It’s time, as has become tradition, for another “What It Took to Write…” article!
On Tuesday, August 30th, 2022, I released my first non-fiction book since March of 2014. It’s my third, and the first to use a series name I’ve had for a long time: “Indie Author Marketing Info.”
Indie Author Marketing Infrastructure: Three Things Every Independent Author Must Have for Self-Publishing Success both serves my mission to add to the culture and is a considered, deliberate attempt to support and grow my author services business while also serving folks who might not be able to afford to hire me or someone like me. Not least, it also satisfies my itch to mentor and teach.
It was fun to write.
From Coaching to Articles to a Book
For well over a decade, I’ve made a living as a creative services provider primarily working with authors: most often, independent, self-published authors.
In that time, especially when first speaking to new or soon-to-be new indie authors, I find myself repeating the same advice and recommendations in response to the same common questions, assumptions, and concerns. This goes for potential clients, existing clients, and curious folks in various online community groups and forums.
Similarly, when authors hire me to handle their upcoming book launches, I often notice they haven’t set up any of the fundamentals necessary to give them a shot at long-term success. Given that, I found I was writing the same proposals — and doing the same kinds of work — over and over.
Now and then, I’ve written articles condensing some of that recurring advice, most recently, earlier this year.
That latest article started my wheels turning on the idea that there might be an e-book there, and eventually gave me my title, Indie Author Marketing Infrastructure, too.
In June of 2021, I wrote a very extensive and detailed proposal for a potential client. No, I mean very extensive: about six thousand words.
Ultimately, in the process of vetting the client, I determined it would be best to decline to work with them. Sometimes it goes like that. Sometimes the potential client says no thank you; sometimes I realize the potential client and I would be a poor fit.
Still, I’d spent a lot of time on that proposal! It was a little frustrating to have that effort come to naught.
Then, I realized the proposal was very much an expanded version of one I’d written many times, and a deep dive on some of the things I’d written in that earlier article. It was also practically a transcription of many coaching calls I’d done.
It was an outline.
For an online course? Perhaps.
For that book I’d been kicking around..?
Ah. There it was.
Not Just a Book
In the summer of 2021, I succumbed, as I sometimes do, to a pretty good ad campaign and plunked down five bucks on The One Book Millions Method by Mike Shreeve.
Now, this guy is an online marketer with an elaborate Rube Goldberg marketing machine that ultimately attempts to turn that five dollar e-book purchase into $100,000.00-per-year clients for his consulting business. I wasn’t there for that; I’m not that guy… and I understand the marketing-speak well enough to see past it.
Thanks to that savvy, though, I could also perceive potential value in the basic method he presented:
- Offer a high-value information product (in my creative country, we call this a “book”) at an accessible price.
- Make yourself available to help those who find your experience and expertise credible and authoritative.
- Take on some of those folks as clients, potentially resulting in months or years of recurring revenue.
I have no idea if Shreeve’s own efforts and machinations work as he claims, or if it’s just one of many irons he might have in the fire. Indeed, a quick search reveals that he has more than the “one book” out there on the market, so clearly, he’s hedging his bets. As he should! Many streams make a river, as it’s said.
Thing is, though, the logic of the premise is sound, and it was not the first time I’d been exposed to it or considered it. Credit to the author, though, because his tone and delivery kept the idea firmly in the “I Need to Do Something Like This” slot in my brain.
And so, my plan from the beginning with Indie Author Marketing Infrastructure was that it be more than a book: that it also be a path for folks who agreed with the premise of the book and who also had the means to have someone else (me) help them execute on that premise.
At the same time, I also knew the book had to be of value all on its own. No bait-and-switch bullshit, but rather a true brain dump of everything I know and believe when it comes to establishing the essential infrastructure necessary to build a long-term community of readers around an author and their work, presented in a way that’s easily consumable for new independent authors and self-publishers.
A win for all involved, in other words. The best encapsulation of my advice on the subject, made available at a price that requires an (albeit very reasonable) investment, delivered in a package that at least earns me a few bucks for my time and effort.
More than a book… and no less than a book!
Creating Indie Author Marketing Infrastructure
Once I knew I was going to do the book, I mentioned it on Sonitotum with Matthew Wayne Selznick episode 039. Having mentioned it in public, I knew I had to actually… do it!
I created a mock-up cover (the final cover was only slightly different, as it turned out) and threw the pre-order on Amazon with a publication date of August 30, 2022. Allowing that the cut-off date to submit materials to Amazon was a few days prior to the release date, I’d given myself not quite sixty days to write the thing.
July flew by.
I tinkered with an outline.
By the end of that month, I’d written the introduction and, rather than working from an outline, recalled a trick / methodology I’d learned over a decade before, when my colleagues Tee Morris and Evo Terra, in writing the first edition of Podcasting for Dummies, revealed that the publisher required a detailed table of contents be submitted before manuscript pages were written.
The idea appealed to me. Rather than an outline, which is for the author’s benefit and might change, creating the table of contents forced me to think in terms of the benefit to the reader. Which is, after all, the point of a non-fiction instructional book: benefit the reader.
The approach kept me focused and on-task, and only deviated from it twice, condensing and adjusting as the developing manuscript demanded.
I declared, both to myself and my podcast audience, that the first half of August would be for completing the draft, three to five sections of the table of contents per day, five to six days a week.
Happily, I finished two days before my scheduled deadline of August 17th. Good thing, too, because day job and normal(?) life obligations kicked my ass for the next little while. Some long days were required to get the manuscript and supporting pieces, like the website pages and distribution to marketplaces other than Amazon, done in time.
In truth, I was still working on some website stuff when — thanks to time differences and a global marketplace — the book went live on (my) August 29th in those parts of the world where it was already August 30th!
As of this writing on September 1, 2022, you can buy Indie Author Marketing Infrastructure directly from me or, if you prefer, on that same page you can find purchase links for Amazon, Apple Books, Kobo (where you can also read it as part of the Kobo Plus subscription service), Barnes and Noble / Nook, Google Play Books, and the e-book subscription service Scribd.
An Injection of Confidence
The experience of creating Indie Author Marketing Infrastructure has me feeling pretty good.
For the first time in quite some time, I’d set out to write and ship something, I told the world I was writing and shipping something, and I got it done and shipped when I said I would do it.
No matter how well the book sells, no matter what positive effect it might have on my author services business… writing the book got me back into the habit of putting a thousand or more words into a manuscript more days of the week than not.
I have a writing practice going again. That’s a tough horse for me to get on and stay on once I’ve fallen off, so I’m grateful for that. I’ve reminded myself, thanks to this relatively short project, of what I can accomplish.
Focusing on Indie Author Marketing Infrastructure led me to voluntarily sideline new content for my ongoing free serial fiction project, Hazy Days and Cloudy Nights: “How It All Got Started,” which I offer to my mailing list community. So, my writing practice in September is dedicated to adding installments to that, as many as I can, before the month is done, so the weekly serial has several weeks of content in the queue.
The buffer established for Hazy Days and Cloudy Nights this month will allow me to at last turn the majority of my creative writing focus in October to Shadow of the Outsider, my long-delayed next novel in the Outsider Trilogy (following the already-released Light of the Outsider and the companion novelette “The Perfumed Air at Kwaanantag Bay”) of the Shaper’s World cycle, my realistic high fantasy storyworld.
I have to say, I’m pretty excited to get back into that… which inspires me to get as far ahead on Hazy Days and Cloudy Nights in September as I can.
Enjoy Indie Author Marketing Infrastructure!
Whether you’re about to become a self published independent author, you’re already a published author, or you’re looking to enhance and upgrade your online presence as a creator of any kind, you’ll find value in Indie Author Marketing Infrastructure: Three Things Every Independent Author Must Have for Self-Publishing Success.