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.
· 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 !!
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