How I reached 750 in 7 weeks - my advice

Created 2 months ago by Sergey Grechishkin with 7 comments
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Pic222 Chris Picone · Author · edited 11 days ago · 1 like
More great tips! Thanks for filling in the gaps, Evan.  I’ll be trying to implement as many of these as possible. 
 nzkhmgt Evan Graham · Author · edited 11 days ago · 4 likes
I can confirm that everything on this list is exactly true.
It took me WAY longer than 7 weeks to get all 750 orders in for Tantalus Depths, and I had to get an extension along the way, but the things I did along the way that led me to hitting that goal are all covered here.
If I were to toss in my own two cents as well, here’s a couple of things I recommend in addition to everything Sergey already said:
1: Forge relationships with fellow Inkshares authors, and not just with the hopes of getting them to like you and buy your book. Get in touch with people who have already funded their own books, and listen to the advice they give you. Find someone who is running their own campaign at the same time you are and make friends with them too. You’re not competing with them, you’re sharing a common experience and goal. You’re both going to need moral support during the times when orders are hard to get, and you’ll both be encouraged by each other’s success. You may even be able to help each other directly by encouraging your own strongest supporters to check out their books.
2: Drop EVERYTHING else while you’re campaigning. It is a tremendous commitment, of time and energy. You’re already going to have to be balancing work, family time, and possibly school along with your campaign, and you need to be able to dump as much time into campaigning as you can manage in order to succeed, so don’t pick up any new responsibilities you can avoid. Now is not the best time to be auditioning for a Shakespeare play (I learned this the hard way).
3: If you get ahead of schedule, STAY ahead of schedule. Inkshares gives you a recommended number of new readers per-day that you’ll need to reach your goal. If you find yourself ahead of schedule, you may be tempted to relax a bit and coast. DON’T. You could easily find yourself stuck later on down the line with a week of no new orders, and you’ll be wishing you still had that lead.
4: Take as long as you need. If you’re aiming for the full publishing goal, 90 days is NOT an easy time frame to get all those orders. Inkshares recommends it, but in practice, unless you already have a large social group or established audience, you will really struggle to get them all in that time. You set your campaign as long as you want. If you’re already campaigning and find yourself running low on time with a lot of orders to go, you can also ask Inkshares for an extension. Don’t be afraid of doing this: they want you to succeed as much as you do.
Pic222 Chris Picone · Author · added 16 days ago
Fantastic article Sergey, thanks for the tips.  I particularly appreciate your honest, hard working approach.  No "get published quick" scheme here.
Userphoto5 original Chaher Alzaman · Author · added 24 days ago
Excellent words.  Concerning professional editing, one of the main reasons for me to do crowd funding is for them to cover the expenses of editing.  I have 80000 words novel so editing would range between 500 and 1000  dollars.  This is some serious money.
Batten003 web400px Robert Batten · Author · added 2 months ago
Bump.
Img 2511 Jane-Holly Meissner · Author · edited 2 months ago · 1 like
Excellent advice, and congratulations on meeting the 750 goal! 
Img 2319 Sergey Grechishkin · Author · edited 6 days ago · 21 likes
Dear all,


It has been a very interesting 7 weeks journey that took me from 0 orders to 750. I have learned a lot and here are my honest suggestions to people, who try to make it on Inkshares.

Inkshares community has been very helpful and supportive and I wanted to share a small piece of learning and advice.

Preparation stage: 

·      Though Inkshares allows you to write and post bits and pieces of your book as you write it, I would not recommend doing it. Inkshares is a platform to get published. Full stop. Your trial and error on the platform will just bring fatigue and lack of momentum and low expectation of success. Do not drag. Instead  -  shoot.

·      Write 100% of the book to the level that you are totally happy with. Show it to people whom you trust, collect feedback and make changes. I highly recommend that you hire an editor, who could help you to make your book slick.

·      Design an attractive cover. If you can spend some money, hire professional cover designer. (My cover was self-made and horribly boring. I should have hired a professional. But now it is too late :-( )

·      Write a short and attractive synopsis. Make sure it is perfect. This is the most important piece of writing you need. 

·      Have your real picture posted in which you are really likeable. People like to support nice-looking people.

·      Make a relevant book video. There are so many off-putting videos on Inkshares.  People do watch them (I had over 1300 views). I used iMovies to make it, it is very simple.

·      Only after all of this is done, go onto Inkshares platform with a bang.


Getting orders in:

·      Build the marketing of your book on people, whom know you personally.  If you are a lonely individual with no friends and no Facebook, I don’t think you should try to get published on Inkshares. Your pre-existing network is an absolute must. (I have 650 Facebook friends/followers, 850 LinkedIn connections and 870 Twitter followers. It was just about enough to get to where I wanted to get.)

·      Realize that getting people to support you is called marketing. Treat the journey as a marketing project split into a number of marketing campaigns. (i.e. Campaign 1 – my Facebook friends; Campaign 2 – my wife’s work colleagues; Campaign 3 – my bookclub members, Campaign 4 – "Those who can order 10 books" etc)

·      Develop Marketing plan: what campaigns starts when and in which order

·      Mass emails to all contacts in your contact list or posts to all Facebook friends DO NOT WORK. (Well, they work, but very poorly.) Conversion rate is 4-7%. In other words, if you send an email with BCC to 100 people, you will get 4-7 of them support you.

·      I do not suggest to post any messages "to all" at all. Instead, send people personalized messages. Not just changing the name after "Dear XXX", but really personalized ones. Yes, it takes time, but conversion rates are much higher – 20-25%. (I was spending 3-5 hours per day on it during the most active periods of my campaign)

·      Make a list and work on a 1-2-1 basis with people who can order 10 books – those are usually your relatives or close wealthy friends. These champions will drive your momentum.

·      Do not be shy to ask for help.

·      Be prepared that many people whom you expect to help you will not help you at all. It is emotionally challenging. Ignore it.

·      Be prepared that some random and unexpected people will become champions of your project and will help you and will make referrals.

·      Do not be surprised that many people will tell you that they will place orders and then they will not. Some people will lie that they have already placed the order when actually they haven’t done so. Try to accept that people are different. For some it is embarrassing to admit that USD 20 or 10 is a lot or money.

·      Ask people for suggestions how to increase your audience. Many people are happy to share with their friends. Again, sharing on Facebook or Twitter does not generate results, but personal 1-2-1 suggestion works well. So just sharing a post is useless (unless you can ask Beyoncé or Paris Hilton do it for you). Campions of your project need to write personal messages to their friends.

·      I’ve written a few articles about the topic of the book and got them published in proper digital magazines. It brought some orders, but very few. The return on the effort was small.

·      Book reviewers is another promotional avenue. Get a list of freelance reviewers, who can review your book and recommend it to their audience if they like it. I got 5 bloggers review the book. That brought a few (not many) orders. (Particularly, one reviewer in India, who liked the book and promoted it got some of his followers ordering it.)

·      Facebook advertising worked a bit, but not too well. I spent about USD 160 on targeted Facebook advertising. It gave me 6 - 8 orders. Not a great conversion.

So be prepared to work hard for 2-3 months.  I think, 4 hours per day is minimum.

Very good luck on your journey !!

Regards

Sergey