The Kobo Writing Life team is excited to announce our latest Facebook takeover on Thursday April 25th, 2019. From 12:00 PM-1:00 PM EST, our takeover host, author David Gaughran will be live on the Kobo Writing Life Facebook page chatting with KWL director Christine Munroe. We’ll be doing a Q&A and will answer questions from the audience if we have time, so be sure to tune in.
Each person who comments with a question and “likes” the Kobo Writing Life page will be automatically entered to win one a copy of David’s book Strangers to Superfans on Kobo.
Keep reading to learn more about David and his experience in the indie world, and get your questions ready!
Hi, my name is David Gaughran. I’ve published several books for authors like Let’s Get Digital, Strangers to Superfans, and BookBub Ads Expert. When I’m not busy with that kind of thing, I also write historical fiction and SF, and run giant marketing campaigns for huge bestsellers. Occasionally, I also teach workshops on subjects like how to self-publish, which keeps me plugged in with what newer authors are experiencing in this crazy world of 2019. Because a lot has changed.
I started self-publishing in 2011 after spending 18 months trying to get an agent but failing miserably. Just a few months later, though, I got a very quick sense of how this path empowers writers: one of the agents who had rejected me made an approach. This time I got to send the rejection letter.
With hindsight, ten pages was probably overkill.
I’ve watched the publishing world change dramatically over the last eight years. When I started, simply having good presentation was enough to distinguish yourself in the marketplace: professional editing and covers, clean formatting that renders perfectly on every device, enticing descriptions that make people want to read instead of hitting the snooze button, and a price where they don’t have to think twice.
But it’s not enough anymore.
It’s not just that there are millions more books vying for attention today. In the last five years in particular, the complexity of marketing has grown exponentially. This is probably the most common complaint from experienced authors… and what newer ones find most challenging too.
I think you can look at this in one of two ways. Yes, the amount of knowledge needed to truly master the likes of Facebook, BookBub, and Amazon Ads is considerable. But these are all entirely new pathways to readers that didn’t exist when I started. That latter point gets forgotten way too easily.
Plus, you don’t need to master everything. You only really need one functioning method for reaching readers. More is better, of course, but having just one will get you up and running.
People often ask me if it’s easier today than when I started. Well, actually, they usually just assume it’s harder today than in 2011. I’m not entirely sure that’s true. More complex? No doubt about it. But that growth in complexity is because the tools we have to reach readers have become, well, superpowered.
If you had told me eight years ago that I would have been able to advertise on a site where over 1.5bn people log in every single day I’d have been giddy with excitement (that’s Facebook).
Or if I had known that a company could take the idea of discount sites and grow the audience to the point where it had over 10m ebook consumers on its mailing lists and it let us advertise to them whenever we liked, I would have been pressing Fast Forward to the future before you even finished the sentence (that site is BookBub, of course).
Let me put it another way: back in 2011, if someone hit 1,000 books sold in a month, that was cause for real celebration — a clear sign that someone had “made it” or was very much on the way. I remember hitting that milestone myself. It really was (at the time) a Big Deal. Now people can double or triple that number in a day just with the right ad.
So, is it more complex? For sure. Is it harder? Maybe I’ll concede that. But are the tools better and the rewards greater? Absolutely, and the resources for getting to grips with all this stuff have improved exponentially too — you don’t even have to put your hand in your pocket if you are willing to spend enough time digging around.
I’ll take 2019 any day.
David Gaughran writes historical novels and science fiction, and has helped thousands of authors publish their work and reach readers through his workshops, blog, and writers’ books. Visit DavidGaughran.com to sign up to his marketing newsletter and grab a free book.