks for sharing.

    • Melissa AuClair

      Stacy, these are great tips 🙂 I love the idea of a writing board!

    • I’m going there! Thanks Stacy!

  • TheCreativePenn

    Hi guys,

    Couple of things

    1) On the crowdsourcing thing that Amazon Publishing is doing that Jim said was original – we have to give trad pub its due – Harper Collins has been running https://www.authonomy.com/ for years and a number of authors got trad pub deals that way. There are people who game it, but they do have controls in place. I first found that years ago before I went indie.

    2) On the Amazon Family thing – I imagine it’s similar to Prime by household, in that people have to be registered to the same address on their account. I have Prime and my husband gets free delivery too because of the same address.

    3) On Pinterest, I have used it for a while now as pinboards per fiction book http://www.pinterest.com/jfpenn/ I include links to the boards in the back of my books as well, so people can see some of the things within the book. I’d like to have a collage embedded in my Books page from Pinterest – maybe there’s a plugin for that 🙂

    Thanks 🙂

    • Bryan

      1,500 pinterest followers! Nice :).

      Thanks for the input, Joanna!

  • I think Jim’s remarks about podcasts being important were spot on. I’ve followed Sean’s tip (from SPP) of recording my final “read aloud” proof read. I work off a printout, and mark any things that need fixing with a highlighter while I keep reading. When I’ve finished, I’ve got a marked-up copy of the book ready for final edit, and audio recording of the whole work for my podcast (http:www.live-fiction.com). It’s so efficient as it’s doing two things at once. Currently releasing my latest novel with a few chapters a week of audio.

    • Bryan

      Very nice! Are you finding some success with the podcast?

      • It’s steadily building momentum now I’m putting material out regularly. I have another podcast based around a particular project (my cricket parody site 17thManDiary.com) which has over 100 episodes and has been a huge part of the success of that line.

        • Bryan

          Good stuff!

  • I gotta jump in on this family sharing thing. Since the beginning of print books, people have passed books and also music around. It’s usually based on “Hey I loved this book! Please read it.” It’s the origin of Word of Mouth. I don’t understand where the idea came from that each little piece has to be purchased separately. To me that’s an anomaly. In fact there was a time when friends made compilation cassettes of songs they loved and gave them as gifts. I believe musicians and authors made more money back then because that was how people were introduced to their work.
    I use Pinterest a lot. Results as to sales were pretty invisile until I found my books on other peoples’ Pinterest boards as books they want to read.
    I keep meaning to call but I listen while I’m getting ready for work then the week goes by…….
    I love the show though.