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Sell Your First 1000 Books

Lesson 6 of 18

How to Grow Your List

Tim Grahl

Sell Your First 1000 Books

Tim Grahl

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Lesson Info

6. How to Grow Your List


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
2 The Impact of Books Duration:25:28
3 Setting up the System Duration:15:39
6 How to Grow Your List Duration:24:59
10 Q & A w/ Tom and Tim Duration:18:00
11 Outreach: The Attitude Duration:1:09:21
12 Outreach: The How-to Duration:34:35
13 Outreach: The How-to Part 2 Duration:48:00
14 Natural Selling Duration:19:56
15 Interview with Hugh Howey Duration:48:20
16 Q&A w/ Hugh Howey Duration:52:16
17 Q&A w/ Hugh Howey Part 2 Duration:36:14
18 How to Launch Your Book Duration:57:14

Lesson Info

How to Grow Your List

So we have our let's say we've signed up for male champ we've got they'll walk you through getting your list set up on all of this and now we actually want to get people on the list because like I said, even when I've worked with the best selling authors, we've started with two people on the list me in them and so now we want to go from two people to a lot more than two people, right? And so how do we grow our list? How do we move people onto our list? How do we actually get them to sign up? And I have two overarching things that I have found that worked really, really well. The first is you want to give them a compelling reason to sign up, give them a really good reason why they should hand over their email inbox because one of the reasons we all check our email one hundred times a day is because we get too much email. And so when we are already dealing with email overload and everybody else's, we have to give them a really good reason why they should hand over their email and say, yo...

u know what, I already get a thousand emails every week I need a thousand and one, emails now all right? And so we want to give them a really compelling reason to sign up for the list then the second thing is we want to show them the offer several times we don't just ask them once and then go into the night we want to make sure that they see the offer lots of times so let's start with the way not to do it sign up for my updates how many of us have seen this on a website there's a little box with an email and it says sign up for my updates so before I rant on it why do you think it doesn't work or it's not the best way to do it the audience stand years sign up for my updates its not this talking about the it's not talking about the recipient it's talking or the benefit it's talking about the the author that's right it's not anybody else anything online coming in wait just add some lenders saying it's passive it's not specific yeah lalas complaining saying this sounds like more work for me but then melinda also says what sort of updates are you offering? Melissa africa doesn't offer any value for me and then okay writer because that doesn't mean anything what will they actually get steve really question is you know who are you and why would your updates be important enough for me to interrupt my day? Is there already a big shot? Ok, I will sign up for your updates right? If we're talking about building a list chances are that's not the case yeah and you hit it on the head and everybody kind of had a little bit is what's in it for me like if I'm supposed to sign a pure for your list who were you and why do I care and why am I going to give up time for you what's in it for me and so that's a lot of times were you know this is kind of changing you know the way we think a lot of times it's like I have a book I need to sell this book what can I do to sell this book and instead we're asking a different question what can I do to add to somebody else's life what can I do to help them get more out of life that they want what's in it for them and they're gonna be asking what's in it for me so there's two questions you want to answer when you give an offer you want to answer what in win and I'm going to give some examples that only answer one of those and there's lots of cases were only answering one of those is but you need to answer what are they going to get and when are they going to get it and you need to look at how you can answer those questions but before I really dive into that I want to talk about drunk surfers okay, so there's this really great um post on a thing that's bumble bee labs blogger from a while ago and he talked about how when he'd like you did web design usability design and when he want to test it, he wouldn't bring somebody into the office in a controlled environment have them click through the website he would go to a bar about nine o'clock at night and by somebody a beer in exchange for them clicking through the website because how he felt was most people surf the web like they've had a few too many right? I'm when I'm surfing the web I'm not one hundred percent focused on your website I'm like yelling at my kids and spill in my coffee and like trying to talk on the phone and maybe I'm in a conversation and it's boring, so I'm checking my email you know, like I am doing all this other stuff so we've got to think about like what's in it for them what are they going to get what's actually going to catch their attention? And so we want to make sure that we give them something that they can grab ahold of right away so let me give some examples so a really great example is to just give away something like a pdf that they could download right now that will give them information that they want so one of my clients is jean kim and he runs this publishing firm called it revolution and it's a very kind of nerdy audience very information technology audience and he writes a lot about this idea called dev ups right? I had no idea what it was you don't that's okay that's fine, but this idea called dev ops and so he wrote this pdf that was eleven things you need to know about dev ops and we put that up and our emails subscription waits rates went way way high right? Because it was very palpable it was something that he found when he was talking to people that they love because they didn't really understand what dev ops was. So what do I need to know about dev ups in my company? So we put something up to answer that question and that's why I said make it something compelling, right? And I used to say give away your best content but what I found is giving away your best content is not always that compelling, right? One thing that I found doesn't work well is download the first chapter of my book, right and a lot of times that's what authors default to I've defaulted to that in the past is hey, I'm giving away a piece of my book it's great content but if you think about it from my standpoint of is like you're trying to sell me a book and you're giving me just enough so I could get interested and I want it by the book I'm not interested and it might be great content, but it doesn't come across his great content, so I instead say give away the most compelling stuff and there's a really great way to test this is you're an author, you're writing a book everybody in your life knows you're writing a book and everybody's heard all about your book go back and ask him of everything I've told you about my book that you probably don't even care about the topic. What do you remember and a lot of times the thing that they can say? I remember when you said this I was interesting that's going to be your most compelling stuff if you've already written the book and you're thinking about promoting it on dh, you've sent it out to people to read early copies, go back to them and say, what do you remember from that book? Because if they read it two or three months ago, they're going to have a couple things that kind of poke out in their mind and I did that for my own book when he came out I had people that have read it over several months and I went back and said, I'm going to do promotion in the book of everything I talked about what do you remember? And that became the most compelling stuff that's, the stuff that's stuck in their mind and that's going to be the stuff that gets people to actually give over their email address, and this can show up all kinds of ways. So we started working with jean chatzky a couple years ago, she's, the one of the money editors for the today show, and we changed her e mail sign up from something like sign up for my updates, and she decided she wanted to start sending out every week. She it's not an email saying, you know all the news and headlines from the past week that affects your wallet, so we put that every tuesday, you'll get an email from jean telling you how the news from the last week is affected. Your wallet and her email subscribers went up two hundred sixty two percent overnight because it went from sign up for my updates to here's how I'm going to help you, right? You also want to answer the wind questioned, and jean did a good a good job with that of every week you'll get this, me and my developer that works for me, joseph, we like to do this workout stuff called crossfit that's a little crazy, so I wouldn't recommend it, but what one of the things we're having problems with is we're trying to do it at home. We like doing the crossfit at home, and every day you have a new workout you're supposed to do, but all the web sites that we found out there, it was just like that had equipment required, equipment we didn't have, and so we came up with this little system where you can log in, say, what equipment you have, and every day you'll get an email with a custom work out for you and that's what it says on the website it's something like get a daily email with the workout customized to you, how many times you going to get that email every day, right? And you're going to get it customized to you so it's very clear about what you're going to get, so you want to be very clear, you want to answer what they're going to get and when they're going to get it, and from what I've seen coming up with something that they can immediately access that they can download immediately or immediately start taking advantage of that has a compelling headline, that's something that they're really going to say, I need to get that. That works really, really well and if you move from something like sign up for my newsletter or sign up for my updates to something that's a very compelling, like eleven things you need to know about dev ops or find out you know how this is going to save you money something very clear, you know, for fiction writers I've seen really cool stuff of, like, download download a short story I've never released anywhere else, you know, we've done things like sign up and I'll send you first editions of my most popular book, you know, if you sign up now, I'll pick fifty people over the next three months, this in first editions of the book something very compelling. I mean, we're talking well, we've seen email subscriber rates go up like twelve ex overnight, you know, same amount of traffic coming into the site, but you're actually giving them a compelling reason to sign up for that. So the other side of that, if you have a compelling offer but nobody confined that offer, you're not going to get email subscribers. So that's, where I talked about you need to make it very prominent, you need to make sure that it's very hard to come to your website and miss the fact that your email list is where people should be its where they should be paying attention and you know, we've talked a lot about how email list sell books and we're going to talk about in another session exactly how to sell the books once they're on the email list but I say things as strongly as I can you know like put it on a post it note on your computer tattoo it on your forehead like your mane marketing goal as an author is to get people on your email list so make it prominent make it hard to miss don't bury it in the footer don't make it the same colors everything else make it prominent put it up contrasting colors put it at the top put it on every page on your website your main goal is to get people on your email list so once you have that great compelling reason why they should be on the email list make it very clear if they don't do anything else on your website this is what do you want him to do that tim quick question on dh you just sort of I think tip tip that hand a little bit there and saying and it doesn't work if no one can find it we're gonna wait until outreach to talk about how to get more eyeballs to the place where they can finally see your offer where they could finally sign up right? Yes and here and here's why is because it's the holy bucket problem right so if I'm doing outreach and they come to my website and there's a sign up for my updates box in the bottom right of the site that's white on white background they're going to fall right off from my website and I'm never going to get that chance again and so you go ahead mark well I was just on prominent thing um what do you think about pop ups have seen mohr sites with the yugo their sight in a papa here's my offer and your e mail and you click it and you are you pop it in and then or you don't say declined but it's obviously very prominent and there's more you know there's more sir I run into more sites where they had this front page that's basically built just around trying to get that email address so do you recommend those things versus your site and put this box somewhere within the site? Yes because you look at my slides before we started I promise I didn't play himto asked that question um this a lot of times is actually I get the most visceral response to this and you think pop ups are annoying? I hate papa people will get so annoyed the leave your side and never come back and I hate pop ups every time they get there I click out of women I've never signed up which is mostly not true and here's the thing first of all, problems work, but we'll get to that in a second, uh, second involved. Think about some of the most popular websites on the internet, right? So if I go to new york times dot com and I'm reading an article all of a sudden, a banner like slides down pushes all the content down so I can see just advertising, right? This isn't even what we're talking about, which is give them something that they're interested there's just advertising if I gotta forbes dot com before I can even get to the home page or get to the article that I clicked on it's, a giant page with a giant advertisement there. This is how the internet works. People are used to being interrupted. Now I want to be very clear here. I'm not just trying to copy interruption advertising, right? This is actually the opposite of what we're talking about, but what I'm saying is that pop ups our people are used to them and there's a couple of ways that you can use them that make them work really, really well without crossing that barrier of annoying people, and I'll get to those in just a second, but what I found is, um, I have never scene and I put pop ups on a lot of sites and for I don't track it anymore because I know it's not happening, but first lot a long time I tracked it, traffic never went down. Um, people didn't get angry people didn't start a twitter parade to, like, shut down your site because there was a pop up the on ly thing, I've seen his email subscription rates go up, in fact, for I started working with dan pink um, almost four years ago, and it was right before his book dr came out and he didn't have an email list, and so we set up a new email list, and again, it was me and him on the email list, and then we started growing it. And then about fourteen months later, I finally convinced him to let me put a pop up on the site, and in the four months after we put the pop up on the site, we signed up half the number of people that it took us fourteen months to get. So that was a lot of massive, basically and four months we signed up over seven months worth of people, and these are people that have already seen the offer, right? So same website, same traffic, the email list signed up has been there, and we just added a pop up. And all of a sudden email list subscribers went through the roof and in pretty short order we doubled the size of his list and so I highly recommend pop ups there's a couple of things you want to do with pop ups though the first is follow all the other rules give a compelling reason they should sign up make sure that it's in colors that worked with the site and and I haven't explained what a pop up is yet so pop up is basically a little like a little box comes up on top of the content and like fades out all the other content and you've probably seen him before and so they pop up and they kind of fade out all the content, so make sure you follow all the other advice you also want to put it on a delay so you can put it on a delay of somewhere between twenty and thirty seconds so that way the first time somebody comes to your site they don't immediately get smacked in the face with a papa, right? Because most people especially if they're clicking from google and a lot of cases there on your sight for a couple seconds and then they leave so if they're actually engaging with their content they're going to be much more likely to sign up so I've seen twenty to thirty seconds is a great way great amount of time and the other is toe only show it to him once, so if they come to your website, do the pop up, they can either sign up or they can click out of it. And I've been the sights where they haven't done that and it's like every time you click to a new page it's another papa and you click to the next page it's, another pop up, and I just leave right and so that's very technical, like the first question I'm going to ask is like, that's, great, how do I do that? And it involves, like java script and all this other kind of stuff, and so I recommend if you want to do a pop up, go to this website and pay the money and buy pop of domination. It's a plug in that worked, actually worked with any website but it's actually a wordpress plug into. So if you were on your side on wordpress, um, it'll work really well has all kinds of options, including delay and only showing people once and you can even do, like show it to them once every three months, something like that. Um, so when you're doing when you're growing your list, you want to make sure that you give a compelling reason to sign up. You want to make sure when they come and they look at that that's like okay I need to sign up to get that I need to sign up to get those tips you know if you go to my website I have a thirty day course and so it says sign up here and I'll send you a thirty day course on try building and so you put in your e mail address and I automatically send you emails on talk about how to do that tomorrow but that's a that I've tested a lot of things and that works the best for me sign up here get a thirty day course sign up here and download this pdf download the twelve tips to save money download this never before seen short story with the characters from my most popular book you know howto I give them a compelling reason to sign up and try lots of different things you know you'll be able and we're going to talk about in just a minute but you're going to be able to see how many people are signing up for your list so a really great way to do this is to put up a new offer and then try it for a month and then go back and look at how many people came to your site and look at how many people signed up for your list and divide that number and if that number went up that's working and then try something else for another month and then after you do that for a month, compare those and see which one's works and there's lots of complicated ways to do tb testing and split testing but if you're not if you don't really know how to do that stuff and understand it really great ways to try something for a little while see if it's working try something new if that's working better stick with that if it's not go back to the old thing right and that's what we did with revolution with eleven um the levitation do you know about dev ops is we're actually giving away an excerpt of the book that was like forty percent of the book it was like a huge except way more than anybody else gives away and we could not get that to convert better than this twelve page pdf right? Because it was much more compelling, much more what they're interested in much more about them what we knew they were interested in knowing does that make sense? Do we have questions there? You know you touched briefly on one and a number of people have said this, so I apologize I can remember exactly who it was asking about what kind of content to offer for fiction writers where it's you don't have tips you don't have a strategy, you just have your story that you've written what I found works really well there's kind of two angles to this one is if you already have an audience around a certain topic or ah a certain genre certain book or a certain set of characters doing something that gives that away around those characters in the next session we're going toe touch on this idea of dvd extras base but it's basically extra stuff like what got cut from the book most of the time we cut scenes out of the book and if people are fans of the book say, hey, I have eight eight scenes that got cut out of the final chapter you could get those if you downloaded I've seen that worked really well for hugh howey leading up to the launch of dust that's the guy we're for we put a pin email signed up and we said anybody who signs up from now until the launch of his new book that was like two months we're going toe pick fifty of those people and give him a first first edition signed copy of his first book and that got a lot of people to sign up. Um, I think if you're getting if you're new to riding, the biggest thing you're fighting against is people knowing you exist and people engaging with your writing and all so one author I know he took his most popular book on dh he's giving it away now and so he's kind of he sold it, and it was selling well and the sales of kind of trickling off. So he's now saying, if you sign up, I'm going to send you a free book and his email this sign ups have started going up, so give away your content is a writer. The most important thing you want people doing is reading your content so his fiction writers give them content that they could read. I'm sure you have short stories, you've written, I'm sure you have stuff that you've gotten published in magazines that you've retained the right to put those online put those is something that they can download and again try different angle's is giving away, say, three of my favorite short stories, more popular than just the name of one short story, you know, but giving away content compelling content is the best thing to do, and it sounds like you're recommending it be a complete thing, like a short story instead of the first chapters you talked about earlier, but have it be a complete, you know, full experience rather than just a piece of something. Yeah, you know, again, you want to put yourself in the shoes of the person that's about to download it, you know, um sometimes a piece makes sense, right? So, like when I'm searching on amazon for a new book, I download that kindle sample right? Like I can read the first few pages to see if I'm interested but I'm in kind of a different frame of mind like I'm actually looking for something to buy and I want to make sure I don't buy something I don't actually want to read, so yeah, I found that giving away something that is complete that health, that is a start to finish something, you know, that doesn't just feel like you were doing it just to get them to sign up for something, you know, that's what I found works the best actually quite a lot of comments about pop ups and people have seen very concerned, I think, it's one of those terrible words that you they go no it's all spam and most people seem to have a pop up blockers um, set, but some people are commenting is saying, do you actually mean pop ins? Yes, I mean it's basic there's the pop of domination does a lot of that of making sure that so what they might be asking is, um a lot of times if you go to a website and actual like new window tries to pop up and those originally what were called pop ups and they don't a lot times those air built in tow like chrome and fire fox and most of the browsers to block those this is more of like inside of the web page something just lays over so not a new window popping up it just pops over the content on dh again if you just want to see how it works you can go to pop of domination dot com and they'll show you that we have examples and demos mark well, yeah, I was wondering the the use of ah um the what's it called where you go to a site and instead of the website it has that first intro page yes overseas paid squeeze pays your names for it right? And obama used it a lot and I know he did in his first campaign of like when you went to his site, you couldn't you didn't really get to the main site it was like sign up for my email list yeah, those worked really well and again, it depends on what you're trying to accomplish. Um so again, with all of this stuff I always want to bring it back to like, okay, my main goal is to get people on my email list is an author what's gonna work best with that that I'm comfortable with right and that's a tool that you can use a squeeze page there's plug ins for that for wordpress to where you can just have that main page, and they can click past it, and they never see it again. So, yeah, that works really well. Teo. I recommend people giving that a try. I haven't done that as much, because, you know, probably I should, but, uh, but I've just had so much success with those pop. Those pop ups that, um, these worked really well.

Class Description

Self-publishing has turned authors and photographers into business owners. In this new era of publishing, you are your own startup and your book is your product. In this workshop, self-published author and book marketing expert Tim Grahl will teach you how to help your book find its audience.

Book sales depend not only on the quality of your work, but also on the strength of your marketing. You will learn how to develop a strategic outreach plan to engage your current audience and introduce yourself to the right new communities. Tim will also show you how to develop a reliable email list, use content to drive sales, and negotiate with publishers.

Whether you’re publishing a novel or a coffee table book of lush images, Tim will give you the marketing playbook your talent deserves.


Sonja Dewing

Loved it! A lot of great tips on what needs to be on your author page, even some helpful plugins for WordPress! Love the extras. Well worth it.

Mark Leruste

This was my very first Creativelive class and it was amazing! In short it's the course I wish I took before self-publishing my first book. It covers all the basics and highlights all the mistakes you're most likely to make as a first time author or a serial writer. Everything you need to know about selling and marketing your book is in here. I've been recommending it to everyone interested in writing a book! Thank you Tim Grahl for a brilliant course.

Rachelle Ramirez

I've had the blessing of training directly with Tim Grahl and this class pulls all the basics together. Master these techniques and you've leveled up as professional writer. Why write a book and not get it to its readers? These are the tools that not only sell your book but get readers interested in reading YOUR book when they a million other choices. Worth the money.