How to Use Amazon Instead of Amazon Using You (Self Publishing Podcast #142)

Let’s face it–exclusivity sucks, and having “all your eggs in one basket” when it comes to where your books are available isn’t a smart idea at all. But…
BUT Amazon’s KDP Select just keeps winning us over, tempting us with new benefits and goodies for staying exclusive. So whatever should an indie author do? Swallow the pill and go exclusive? Or play the long-term game and go wide?
In this week’s episode, the guys talked about how maybe there’s another way to think about your relationship with Amazon, and maybe there’s a way to make Amazon work for you instead of the other way around.
This week, the guys talked about how much they’re using Select and why. This is more than simple experimentation; it’s about making a cost-benefit judgement. KDP wants exclusivity, but what does it give in return?
The guys suggested a completely new way of looking at KDP, a way that just might keep us from feeling abused. More importantly, this attitude is essential when working with any platform, and it’s necessary to future-proof your business.
Also this week, we get an update on how “optimization” is working out for S&S, and we all get some tips that could help us optimize, too. Among those tips were some pointers about covers. Check out the cool covers that were shown on Youtube below!
Here’s the video version:

Show Episode Transcript

Johnny: Self Publishing podcast episode number 142.Dave: This episode of the Self Publishing podcast is brought to you by 99 designs, the online marketplace that helps you get outstanding book cover designs at an affordable price. Start your custom design today at and enjoy a free power pack upgrade valued at 99 bucks.
Welcome to the Self Publishing podcast where if you want something done right you’ve got to do it yourself, and now here are your hosts sometimes known as the shield, a nose and the yeti, Johnny, Sean and Dave.
Johnny: Hey everyone and welcome to the Self Publishing podcast, the podcast that follows three fulltime authors as we attempt to change the face of Indie publishing. Join us and our trailblazing guests as we shove aside boundaries, freely experiment, and occasionally screw up. I’m Johnny B. Truant and my co hosts are Sean Platt and David Wright. Now I’d like to issue a challenge to Sean to see if he cannot make noise during Dave’s little thing there. What’s pretty fun is I yelled at you about…
Sean: Dave has a little thing.
Johnny: Dave has a little thing. I yelled at you about it last time, but I had muted myself, so you can hear it on the podcast feed, Sean’s like or something like that, I don’t know what he was doing this time.
Dave: I think he is making a grunt sculpture.
Johnny: Well, I think what we’re risking is we’re risking making the show seem unprofessional in some way.
Dave: We would hate to do that.
Johnny: Yeah.
Sean: That would be terrible.
Johnny: I have been commanded under penalty of flogging by Amy our studio manager to mention that today if you’re listening on the audio feed, I believe it will be the 28th, the 28th is the last day for early bird registration of the colonist summit that we’re holding in Austin, Texas on April 18th and 19th and the URL to check that out is, so the early bird is 25% off.
Dave: And you’re running out of seats, aren’t you?
Johnny: We are running out of seats– does anybody have– see now I did so well, I remember the dates, I remember the early bird dude, and now I’m not going to know the number of seats left, it’s single digits like I know…
Sean: I think we have nine seats left.
Johnny: Okay so there you go, if you want to get in, get the early bird pricing you should do that now. We don’t have any late breaking news about that, do we? We had a hang out, it was kind of cool. It’s not Dream Engine focus necessarily, we will we’ll cover that. But I think that some people thought that it was good to be and reasonably so, because it grew out of the Fiction Unboxed kick starter. I think people thought that it was going to be like if you’re doing Dream Engine’s world books, and that’s so not the case.
Sean: The coolest thing I think about it, as is the whole– all the details are on if you just go to It’s all there, Monica wrote that. Thanks again Monica it’s awesome.
Johnny: Boom.
Sean: But basically the way it’s going to be is there are four big topic areas that we’ll be talking about, but my favorite part– I think that will be really-really cool. I’m excited about all those things, we will be talking about optimization a lot and by that time we’ll have the first quarter of the year, all the little things that we’re doing right now. All the little tweaks we can really break those down one by one, so that will be really fun. But we’re also going to have all the all the attendees will have a hot seat and what that means, basically is that they can bring a problem you know to the to the session.
Johnny: I hope nobody brings Carl Sinclair, if they’re all allowed to bring a problem.
Sean: And basically get there– fucking sorry my phone has gone off all day, and basically get all the attention on them so they can say, “okay I’m having a problem with you know this story, or I’m having a problem with this funnel, this is my business.” But basically the spotlight is on them, and not only will they get me and Johnny kind of breaking down their problem and offering solutions and trying to you know, figure out a way to make whatever it is that they want to be better, better, but they’ll also have the time and attention of the entire room, which I always love stuff like that in mastermind.
I always feel like no matter what I’m bringing for my hot seat, I always really benefit from hearing what other people are struggling through and hearing in a room kind of breakdown problems one by one, I think it’s as invaluable on a business level as you know, like Dave’s talking about last time how much– how valuable the story was to sit there and you know brainstorm with other creatives and authors to be crackling with those kind of ideas. I think on a business level it’s just amazing fun. So I’m really looking forward to the hot seat.
Johnny: There will be a post on– well there will be if you’re listening live, there will be future tense a post on the blog on Monday the 26th. That’s 10 things you need to know about the colonist session if you’re thinking about it. They grew out of that Q&A, and obviously if you figure this out it’s actually in the past if you’re listening on the feed. That’s the way it works is, you’ll be on Wednesday in the future. Hello to the future we’re here in the past and you can check that out, but it will– it’s more like a mastermind, it’s more strategic.
We do have at least one person attending who doesn’t even do fiction. She’s exclusively nonfiction and a lot of people that I’m really looking forward to meeting and hanging out with and sharing minds because we walk away smarter too, so it’s going to be great. So there you go.
Dave: If Carl were going I want to say I would change my mind and then I would go.
Johnny: I actually that was a joke with the bringing a problem thing, but I actually really would like to meet Carl, I think that would be fantastic.
Dave: Carl’s like me, so I mean two of me into and you and Sean it would be like the most interesting…
Sean: That would no– that would tear the space time continuum.
Johnny: And let’s face it on a sheer mass basis. You would then out balance us you know Sean and I versus you and Carl.
Dave: You would make us a little more positive and we make you a little more cynical, and I don’t know if that would do any of us any good really.
Johnny: I made a lamb curry reference in a project I was writing just a few days ago and I went to Carl’s blog specifically to look up his worst day ever story because I couldn’t remember what kind of curry, and I thought it would be funny to tip the hat to Carl and his lamb curry story where that was the worst thing that happened other than the ultimate warrior dying.
Sean: I came across that– I came across that line today as a matter of fact also.
Johnny: Fantastic.
Dave: He’s had a rough life.
Johnny: He does first world problems all the way.
Dave: But to be fair he lives in Australia a place where the environment and animals are trained to kill you all the time and the fact that…
Sean: [inaudible 00:07:03]
Dave: The fact that the ultimate warrior is his biggest problem in his day [inaudible 00:07:08] is on fire is very interesting.
Johnny: It’s really kind of a success story when you think about it, like the fact that he’s in Australia, and that’s all that’s happened to him, it’s a good thing.
Sean: Do you have any objection to writing a fire NATO book because I kind of dumb.
Dave: Only if we can write with Carl.
Johnny: There you go.
Sean: Carl if you’re listening Fire NATO, are you interested?
Dave: I’m sure he’s sleeping, it’s late there.
Johnny: I’m sure he is. All right, so today’s topic is and don’t confuse my announcing the topic with this going to get into the topic because that’s not the way we roll here folks– is going to be how to use Amazon, instead of Amazon using you, which is something that has kind of– I know these guys will have a lot to say about it, but it’s something that has hit me from a few different directions lately. Listening to other podcasts and reading books the common theme of using the platforms, but not falling into the platforms and coming to be totally and completely dependence, so that’s what we want to talk about today.
Dave: But before we talk about that I really think that we should talk about the most important thing today, and that is the fact that it is somebody’s birthday here.
Johnny: That’s right. Do you know what I got Sean for his birthday?
Dave: A hooker?
Johnny: No I got him a book pub ad.
Dave: A book pub ad, holy shit.
Sean: Yeah that is…
Dave: Depending on how it’s sinking.
Sean: When we finally got you know because book pub has routinely rejected us for like the last nine years. No that’s in self publishing time right, which are like dog years.
Johnny: Right so like you know six months or something like that.
Sean: But we have been just routinely rejected every single time, every single time and then we finally got– we got our yeey we’re accepted and Johnny forwarded me the e-mail and then like that’s my birthday, what the best birthday present, yeey. So yeah that was the best present.
Johnny: Yeah that’s– and I think I said to you, don’t expect me to ever remember your birthday. I just don’t, I just don’t remember birthdays. I said the only reason I know it is because of the book pub ad and I remembered Haley’s birthday too because that came up recently, like you like what Haley has a birthday dinner so I was like oh my kids should send Haley, you know a birthday email, which they did so there you go, so I’m not usually this good, and Dave nobody knows his birthday.
Sean: It’s redacting.
Dave: Happy birthday. I wasn’t born.
Johnny: I was actually thinking about it. I pitched Sean the idea the day all of us always try to do a major promotion on each of our birthdays to celebrate it, and then I thought, well Dave like your birthday is kind of like, you know only one three hundred and sixty fifth of the world population shares that day, so it really narrows it down and so…
Dave: I usually fall the birthday on like every bit of [Inaudible] [00:09:57] every day.
Johnny: That’s what I meant. That’s what I was going to suggest that you actually have a decoy birthday.
Dave: I do, no lie.
Sean: I’m actually sad because my birth certificate did not– I’ve ordered a birth certificate because I don’t know where mine is, and it didn’t come in the mail today.
Johnny: Good luck proving you were ever born fucker.
Sean: Well, it means that I have to take the driving test. I just so don’t want to do because I need it. My California license is now expired. I need to– I went to go swap it out to get a Texas license, but I didn’t have all the documentation I needed, so now I have to go back and because it’s expired now I’m going to have to take the written and the driving test and I’m just so not looking forward to that so…
Dave: I’m sure if you call your mom, she has a copy of your birth certificate around somewhere.
Sean: I’m sure she does, it’s probably under a dead pigeon.
Johnny: Did you ever see that Phineas and Ferb [ph] where Doofenshmirtz [ph] had to go back to Drusselstein [ph] to take the driver’s test, that’s a good one.
Dave: I’ve never seen that.
Sean: Was it in black and white?
Johnny: No I don’t think so.
Dave: We do have a few comments here, Kate Moss has made it to the live feed today yeey looking forward to learning how I can shake off Amazon’s pimp hand.
Johnny: I think you’re any use that pimp hand to caress you, I don’t think you’re shaking it totally off.
Dave: Amy says if anyone wants to see the Q&A of the question– sorry about the colonist email help at and I’ll send you a link. David says hello everyone, Richard Brown says he’s hell frozen over the beams on sale for 99 cents, what the fuck?
Johnny: That’s the book pub promo.
Sean: I like how expressive Dave was in reading that comment.
Dave: MGO says happy birthday you know who.
Sean: Thank you, I’m Jeff.
Johnny: Santa.
Dave: Yeah what the hell is up with the beam and 99 cents man? You guys I thought it was only 999 and for like fuck I would never do in the sale, fuck that shit. We’re not in the sale, this is premium shit, this is for the elite man, there’s no fucking sell here, what happened you sell out motherfuckers?
Sean: That’s a problem.
Johnny: I hear they call that a promotion.
Dave: Fuck that man; you turned your back on your ideals man.
Johnny: The funny thing is that I would probably be taking Dave a little bit seriously despite all the sarcasm if he hadn’t been the one to deliberately say you have to mention that you had the book pub ad today, and people understand sales and all this stuff. No honestly though, I think that the reduction in price of a normal price of 999 down to 99 cents is probably one of the factors that made it attractive to book pub, and the one of the things that…
Dave: So you should price all your books at 999 to get a book pub ad, right?
Johnny: Right, it’s a fantastic short term easy money strategy to have a really high price for like a year, and then you can run an ad. It’s like it’s fantastic because we do everything short term around here, but I did learn something interesting that that you guys may care about, and it’s just one of those little things and is if you go in– this is Amazon in the KDP dashboard.
The first thing you get now is that graph, right? And then you have to click on something to get the actual totals and the totals are always delayed. So you can always just be like okay I know that things are selling now, like I know book pub sent their ad but you have to wait and then you start to see trickle and hours and hours later, but the graph does not appear to be delayed at all because I went into the dashboard and I was like what the fuck, this is big red line, shooting straight up, so it’s kind of like seeing into a very happy future which is nice.
We’ll see what happens with that, we just so everybody understands a little bit of the mechanics of the promotion. We also lowered the price of season two and put it in the product description there. So season two is temporarily at half price. This is sort of an Ed Robertson Promo on one discount the next sort of a thing, and they’re both moving and so that’s great.
And we also for Lexi’s list because we’re basically the pretty much the authors of the Future of Sex with like Lexi getting in there and making it filthy. But you know we’re the beam world architects, we did a promo on that– just a free one and it kind of took off and so having those two beam world things together is kind of exciting. It went up to 84, 83 in the store or something like that which is…
Sean: 79, it peaked at 79.
Johnny: 79 that’s right
Sean: Which is awesome and I think that’s worth talking about too…
Dave: [inaudible 00:14:35]
Johnny: That would have been really appropriate.
Sean: That would have been fantastic. I think that that’s worth talking about for a moment too because this is optimization that we keep on talking about, I mean we’re three weeks into the year and I’m thrilled with how all of this is going so far. It’s you know that is our word for this year and we are working really hard to tweak this and whatever, and the Future of Sex is one that’s very specific, right. We can already tangibly look at that and see what a difference it’s made, so the optimization that we did there is we got a new cover and we are– we and Johnny rewrote the…
Dave: For which book are you talking about?
Johnny: This is Future of Sex.
Sean: This is the Future of Sex and so far we have their six books written and we have new covers for the first three, and the second three are already in production. But Johnny went in and we actually unpublished and then republished the first two are out now, and we actually– so here’s a few optimizations that we did, the first was new covers which have made a big, big difference…
Johnny: Maybe 90% of the difference. I mean the material was always in my opinion great, like it was always a great story, but you wrap it up differently and even I feel different about it.
Sean: [Crosstalk 00:16:02]
Johnny: I can show those, I can get those covers ready again while you’re talking if you think that’s interesting.
Sean: I’m sorry what did you say Johnny?
Johnny: I said I can get those covers ready again while you’re talking if you think that’s interesting.
Sean: Yeah, I do, I do think it’s a big deal because I think that’s the magic here. We always believed in the Future of Sex. We think it’s one of the best things we’ve done. It’s a really-really good story. It asks a lot of big questions and the book hasn’t changed at all without one word that’s different, but it has a new cover it and Johnny rewrote the product description, and it had categories all right much more than an SEO driven, we’re trying to understand discoverability and how would people who are very interested in this title when they find it. And it’s just performing better after the first couple of weeks of this year than it has in you know year and a half that we had it out before, and I just think that’s kind of amazing.
Johnny: And the promo…
Sean: We didn’t change anything.
Johnny: Sorry I didn’t mean to cut you off– we’ll talk about this a little bit later in the using Amazon thing, but we are– we said we’re going to do this. We’re dabbling a little bit with select just with a few titles and Future of Sex is one of them, and so the title we– the promo we have right now for this is it’s a Select free promo. And we did submit it to some free sites, but I think a lot of this is just momentum. It’s been free for a day and a half and 2500 copies so far downloaded.
It just kind of took off and that was surprising, but I think that that was it looks like we’re already steeped in the algorithms in the new cover, which I’ll show I guess in a second here, and the description I think really-really sold it and there’s something magnetic about it. So anyway so here’s the– I’ll show you the cover thing. So this is the original and Dave did this, and I think that Dave did a really good job considering you know what it was a really hard cover, like it just we kind of didn’t know what to do with this. Dave asked us for what should I do with it and we’re like I don’t know something futuristic but yet a little sexy and…
Dave: And basically, this was like this imagery here was like already on my ceiling, so…
Johnny: This actual– right exactly, because then these pressed down from below, so this was– like I think this is– I think it’s a good cover, but you can’t really define like I don’t know, it’s futuristicky.
Dave: No just say it man, the cover sucked it’s all right. You can tell me.
Sean: The cover doesn’t do anything to sell somebody on the idea of the book, which is the point.
Johnny: Right so here’s what we did for the sequels because we were like well this is Future of Sex one, there’s Future of Sex two, so this is future sex two, so it’s the same…
Dave: Oh how original a big fucking red two.
Johnny: Whoever did that just did not know what he was doing, let’s face it.
Sean: Yeah that’s not even trying.
Johnny: All right, so you ready for the after, I’m sorry go ahead.
Sean: Because I think that this naming convention is something that was new, and that makes a lot of sense, so I’m glad we’re talking about that too.
Johnny: Okay let me then let me flip over and show you the new one for the Future of Sex. For the Future of Sex one is this cover right here now, now I love this cover.
Dave: We’re still seeing two, oh here we go.
Johnny: It must be a little…
Dave: That’s so much better than my shit cover.
Johnny: It is, I mean let’s face it Dave you should be ashamed.
Sean: For people who are…
Dave: I think I’ll actually read that.
Johnny: And I know it’s the same story, but I think the same thing.
Sean: I think okay so for people who are audio only here, the first book was basically just an image– it wasn’t a stock photo, but it had that feel like there was just a single simple image that had copy over it with a shadow Future of Sex, and that was it
Dave: No-no, it had a few image, I combined a few different images.
Johnny: There was a digital; it kind of looked like she was in the matrix or something like that.
Dave: That wasn’t working in there mother fuck, it wasn’t working on that shitty cover.
Sean: Okay and then this one is– it has kind of like I don’t know…
Johnny: It’s a classic sort of a feel.
Sean: Yeah.
Johnny: It’s got figure with a nude back, yeah she’s got like a reddish I don’t know a blanket or a something like draped basically over her ass, and it’s just like…
Dave: It’s got like some futuristic like map with like lines and dots in the background, and then it’s got some like weird effect in the– the word– the text is like faded out of the bottom and different color, it looks cool, it’s variash [ph].
Sean: It’s color scheme is also you see this color scheme in Hollywood posters a lot.
Johnny: Like the matrix has this color scheme.
Sean: Yeah it has oranges and teals, and it draws the eye, it looks really-really fantastic. And it’s you know you’re competing, you’re competing with all those other thumbnails on a page and so the cover just really-really-really matters, because it doesn’t matter how big your list is you’re sending people to that page. And you know Nick Stephenson, he’s doing such a fantastic job with his list and with managing his list and with promoting things on his list, but there is a denominator that really matters. And that’s that he has really good covers, so when he sends that traffic he’s going to get traction because his covers are also exceptional.
Johnny: So here’s the second thing we did and I think this is a really-really cool is so that was a Future of Sex one, now let me show you the Future of Sex two and this…
Dave: Is there a big 2 on it, that will be awesome.
Johnny: This just came out a few days ago so it’s brand new to the marketplace, you’ll notice a significant difference. One such shows up the videos, it’s not even called the Future of Sex two. It’s now called The Girlfriend Experience and…
Dave: Which is what I wished for my entire high school existed.
Johnny: So you’re the target market.
Sean: Dave pays handsomely for the [inaudible 00:22:16]
Johnny: But this is a lesson I feel like we learned with Unicorn Western, so we did Unicorn Western two, Unicorn Western three. Now I did it with Fat Vampire as well, the Fat Vampire one, Fat Vampire two, they did have a tagline and they did have a very different look, but I think that when we call them Unicorn Western one, two and three at some point– and when I say at some point I mean, once we had enough stuff that we weren’t totally dear only to that property we– I realized anyway that I thought of the saga as the book all nine books.
The full nine book collection is the book in my head like nobody would get Unicorn Western two or three, like that just didn’t make sense. And I think in large part it’s because they had the same color with the same cover with a different color scheme and they just had a numeral added. And so by changing the look of the cover, by keeping it on brand, it’s the same basic color palette, it’s the same basic scheme on the same typography and then just having the Future of Sex book two, I think this is clearly a second book and it interests somebody like the first a lot more than, oh here it is again.
Dave: It’s a good point.
Johnny: So there you go.
Dave: We’ve got some comments; Tom Hinton says I find it so appropriate that the Future of Sex is in a category named hard science fiction.
Johnny: Oh that’s something we did too honestly is– I know that was a joke. But my point is, it used to be in erotica because we figured, well it’s Lexi like it’s got sex scenes, but that was just a mental…
Sean: Yeah we were way too apologetic for that.
Johnny: We were, we were apologetic and once I started doing some research, once I started reading some other books that were categorized not as erotica, it’s like if it’s– now obvious this is my opinion. Okay, so if it’s story first, it’s not really erotic, it just contain some sex scenes like Game Of Thrones has a bunch of really explicit sex scenes, like that just happens in books. But those authors don’t say “hey look at this porn,” you know, that’s like there’s a story and there happens to be a sex scene, and that’s what this is.
Dave: Are there are there arching ropes of jizz?
Johnny: Maybe, I don’t remember it’s been a while since I’ve read them, but it is in style.
Dave: I think that might be the line.
Johnny: It is in science fiction and I don’t remember psychological something maybe, and that’s some, that’s apt like those are the right categories, and it’s also not– it doesn’t have that adult flag either, so it’s showing up in search. So, I think it has a lot going for it and I’m really excited.
Dave: Krissy Moss says your new covers are amazing, first things to grab my eye when I clicked the link, [Inaudible] [00:24:57] agreed the new ones really pull you in, not like those old ones.
Johnny: If you’re listening live by the way guys, we sent this out and that is the first one is free still today, just today just on the…
Sean: Yes and I would like say that Jacob is going to put these covers in the show notes for this episode because we’re going to start doing a better job of…
Dave: I’d like to say that too.
Johnny: I would like to say that, I want to hop on board of things I would like to say.
Sean: So yes, these are going to be in the show notes, so you could actually just check out the covers there even if you’re…
Dave: The show notes where? On the website or…?
Johnny: but we’re no longer naming them with episode numbers, so be the most recent one as of January 23rd 2015, or January 28th 2015, so there you go sorry no help at all.
Sean: I forgot what I was going to say.
Johnny: I have something to say if you’re done with that.
Sean: Yeah sure.
Johnny: This is just sort of a shout out, but I felt like I should because I don’t want to be one– like every time every once in a while you’ll hear somebody talk about something and it’s just all their idea and like we get ideas from other people, and so I like to credit where credit is due.
Dave: It’s about time you give me credit.
Johnny: And so I’ve been reading Dave’s book, why it’s not worth it, and why you shouldn’t care. No, but I have been listening to a lot of stuff and I’ve been reading a lot of stuff and so if you guys are cool with it I thought I just mention maybe we mention a few books we liked recently…
Sean: Oh yeah that’s a good idea.
Johnny: So I mention Nick Stephenson’s last time “How to Supercharge Your Kindle Sales.” I think everybody should read that, but I’ve also started reading his “Reader Magnets” book and I really respect the way that Nick does things because it seems very familiar, like it’s a short little book. Reader Magnet is short, it’s free, and he’s using it as a funnel like you know you could– I’m on his auto responder list, I listen to his your first stuff and then there is you know he’s got a premium product and I’m like he’s not sleazy, I love him, and he’s got good stuff to say. And Simon’s book audio for Indies I read, which is great if you’re looking for audio book stuff. What else do you guys have? It isn’t meant to be a segment; I just felt I wanted to give some credit.
Dave: I read this book called Redacted, oh it’s fucking amazing.
Johnny: We’ll talk about that on Better off Undead.
Sean: You know Dave did read cursed I don’t even think you know this Johnny.
Dave: Yes, I read cursed and I loved it. I think Johnny didn’t know.
Johnny: I knew, I knew he shared that with us.
Sean: He got way passed the wedding thing, it was awesome.
Dave: I read the whole first book.
Johnny: Which is great, I love it, I love it thank you Dave.
Sean: So exciting, monumental. I do think well two things here. First of all I actually for this week’s almanac, I did in a video where I talked about everything that I read in the last quarter of last year, and the video is– I talk fast…
Dave: Eight hours long.
Sean: No, it’s four…
Johnny: Including the Leflore?
Sean: It’s 49 minutes and I talk pretty fast, but I’ve read a lot of stuff and so each of the– for each book I say why I read it, and what I got out of it, and whether I would recommend it.
Dave: Is Clive Barker in there?
Sean: Yes. Yes, it was the last was the last fiction book I read last year.
Dave: Fast forward okay.
Sean: Besides, I didn’t talk much about it though; I mean it was a lot of books. But you know what I want to do is like some dedicated little video reviews on books, I think that will be cool, but this wasn’t that. This was basically just a big rundown but that was interesting, but you know a little segment of the SPP show I know we need to get to our topic really soon now, but…
Johnny: I also have a spontaneous discussion I wanted to have whenever you…
Sean: That’s awesome something that I think we should do is just like a counter like something awesome in it. We could do it before we actually you know the bullshit half of the show you know before our spontaneous conversation, like something awesome that we came across this week, something awesome that we want to share that we want to…
Johnny: I’m a little afraid to hear Dave’s comments on something awesome came across this week.
Sean: You know it could be– for Dave it could be a rant for all those people who don’t get to the pleasure of his anger or Better Off Undead.
Dave: The thing that pissed me off.
Sean: But I think that you know, just make a note during the week “oh that’s what I want to share on Friday,” because I think that you know the three of us are– we’re always coming across stuff. And I know we share them with each other, but I think there are things that you know listeners would really love to hear that if we just make a conscious effort to, “oh you know that will be the awesome thing that I share on Friday.”
Johnny: I have two more I wanted to shout out to, the first I already mentioned was to Steve Scott’s, “61Ways to Sell More Nonfiction Books on Kindle.” Steve himself said that some of that’s a little dated but still totally-totally worth reading, a lot a strategic stuff. And the last one I’m barely-barely into, but I know Sean is reading it is Libby Hocker has a book called “Got To Read It,” it’s about descriptions.
Sean: Oh that was great.
Johnny: So I actually I’m, I didn’t– I haven’t had time to really delve in but I did skim through it to get her five like bullet point things that should go into a description before I wrote the Leflore Debunked. Like I specifically I was like okay I want to get back to that and remember it. So she was on Simon’s rocking self publishing podcast recently and I was intrigued by “I Got To Read It,” so there you go.
And on that note you know I know we talked about covers, but I don’t know like Sean’s been handling the covers, and so I’m just a little worried like if he were to get hit by a bus I’m very concerned about what I would do with my cover situation, he’s handling it all, I have a real like I don’t think there are competent cover designers in the world. I mean look what Dave did with the original Future of Sex cover for Christ’s sake.
Dave: Clearly I can’t handle book cover responsibilities anymore.
Johnny: So what would you like in a Sean gets hit by a bus scenario after you get past the excitement because there’s probably going to be a little bit of disappointment after your like the initial reaction of like yeey I don’t have the list anymore.
Dave: Yeah, after the party in you, what will we…
Johnny: Do you just retire, right?
Dave: Yeah we just stop making books.
Johnny: Yeah all right, let’s move on then.
Dave: Or we would turn to the professionals at 99 designs.
Johnny: Oh because there’s 99 of them, right?
Dave: There are at least 99,000 no, maybe not that many, but there are a lot of professionals and what happens with 99 designs is if you have a book you obviously want a great cover for it, right?
Johnny: I saw some really terrible ones when I was looking through recently, can I get one of those, I saw one with like somebody had hand drawn it, so I figure I can just do that.
Dave: Well if you want your book not to sell, yeah you can do that.
Johnny: Well that is on my list.
Dave: Yeah not to sell.
Johnny: Right.
Dave: But if you want a book cover that looks like you know the other books that are selling, you know those ones at the top of the charts and shit, you want to go to 99 designs. You go there and you have a contest, and this is the contest where you tell the designers what your book is about, you tell them your idea for a cover even if your idea sucks, they might make some good out of it like this, but not copy it. And you will have designers competing to give you the best cover they can do and every time we’ve done a design, a contest at 99 designs and we’ve done several for several of our books, we had more great book covers that we could choose from. It is truly a great service, and it’s a quick service, and the best part is if you don’t like– if you somehow for the first time ever, they just come back with nothing but shit covers.
Johnny: Right.
Dave: You don’t have to pay for it, so it’s great.
Johnny: What if I’m a self sabotaging personality and I’m secretly terrified of success and somebody has basically bullied me into publishing my book but I don’t want anyone ever read it, should I go with this?
Dave: Then you should avoid 99 designs at all costs.
Johnny: All right.
Dave: But if you want your book to sell, you go there and you get a great cover.
Johnny: All right and you should do that by going to self publishing, I’m sorry Let me do that again for the money everybody, and that will give you…
Sean: I have a question.
Johnny: What the shit, Goddamn it. I hate when Sean interrupts the ad read, go ahead.
Dave: What’s your question birthday boy?
Sean: I just want to know what if I want something like extra power, is there any special pack I could order?
Johnny: Well there is a power pack that you will receive if you use that link, but only if you use that link, the And that’ll make your contest stand out from the crowd, it’ll bold it and you get more listings, like you are available to a wide variety of people and you’ll on average get– I forget the statistics in the total pro.
Dave: 185%.
Johnny: That’s what I thought it was much like the early bird…
Dave: I have a tattoo.
Johnny: Deadline I remembered that number, I’m good at numbers, so…
Sean: 99 designs helped me lose weight?
Johnny: No.
Dave: Well they haven’t helped me. Some things even they can’t do.
Johnny: All right, so let’s move on to– by the way we were saying earlier that 99 designs hasn’t sent us any new ideas for ads, so we figured that they just must like these ad reads where we talk about assassins and Sean with the power pack upgrade interrupting on his birthday, so kudos to you.
Dave: I imagine we will get an email next week.
Johnny: Cease and desist possibly. All right, so the topic for today like I said is how do you– no I said Amazon because they are the big dog, but it in general, like how to use the online booksellers, instead of having them use you. And a few things have been circulating about this that have caused me to think of this, and I’ll just go through a few of them. When Kindle Unlimited debued the first reaction that I heard from a lot of Indies was to us like you guys should be exclusive in select and take advantage of this kindle unlimited.
It’s great you know you get to pull yourself from other platforms but this is how you do it; select an unlimited. And so they’re like “yeey big benefits for unlimited” and then there’s a bunch of other things where authors don’t like unlimited and they’re like what’s on all-you-can-eat buffet. My revenue dropped way down and I’m pulling out of the program and people really kind of singing the blues about unlimited. And the whole idea…
Sean: Dave do you want to sing the blues?
Johnny: Dave’s gone, Dave’s not here man, and so and then recently, I’m in a Facebook group for author marketing life which Sean and I are going to do the 29th at 3 pm eastern?
Sean: Next Thursday.
Johnny: Next Thursday January 29th 2015 at 3 pm eastern,, and there was a Facebook thread in there about Amazon supposedly change their algorithms again, and this is me reporting sort of second degree. I don’t know for sure, we’d have to talk to our algorithm guy Ed to greatly favor recent books.
Sean: 30 days.
Johnny: Right.
Sean: There was a 30 day cliff they were calling it.
Johnny: Well the 30 day cliff we’ve already talked about like David Gaughran talks about it in like let’s get visible and stuff, that’s where like you drop off of the new hot new releases and that
sort of thing. But I think they said it’s gotten steeper like the idea of if you aren’t– the idea is you have to keep publishing, keep publishing, keep publishing or your backlist titles are going to fall off the planet basically. And so I don’t know, just a lot of concern and I’ve been listening to a lot of Nick Stevenson, he talks a lot about e-mail, which we already know but like you hear it from another direction.
And I think that the key to all of this for select and unlimited and worrying about any changes in algorithm and stuff is the same as the argument that we make for why you shouldn’t base your platform on Facebook or Twitter or anything else and should have your own author site because you don’t want to be digital sharecropping to use that term and want to control your platform.
So I just wanted to talk about this a little bit with you guys on the idea of rather than saying I’m going to put my book on Amazon and Amazon has to you know do a lot of the selling for you, which you can sell out automatically or whatever, how it’s really-really important to always be thinking of how can you take control, how can you get those people back in your house so that their your fans rather than something Amazon controls.
Sean: I think something that’s really-really important to remember, and I mean even before I say what I’m about to say I love Amazon. Amazon has absolutely changed my life. I think that what they give authors is better than anybody else has ever different authors in the history of ever, like it’s awesome. The fact that we can do what we be do is fantastic and let’s be real, we couldn’t do it without Amazon notebook; no publisher in the world would have taken Yesterday Is Gone and published it.
Johnny: Right.
Sean: They just wouldn’t have and so awesome to Amazon that’s really-really awesome. But Amazon is not looking out for authors like they’re not… they have always 100% of the time, and that’s the way it should be. Amazon is not in the business of making authors money, they’re in the business of making themselves money and authors are really-really strong conduit to that. You know, they did start as a bookseller that’s the first thing they ever sold before they moved into DVDs and CDs and all the other stuff.
Johnny: Everything in the world.
Sean: They’re a huge-huge everything, right they’re a huge company; they own a lot of stuff like they own IMDB. There is a lot of stuff that they own and they’ve got their hands on a lot of things, and it’s that’s all well and good. But that the environment they created for authors made sense. They wanted to open these doors, they want us to come in and it allowed them to really compete and just totally changed the game, but they want shoppers. You know, and if we go there for our books, we go there for our laptops you know we are other buying decisions that we make by being loyal to Amazon. So it’s a loyalty that they’re going after, and it’s just like that the parallel where you know, Barnes & Noble…
Dave: [Inaudible 00:40:37]
Johnny: You heard it here folks.
Sean: Barnes & Noble and KOBO, you know for two examples they’re going to merchandise a little bit more like a bookstore, they’re going to load the front window with you know that 999 titles because they’re profit margins matter there. Amazon does not care if you buy a 99 cent book if you are also sticking around to buy other stuff. They really just want a happy buyer because their business is so broad, and so that recurring revenue something like unlimited that’s really-really great for them because it keeps their business on a recurring model, which is very powerful.
So you you’ve got understand that Amazon is going to continue, there is never going to be a plateau with Amazon. They are going to constantly evolve, they’re going to constantly change the game and it really– I don’t think there is a better parallel in the world here than SEO. It’s people who’ve built their businesses on SEO always lose when Google makes a major update. If they are not putting content first and building relationships with their readers and they’re just reliant on search engine traffic, that’s just a very-very dangerous game to play. It’s like trying to build something out of sand and the tide comes in and fuck I just lost my sand castle, so you really have to…
Dave: Or a bully comes along and kicks it over? You know get one of those ads in the back of comics to make yourself stronger and come back to…
Sean: That list, did you ever buy one of those ever? Tell the truth.
Dave: No I just bought a gun.
Sean: So I think that…
Dave: [inaudible 00:42:18]
Sean: I think you have to really understand that Amazon is not the enemy, and Amazon is not your best friend. Amazon is Amazon and you have to figure out that the common things aren’t ever going to change and they haven’t changed since our very first episode. You want to write good books, you want to write as many of them as you can, and you want to absolutely communicate with your audience and build that audience and make them eager for your next stuff, and that has nothing to do with Amazon.
Johnny: I would like to offer a shift in thinking as a good way to maybe look at this. So I think that a lot of people we’ve– had this discoverability talk like we’ve– I know that at least two or the three of us I don’t know if Dave has read it, read on Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s book “Discoverability.” We talked to Tucker Max about somebody is going to figure out the discoverability thing with books, and it’s just come up over and over again. And I think that people consider Amazon and discoverability– the other booksellers too, but Amazons is the big dog to be– that’s the best we have.
Like Amazon they’re close you know Amazon’s recommendation engine is close to the best discoverability platform, but it’s not quite there. Well, in my mind, even making that connection, saying that Amazon is a discoverability platform is inherently flawed. Amazon I think in the safest scenario is a transaction, it’s a sales place. It’s a it’s a marketplace, its place where books are sold, and so is KOBO and so is Barnes & Noble and Smash Words and the Sony store and your own website and everything else, these are places where books are sold.
It’s up to us I feel to do to figure out the discoverability, to figure out the marketing and so Amazon if you shift to looking at Amazon as a store rather than as a place where books are discovered which I know they still are. But if you make that shift in thinking then you can start saying okay, how can I be the marketing engine? How can I be the top of mind to my readers? How can I have them in my camp so that when I have a book it isn’t a matter of Amazon presenting it to them, it’s a matter of me presenting it to them? How do I get in front of more people so that I can do more of that presenting? And this really kind of clicked today when again I feel like I’m all Nick all the time, but I heard an interview with Nick and he said some of you…
Dave: [Inaudible] [00:44:42]
Sean: He has a boner for Nick guys, are you noticing?
Johnny: I’ve just been very Nick focused, like I’m sure I’ll move on to Simon because he has a great accent too and then I’ll make– Joanne has got a great accent, David Gaughran, they all have good accents.
Dave: I think Dave’s is the best.
Johnny: Dave does have a great accent, so anyway this is and this is the last…
Sean: He’s got the accent and the mustache.
Johnny: This is the last bit then I’ll surrender the mic for a bit is that in the interviewer we asked him what is it that made you think of that you really need to grow your email list, because that’s one of his major things is email, email, email, but you can’t say that too many times faster it gets garbled. So that’s one of his big things and so the guy asked him and I expected him to say I don’t know I have an Internet marketing background. I listened to the self publishing podcast; I got it under a chaperones auto responder madness course like I was expecting something like this. And he said you know it was book pub, he said I ran a book pub ad and you know I have this big increase in sales and I just started thinking like what if I had that list like that’s their whole business is…
Sean: Right.
Johnny: Look how big our list is, and so he said what if I just grew my list and then it’s like I’m a book pub of one because think about it, like we’re selling a shit ton of beams today because somebody emailed well it wasn’t us, but it could be if we keep working on getting people into our camp rather than relying on any seller to do that work for us.
Sean: I think…
Dave: Or we should then start our own book Pub Company.
Johnny: Let’s get in with like the buck books guys, like we like them we’re having them on the show.
Sean: I think there’s a tendency for indie authors and I’m not saying this to shit on indie authors at all, but I do think there’s a tendency for a lot of indie authors to want things to be a little bit easy. They’re not marketers; you know they don’t like that…
Dave: Everybody wants things easy.
Johnny: I want things easy, I’ll admit it.
Dave: Yeah, you are an Indie author open wide.
Johnny: I’ll do it the hard way but I want things to be easy too.
Sean: Right but I think that okay let me let me rephrase this. I think the marketing for a lot of authors is uncomfortable. I think that the thought of building a list and communicating with the list is daunting, and even if you understand the mechanics of it the follow through is hard, you know it’s difficult to think oh what do I email my list this week, I don’t have a new release and staying consistent with that is very difficult.
Dave: Writers aren’t comfortable like talking to people and say, hey buy my book and all the shit…
Sean: Yeah it’s all really hard and so if you think of like Amazon is going to do that part for me and I just had to get the books out there, like that’s awesome because you’re already ahead of a lot of other authors who aren’t even realizing that you have to write publish repeat and you have to at least get the content out there. So you’ve solved the content problem, but you haven’t really solved the marketing problem, you’ve just delayed it. You said okay well this is working now because Amazon is taking care of it. But the moment that they aren’t the problem just keeps circling back.
And then you’ll figure out okay well now I know that if I do this thing, if I go in to select or now if I go in to select and leverage unlimited, and now if I write 20,000 word novellas– you’re changing your art based on Amazon’s strategy and you don’t know what their strategy is to or three steps ahead and you and you never will. Amazon is never going to send an open letter to all indie authors letting them know what’s going to happen in the next six months to a year, it’s not going to happen.
Dave: Unless you’re Hugh Howey.
Sean: That might be true actually, but your strategy has to be just ahead of that, it really has to be about what’s best for you, your business, your art, the kind of books that you want to create, the kind of readers that you want to cultivate, and then design it around that. If you’re saying I’m doing this– and that doesn’t mean you can’t leverage what’s available at all, because clearly we’re doing that, we have a book pub ad today, we put Future Sex in select, like we are experimenting because we’re optimizing and we’re doing it one by one at a time and see how we can leverage our catalog.
That’s the joy of having 50 titles in the catalog, we have a lot to play with, but when we’re talking in broad terms about what we want to accomplish for the year and what we want to accomplish in the next five years, things like unlimited are not in any way part of that discussion because we just– we don’t– our sand castles are going to get knocked down by either the ocean or a bully, and we need to be ahead of that.
Johnny: I think…
Dave: And guns lots of guns.
Johnny: Bring the guns. I think you need to know what you want to get out of it too. So if you make the decision to go into select because you want to take advantage of unlimited. I think that you need to go into that understanding what’s sort of your game plan is and what your exit plan is. So if you say okay well I’m going to– I want borrows like that’s what I want then you’re accepting– basically the low end is a buck 30 or something like it goes up and down, but right now that’s like you’re pretty safe betting on 1.30 a borrow.
And if you’re okay with that and you say well it’s going to make up more– I’m going to get more out of it, like what I’m I going to get and what am I going to give up. Well you are going to give up the opportunity to sell on the other platforms and for most of our franchises that’s too much to give up. Now for a few who are willing to play and are willing to say okay let’s see what whether we do get the advantages, now here’s a few things about unlimited that– about select and unlimited that people don’t necessarily know.
Number one is if somebody opens your book, somebody borrows it, you get credit for that borrow when they reach the 10% mark, so and but the second thing is that the ranking happens right away. This is as I understand it. I think this is Lindsay Buroker information so I’m not– I don’t know if this is right but that’s what Lindsay said, I think is– so you’re getting a few things. Number one, if you have a title that’s highly clickable like I think the Future of Sex is a really clickable title.
Now it’s possible that people might borrow that and never open it and return it, but if they do, we’re still getting a rankings boost, like we’re still getting visibility boost, we’re still getting– I don’t know if you get also boughts or not, and then if they’re going to get to the 10% mark or they’re going to start reading it then that relies a little bit more on our storytelling. But I think that you have to go in saying okay well how do I get people off.
Remember when we had Paul Wolf on forever ago was one of the first guests, Paul said my goal on YouTube, he was talking to us about YouTube is that the first thing I want is to get past that person off of YouTube and on to my site. The first thing he said, and I think the same is true of unlimited you say well there is this give me more exposure for what I’m sacrificing, that I feel like I do a better job of my longer term strategy being enhanced, I’m getting people over to me faster…
Sean: Right, and that’s actually a really-really great articulation of the idea. How do you use Amazon while they’re using you, because it’s okay for them to be use– it’s like you can have a relationship with someone where you know you…
Johnny: Dave the number of times you’ve been in a codependent sexual relationship while you know they’ve been using you for sex, but you’re like it’s okay man, I’m getting mine.
Dave: I’m completely fine with it.
Johnny: Right, exactly same thing.
Sean: Right and so I think that that’s fine if you’re like, look I’m going to be on unlimited for the next six months and I’m going to use it. I’m going to have my stuff free constantly, I’m going to have rotating titles and I’m going to every time I put something free I want between 100 and 1000 people on my list, and that way when I leave I have X number of people on the list and then here’s my autoresponder strategy from then on it, and here’s the books I’m going to promote to that list.
And that’s the whole strategy and in it’s a way of not just falling subject to Amazon’s whims, but leveraging Amazon’s whims into your exact strategy, and it’s certainly hard to do, but it’s by no means impossible. It just– it means you’re not just going in blindly and saying, “oh unlimited is available, I’m going to put all my stuff in unlimited now.” It’s a matter of saying okay unlimited is a tool and here’s how I can use that tool to build the thing that I’m actually wanting to build.
Johnny: Dave you want to– I feel like you’ve been silent for too long. Any thoughts you want to weigh in on or should we just keep blabbing on?
Dave: No I’m in agreement, I think you know I think we’re lucky that we’ve got, you know the number of books we do to play with we’re not you know if we had just a few books then it’s a lot more difficult to do this, I think you’re more reliant on Amazon if you have just a few books, unless you happen to break out of one of the other stores.
Johnny: But that said, you can always be adding your mailing list.
Dave: Oh yeah obviously, there’s no doubt on mailing lists whatsoever.
Johnny: So let’s pretend that Amazon decides because okay, so Facebook is a really good example of this. The famous example that I know is that what to read after Fifty Shades of Grey Facebook group that was like this big revenue driver like they– I think they made their money on Amazon affiliate promotions, and they just got all this traffic and then Facebook changed the game. And then suddenly their posts weren’t going out and they had to start over almost, and so what if this happened.
Sean: And that was big business too and a tide, it was big business.
Johnny: So what if that happened with Amazon and I think the question you need to keep asking yourself, in a non paranoid sort away, but just be…
Sean: Dave does not know how to do that.
Johnny: Is what would happen if that happened with Amazon, what would happen if Amazon decided to stop selling books, like that’s kind of a worst case scenario and if you can answer that, if you can just go oh shit like I got a problem then and everybody is going to do that a little bit, like I would– if Amazon went away tomorrow, I would definitely feel we had a problem, but I feel like we would have less of a problem with and…
Sean: So right we would be in a position to where okay, well we’ve already got all these– we have a mechanism to sell them on site, we have our lists. It would be a lot of work and we had to divert a little bit, but we would have to completely erase the board and start over with new ideas. We would have to augment the ideas that we already had, and that’s I think the point. You want to be able– you want to be pliable, you want to be in a position where you can pivot to where Amazon’s best interests are in alignment with your best interests, and you’re not just following behind them like a puppy dog.
Dave: Well I’ll be standing on street corners selling box.
Johnny: Well I mean I know that you’re joking, but if you know if you released Yesterday Is Gone season six, and that isn’t out yet right I’m remembering the chronology, right?
Dave: Yes it’s not out.
Johnny: So if you release that, you’ve built up a lot of good will with that series, you’ve built a ton of people who are just dying for, you get emails when is the next one out, and you can then you can send your email to people and say buy it from NOOK you know like that that’s possible. Like, is it and people may not have NOOK readers, but here’s where you can get it, like you already like us. We’ve done the hard work of making you like us and getting you on our list and in our camp, and in you think of us we’re top of mind here’s where you get it, and that’s the sort of thing I think you need to be trying to build it.
Dave: Yeah.
Johnny: Dave weighing in everybody. What would you say what are the– lets brainstorm what are the key things we need to be thinking about. I’ll go first giving people on your mailing list.
Sean: Yeah, I think that that’s definitely a key one, but I think that’s actually, I think it’s the next step. I can’t say it’s more important because without somebody on your list you can’t even do the next step. But I think it is more important than people realize generally is what’s that next step. What is their first interaction with you? What are you giving them in exchange for the email address? How awesome is it? What is your follow through like?
And I think that if you’re really serious about building an awesome list, you kind of want to give cool stuff away. So a good example if we’re sticking with Yesterday is gone is if we gave people straight up and we could do it because we have you know we have the inventory, so if we made Yesterday is Gone free, and joining the list got you season two…
Johnny: Sounds like a strategy we may have heard from somebody else that I’ve been marked for mention. What strategy would that be that we recently brought that to our attention?
Sean: This is Nick Stevenson strategy, and he actually goes into a lot of detail in the– is it Reader Magnets?
Johnny: Reader Magnets.
Sean: Is that the new book, Reader Magnets and this is very basic internet marketing stuff, but what makes Reader Magnets kind of magical is that it’s old school internet marketing stuff just done really with a fiction voice, like how do you adopt…
Dave: Internet marketing without the evil.
Johnny: Where’s the fun in that, it’s like non-alcoholic beer?
Sean: How do you apply these principles to an audience that’s really buying fiction for a few dollars at a time, and in its pretty simple. Now that’s a lot harder to do if you got two books you know one and then a sequel and you’re saying I will give the sequel away for the list. You know maybe you’re not…
Johnny: I would do that today; I would now it’s easy to say that looking back because we don’t have to do that. We don’t only have two, but I think that one of those if you were starting over and you only had two books, I think I would do that because the list is more important to me even if I don’t make very much on the books.
Sean: I agreed too. I know that would be an impossible conversation to have with Dave, but I do, I agree I think that having the list and making them love you is a really-really fundamental to author growth because there’s just so many authors out there, and you know as indies get better and better the stories themselves are going to get better and better. You know we understand as a culture that that product description link and covers are going to have to improve, they are going to get better and better and better, how do you stand out. The authors who are going to truly-truly stand out are the ones who have relationships with their readers and is not just about, “hey I’m a cool guy I wrote something that you like.” It’s you know…
Dave: Just start following your readers. You should start stalking them, hanging outside their window. You can have a relationship with anybody if you try hard enough.
Johnny: [crosstalk 00:59:51] candle lit dinner. Hey, I heard you like my books, I think…
Dave: Creepy or needy?
Johnny: So, Hugh Howey doesn’t need Amazon. Now Hugh might disagree, Hugh might say well but wait a minute, I get a lot of my money from Amazon, but he doesn’t need Amazon in the way that a lot of authors need Amazon. If Amazon shut down Hugh could contact his people and say hey I have a new book. You know here it is you have to send me three dollars in the mailing cash with blood on it. You know like if people…
Dave: And I’ll send you something with a box of sand. The best was Dave talking about– there’s a video where Hugh is adding sand to paperback covers of his book Sand, he’s like and Hugh is like really smart with this stuff and like I just I think that be cool like they get it open and there’s sand. Dave’s like motherfucker there’s sand in my book, he’ll be so pissed off. But I think that that’s-that’s the sort of power. Once you’re known then it’s like you know we can we can sell books to you.
And I think that everybody– we want those Amazon tactics and benefits they give us, we want also boughts, we want discoverability in the charts and all that, like I’m not in any way saying that, oh we don’t need that like no way am I saying that, but that being said, there are basically two ways that people are going to buy your books.
Number one is they happen to see you. That’s the discoverability, that’s the visibility and also boughts, that’s the 30 day cliff. That’s all the stuff we’ve been talking about, that’s promotions. And then the second way that people are going to discover you is they already read something, and I’m sorry. Second way people buy your books is they already read something and they want to buy something else. So if you’re in the position where you have a bunch of people who you’ve already pleased, you’ve already developed a relationship, they already know…
Sean: Has that ever happened to you Dave?
Johnny: If you’re in a position where you pleased somebody?
Sean: Or you already have people that you please, that ever happened?
Dave: No I don’t think I ever please anybody.
Johnny: Once somebody has read Yesterday Is Gone season one and they haven’t left a one star review saying these guys are maggots coming out of a trash can, that reader is a lot easier to get, assuming you have a conduit, assuming you have somebody to get in touch with them, any sort of platform at all…
Dave: I’ll find them.
Johnny: To get season two. I guess the discussion is over, but anyway…
Dave: There’s that lull, end the show, play the music.
Johnny: All right well I guess I’ll just say I think that the safest thing is to remember that you can’t abdicate, and again I’m not pointing fingers, but I don’t think you can abdicate marketing to any of the booksellers. And you have to say well let’s use what they have. Let’s maximize it. Let’s use those tactics as long as they don’t conflict with the strategy, but you still– that’s still your job. Like it’s still your job to market, to build your brand, to build connections with the readers and shake…
Dave: Shake your ass.
Johnny: You have to shake your ass for them.
Sean: Every platform has tools, every single one has great tools, and it’s up to you to build your own set. You decide what goes in your box, because only you know what you’re trying to build.
Johnny: He doesn’t like these email today.
Sean: Only you decide what goes in your toolbox because only you know what you’re trying to build. So I think…
Dave: Only you can prevent things from going in your box.
Johnny: Tools.
Sean: All right, we’re done.
Dave: I’ve got two quick comments; Tom Hinton says I literally bought ‘Gotta read it’ about 10 minutes ago while listening to the podcast… creepy. Sabra Kay says, just grabbed “Got to Read It.”
Johnny: Maybe he can send our commissions check to this address.
Dave: Ryan Attard says she thinks 99 designs can do, make these ads better or create shady covers and help Dave lose weight. Timothy Lewis says that I’ve heard caption access are great at weight loss.
Johnny: Oh they are, they’re fantastic, and they are all very slim over there.
Sean: And slimmy puppy.
Johnny: Baricio had to look at the woman he was defiling, greatest ad read ever. Any more comments from people on YouTube?
Dave: Mikey Campling says Dave already stands on street corner selling his wares, doesn’t he? And I said yes Mikey thank you again for your patronage. Mike, Mikey pays my weekends, he’s my sugar daddy.
Johnny: There you go, all right so I guess just before we go I’ll just issue a final reminder about the– If you’re interested in joining us live for Sterling and Stone live on ice…
Dave: Watch Dave fall on his ass.
Johnny: April 18th and 19th you could be cutting shapes out of it, like you do a little figure eight and two things would fall into the water.
Dave: Real life as a cartoon, isn’t it?
Johnny: April 18th and 19th in Austin, Texas. If you are interested, and the early bird registration, which saves you 25% ends on January 28th, and we do currently I believe have nine spots left and we actually– Dave, you’ll be pleased to hear this. So we formally because it was always kind of on the table like if it sells out and there’s a lot of demand maybe we could force Dave to come and as compensation for opening more seats, like we can add more seats and then we’ll add Dave and that will make it okay. We’ve formally let you off the hook so…
Dave: Oh that’s good I love you.
Johnny: So Dave we will not attempt to coerce you in order to have more seats, but that doesn’t mean that they’re really only are nine, we aren’t going to add.
Sean: We decided that we would– because it will sell out and…
Johnny: And we want to preserve the small group because it’s only 24 people, so we want to preserve the small group size for the people who are going.
Dave: That is the weekend of my son’s birthday, so I will be with my…
Sean: You’re now…
Johnny: I’m actually worried that– no with his kid it’s okay, he’s got photos of his kid, it’s the kid’s birthday.
Sean: Good thing he’s not talking about what cell phone carrier he’s using.
Johnny: Could you list his fears for us, that’d be great. All right so I guess that’s it.
Dave: Fearful of abs.
Johnny: Fearful of abs, well I know that for a first experience he ran away. All right so this has been the Self Publishing podcast and I already said about the colonist session. If you want to check out our best advice without the off topic bullshit, check out our guide Write Publish Repeat, the no luck required guide to self publishing success at and thanks a lot for listening everybody and we’ll see you next time.

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