Are you a debut author or seasoned writer needing to know HOW to market your book? Or HOW to promote your book on YouTube?
In this in deep-dive, they talk candidly about WHICH video marketing strategies have worked, and which have not been as successful. WILL they hit their 1000 target for pre-sales before Feb 2021? WHICH digital marketing techniques will they enlist? WHICH book marketing strategy will be put to the test next on their ambitious (some may say foolhardy) quest?
In Episode 6 you will learn:
The definition of a blurb and how a few words on your book cover can make all the difference.
How to run a blog tour (or get someone to organise it for you).
Why categorisation is important, but ultimately it’s the reader who decides.
The kind of pre-publication publicity that a publisher can organise for you, including features in trade magazines like The Bookseller, and interviews in store magazines like Booktime.
Why an author should be a “squeaky wheel”!
And we take a look at other AuthorTubers and why they are so successful.
Are you a debut author or seasoned writer needing to know HOW to market your book? Or HOW to promote your book on YouTube?
In this 5th episode author Mark Stay and video marketer Jeremy Mason reveal more book marketing strategies and tips for authors.
WHICH of their video marketing strategies have worked so far? WILL they hit their 1000 target for pre-sales before Feb 2021? WHICH digital marketing techniques will they enlist? WHICH book marketing strategy will be put to the test next on their ambitious (some may say foolhardy) quest?
In Episode 5 you will learn: Lots of book marketing strategies, finding the route to market for your book, insider hints and tips that will help you with marketing your book. We talk about: Tweetdeck, Canva, Goodreads, BookFunnel, Groovepages, book events, pre-orders, book signings, pitching yourself for publicity and more…
Ever wondered HOW to market your book? Or HOW to promote your book on YouTube? Join the 4th outing of author & screenwriter Mark Stay and video creator & marketer Jeremy Mason, as they implement a video book marketing plan for Mark’s upcoming release.
One month in – have ANY of their video marketing strategies worked? WILL they hit their 1000 target for pre-sales before Feb 2021? Time is marching on. WHICH video marketing techniques will they enlist? WHICH YouTube book marketing strategy will be put to the test next on their ambitious (some may say foolhardy) quest? In Episode 4 you will learn about YouTube Channel Optimisation, VidIQ, Tube Buddy, Captions, rev.com and Subly.
Ever wondered how to market your book? Or how to promote your book on YouTube? Join author and screenwriter Mark Stay and video creator and marketer Jeremy Mason as they create (and implement) a video book marketing plan for Mark’s upcoming release.
Will their book marketing strategies work? Will their efforts garner the all-important pre-orders they need, before the book launch in Feb 2021? Join them each week as they dive headlong into video marketing, putting YouTube book marketing strategies to the test.
In this latest instalment, myself and Mr Mason look at keywords, how Google can be your friend, profiling your reader and much, much more…
Here’s a fun drinking game: Every time Jeremy says “That’s great!” then points out everything I’ve done wrong, take a shot… You’ll be legless in five minutes…
In-depth YouTube book marketing strategies using video marketing
A detailed real-time YouTube channel review
Creating engaging YouTube Video titles & YouTube video descriptions
YouTube channel engagement hints & tips
Facebook video tips
WHY video thumbnails are important
Profiling your audience
Fleshing out the book’s audience & WHY it’s important
Keywords & keyword research
HOW it allows you to understand MORE about your book
HOW to mine Google for content ideas
Brainstorming book marketing video content ideas
WHY you MUST get your videos transcribed
How can we deal with ‘haters’ and online rejection?
WHY YouTube Channel keywords & video tags are SO important
WHY relevant video tags are CRITICAL
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to week three of the book marketing challenge. I am not going to sing the jingle this week,
‘Cause we’ve had complaints.
Due to literally one or two complaints, actually there weren’t, I’d like to think they might have been.
Yes, yes. I’m joined as ever by my good friend, Mark Stay. who’s an author and screenwriter. We’ve given ourselves the slightly, some may say, foolish challenge of marketing Mark’s new book, which is coming out in February, 21. It’s a new fiction title. We’re fusing the worlds of digital marketing and video marketing and authoring and book writing and seeing what happens in the process. It’s basically a real life case study to see what we can do with our skills, such as they are, to try and give a little juice to Mark’s new fiction offering. So Mr. Stay, please tell me what marvellous updates you have for us this week?
Well, since we last spoke, we launched the Halloween video that I did which was lots of fun and Simon Schuster got behind it on Halloween and plugged it and all sorts of stuff. So, since then I have gained, well, I’m up to 36 subscribers. I think we had 30 last time we spoke, so that six new subscribers. The video got over a hundred viewers on the first day, we’re up 136 views up to today, so it’s just, where are we? We’re Tuesday when we’re recording this, so just a few days later. So we had a nice little spike but it only resulted in one extra pre-order of the book. Now, we’re a long way out from publication, it got people chatting about it, but I’m getting a feeling I’m preaching to the converted. Anyone who’s already interested in the book has maybe already pre-ordered it, though last week we did talk about that seven touches of marketing things, so this is another step on the road to touching people, not allowed to do that anymore.
Not so much, not so much.
It’s only seven times, but just reminding people, prodding people, no, we can’t do that anymore. And moving on. But the other thing I’ve done is I’ve got a video that’s going to go live today which is the first of the more typical videos, which is just me talking to camera. And this one is about on the road to publication. So I have my page proofs from my publisher a week or so ago. I’m talking about the process of what I do with the page proofs, how I use them. This is because I think a lot of the people who follow me on Twitter, on Facebook, and hopefully on YouTube as well, will know me because of the Bestseller Experiment podcast and the experience and expertise I have in the world of publishing. And so, what I’m planning to do with these videos is alternate between me talking about the process of publication with stuff about the book. So the next video I’ll do after that will be about my hero in the book, Fay Bright, who’s the protagonist of my book. So I’m going to flip between publishing stuff and stuff about the book, and hopefully as we go along and head towards publication, we’ll start figuring out who my readers are, this is something we’re going to talk about later, and draw them in and entice them with publishing nuggets which they might enjoy, but also stuff about the book. So does that make sense?
Yes, it does, it makes perfect sense to me. Shall we crash into YouTube and your YouTube channel? ‘Cause we did do a little bit of work on that, I say work, but you’ve done a little bit of sort of implementation stuff. By the magic of computering and telly, we are looking at Mark’s YouTube channel, which is excellent. Now, obviously last week we were talking all about the banner, which you’ve amended, which is fantastic. Ignore these stats. They are part of a thing called TubeBuddy. That is something that we may talk about later. So Mark, you were talking about this here video.
Weren’t you? Let’s have a look at that then. I don’t want to blow the gaff there, so let’s just let people discover that in their own time. You see, with things like TubeBuddy, on the right-hand side here you get all sorts of really juicy stats, and if you’re trying to get into the sort of world of YouTube and if you’re doing a lot of content, I would suggest you do get something like TubeBuddy, or there’s another one called vidIQ, basically this is a vidIQ sort of thing here, it just gives you really, really useful pointers in terms of, kind of almost like checklists, things to do, to make sure that you’re optimising your videos in the right way. So, let’s have a look at Mark’s latest video, 136 views, not very bad at all there. 17 likes, that’s great. Immediately what I’m seeing here as well, which is really positive, is two things, A, quite a lot of engagement and our little widget on the right hand side here is saying your social engagement is incredible. Exactly, for the French viewers out there. The really important thing with comments is to always reply, which you’re doing, which is fantastic, because you want to get that engagement, you want to foster engagement with people on YouTube. That’s what it’s all about. YouTube wants engaged people on their platform so that they can serve adverts up to them and keep them on the platform as long as possible. So you’re doing all the right things here, Mark. Let’s have a little look at two things. Firstly, we were talking a little bit last week, weren’t we, about the title side of things.
Now, I think that possibly we could do something, because if I don’t know what “The Crow Folk” is, if I’m turning up to your channel for the first time. That’s great. I think we need to give some kind of, I mean, I know that you’ve said it down here, whether there’s a way of doing something on the end so that when you’re looking at the, when you’re scrolling through on your mobile device for example what “The Crow Folk” is, that would be one comment with that. Let’s have a look at your lovely description. Transcript city, right. Now, I’m not sure, this is going to be really interesting to see how, I wonder if that’s just too dense and whether you actually need your transcripts in the description. Why don’t we leave it there and see what happens, and then, I’ll tell you what we’ll do, in maybe in these upcoming videos you’re doing Mark, let’s do some with the transcripts and some without. My sense is that it looks very dense when you’re looking at it. Do you see what I mean?
Yeah, you see, actually I think for me it seems like it’s the wrong way round, because actually if I’m just popping onto your video, I don’t want to read, you’ve gone massively detailed here, which is fine, but to me, I would put this stuff here all about your blurb effectively.
Put that at the top?
Yeah, because that’s what I want to know straight away. You want context first and then I would do context and then obviously the credits and everything, and then I would do almost a transcript as the last thing but it’s like a Brucey bonus kind of thing. I think that would make more sense to me.
I mean, I guess I used Subly to do the subtitles, so I uploaded an SRT file. So I’m guessing Google’s little spiders from Mars are going to pick out the text anyway, aren’t they? So they don’t need–
I mean, to be honest, don’t take this the wrong way, but I’ve never heard of anyone putting an entire transcript in their description. That’s not to say that it wouldn’t work. I suppose the only thing that it might do is it might skew the kind of SEO angle of it, because obviously, you’re talking about Prize-winning oranges, all sorts here, which isn’t actually relevant to the content of the video in a sense. Do you see what I mean? I mean, I know the content to you reading it.
Hey, the orange market is huge, huge I tell you.
I know it’s a massive niche and I know it’s one you want to go after. But yeah, I think I would say–
I think that’s a fair point. I think it’s a fair point, yeah.
So I think that’s what I would do is probably, I mean, we can definitely try it and see what happens, but I think it feels like there’s an awful lot of stuff there to read. And definitely that needs to go at the top because as I say, you want to go and know exactly what you’re looking at. Be careful about that though there, because that’s taking people away from the platform straight away. And do you remember I said, you can do that once your video’s been up there for a period of time then, and only then, do you need to then start. Because what will happen is a YouTube looks at that and goes, Oh, hang on, he’s straight away, he’s only just uploaded it, and he’s trying to send people off to his own website. And in some respects, yeah.
Yeah, they’ll go, oh, we’re not sure about this. So I would actually, do you know what for now? Leave it there, but for the new videos have a system where you do this, you absolutely do this, but you do that sort of two to three weeks in after the videos have been on for a while, just so that the algorithm knows that the materials there. And also the other thing as well is that you can get away in a sense with doing that kind of stuff earlier on in that process if you’ve got 500 videos up there, because you’ve established a record with them and they know the kind of how engaged your viewers are and all the rest of it. So it’s sort of one of those things that it’s not a black mark, but it’s sort of something that will probably make the algorithm go oh, hang on, at the end of the day, like I said they want people to stay on the platform. So anything you can do as a creator to create great content, valuable content that will grab people and put them onto YouTube, but then you need them to stay on YouTube. I mean, that was like we were saying last week with the stuff with the videos I do when after a while I then put links to other YouTube videos. That’s the sort of thing that they appreciate. But actually, do you know what? I think what’s amazing, again looking at this, you’ve got some great Facebook engagement. Also, the other thing that’s hugely important from a YouTube perspective is inbound links, i.e., it’s not just us creating a buzz on YouTube, that platform itself, obviously YouTube loves it when you’re getting links in from platforms like Facebook, but also don’t forget Reddit, Reddit’s really powerful. Do you use Reddit at all, Mark?
You see, I wonder whether that’s something that we look at actually as a strategy, and I imagine there will be thousands of groups all about authors and it is a very, very active platform and also they’re very engaged bunch of people on there. So I would have a look at that. And if you haven’t already, create an account because I think those, particularly because of what you’re creating in terms of stuff to do with writing and publishing, it’s genuinely useful information, and there will be lots of people looking at Reddit feeds about that kind of stuff I would imagine.
Okay, I’ll have a look at it.
Yeah, have a look at it.
Just to say a couple things. One, the transcript I have been using ’cause I embed the YouTube video on my blog and I put the transcript on there as well, ’cause just from a WordPress point of view, it’s useful. So I’ll get rid of the transcript on here, I think you’re right about that actually, it is too much, but put the blurb in as well. But it’s interesting to see so much engagement from Facebook because Facebook doesn’t like YouTube, YouTube doesn’t like Facebook, so when you go on Facebook, if you put a link to a YouTube video it’s one more click to get through to the content. So I’ve always felt, oh, maybe I should just upload the video straight to Facebook and play by Facebook’s rules, but actually having the card that I created on Canva saying a Halloween reading and stuff like that, that actually, I think it made it a lot more enticing and interesting to click through, and also I put it on my personal page, I put it on my author page, I put it on the Bestseller Experiment group pages, and I think maybe a couple of author groups as well. So it’s interesting–
That’s stunning though, 100, that’s a really good rate of engagement and if you look at that, 20% YouTube, 80% Facebook. So imagine if you were to, again, get involved with say Reddit and I think that would be a really good thing to do. But no, Facebook’s really good. And actually, I’d also say it might be worth with Facebook actually, doing like an AB test, I.e., do what you’re doing with linking to YouTube, but maybe every other video do some way you natively upload it and see what the difference in engagement is because the sort of received wisdom is, and I’ve got no, I mean, it seems to chime with my sort of experience on that platform, is that they do prefer video content that’s embedded on their platform, that’s hosted by them, and again, it’s one of those things, same as with YouTube obviously Facebook want people to stay on their platform, anything you can do any, any content that’s sticky that you can put on their service that then encourages people to stay there, they’re going to reward you for it. But I mean, with all these things, like I said last week, it’s sort of a little bit of a sort of trial and error type thing to a degree. So, I would, I mean, certainly personally, when I upload stuff, well when we get stuff uploaded to Facebook, we alternate between doing native uploading, I.e., uploading it to the platform, and that’s exactly the same strategy as I use for LinkedIn as well. Not that we’ll ever use LinkedIn for your book stuff, but, it works for LinkedIn as well, because again, they will boost those posts, those video posts. So, it’s worth bearing that in mind with all the social networks, at the end of the day, it’s all about for the networks, it’s about them keeping people, keeping eyeballs on their platforms, that is what they want. So if you could do anything to help that, of course, they’re going to reward that behaviour. So, no, I think this is a really good start, Mark, really. And as I say, just a slight tweak on the description side of things and just kind of carry on doing that I would. And again, if we go back to your kind of home screen, something that obviously we were talking about as well is creativity.
I did my playlists.
You did do your playlist, which is brilliant.
I did it.
Well done you, gold star.
See me later though, obviously. Anyway, moving on. What I was going to say though is there’s no description under here. Is that a deliberate thing on your part or did you forget to put some words under it?
I forgot them, sorry.
Definitely, yeah. I mean, again, as you can see, so, it’s much better organised than it was, which is fantastic. But yes, and do you remember, ’cause we were talking about three lines, do you know what I mean? Just to kind of say what it is, what you’re doing here so that people can literally land on this page. It’s again, like I said, I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but basically with all of this stuff to do with YouTube and optimising the channel, your trying to make it as easy as possible for people to find what they’re looking for and to say, and leading with. So, what they’re going to gain why should they be on your channel? What are they going to learn from it? What are they going to get? Are they going to get entertained? what do people gain from it? What’s in it for them, always, always think about your audience first. It’s not about us as creators. It’s about we are serving them. So with all the copy and the same with the description as well write it from the perspective of them, the audience, what will they gain from watching that piece of content? That’s what you need to bear in mind all the time. The other thing I’d say is thumbnails is a good thing as well. Now, obviously I’ve been tweaking our thumbnails and I’m a terrible tinkerer. So I’ll always be doing AB testing things Oh, this might work better or whatever. But the thing to do is to, with all of these so for the end of magic, I would be tempted to stick with one or two designs or thumbnail, Mark, just because it looks, I mean, I don’t know. I might be being a little bit pernickety, but to me it looks a little bit scrappy. The other thing as well, which are, this is brilliant because it’s got your gorgeous face in it. And there are stats to back up the fact that with thumbnails people respond well to human faces in them. And so they tend to get more click throughs. So that is something to bear in mind. And that is something I’m going to be trialling on our thumbnails here later, which we maybe could look at at another point. But yeah, so I would, I think really once it comes to these kind of Bestseller Experiment and all of that, I think I would try and create thumbnails even if they’re pretty generic just to make it look kind of uniform and a bit tidier. Does that make sense?
Yes, in some ways, that’s the past, man that’s the past.
No, no, I know, I know.
I’m concentrating on the future. But again, that’s something me and Devaux have been talking about, funny enough, since we’ve started doing these Devaux’s been a lot more interested in YouTube. So we may get around to doing that anyway. We know that we’ve not really done YouTube properly with the podcast.
You know you might be missing a trick there in terms of-
Oh we are definitely, but there are only so many hours in the day I can move to Mars where there’s one extra hour in the day, but the broadband isn’t as good up there.
Well you say that it’s probably no worse than the internet we’re getting here in the rural Hampshire anyway. But no I mean, generally I think you’ve done a really good job of that, so good. Definitely good boy biscuits in order there. So in terms of like you were saying about the, what the publishers were doing what did they actually do once you did your kind of your release of your Halloween video? What kind of backup, if you like, did you get from them from a marketing perspective?
There was a whole bunch of tweets on Saturday which were good. And they were hashtag up the wazoo. We’ve agreed on a hashtag, which is “The Crow Folk” are coming, which I think is great. It gives people a sense of anticipation but it was essentially for them day one. So no one knows me from Adam or whatever. So it’s that thing, that was the first touch and then there’ll be more to come after it. And they’re very engaged in terms of what I’m doing with the videos. So they’d like to know when they’re going live, when they can use them and do similar. So hopefully, I mean, Halloween is obviously a big peak. There’s a lot of competition for space on that day. Everyone’s going to, every publisher has horror novels that they want to sell. And that’s the other thing as well I’m promising something that’s coming in February, so there’s nothing really yet to show them. I think what will make things a lot more viable is when the website goes live and I’ll be giving away an ebook with the first three chapters of the book, which the publishers agreed that I can do. So I’ll be able to say, then if you’ve enjoyed this here’s a taster, sign up to my newsletter for more. So that’s still not up and running yet. That’s coming soon hopefully in the next sort of three or four weeks. And we can have be interested in seeing how engagement picks up once that’s up and running. But of course, when the website is up and running, I’ll have all these videos on there too. So I’ll be joining people from the website to YouTube and back and forth again there’s the whole matrix of connections, man.
So that’s the thing it is about kind of creating that web, like you say, that net, and it’s all about gathering people in. I think this is a good time to talk about your audience actually, because like you said earlier on, so the sense of the moment is that so far you’ve been preaching to the choir a little bit in the sense of you’ve got an existing digital footprint which it absolutely makes complete sense to go for the low-hanging fruit. Let’s call them that first. So what’s your sense in terms of your other audience, have you done any sort of thinking about the sorts of people that might read your book and where they live online and that kind of thing?
Yeah, I think primarily they will be Pratchett fans, fans of humorous kind of fantasy and stuff like that. So I kind of know where some of those people live but like I said, the problem you have is that if you tell them all this is a bit like Terry Pratchett, there is an immediate well, Terry was one of the finest writers of the of the last sort of 30, 40 years. How dare you compare yourself to him, that sort of thing. So it’s a tricky one. It’s a tricky one. But I think I know where that market is. We’re putting stuff up on NetGalley. That’s the other thing that’s happened, the books gone up on NetGalley. We’ve not had any reviews yet, but my editor was telling me there’s been a great reaction to the cover art. People are liking it. So hopefully we’ll start seeing some reviews there. So I think, that’s where my readership is. I think I would imagine. And this has made plucking things out of the air just from seeing people at conventions and stuff like that. I imagine the readership will skew a little more female than males, maybe 60, 40 female readership as well. And this is a book with a female protagonist and actually three very strong female characters at the centre of it as well.
What kind of age demographic are you thinking? I mean, or is it a very wide?
Well, again I think we’re looking at sort of mid twenties to mid forties, maybe older. I mean, this is a book that, and I will do a video about this actually, because my previous books have been quite either quite sweary or quite violent.
What does that say about you, Mark?
And this doesn’t have any swearing. How long have you got? But yeah it’s, I think this is quite different. This is definitely rated PG.
Was that a deliberate thing on your part, to write like that, or is it just a sort of evolutionary thing?
I think the setting of the book, it’s June, 1940 so it wouldn’t be a very sweary society. It’s a rural society, and certainly the tone of it. I’m going for that kind of Pratchett-y tone. There’s going to be very little in the way of effing or jeffing. So yeah, it was a deliberate choice. It was a deliberate choice. I think it’s just tonally. If I was to start putting that kind of stuff in it, it just would be wrong anyway. Whereas when I was doing “The End Of Magic”, you’re dealing with a kind of almost a grim dark fantasy genre where readers want the headings and a little bit of blood lust and some swearing and what have you. So yeah, it was very much a choice, you know children could read this. Absolutely, you got a protagonist who’s 17 years old, on the verge of becoming an adult, it’s a coming of age story. And certainly the first three books will be about her becoming a young woman and finding her place in the world. So yeah, it could be read pretty much by anyone, but I think certainly from going to conventions like YALC which is the Young Adult Literary Convention in London that is not technically a YA book, but why not? I think they’d enjoy it, and Pratchett fans would enjoy it. So that’s kind of where I have an idea of where the readership lives, the publishers have compared me to authors like Lev Grossman, who wrote “The Magicians”, which is fantastic novel about people discovering magic and using magic for the first time. So that helps as well give me an idea. So yeah, I think this is going to be a bit of a journey of discovery. I have quite a big Venn diagram of who my readers are, but as time goes on, I think the idea is to is to whittle it down and get a much more accurate perception of who they are. I guess we’ll get that with the feedback when we get from Goodreads and reviews, you’ll see people who do like it, people that don’t like it, and then you go, okay let’s these people don’t like it let’s leave them alone. Let’s find out who these people are vector in on them.
I think though that it might be wise before, rather than waiting for those results to come in, which I think that is definitely a good thing to do. I think before that point, I think what we should do possibly, and I hate to give you homework but it’s sort of is a little bit of homework is to sort of almost formalise those Venn diagrams and those, because already you’ve mentioned the young young, the literary festival. YALC, yeah. You know, and then also previously we were talking about I know it’s a tiny, tiny audience, but you’re effectively part of this book’s job if you like is to persuade the publisher that actually the series is a viable series as well. So you already got a number of these kind of sets of people coalescing around, you know so you’ve got the young, the young kind of younger crowd. You’ve got your publisher that you are obviously trying to work persuade that it’s a viable kind of ongoing series. Then you’ve got the Terry Pratchett people and they’ll no doubt be other blood, Lev Grossman, all those sort of things and how they intersect. But that I think the danger possibly if we leave it until we start getting a sort of significant quantity of data from the likes of Goodreads is that by that point, we’ll have created a lot of content and the content needs to be speaking to someone. And that’s the thing, now at the moment, I’m not that worried about that, because actually, for example your video, that’s going to be released shortly which talks about proofreading and stuff like that. It’s pretty clear who that’s targeted at. And that’s great, but in terms of trying, I’m just thinking it’s going to take a while to gather momentum and get traction in terms of outside that bubble of people who already know you, do you see what I mean? And so I think that would be a really worthwhile piece of work to do kind of now-ish is to actually spend a bit of kind of brain power on really, really sort of diving into who these people are. For example, I mean it might be if you’ve got a comment, not that Comicon would be somewhere you’d go, but festivals like that if you’re doing something that would resonate to the people that go there that could then inform some kind of marketing activity that you could do there, or even even if it’s just, you end up putting YouTube ads in front of the people that look for Comicon 2021 or whatever, do you see what I mean? So if we know earlier on, and then what we’re using Goodreads for, and that data is to basically back up our suspicions, do you see what I mean? I think it would be a better way of doing it. My worry would be, if we leave it, you’re then reacting and it’s you’re then chasing your tail a bit.
Yeah. I mean there are publishers are generally quite bad at this. I mean the number of meetings I sat in where they’d have some romcom fiction or whatever, and they say this is for all women age 35 to 40. Well, obviously not all women, you can’t, and so there’s a lot of tarring with the same brush, a lot of assumptions, that kind of thing. There is a piece of software I’ve got, which I use for Amazon advertising, which is called Publisher Rocket. And they have just done an update so that actually works in the UK. It was really designed for authors advertising their books on amazon.com. So basically you put in a north I like Terry Pratchett it would send the spiders out to amazon.com and gather all this data saying, Hey, people that like Terry Pratchett also like to bumpty, bumpty, boom, and you get this long grid of authors. Now they have just done an update which includes UK authors. Now I’m not planning to do Amazon advertising with this. If my publisher wants to do it, that’s great. I’ve already wasted enough money on Amazon advertising. But actually what I think I will do is run a report on Publisher Rocket, if it does scrape UK data and have a look at that. And then, then what do I do with that though? do I use that to do YouTube advertising further down the line? Or do I start looking for Facebook groups of authors who like these kind of people. Or do I just use those as keywords on the YouTube channel- and you know all of it,
All of the above, I think, Mark, all of the above with that. I think it’s brilliant that actually there’s, I think let’s I would definitely do that piece of work and then next session let’s for our lovely viewers let’s have a little look at how that piece of software works. We’ll go into delve into it. This will be a really good point actually, to talk about keywords I think. Obviously when people are typing queries into Google and Yahoo or whatever, Bing or whatever search engine they’re using that data is absolute gold from our point of view because what we want to try and do, and as I said, this is slightly different for what we’re doing here. Just because you’re not a product, well you’re a product but you’re not a service provider, but effectively what the mindset we kind of need to get ourselves into is it may be for example, someone is looking for a gift for someone who likes Terry Pratchett. Do you see what I mean? I’m imagining that will be super, super, super niche. But as Mr. Desvaux always says, niche is the new big. Three times every episode, we mention that. But it’s true, actually. That is absolutely true. So obviously we’re on Google now. I’m going to type in exactly that search phrase book for people who like Terry Pratchett. Is that how you spell Terry Pratchett?
Two T’s at the end.
Two T’s at the end.
There we go.
So immediately Google is doing some amazing work for us, right? Now obviously these are ads, but you start to get a sense of now I don’t know these may be completely wide of the mark, I’ve no idea.
Tom Holt’s a good one. Steven Baxter, who is a lovely man by the way, I met him many times, is more science fiction and he co-wrote a series of books with Terry, Neil Gaiman’s on the money. Yeah, that’s good.
But you see what I mean, so you’re immediately getting a sense of your not your competition, but kind of you said last week about you’ve got to visualise as an author where your book sits.
And you got to bring it out of your mind, it’s that thing, isn’t it. Now the brilliant thing about Google obviously is when you’re typing in things here, it will auto complete. Now this is a very specific long tail. What is known as a long tail key phrase. So there’s probably not, but if you books for people, it will then start to auto suggest stuff. That’s absolute gold. And particularly when you’re dealing for example, more when we’re talking maybe more about how to publish my book and those kinds of phrases, you’ll get a lot of auto suggesting kind of phrases. These are actual, not this one, particularly but the auto suggesting ones are ones that are based on actual people’s searches. So in terms of creating content and answering questions I’ll think of answering someone’s question who’s on Google, always look at the auto suggested stuff because you could do a lot worse than start there, also this lovely box here again, brilliant. What is the best Terry Pratchett? I mean, there is nothing to say, for example Mark, this is just something that popped into my head. You know, maybe one of you, but one of your videos is about you’re a massive Terry Pratchett fan. I know it’s not, it’s not directly selling your book but actually the whole point with YouTube is you need to build up like this library of kind of goodwill if you like with YouTube and you need to kind of, it’s not all hard sell, sell, sell all the time. In fact, it’s the opposite. But actually this is a question that obviously people ask, you’re a Terry Pratchett fan, you also happen to be an author. That would be a great thing for you to talk about I’m thinking. In fact all of these questions might be something, obviously you don’t want to do all four and then literally drop one video, drop another video. But if you mixed it up it just gives you great ideas for content that’s relevant because obviously it’s relevant because you know the book you’re writing is hopefully going to be liked by people that like Terry Pratchett, do you see what I mean?
Absolutely, and if you scroll down there as well that number six there authors hang on, you’ve gone too far on number six, authors similar to Terry Pratchett. So Goodreads do lists as well. So I imagine that’s a really handy list of authors similar to Terry. So again, that’s going to, that’s going to help me. And again, if you’re an author watching this and you write, say like Stephen King, or you write like Michael Conley crime novels they’ll have lists like that on there. This process works for everyone.
Absolutely, and the other thing to say as well, is when you’re creating that content. I mean, obviously we’re talking here about it’s all video based, but the thing to think about is to reversion. Always reversion your content. So for example, like you did exactly, like we saw you got that transcription done for the video always get your videos transcribed or you get captions done, you need to do that. But then that becomes a great blog post or depending on what it is you can make it into a lead magnet if you will which is something that you obviously for people that don’t know, it’s stuff that you exchange in exchange for name and email address that kind of thing to build your strengths. If you’re wanting to build up a really good, well qualified email list. So all of this stuff here I think is absolute gold. And until this point, I hadn’t even thought that actually, do you know what that is something that in terms of content and variety of content but again, it fits in terms of the audience profile. And again, that sort of goes into the reason why we need to develop that idea, those ideas and the focus on specific groups of people that we are targeting so that we can do exercises like this and find those questions that people are answering. Sorry, those questions that people are asking so that you serve up a few videos around these queries, then guess what, that video will be after you’ve produced you’re talking about a sort of quantity of videos, typically for a long tail phrase like this, books for people like that Terry Pratchett, you may well get, ’cause the other thing to say I know I’m kind of darting around the place a bit but this doesn’t have a video carousel in it yet. A lot of search terms, what you get is around about here somewhere, there’ll be a load of videos. Now, if you create 10 to, I know this sounds a lot, but if you imagine, if you over the next four months we create a load of Terry Pratchett related videos. Then anytime anyone looks for Terry Pratchett, books for people who like Terry Pratchett then Google will create a carousel and you’ll occupy it because it’s relevant content for people that are looking for that thing. And then what happens is that as you’re creating, as you’re, like I said before, as you’re creating more relevant content and you’re building that relationship with YouTube and YouTube is looking at you going, okay, Mark’s uploading two videos a week. They’re getting great engagement because you’re engaging with all the people on your you’re replying to all the messages, you’re doing all the great work on the optimization. You’re making things look good. There’s no other way in terms of organic SEO, that you, it would be really difficult and take months to get anything on. This is page one of Google for this particular search term. I mean, it’s, this is it. You want to be on page one, right? ‘Cause after page one I think it goes down something like 30% per page. It might even be more than that, but it’s basically the real estate is all all here. And obviously as I say, if you’re then create, get video stuff on here in your own carousel and you own this keyword this key phrase here, that’s absolutely, it may not be a huge amount of volume coming through, but it’s super relevant. And it establishes you, starts to establish you as like an expert in that field as well. So it’s doing good things. And like we said before a lot, it’s a long game. This is not going to happen overnight. So, and the other place to look as well very briefly is these obviously searches, related searches, always look down there as well. And that’s all gold. So you don’t really need to invest in flashy bits of software. I would definitely though saying that, do that sorry, the Amazon thing you were talking about, Mark. This this piece of software here is called Keywords Everywhere. And that is absolutely fantastic. It’s it’s about $10 for you get charged per search that you do, but it’s something like $10 per hundred thousand searches or something. So for a cash-strapped author or whatever, I think it’s worth doing. So I know this isn’t a particularly amazing search term but you get the idea that effectively it gives you loads of related keywords. What other people, and let’s have a look here look, Jasper Ford, I presume he’s an author. That’s a very, very decent. And the other thing with this particular piece of software is it you can do global, you can do UK, US, so you can target particular sort of territories with it. See, this is great, 1600 searches. So imagine if you take that, this guy is an author and you start doing stuff. Now I have no idea whether it’s relevant for you, Mark, but if you were to do something around Jasper Ford for example that’s a lot of traffic. The other thing to look at here is CPC. Cost-per-click, now the very fact that people are paying money to rank for that keyword suggests that people buy stuff to do with Jasper Ford. That’s the other thing to think about you want to see that there’s commercial intent if you’re trying to sell stuff and this is all really interesting and useful information. The competition thing as well, that’s obviously worth looking at, that’s not very much competition at all, which is good. So, but with all of these things you imagine you do three or four authors and create content around these. That’s a lot of traffic you potentially could be tapping into. I mean, let’s just have a look at Terry Pratchett on his own. Because the other thing to say obviously is if you initially start creating content around long tail keywords like this eventually after you sort of become regarded as an expert by YouTube, it will start optimising putting you out on keywords, shortened versions of this. So you’ll start to rank for stuff like just Terry Pratchett. So let’s just have a look quickly at Terry Pratchett books, let’s say, wow, okay. Do you see what I mean, look, you got auto complete here. So okay. Terry Pratchett, “Discworld” 1900 per, this is in the UK Mark on its own, 1900 per month. Terry Pratchett books, nearly five and a half thousand. And this little thing here is basically this sort of trend. So you can see it’s going up or down. And actually what’s great is these are kind of I mean, I know they’re going up and down a bit, but they’re sort of relatively stable, best Terry Pratchett books. Again, you see this would have buying intent I think because why would you search for best Terry Pratchett books? Unless somewhere in your head, you were thinking I might buy one. Do you see what I mean? And then you’re thinking or we’ll be thinking, okay, if people are really in that purchasing mindset, at that point they’re looking for best Terry Pratchett books. Maybe those are people we need to be putting ads in front of. Do you see what I mean? So all of this stuff all feeds in to that kind of mindset that you need to kind of get into.
It is a mindset because the thing that’s going through my mind at the moment is how dare I, how dare I compare myself to Terry Pratchett? The guy I started reading when I was a teenager and met a few times, got a few signed books and worship and cried on the day that he died. You know, how dare I, but I think that’s where my readers live. So I have to go there. And I know because I belong to some of these Facebook groups, how passionate these people are. And I know that simply by putting, stepping into that ring, I will piss off any number of them. But the flip side to that is if I can get 1% of Terry’s market then it’s toys for Christmas for everyone.
You know, you raise a really interesting point about annoying people.
I’m good at that.
What I am not advocating is basically poking the bear of social media, like we talked about before. But if someone is annoyed with you or that is not a bad thing in the sense that it’s still an inter, I mean, this sounds really cold and quite heartless, but it’s still an interaction. So if someone’s laying into you, it’s still an interaction
This is how flat Earther’s have got traction. This is how Trump got elected people piling in, it’s just, it’s generating a conversation? So I’m not saying we should go there and do that but it is generating data.
I think there’s a whole thing around it is a thing obviously, we’re creating content. For example, someone, I think there was one thumbs down on the video last week. And I was like, oh-
What, on our video, really?
Yes, and it’s difficult. I’m 48 years old. I should be above this. But I would be lying if there wasn’t some little part of me that just went, oh really? This is a complete, and why it’s sort of a mindset thing as well, because, and this is where Desi sort of comes into his own because you think why am I obsessing about that one thumbs down which could have been, how about all the other really great conversations we’ve been having with all these amazing people that are sort of following us is, and we’re really grateful for you guys, by the way. So thanks for joining us in this slightly mad quest of ours, but the upsetting people or people not liking what you do I think may be a way around that is to kind of take a step back and go, yes, but it’s still engagement and kind of take the sting out of it and go okay, if someone’s having a go or going how dare you, which, by the way, you’re not, ’cause you don’t kind of pile in there I’m imagining sort of going, hey guys, I’ve just written this book and it’s as good as Terry’s.
I’m the second coming of Terry Pratchett.
That’s going to go down well.
Barry Pratchett. Because that’s not what you’re saying anyway but I think it is a big topic for discussion and it is something that we all have to kind of grapple with in our own way, in terms of the haters, the keyboard warriors and all of that sort of thing. But I think if there’s a way that we can mentally like I say, go in quite a kind of detached and cold way. Yeah, but actually this is all good engagement and weirdly will feed into the algorithms and hopefully something good can come out of this nonsense. I mean, like I say, absolutely do not court controversy in that sense. I mean, there’s some people that in terms of the digital marketing arena who deliberately go out to antagonise and I’m not talking about doing that. ‘Cause I think that is a really dangerous game to play. And I just think it’s a bit disingenuous in the end and why create any negativity where there doesn’t need to be any, right? I mean that’s what I think, but, but yeah. So I think that little exercise there it’s actually buoyed me up quite a lot. Cause I think there’s a lot that we could do with all that. And that was just with, admittedly, a massive author and someone who’s got a massive amount of pedigree, but I think that’s really, really positive. Don’t you think, Mark?
Yeah, absolutely. It’s got me thinking about doing a short video. I’ve got all my books up there. I’m thinking I could do five minutes talking about Terry, which you know, the ones that are a bit like “The Crow Folk” that you might enjoy if you’ve enjoyed those. And then maybe not even talk about my book at all, but have the card at the beginning and the end and stuff like that. So yeah, it’s got me thinking
I think definitely that’s that’s for that sort of content. It’s almost awareness stage what you’d call it at the top of funnel. We can talk about all this nonsense at another point, but effectively the stage we’re in at the moment, it is about raising awareness that a, that you exist and who you are and what you do, and actually the doing a list of the best Terry Pratchett books, in your opinion or all that kind of stuff is a great way actually of providing service and serving the audience without selling your book, which on the face of it, isn’t really a service you’re like you’re just going, I’ve got this book, it’s really good. I’ve written it, please buy it. Whereas actually there are ways that if there are ways that you can put goodness out into the world and actually help people, and then like you say, brand it up a bit, put it all kind of, by the way this is what I’m doing, but really, really soft sell, don’t not be properly subtle about it. And actually I think the thing is when you’re done, maybe I wouldn’t put anything on the front of your video about your book. I would do it at the end just because it’s that thing of you’ve then given people some really useful information and then you kind of go by the way people don’t tend to mind if you’ve given them some value then go by the way guys, this is what I’ve done, you may like it, and literally leave it at that. You know? So I think that’s really good. And in terms of other keywords, so that was that that Google exercise, I think is a really good one. And it really gives you a sense very quickly of the kind of area, your sort of competitors I suppose, in some senses, but the area of that bookshop of your mind that you will be occupying.
Yes, exactly, that bookshelf, we’re on the same shelf kind of thing. And that is important. And like I said, whatever genre you’re writing in there will be an author like that. And why not pick the big one, and then drill down as you discover who your readers really, really are. But yeah.
And I think there’s something before we go onto sort of a little bit more kind of keyword tools and stuff. I’ve got a few kind of little great little tools that I’m going to share for people to have a look and to again, drill down into those searches for ideas of content, I suppose, but also if you’re creating videos, you’re going to need to tag them up. In fact, we could possibly talk about that quickly as well, before we go. So I’ve already talked about keywords everywhere. I’ll put these links, everyone in the description. So you can have a look at the software in your own time. There is a great, this play, this right, is a fantastic game. You can see I’ve been there several times, Answer the Public, have you heard of this, Mark?
You showed me this and it is brilliant. I did use it to get, to generate some blog content actually, it’s really, really useful.
So now we’re kind of, cause we’ve been talking about the sort of creating content and obviously that Google exercise earlier on starts you down that kind of funnel going, oh, actually I could create this. I love this guy being very menacing and picking his, yeah. So basically, it’s answerthepublic.com. What this does, is it scrapes all the questions, data from Google, from Bing and all the different search engines and collates it in one place. So I tell you what, what should we, in terms of what we’re talking about here? Let’s say let’s just for the sake of argument, publishing a book, type in a key phrase, or a sort of topic area that you are interested in creating content around. You, press that now. So this is about, because it knows where I am, it’s England and GB. And obviously the date, because obviously this data’s constantly changing. So it’s just having a little think about it. But this is a very, I use this all the time. And obviously like you said, Mark, you’ve done it too. This is an amazing resource for collating, sort of the different forms of questions and sort of allied topic areas for the search term that you’ve plumbed in. So it’s already, so it’s come up. Now, what you get is this fantastic visualisation. So publishing a book where, where to start publishing a book, can publish it in this. Maybe you could answer this, Mark, can publishing a book make you rich?
That’s quite a short video there, guys. But, you get the idea. So many amazing ideas in here. Now the grades of green here are obviously tips when publishing a book that’s got a lot of traffic to it, less traffic cost in publishing a book, but this is such a phenomenal resource. If you’re looking to create content that is based on people’s searches, right? So you’re answering questions people are asking, this is an amazing resource. And I use it all the time to create really relevant content that is going to help people. This is where you get those ideas from, one of the places. So you’ve got the what, the where, can, why, when type questions, prepositions as well. And then you get the comparisons here. All of this stuff is absolutely brilliant. And you can just, I mean, the great thing as well is if you then like, I’ve got keywords everywhere on this machine. So you’ve then got all the sort of in alphabetical order, but then you see I can go through and you look here and you go, okay well publishing a book cost that query there. If we did something around that, Mark, and I don’t know whether that’d be relevant or not,, search volume of 140, and that has got quite a lot of commercial intent behind it because people are paying just under two quid per click for that. And you can see the it’s doing all right. you just get really useful data from all this. So that’s pretty good that one there, 140, publishing a book Amazon, smashing it, over 1300 per month. So I would spend some time having a look at this, using this tool. Basically it is free. I think there’s a limit though to how many times, how many search terms you can use per month, because it knows, obviously it tracks you. It knows how many times you visited and then you have to wait a couple of weeks, I think, and then you can try again. There’s also a tool that I looked at the other day which I liked the look of, which is keywordtool.io. Let’s have a quick look at this. And the thing with these is with keywords and stuff, you can kind of it is a little bit of a rabbit hole right? You can kind of go and in and in and in, but with all these things with doing your basic Google search using answerthepublic.com and these, it’s sort of about cross-checking the information as well. And all of the time you’re kind of going to get ideas as to hang on, that seems to be coming up a lot. That keyword seems to have a lot of search queries and it will just start things off in your head as to potential kind of ideas.
I think how this helps authors is they’re always thinking what can I put out there? I think we mentioned this last week if you’re starting a newsletter or a blog or a YouTube video you’re thinking, well, who cares what I think? But like I said, if you discover the questions that people are asking so if you’re just starting out, maybe put in a search term along the lines of starting writing a novel and see the questions that people are asking there. And maybe as we said before the best teacher is the one that’s one step ahead of the class. So if you say, well, I’ve just started writing a novel and I’ve learned this from it, it’s the kind of thing that will help you generate the kind of content that will get momentum going for you.
Yeah, absolutely. So in this, so let’s do a writing a book. Let’s see what that comes up with. So what this is good for now, obviously you’ve got a, oh trend you see, obviously you’ve got the option, if you want to make these or you get the data like that. If you want it, you have to pay a little bit of cash for that, but what this is, what I liked about this tool is the fact that you’re getting for any particular shorter tail key phrase, you’re getting loads and loads and loads of options here, which again might, and if there’s one that you think oh, well, I’ll give that a go. Then what you could do is if you have keywords everywhere is to copy that put it into Google properly. And then with keywords everywhere it would give you this data anyway. But it’s just, it’s a great way of finding out longer tail versions of the short tail bit that you’ve put in. And again, it’s all those kinds of little sparks of inspiration in your head about, “Oh actually”, it’s about uncovering niches actually at the end of the day, niche keywords because there’s topics that you may not think oh, that particular topic is so specific. You may not think that it’s that lively, but actually it is, and also with things like the trend data you can see oh, loads more people are talking about it now or fewer or whatever. So you can really focus in on what the effective keywords for your, and this goes for optimising your YouTube channel. Obviously when you’re doing blog posts, sprinkle all this keyword goodness, sprinkle it throughout your blog posts all of that good stuff make sure that the header’s on your website. For example, feature keywords that you know people are looking for and you know that are relevant to your kind of subject area, it all helps make your content, whatever it is, blog posts videos, or website, it all makes it really relevant. And ultimately read by the right people.
And it never goes away. Here’s an example just from this week, sadly, Sean Connery passed away this week. And about five years ago we were on holiday in Spain and we happened to be, we went to a place in Almeria, where they make lots of movies. And I dragged my family to this town where they made “For A Few Dollars More” and all these great westerns. I was in the gift shop looking at the books and there’s a bit in “Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade” where Sean Connery gets his umbrella, scares these birds and brings down the Messerschmidt. And he says, I suddenly remembered my Charlemagne. I let my army be the birds. And I dragged the family in our little hire car over this place, which was like the surface of the moon. And I dragged them out and we found that rock. We found that rock and I recreated that moment. And it’s a blog post from years ago and Sean Connery passed away and suddenly this blog post boing, the most popular thing in my blog by miles. So this stuff is evergreen as well. It always, always stays there. And it’s so weird, stuff you completely forgot that you blogged about, whenever “Robin Hood Prince of Thieves” comes on the telly, I wrote a blog post about what that film means to me that still pops up whenever it’s on Channel 5 or wherever. So it’s definitely worth doing it and getting it right. ‘Cause you never know when it’s going to pop up again.
Well, that’s the thing. And also again, like you say, spend the time on making sure you’re optimising all your content in the right way because what you don’t want to do is create a load of stuff. And then it’s you’ve got 20 or 30 videos that you need to then go back to, go through, trawl through, optimise in the right way. This is all part of the creating a sort of sustainable kind of production model, if you like so that you have a little process that you follow, and then you, like you say, there’s all these little pieces of content are out there all the time. And people will come into contact with them at various different points. But if they’re optimised in the right way they will be attracting the right people for you. that’s the bottom line.
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, just as an experiment years ago, I put up a blog post that just says, how old is Milo Parker? Milo was the young boy in “Robot Overlords”. And he’s basically the same age as my son. So I know how old he is but I know that whenever you’re watching a TV show, ’cause he’s done tonnes of TV and films since. And again, barely a week goes by where someone hasn’t put in a Google tab, how old is Milo Parker? My blog is the top search result in which I do not answer that question.
Well, that’s a shame, isn’t it? So let’s scoot quickly back, Mark, to your YouTube channel because there is something that we haven’t looked at yet which I mentioned just a minute ago. And I think maybe this will be our sort of parting gift to our lovely viewers. Now, what I would say is immediately now we’re talking we’ve just done a lovely discussion about keywords. There are no keywords in here. So I would have a look, that is something you need to do when you go in and you log in yourself, it is in manage channel. Channel key words again, do all that Google searching, have a think about you don’t need loads and loads. You probably need about I don’t know, five, five to eight, something like that. Keep it relatively, and one of the search terms, it might look like you’re being a bit egotistical but genuinely your name could be a search term because your channel is about you. So that could be, I know that it’s not like authors or whatever, but wise putting that in, because as hopefully things build, you will get searched for more and more. And it’s one of those things that channel keywords tend to get forgotten or not updated particularly that often. So definitely do that because that will allow YouTube to basically categorise generally your content and what it’s about.
Well, there is a town in Canada called Mark Stay Warren, which comes up when you Google me. And there is also a brand of, I think it’s used in engraving and it’s called Mark Stay. So I’m up against that.
Well, that’s probably what the competition’s for. I mean, I’d love to think, Mark, that it’s to do with your superb authoring, but I think it’s probably the buffing tool.
Whatever it is.
Disappointed when they see me pop up.
Exactly, so I’m just going to pop back into your video quickly, video tags. Did you do any tagging? Yes, you have, well done.
I did, yeah.
How did you get hold of these tags?
I plucked them out of my brain.
Okie dokie. These now you can either again, use something like TubeBuddy. Now there’s a free version of TubeBuddy, and there’s a free version of vidIQ, which will allow you when you’re in your kind of the backend of your YouTube channel when you’re uploading and all the rest of it, it’ll give you the ability to type in a few tags like you did, Mark, from your head. I would probably be a little more kind of tending towards have a look on Google first, have a think about search terms that look like they’re doing something. And then what it will do is it will suggest tags that have traffic. I mean that you could do a lot worse than just typing in book readings on YouTube and see what comes up. Do you see what I mean? And see what’s getting traction. That isn’t that many tags you’ve got, you’re allowed to put in I think it’s something like 500 characters. So you could put a few more in there. So for example, if there are other authors other than Terry Pratchett, maybe put a few of those kind of guys in, just because again, people that are looking at Terry Pratchett-based videos and actually again, you see if you’re creating content like we were talking about earlier, that is my favourite Terry Pratchett books or whatever, then that’s golden then, because you’ve then got the tag on this video. But you’ve also obviously got other videos which are talking about Terry Pratchett as well. The thing with tags is you need to, they do need to be relevant to that video. You can’t be too far. Now, I think you’d get away with that, but you can’t do things that are too kind of if you’re not ever mentioning Terry Pratchett in there and you’re constantly doing that, time after time after time, video after video, people will go, why have you optimise for that? It’s got no relevance at all to what’s in your video. You know what I mean? So for example, if I did, I like Terry Pratchett and I know Terry Pratchett’s a really good search term but then I do a video about accountancy. Clearly that’s not great from a viewers point of view because they’re wanting accountancy based stuff, sorry, they were looking for Terry Pratchett stuff. And I’m banging on about how to complete a tax return. It’s got nothing, it’s again, it’s coming back to making it as user friendly as possible.
You’ve actually done this, haven’t you? Have you actually done it?
I did, yeah. Yes, I am the creator of the Terry Pratchett accountancy fan club channel. But yeah, so I would look at a few more tags, but yeah, you definitely need to tag your videos. It’s basically telling YouTube quickly what you’re talking about, so that it can serve your video up to the right people. And what happens as well is as we start creating, as you start creating more and more videos as well, Mark, on your channel, YouTube starts to experiment and will show your videos to, for example, Terry Pratchett fans. So that’s the reason why you need to have relevant tags, because it may do a day of showing you suddenly to thousands of people that look at Terry Pratchett videos and it will track obviously how you do. And if you’re getting no engagement or people are disappearing after two seconds on your video, then they know something’s up. So it’s a way of them testing the quality of the content and the value that people are getting out of it. I’m conscious of time as ever. And we’ve done a sterling job of running over, I think again.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you ever so much for bearing with us. I hope you’ve got some really great value out of this, stuff that you can take away and implement in your own book marketing journeys. Mark, thank you as always so much for sharing your ear holes and your expertise with us. And let’s do this again next week on the slightly unfortunately monikered Book Marketing Challenge. You see, second time and I didn’t even sing it then either. Ladies and gents, have a lovely week, Mark have a lovely week, and we’ll see you again here very shortly. Ta-ta for now.
[Narrator] Thanks for watching. We really hope you got loads of value from this episode. We’d love to hear from you too. So if you have anything you’d like to know about or any topics you’d like us to look at, just ping us a message in the comments below. Please do like share and subscribe. We massively appreciate your support and we’ll be back next week with the next step in our exciting journey. So join us then.
If you’re a writer who wants to use Youtube to build your readership, then grab your popcorn and join us on this adventure. It could end in glory, or be another of my celebrated car crashes…
[Jeremy] If you are an author, an aspiring write or a business owner, then this is the series for you. It’s a four-month challenge, me, my friend, author and screenwriter Mark Stay, have set for ourselves. And it’s this, to put some of our money where our mouths are and really leverage the power of video marketing like I’m always banging on about, and running an actual campaign for Mark’s latest fiction book, but unlike the book, this is in real life, in real time, cataloging the massive learning journey of bringing Mark’s new book to market. The highs, the lows, the blood, sweat and tears, the unvarnished truth. This is video marketing in action in a real life case study. There are loads of transferable lessons and knowledge no matter what products or services you sell, whether you’re an author or in business or both. In this episode, you’ll learn the inside track on how Mark has learned from his previous experiences, what he will and won’t be doing. We also look under the bonnet at publishers based on Mark’s 25 years’ experience and learn about how they approach marketing new authors, and we also unearth how authors and writers can use YouTube to help their marketing efforts. So, welcome to Episode 1 of the snappily titled, “Book Marketing Challenge.”
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome. This is a kind of series, I suppose. It’s very organic, this. I’m joined by Mark Stay, a very good friend of mine, who I’ve known for a long time. Mark, how about you introduce your fine self and what you do.
Okay, I’m Mark Stay, I am a writer. I write screenplays and books and occasionally, they happen. You know, ’cause lots of writers write things that never come to anything, but every now and then, something of mine actually turns into something, which is wonderful. I also worked in publishing and book selling for over 25 years and I’m the co-presenter on a podcast called “The Bestseller Experiment,” where we try to inspire writers to turn their writings into things that actually become things, like books and films and what have you. So, that’s me.
Excellent, that was a very pithy summary, 12 words or less I was after, but never mind, we can gloss over that. So what on earth are you doing thinking about video marketing then? Why do you think it might change your life in 12 words or less?
I’ve tried everything else. I’ have published a book a couple of years ago, called, “The End of Magic” which was published by Unbound Publishing, which is a crowd funding thing. And with Unbound, you raise the money yourself, you get a wonderful book. It goes to Amazon, it goes into High Street bookshop in the UK. But Unbound don’t really have a marketing budget for authors on their digital list which I was on. So you’re kind of thrown to the wolves. You’re thrown out there, and you have to market it yourself. And having done “The Bestseller Experiment”, where I co-wrote a book with a chap called Mark Desvaux. And we self-published that, and self-marketed that as well. So, I’ve been out there, and I’ve done the Facebook advertising, I’ve done the Amazon advertising. It hasn’t really worked for me in a big way. It just cost me a lot of money, with not much in terms of a return on investment. But the biggest lesson I learned from that was to do this successfully, you need a series. ‘Cause just marketing and selling one book is really really hard work. But if you have a series, it tends to be your first book is a loss leader, and the books after that tend to once you get people interested in book one, you can then sell them books two, three, four. So I have a book coming in February 2021. It’s called “The Crow Folk”. It’s the first in the series. You see I’ve learned. I’ve learned my lesson there. It’s first in the series.
Is it a series of 45 though, I think, isn’t it?
Yes, it is actually first of 400 books in a never ending series. Well it’s a three-book deal with Simon and Schuster in the UK. And it’s a series called “The Witches of Woodville”. So the idea is I’m offering this new adventure. I’m not gonna try the Facebook advertising, ’cause I’m leaving that to the publisher essentially. But the YouTube thing I know, we’ve had conversations about this, about how you can make this work for yourself. So I’m at the stage where I’ve got a book coming in February, and I’m gonna start doing stuff on my YouTube channel, where hopefully I can generate some interest in the book in the first book in the series, and drive pre-orders and get people reading and get people buying the book.
Brilliant, okay, so that’s a really kind of good ‘in’ in terms of, talking about goals, ’cause obviously, the first thing you wanna be doing in terms of any marketing really, is to take a step back and go, “Okay, what are my actual goals? “What is the reason for, “in this case, obviously, “what are the reasons we’re making, “we’re gonna make these videos.” So basically, what you’re saying to me is it is a complete sales thing. Now, obviously, you’re yet to publish. So are we talking about initially kind of capturing names and email addresses? Is that a lead generation type campaign? Initially explain to me in your head where you’re at with that.
There’s two stages. One is to generate and drive pre-orders of the book. So the publication date is 4th of February 21. So between now and then I’d like to generate pre-orders and sales. Having worked in the publisher, those are quite key. So I was the Amazon account manager at Orion Publishing, and every Monday I’d send various sales reports around. And one that would get everyone very excited was the pre-orders report. They’d be, “How many pre-orders for this book, that book?” Usually, it was the key brand authors because you could test those. So someone like Ian Rankin or Michael Connelly or Joanne Harris has a big book coming out. You can look at what their previous books had done, and see if they’re trending ahead or behind of what they previously pre-ordered. But then with debut authors, which is essentially what Simon and Schuster is treating me as the numbers would be much, much lower, but it will give them a guide, and they can extrapolate from that how many sales we might expect on day one. So that will be the first thing but further down the line, I had a conversation yesterday with the guy called Simon Appleby who creates websites for authors. He specializes in authors and publishers. And so he’s putting together a website for me. And that will go live in about five or six weeks. And that will help generate newsletter leads for me. I already have a newsletter as an author and sort of writing dare I say, expert, but so people follow me. And-
I think you’re an expert. I don’t know what you’re an expert in. But you’re definitely an expert of some sort rather
Exactly. And so I have that as a separate thing. But certainly for “The Witches of Woodville” and the ongoing book series, I’m doing that as a completely separate thing, as an experiment just to see, how I can generate leads for that as well. That’s stage two, it’s a bit further down the line. But that will be what I’m doing too.
So typically, so when used to work at Orion Publishing, I mean, how much time did they devote to kind of like you say, with a new author, which is exactly like you say, which is kind of how you’re gonna be treated. How much time would they devote to sort of sitting down and working with the author? I mean, how did it work in that way? I mean, obviously, I’m not familiar with the publishing niche at all, I’ve got no experience in it. But so it’s this whole kind of thing is a little bit of an experiment with us to try to bring, the kind of video marketing bit and the publishing bit together and see what happens. And obviously, hopefully, by doing so, sell a shed load of your books, your excellent books. But yeah, how did it typically work in Orion? And was there any kind of, I’m imagining there would have been some kind of process that the marketing team or whoever will have gone through with new authors. Have you got any sort of information on that?
Well, there’s new authors, and there’s new authors. I mean, if you’re a new author, and they’ve spent a ton of money on your advance, then obviously the stakes are very high. So they have to make that book work. And then there are authors further down the line, who get less of an advance, who perhaps will get less attention, and that’s just law of the jungle, it’s just how it works. If you’re the thrilling new debut author whose book went for half a million pounds at Frankfurt, and was subject of a heated auction, then everyone is very excited, and they’re gonna have to make that work. And then that’s when they produce, all kinds of extravagant stuff and make all sorts of scary promises to the author and agent which have to be met. So when you go into a marketing meeting at a publisher, that’s book number one, along with the big brand authors that are kind of ongoing income. Those further down the line, it can be a very different story. I read somewhere that it averages out, for a debut author gets like 300 quid a year spent on them. Which is-
Oh, wow okay.
If you do any kind of Facebook advertising or whatever that can go in a moment. To be honest, some of that can be, it can be dynamic spending. So if you’re someone who is in that 300 a year tier, and suddenly you take off, then they’re gonna start spending more money on you. So they will have budgets allocated to those really, really big major brand authors and those big exciting debuts, but there’s always a pot for the breakout authors, the ones who can break through. The thing that I’ve learned is, you don’t sit on your hands waiting for your publisher to do things for you. Just as you don’t sit around on your hands waiting for your agent to do things for you. You have to go out there and hustle and make things work and happen for yourself. So that’s what I’m sort of hoping to do with this. So yesterday I did a cover reveal for the book. Had a great response for that. Hundreds of likes and stuff on Facebook and on my blog or what have you. But even so, if I get 20 pre-orders out of that, I’ll be over the moon ’cause it’s just how that ratio works down. One or 2% of everyone who follows you, clicks and actually pre-orders the book, then you’re off to the races. So these aren’t big numbers, yet, this is all part of an ongoing process. And so I’m hoping that putting videos on YouTube will get me a whole new clutch of readers and people who might be interested in the books and get that ball rolling. So we’re in October now, book is coming in February. So the plan would be to start generating the pre-orders that will get the attention of my publisher and make them think, “Oh, actually, “this might be bigger than we thought it was. “Let’s start putting some.”
So that’s part of the strategy as well then in your case, is to sort of obviously get sales in absolutely, but it is also a thing to say actually as an author, talking to your so in terms of audiences if we think about it in those terms. Part of it is obviously to people who will genuinely love your your work. And then there’s another sub-sort of audience, which is your publisher going.
Yeah, it’s like-
I am actually putting an effort in and I wanna make this work. So maybe give me some more resources.
That comes from having worked for a publisher, ’cause I know how it works. If you’re an author in the mid list, as they call it, it’s like being the middle child in an enormous family. And it’s like you have to get attention. You either start smashing windows, and setting fires.
How did that go for you
Yeah, that’s not good. You become the problem child then. Or you start getting A’s in your homework and bringing home a little certificates saying that you’re the swot in the the class. And that’s probably the the way I want to go this time. So yeah, it is you have to get their attention. And I know that publishers will look at the reports and go, “Oh, another spike in pre-orders. “What’s he doing?”
Oh, that’s good. So is that in your opinion then is that sort of an open door let’s say to collaboration to try and sort of collaborate with the people who are in-house doing the marketing, and then establish where their not blind spots are, but the areas that they may be not concentrating on initially for whatever reason, and then plug those gaps? Is that what you’re saying?
I think you need to be progressive, you have to be best foot forward. So for example, yesterday, I was in Canterbury, which is one of the cities nearest to me. I went into Waterstones, in Canterbury. I got chatting with the events manager there, and I’ve got an email address. And I’m now gonna send that to First of all send it to my editor at Simon and Schuster, who will then forward it to the publicist. So this is before they’re even thinking of me as ’cause things go, publishers work to a critical path. So I’m not quite on their radar quite yet. But I am not waiting for them to do things for me. I’m saying, “Okay, I’ve done a cover reveal myself. “I’ve emailed it to everyone on my mailing list. “I’ve put a thing on Facebook and Twitter. “I went into one of the biggest local bookshops “spoke to the events manager about possibly doing an event.” So already they’re going “Oh, right. “He’s off. “He’s doing stuff. “He’s not someone we’re gonna have to push.” ‘Cause, you know how I’m like, I’m not exactly a shy wallflower.
those words are not words, I’d necessarily use in a sentence with you, no.
I mean, and some authors will find this difficult, but I do think you can’t sit around waiting for them to do things for you. You need to be proactive. And I’ve been to my local indie bookshop as well, been in there spoken to them about things like that.
I think like you say actually picking up on the on the piece that you just said the little comment you just made there about, it may well be way out of your comfort zone. And I think actually there’s always elements of I mean, for example, sort of starting this YouTube channel for me, as a business owner, as well, and effectively, that’s what you are right? As an author you have a product, which is the book, and it’s is basically down to you to get that to market. And you may or may not have a bit of backup with a publisher or whatever setup you’ve got. But there is that sense in which like you say, you’ve just got to bite the bullet and do stuff and just get yourself out there. And in the same way that arrow is sort of dithering for so long about, “Oh, well, I really should do a YouTube channel.” Oh, but I didn’t really wanna be on camera and oh, what am I going to talk about? And all this kind of thing. I think you just have to take the bull by the horns and get on with it. And actually, I think what I found is that, the more you do it, the I might say this, but it feels much more natural now, two, three or four months ago when I started, put it that way. And I think that’s the thing. I think there is always there are always gonna be reasons whatever you do, whether you’re an author, whether you’re a business owner, whatever business you’re in, Whatever niche you’re in, there’ll always be a reason why you shouldn’t. But the thing I always say to people is, “Just get started.” I mean, in terms of video, like literally grab your phone, if you’ve done your planning and you know who you’re talking to just grab your phone and start. You’re never gonna be amazing at it first off. And actually for you, Mark this is not your first rodeo, which is great. And actually, you’re coming to it again, like you say with the benefit of experience, in terms of, your previous book and your experimentation with, the various kind of Amazon ads and all the sort of other things that you did. Talk to me now about your YouTube presence. So where are you at with that? And sort of talk to me about Talk to me about the idea behind why you set it up? What’s its role for you? And also just, the kind of stats side of it for the statos that are out there.
All right, well, let me bring it up, ’cause they’re pretty poor. You will be delighted to hear. I set it up not long after, ’cause I wrote a film a few years ago called “Robot Overlords”.
An excellent film. Everyone has to go and watch that. It’s got very good behind the scenes bit as well in it. It’s- In fact it’s renown for that, right?
Everyone loves it for that. So yeah, gosh, it’s been I’m looking at now five years ago. So we started doing sort of EPK stuff, Electronic Press Kit stuff. And Mr. Jeremy Mason here was doing that. And I’ve never looked better in my life, the lighting, the focusing everything was amazing.
I mean, some of the focus worked, didn’t it? It was amazing.
I am naturally this fuzzy. So it makes for a very difficult job for you. But weirdly, I set it up just five years ago. And I did the film tie-in novelisation. So there are, stuff on here, of me talking about the book. And behind the scenes and there’s trailers. We got a cast to read an extract, which is really good fun. So I’m looking at that now. But it’s I’ve got 20 subscribers. So we’re starting from very low base. We’ve got other videos on there, weirdly, I put a video three years ago, called, “What is the Woodville Project?” which was a teaser for this, that’s clearly when that first started happening. I did various videos for “The End of Magic”. One was a fundraising thing, where I did a little trailer to teach people about that and get people to to back the project so there was some of that. But I never really did it as a, I never really went wholesale. Funny enough, my wife is a brilliant YouTuber, and she runs a thing called “Claire’s Allotment” on YouTube. She’s got nearly 22,000 subscribers .
You see, there you go. At that point you’re going, look at Claire and go, “Right okay, that’s what you wanna aim for.” And here are you and I, in the 10s of subscribers.
Exactly, see well she started in October 2007. She’s had nearly 6 million views.
That’s amazing. And she’s nearly 550 videos. But what she’s doing there, she’s being incredibly useful. She’s telling people how to grow their own, and demystifying that process. And I think that’s key. I think the key I learned from Claire is, be useful, offer something, offer a unique perspective on it. She’s interesting and she’s quite seasoned. I know, you’ve spoken about getting videos up on a regular basis. What she does, obviously, there are times of year when she’s busy, she’s now coming up to the time of year where it’s actually becomes quite quiet, she’s harvested stuff and it’s more about tidying the gardens. So she’ll be putting out fewer videos between now and say, the spring when it all starts getting busy again. But I think when you get to 6 million views and 22,000 subscribers, you have that luxury. I think when you’re starting out, certainly from having spoken to you and looking ahead, I need to start putting out content pretty quickly and on a regular basis
Yeah, I mean, the thing with YouTube, well, to be honest, any kind of social media that you’re trying to sort of leverage for a sort of a marketing purpose if you like, is that you’ve got to be consistent. Now, I mean, it’s quite onerous in terms of work level to go right, say for example, we, I create two videos a week and I have done since beginning of lockdown which was in March in 2020. So it’s been going for about six months or whatever. And it’s starting to get traction, but that’s you’re putting in an awful lot of work. And there are definite times where and that still happens now where you’re sort of putting all this work and putting all the research in, because like you say, you’ve got to create content that is useful, it’s got to be, people have got to be able to watch it and take golden nuggets of information out of it, that are actionable. And that’s always, at the heart of what I do, it’s not an ego trip at all. It’s genuinely wanting to help people kind of get under the bonnet of video marketing, and if I can do anything to help that’s brilliant. But you’ve got to, like I say, you’ve got to kind of almost plan and go, okay, you could do it on the basis of one video a week, it’s just that the curve will take a lot longer, to start happening. And I would suggest for your, given that your launch is in February, actually and also that you’ve got the bonus, as well of the fact that you’ve got your podcasts, you’re kind of established in your niche very well, already. And you’ve got a digital footprint, which is fantastic. It’s just not particularly on YouTube at the moment. But you could, I would imagine quite quickly use that kind of audience and sort of port them into your YouTube world relatively quickly. But there has to be content there that they’re gonna find useful, frankly.
Yeah and this is, like you say I’m quite lucky in that I’ve got a bit of a head start. But I think there’re a lot of authors out there. And this again goes across all content ’cause we talk to authors about starting a blog or a newsletter. And they’re like, “Well, what do I talking about? “I haven’t finished a book yet. “I haven’t published a book.” We always say to people, “Look just chronicle your journey. “Believe it or not there are writers all over the world “in the same spot as you “who are one step behind you.” They do say the best teachers are the ones just one step ahead of the student. Because there’ll be saying, “Well, okay, “I’ve been writing this today. “I’ve had a difficult chapter. “I’ve had to overcome these hurdles, “I’ve had to go back and completely rewrite this thing.” Believe it or not, that stuff is interesting to someone, and it will take time for you to find them and make that connection. But if the podcast has taught me anything, waffling on about writing can actually, attract people from all over the world, who want to know more. And that’s how you build up your community, a community of peers, and people who have similar interests. So don’t be too worried if you’re thinking, “What do I even talk about?” And certainly from my videos, they are gonna be short and sweet. We’re talking a few minutes here and there of just little nuggets that over time will build up and become something, hopefully, ’cause YouTube has this thing where you create playlists. So we’ll create themed playlists maybe. We start noticing there’s a theme. So there might be ones on just the book or me reading excerpts from it or talking about, ’cause I’m reading the proof pages at the moment. So I think that’s a video. It’s something a little bit behind the curtain stuff that people might enjoy. So certainly years ago before I started blogging or anything I remember the author Joe Abercrombie did very good blogs, just about the whole demystifying the whole process of getting a book published. And he’s now one of the biggest fantasy authors out there. And I think that certainly helped him get, bring him to the attention of people who, avid fantasy readers, but also writers who are thinking, “Oh, let’s peek behind the curtain. “Let’s see how this is done.” So stuff like that. Anything like that is really interesting to folk.
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think and this goes to, and obviously we’re talking to we’re talking specifically now about sort of authors and books and publishing and stuff, but I think it goes for any niche. I think there’s a sort of thing called the burden of knowledge, where you and I we’ve been doing what we do for a long time. And there’s the assumption that comes with it that whenever you kind of meet someone or whatever, that you assume a certain level of knowledge, because it’s what you do all day every day and actually like you say, if you strip it back and you demystify it, and you literally start from like nothing and then literally like baby steps, baby steps, baby steps. As people who’ve done it for 20 odd years or whatever we’re gonna be going, “Surely no one’s interested in this,” but actually people are because there are some people that are brand new to it and I think kind of almost you’re doing them a disservice by not giving them that really kind of nuts and bolts foundation type stuff. So whether it be like we’re talking about with books and writing and all the rest of it or whatever your business niche is, literally go right back to basics and then start mining that seam for sort of information and ideas as to topics you can cover. There’s nothing, there’s also this thing called your vibe attracts your tribe and I hate but I’m really sorry Mark, you’re gonna hate me for constantly speaking in these ridiculous marketing-
I can’t even argue anymore.
I’ve changed. But there is a thing, ’cause the other thing that happens a lot, I think is that people start, they don’t know what they wanna talk about. And then they start kind of almost obsessing about the demographic side of it going, “I need to go after these people. “These people are my market or whatever.” And the danger with that is that, really it’s all about authenticity. And I mean, I think with us we’ve got the benefit. We are now literally almost cruising into our early 30s. So we’ve been doing it a while and so it kind of matters a bit less for us, do you know what I mean? I think but that’s my perspective. But no, there is a whole thing about authenticity, stripping things back going back to basics.
Yeah, the going back to basics thing, I think that’s very much the success behind Claire’s gardening YouTube channel because, it came about ’cause she kept getting emails and phone calls from people asking for gardening advice. She’s very good in that she assumes no knowledge, so that she will always talk about little things like, how far do you put the seed into the soil? You go on the “Gardeners World” on the BBC, they assume you have all this basic knowledge. They assume you’re keeping up with it. And Claire comes to it as if to say, “Look, if you’ve never even so much as looked at, “planting anything before, “come with me and we’ll go on this journey together.” So even her most up to date videos, you still get all that basic information. So people can jump in at any time and feel like they can ask there’s no such thing as a stupid question. They feel they can ask the basic questions, and she’s happy to answer those. I think if you’re going with that kind of attitude, people will be happy to come to you and you become their fountain of wisdom. You become the source of information. So I think you’re absolutely right about that basic thing.
And in terms of your podcast, I mean, how did that start? And are you thinking in any sense of another horrible word, marketing word, but leveraging those people that audience to so this is gonna sound really crass, but effectively sell a few units of your book.
Yeah, well that was “The Bestseller Experiment” came about. Again, it’s just after “Robot Overlords”. Our mutual friend, Mr. Mark Desvaux, who lives out in Vancouver Island in Canada. We both known him as teenagers, mutual friends and he got in touch after “Robots” and said, “Oh, this is great. “You’ve got a film and a book out. “This is amazing. “I’ve always wanted to write a book, “but I’ve never got beyond 20,000 words.” And he would always get to that kind of sticky point where you have to funny enough, we found this on the podcast, a lot of people have this. They get about a third into the book and it’s the point we have to start making really important story decisions. Because opening, starts opening a book, starting a book is actually quite easy. Getting to the end is really, really difficult. One thing led to another we said, “Well, let’s start a podcast “where we talk about that writing journey. “Let’s write a novel together. “Let’s co-write a novel with the intent of “finishing it in a year and self-publishing “and getting number one a Kindle chart.” And there are loads of Kindle charts, so it doesn’t have to be the main one. And the most important thing we said, I think, which is why the podcast has done so well. Is we said but we challenge our listeners to do the same. Someone out there will have a half-written novel or an idea for a novel, take it out the drawers beat us to it. Basically write your novel in 12 months beat us to it get it out the charts. And loads of people did. They absolutely did. I mean, I’ve got a big, there’s two huge piles of books here. Look, all these people, right?
Hadn’t had a book published before the podcast started. And those are just the ones with physical paperbacks. There are more who just self-published an e-book or what have you.
That’s incredible Mark. That’s such a great, I mean, talk about helping people.
Three-book deal with Gollancz. Mike was great. He said he was on the verge of giving up writing completely. He heard our interview with Joe Abercrombie started writing and had a three-book deal with Gollancz. He did a panel with Joe Abercrombie, at the Gollancz Fest a couple of years ago. So we’ve got award winners. So we’ve got Ian Sainsbury here he won the Kindle Storyteller Award last year. Lona Cook here, she won the RMA Award for Best I think it was Best Debut. So we’ve got all these incredible authors just knocking it out of the park and that’s been the most wonderful thing about the podcast, but it’s going back to the crass leverage.
It’s just dreadful, isn’t it?
The idea was that, through building our listenership, we were also building a readership for our novel. So every week, we interview authors or people who work in publishing and talk about the process of writing the craft of writing, the process of publishing, demystifying all those things. But we also Desvaux and I we also gave updates on the writing process and how we were getting on or not, as the case was. The ups and downs and the problems that we encountered. So people became invested in the book, and to see whether or not it would work or if it would crash and burn it would be a hit that sort of thing. So yeah after 12 months, this is three years ago now. The podcast is four years old, and we published the book after the 12 months. And the launch day was massive. Funny enough, we did use YouTube on the launch day. So “The Bestseller Experiment” does have a YouTube page and we did various sort of live YouTube events. I think this is before Facebook Live was a thing.
Yeah, I think I seem to remember. Yes, you just stripped it across YouTube, didn’t you?
So, yeah we had a big launch day. So it was like “Live Aid”. I started in London, and then we moved across the Atlantic and Desvaux took over in Canada. Not quite. We didn’t have Phil Collins on concorde.
I don’t I remember you wearing a white suit like Freddie Mercury. I mean, there’s always the next launch, right? There’s always a next launch.
Exactly, but we got to number one in 10 categories worldwide which was great. The weirdest, most surreal moment, we are in the UK fantasy humor chart. And we were number one. And Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett were number two with “Good Omens”. And number three was Douglas Adams. Now you know those are all my writing heroes. So it was a weird, surreal, and we tweeted Neil Gaiman and he retweeted us and it was just wonderful, wonderful day. So that because it worked, so big spike in sales. because that worked the podcast has gone on, and we’ve just had all these people writing their books and carrying on. So yeah we did leverage it for sales. We saw that spike. The book ticks along now. But again, it’s a standalone book ’cause Mark Desvaux and I agreed, for the sake of our friendship, never to work together again.
Just just as a sort of a disclaimer, not a disclaimer, but as a caveat, you are still friends. Like you still do talk to each other. You haven’t split off, there’s not been a massive hissy fit. And creative differences with people stumping off in various directions.
No we’ve gone on to launch the Bestseller Academy, which is for people like this, who want to go on and make a career of their writing and want to learn the craft of writing. So that’s been a hit that launched just a few months ago. Huge success sold out. First semester if you like completely sold out. And we’ve got a great bunch of people working with us. That’s great fun. But yeah it was, it’s been terrific. But we started with the basics. And yes, we use that audience to buy our books. So I’m hoping to kind of replicate that in a mini form. with my book.
And how I mean-
Going on shops in February 2021.
Oh obviously and some bad book shops as well probably.
Yes, good and evil bookshops.
Exactly. What I was gonna say, I think it’s absolutely brilliant that people have literally taken your kind of all that really good valuable kind of information that you’ve been pumping out, and then well without putting too fine a point on it, but they’ve kind of pretty much changed their lives, in some sense, in certainly their writing lives. Was that something that you went into it with that sense of actually really wanting to help people? Or is that a been a byproduct of it? And how important do you think, How important do you think the helping people element of content, if we can call it that, how important do you think that is?
It was essential, absolutely essential, because otherwise it’s two white blokes waffling on a podcast about how brilliant they are. Which the world-
Welcome to white blokes talking about how fantastic they are.
But if you don’t put something helpful out there and inspire people, and it’s weird because as in the first few episodes, we were kind of in isolation. Then we started getting emails in from people saying, “Oh, I love that, “and I’m starting to write again.” I was like, “Oh, that’s good.” And then by the end of the 12 months, we got people beating us to publishing our own book. So and that helps word of mouth. People start to talk to each other. And talk about marketing, word of mouth is the marketing money can’t buy. So we’ve got people talking to each other, telling each other about this podcast with these two white blokes waffling on, but occasionally they say something really useful, or they have interesting people on who’ve had proper successful writing careers. and have some wisdom to impart. So, we now have the the podcast is still free, still available everywhere. It’s this huge library of wisdom about writing. So it was absolutely essential, because I think if we didn’t do that, it wouldn’t be half the success it has been or even a success. It might have stopped after just a few episodes, frankly.
And how do you think? Or are you? Have you given any thought to how you can translate that kind of, imparting value information, all that sort of stuff, into have you had any thoughts about how that is gonna work for the new book at all?
Yeah, I think, it’s a slightly different thing, ’cause I’m not writing a book about writing a book. I’m doing this completely separate. So the podcast is still ongoing, we still do that thing every week. So I don’t want that to be too big of an overlap. And the thing I’ve realized, of course, if you build up our listenership was writers, who want to learn how to write. And some of those are writing crime, or romance or horror or whatever, some are writing memoirs. So only a certain percentage of those are gonna to be interested in our book, which is called “Back to Reality”, which is kind of time travel body swap comedy adventure thing. So not who everyone who listens to the podcast has bought the book. So only a small percentage of them will actually convert into sales. And likewise with this, I think, there’s some, I’m trying to generate interest in a book, which is a kind of cozy folk horror comedy, Terry Pratchetty thing set in World War Two, so only a certain amount of those will really be interested. So it’s a matter of putting content out there about the book and the process of creating a book. So I’m gonna attract people who might have no interest in reading the book. But if you keep them in the room long enough, it’s like a casino. The house always wins . If you keep them in there will be certain amount that will go, “Oh, I’ll give it a go. “Actually, I’ll give that a go.” So it’s a slightly different process in that I’m not selling a skill set. I’m not offering secrets of how to be a best selling author or anything like that. I’m inviting them into a world and my process. And I think that might be of interest to a certain number of people who will be interested in a certain kind of book. Now that feels very niche. But one of the things we have discovered on the podcast is Desvaux loves saying this, “Niche is the new big.”
I love that.
Well, there’s 7 billion people on the planet and if you find a niche, and you find your tribe as you were saying, they will glom on to you, and stick with you through thick and thin. So I think if don’t try and be like everyone else. I think, be yourself. Be that idiosyncratic person. And you will find others like you across the world. Fingers crossed.
Yeah, no, I totally totally agree with you. And I think that’s incredibly, incredibly important. Whatever content you’re creating be it video, be it blog post, writing books whatever you have just got to be honest and real. I mean I know it sounds really trite, doesn’t it? But I can’t-
They love it. One of the things people tell us about the podcast is the honesty. And we’ll be completely upfront with all the mistakes that we made, the failure. Again one of the biggest lessons we’ve learned is failing is learning. You fail at something but you learn from it and bounce back. And people really, really appreciate that kind of honesty. I think if you try and put a sheen on it, I mean, obviously, they’re a big influencers out there who are living bullshit lives that we know aren’t real. But that’s for them. They can do that. ‘Cause you see that that bubble always burst frankly. I think if you do keep keep it real. I think people appreciate that honesty. And in the long term, it’s a slower more gradual curve to success. But you get that success organically. Here’s a little thing. I did experiment when I was doing “The End of Magic”, I did experiment with all those newsletter groups, where you go on there, and you say, “Okay, I’ve got a fantasy novel, “I’m gonna pile them with all these other fantasy novels. “I’m gonna put it on offer for 99p, “and get lots of email addresses off that.” And I’ve got lots of email addresses off that. But the click through rate is piss poor because they’re actually not they had to give me their email address to get free short story. But how many of those have read it? How many of those have, so every time I put a newsletter out now, I always get two or three people unsubscribe, because they were the people who actually they weren’t really interested in me in the first place. So I think that thing of expecting a big spike in email addresses is tricky. Because actually, they’re kind of it’s like empty promises.
Well, there is that other thing as well, I mean, I think it’s an interesting thing with books because of the price point. But there is this received wisdom like you say, that you just need gazillions of people on an email list to sort of make it work in some way. But actually, that is completely not true. And it’s particularly at the higher if you’re doing what they call high ticket items, whether it’s training courses or whatever it is, you actually, it’s like you say it’s actually about the quality of the contacts. The quality to makes sure that they actually, they’re not tire kickers, and they’re not sort of, “Oh, I’ll click, because of just, “I’m bored and I wanna just-“
Going back to Claire’s YouTube page again, she has a blog, she has a newsletter. And she’s never done any kind of newsletter swap, or Facebook advertising or anything for that. It’s all completely organic. And because of that, the click through rate, and the view rate on her newsletters are through the roof. ‘Cause they are people genuinely interested I mean, it’s taken her since 2007 to build it. And it’s only a few thousand people, but they are genuinely interested in her. So I think don’t be too worried if you’ve only got 10, 20, 30, 50 people on your newsletter to start with. Because, if they’re coming to you organically, they are much more likely to be genuinely interested in what it is you have to offer. So don’t get too hung up on the numbers or something like that.
No, absolutely. I’m conscious of time and drawing this particular episode to a close. What I wanna to do Mark is put you slightly on the spot. And let’s just give some headlines from your massive brain the size of a planet, what your goals are, in terms of, and it doesn’t have to be an exhaustive list at this stage. Let’s just kind of almost put a line in the sand and go “Okay, for this book, “what are you looking to achieve?” And then we’ll explore more of those next session. And also what we’ll then do after that is we start then talking about who your audience is, and the different pockets of them, like we’ve started to talk about all these different people that you interact with now, and also where the new ones may be found and how we’re gonna go into find those people. So let’s talk about right now, a few goals that you have in mind for this new book, in terms of sales.
Right so we’re sort of end of October now, book is coming in February. I would be absolutely over the moon and cock-a-hoop, if I got 1,000 pre-orders in February. Is that likely? I don’t know. I don’t know. I can but try. So I’m probably starting from a very low base. I imagined, like I said, with all those clicks and everything I said we got 20 pre-orders yesterday, then yay. So we’ll go from there. Even if we got a couple 100 I’d be happy. But I think 1,000 is impactful. People will sit up and pay attention at that the publisher will pay attention and be much more interested in book two than they were in book one.
So that’s a really interesting point you make actually. So part of it is obviously, getting some cash in for this particular book. But actually, it’s about making sure that you’re illustrating to the publisher, actually this is a viable series, right?
I going concern. I’ve got legs, as they say,
You’ve definitely got two of them I think.
I’ve definitely got two legs. I’m very lucky in that respect. But yeah, it’s a matter of, bringing yourself to their attention because they do. They have weekly meetings where they look at the numbers. And if you’re gaining traction, then you get their attention. So that is what it’s all about. Because this is the thing is previously I’ve either self-published, or I’ve been with a hybrid publisher like like Unbound. Where I don’t see any data and you’re kind of blokes thrown to the wolves. You have to do it all yourself. With this, all of this is out of my control the pre-orders and everything I can’t I don’t get daily visibility on them. I’ll have to ask the publisher to see these numbers. They don’t necessarily have to share them with me, although they probably will.
You see that tricky Mark? That’s really interesting, yeah.
So I need to do everything I can to make an impression and show them that I’m not just another cell on a spreadsheet.
Yeah, exactly. I think that’s an interesting challenge you mention there about not having oversight of the figures ’cause obviously part of working out what is working and what sticking and what isn’t, is that whole thing about trackability. You’ve got to be able to track. I put X spend behind this, we got X views which converted into X transactions, whatever it is that you’re trying to sell. So that’ll be really, really interesting to see how we can square that circle I think. Ladies and gents thanks for joining us. So next session we will be deep diving, another marketing jargon type word for you. But we’ll be delving into setting goals for this campaign. And then what we’ll be doing is brainstorming the audiences and starting to talk about who we need to be talking to about this fantastic book and then maybe get into a little bit about, what kind of content we think will resonate with them. But for now, Mark thanks ever so much.
[Mark] My pleasure.
Everyone else, have a lovely week, and we will see you here very shortly. Ta ta for now.
[Narrator] Thanks for watching. We really hope you got loads of value from this episode. We’d love to hear from you too. So if you’ve anything you’d like to know about, or any topics you’d like us to look at, just ping us a message in the comments below. Please do like, share and subscribe. We massively appreciate your support. And we’ll be back next week with the next step in our exciting journey. So join us then.
I can only do this in the USA… Unbound have the UK rights and I have no visibility on sales other than the twice yearly statements.
I’m going to stick with Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.
I’ll be counting both Kindle and Paperback sales.
Here’s week one!
I’m starting from a position of very few sold already, so my also boughts on Amazon at the start of the week were basically Back to Reality and a handful of self-pubbed fantasy compilations. Not much to give me a clue as to where I should target my campaign. However, there was a VE Schwab title in my also boughts, and one of the USPs of The End of Magic is that it’s a stand-alone.
I fired-up Publisher Rocket to generate a few keywords and started putting together a couple of campaigns to test the water.
First up was the VE Schwab, which seemed straightforward enough. I figured a quote from the lovely RJ Barker would help readers click on the buy button. So far… not a sausage…
Next was the stand-alone. I used Publisher Rocket and some lists on Goodreads to draw up a list of similar one-and-done fantasy books. And the sales…? Zip.
This was slightly dispiriting, but I realise that these ads sometimes need a little time to get going and may need tweaking. I also ran ads aimed at an indie also bought (the Flame ad with the fab James Barclay quote) and one for Terry Pratchett fans (with a great quote from Julian Barr), but again no sales.
Following the instructions as per David Gaughran’s excellent Bookbub Ads Expert, I started daily campaigns. The first two were aimed at fans of Tad Williams and Brandon Sanderson. The results were poor. Just a few clicks and a handful of sales.
Then I decided to target Terry Pratchett readers. I had an excellent quote from the wonderful Julian Barr to tempt them with…
This seemed to do the trick! Daily sales were picking up, and I had a 1.15% CTR (click through rate), which isn’t bad (anything over 1% is deemed good). I started to run this ad on a daily basis. They peaked after a couple of days, then tailed off. By then my also boughts were improving and I noticed Marie Brennan was second only to Back to Reality, so I tried a campaign targeting her readers. No sales!
That was yesterday. Today I’ve gone back to Sir Terry.
In the meantime, I’ve also been getting great support from folks on my newsletter, on social media and listeners to the Bestseller Experiment podcast. Here’s what the daily sales are so far (that peak on 7th July is when my newsletter went out)…
Advertising spend total: $163.07 – that’s broken down as…
Only 963 units to go!
Let’s see, a hundred and sixty-two days till Christmas (taps calculator)… I need to sell about six copies a day to make my target. That feels do-able, though at this rate of ad spend, I could be bankrupt by Halloween.
I’ve had kind messages of support and I’ve been delighted when folks tell me they’ve bought the book, or that they’ll feature me in a newsletter. These will all help and I shall be forever grateful.
If you would like to help, then do please do any of the following: