Saturday, January 14, 2017

Selling Your First 1000 Copies

Your First 1000 Copies: The Step-by-Step Guide to Marketing Your Book is Tim Grahl’s contribution to the art or science of marketing your book. His method relies on a strong email list, applying a system of:

Permission: “Without permission, your communication efforts risk being ignored, deleted or otherwise tuned out.” Grahl’s key: a mailing list of willing recipients. “Earning such permission is the art of motivating website visitors to grant permission to stay connected.” In other words, letting you add to the clutter of their email. “Having a direct connection to an individual’s inbox gives authors a way to communicate to their readers where they regularly spend their time.”
You get their permission by attracting them to a website with an offer, exchanging the offer for something you value, their email address. People pay more attention to most items in their email inbox, nearly 100%, than they do to items on Twitter or Facebook, more like 1%. You want them to get to know you and vice-versa. “…your #1 goal as an author should be to grow your email list as much as possible.” Look into MailChimp, Aweber (, and Constant Contact.
 “…two overarching rules: (1) make a specific, compelling offer and (2) expose them to the offer multiple times.”

Content: Use their permission; deliver to them valuable content regularly, and share it freely and publicly, giving it a chance to go viral. Share more than you feel comfortable sharing. Grahl (2013) gives many examples of success by sharing, as your following grows faster, your connections increase and improve, and your reputation soars. Consider bonus offerings besides the book. “Fans want more.”

Outreach: Expanding and deepening your connections, outreach, starts with empathy, identifying with the feelings and thoughts of another. Help others. Zig Zigler is quoted, “You can get everything you want in life if you just help enough other people to get what they want in life.” Grahl claims the investment is worth it: “Long-term career plans require long-term thinking.” Over time, you will have connections to both fans and influencers, the latter being more lucrative. Fans you give one-to-many communication. Influencers you give one-to-one interaction.
For recruiting readers, Grahl recommends:
1.   Profile your readers.
2.   Identify where they spend their time.
3.   Create an introduction approach to their platform(s).

Selling: This is the goal of the system. Boost yourself. Ask others to buy, having stimulated their appetites. “Leave them wanting more.” Tell stories that help you connect emotionally with your readers. “Enthusiasm sells. Let it out.” Make it easy to buy and ask them to.        

Building the system:  Mass marketing especially depends on building a system to manage the multitudinous contacts. Do it.
Unfortunately, this is not the kind of work I like to do; My email list is paltry and filled with friends rather than potential customers. Your talents, taste, and experience may be quite different.


Excerpted from my book, Write Your Book with Me, published by Outskirts Press and available from OP and from online booksellers like and

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