Wow, here we are after 8 long months! Robert’s final episode! It’s time to take everything we’ve built, and for Robert to take the knowledge he’s gained, and use it to increase book sales.
I have to say that it has been my absolute privilege and pleasure to work with Robert G. Culp. His spirit and determination have been a true inspiration to my team and I.
As much as we put into Book Rescue, we get so much back from the work we do and the community we’ve built around it.
But, hey, enough bloviating about how much we love this project!
Just to recap…
In case you’re new here and you do not know what Book Rescue is or how we help independent authors increase book sales, we have been working with Robert G. Culp.
Robert is a young adult fantasy author who wrote FIVE full-length novels using only as old iPhone 6. His sheer grit and determination drew me in.
I will release a post in the next week or so that details what we do for Book Rescue candidates and how you can duplicate it yourself without breaking the bank. Keep an eye out for that.
In brief, we overhauled Robert’s entire catalog. We revamped his keywords, categories, descriptions, book covers, you name it.
Once we had everything shined and polished, it was time to network and start marketing. Robert got a website, email marketing tools, social media assets, and a custom email to build out his author platform.
Then Robert got to work marketing and promoting his books under our guidance.
What’s the result of all of this? Did we “rescue” his books?
Most importantly, did we increase book sales?
Languishing in Obscurity
Let’s face it, this is every author’s worst fear. As independent authors and self-publishers, we especially run the risk of no one ever finding our books.
This was especially troublesome for Robert as he depends on his books to put food on his table. You see, Robert has faced a lot of challenges. He’s fighting a seizure disorder to start, but that’s not all.
This is why so many people resonate deeply with Book Rescue. We all face obstacles, and sometimes it seems the setbacks are insurmountable.
Not for Robert and not for Book Rescue. We’re not content to languish in obscurity.
It was time to take someone with no money, no resources, and little knowledge of book marketing and show him and the world how to increase book sales by building all the pieces and putting them together.
Let’s get Robert’s house in order!
The Fundamental Elements of Self-Publishing
Robert was lacking the fundamental elements for success.
With them, he could grow his audience and brand to increase book sales. Without them, well, we already talked about obscurity, the no-man’s-land of writing books.
So what are these fundamentals? They sound expensive.
Robert designed his own book covers on the same iPhone he used to write them. They weren’t terrible. I’ve seen much worse books covers, but I knew we could do better for Robert.
His books needed to look more like his contemporaries in the young adult fantasy genre.
His book covers now tell a better story about his books and that’s what we needed. You can see the big reveal in Episode 3. (Book cover reveals are my favorite!)
Now that Robert’s book covers were squared away, I brought Brian Meeks aboard to work with Robert on his book descriptions.
While copywriting is a skill, knowing a few basics can put you head and shoulders above the competition.
In principle, your book description should do a lot of the heavy lifting in selling your book.
If you get clicks on your books, but no one’s buying them, your description is most likely to blame.
(No clicks? Fix those book covers!)
Brian Meeks provided Robert with a template (which you can get free here) and he went to work revamping all of his book descriptions. It was a change that you could see visually without reading a word.
Goodbye wall of text!
Keywords and Categories
If you want to increase book sales, people have to find your books!
The vital way to becoming more discoverable on Amazon is through keywords and categories.
You can’t just slap on a bunch of single-word keywords, half-heartedly choose a couple of categories, and roll with it if you expect anything to happen.
We covered keywords and categories in Episode 1.
Stay tuned because I either have content or will be releasing content that explains all of this in detail.
Besides getting the proper keywords, it also helps if you use them organically in the book’s description. You also want to make sure you’re utilizing ALL of the keyword fields. There are 7 of them and each allows up to 50 characters.
Keep in mind, Robert is still doing all the work on his iPhone. He doesn’t own a computer or have Internet access aside from his phone plan. Despite the aforementioned seizure disorder, Robert faced several setbacks during our time working together.
His dishwasher AND washing machine both crapped out and nearly flooded his house TWICE!
Then tragedy struck when his beloved dog, Scooby, passed away from cancer.
Soldiering On and Creating an Author Platform
It doesn’t seem to matter what you throw at Robert. He simply recalculates and keeps moving forward. He is amazing.
To this point, he had put a lot into his Book Rescue, but his work was just beginning.
Now that the fundamentals were in place on Amazon, we needed to create a home base for Robert online where his brand could live outside of the standard booksellers.
After all, when your books are on Amazon, you are selling to Amazon’s customers, not yours.
We wanted to make sure that Robert could create a list of his readers that he could leverage over and over again as he continues to publish more books.
That’s where Author Brand Kits came into play.
My assistant, Ava Fails runs author Brand Kits. She specializes in building functional and affordable author websites on WordPress.
Author Brand Kits does more than just websites. They also set up email marketing, email capture, list, social media assets, custom email and so much more. For more information about what’s included, check out Episode 4.
Could Robert get by with a simple Amazon author page?
Probably, but not everyone shops on Amazon.
No author should ever rely solely on one platform.
It Was Time to Get Some Reviews!
Nothing quite gets measurable results to increase book sales like social proof.
There is something powerful about potential buyers knowing they are not the only
idiot person who considered buying something.
Amazon has disclosed that 91% of customers read reviews before buying a product.
I also learned in their Amazon Advertising course that you need 15 reviews of an average of 3 1/2 stars or greater to be retail ready.
With 6 titles, Robert needed social proof.
It was time to get Robert connected with GetBooksReviewed.com.
Robert amassed over a dozen reviews in his first month.
Why stop with praise from your readers? If you want rock-solid, third-party credibility, you go to the critics!
Next, I hooked him up with the fine people over at Book Award Pro.
After Book Award Pro submitted Robert’s catalog to two programs, he won!
He won the 2021 Internation Impact Book Award!!!
For the rest of his life, Robert will be an award-winning author!
Into the Book Marketing Trenches!
It’s important to connect Book Rescue candidates with tools they can continue to use on their own after we work with them.
StoryOrigin is one such tool.
You can use it to:
- Build your email list
- Get reviews
- Find beta readers
- Do newsletter swaps
That platform has tools, resources, and tutorials any author can use and I recommend it highly for EVERYONE!
If you’re having problems selling more books and you reach out to me, the first question I’m going to ask is “Are you using StoryOrigin?”
If not, my second question will be “Why?”
Check out this video from the podcast about marketing your books with StoryOrigin.
Book Rescue draws in do-gooders. I love it!
An old contact of mine, Jonny Andrews, saw the first episode of this season and he reached out to me almost immediately.
He offered his expertise as an online business consultant who has helped build thousands of successful authors through his service, Author Platform Rocket.
Jonny addressed two important areas with Robert:
- His mindset
- His approach to marketing without a budget
Jonny asked Robert to create a list of 2,000 influencers and communities most interested in his niche of young adult fantasy.
Because if you don’t have a budget for book marketing, then you must rely on networking!
Of course, Jonny didn’t expect Robert to get 2,000 people, but he did get more than 10 within a few weeks. This list serves him any time he wants to leverage his community for book launches and promos.
Jonny also put together a massive giveaway to drive readers toward Robert’s books. He got 6 sponsors and leaned into an audience of about 300,000 fantasy readers just to start.
Before it’s over, Robert and hopefully some of you will understand the power of platform and what networking can do for your brand.
Robert Thinks We’re Done, But We’re Not…
Here we are, 8 months later. After all the stops and starts, we keep coming back to these two hear….er, I mean and all the work he’s put in, Robert believes our ride has ended.
You know me better than that.
I have to take a moment here and say that Book Rescue is very much a team effort. A big thank you to Fiverr for sponsoring the series.
Here’s a rundown of what we did for Robert and what he received during this finale:
- The first thing I did was buy his entire catalog and send it to him so he has his own hard copy of all of his books
- 1 year of ProWritingAid ($79 value)
- 1 year of Book Brush’s Gold Plan ($146 value)
- Author Brand Kit ($499 value)
- Lifetime license for Publisher Rocket ($97 value)
- Lifetime license for Atticus ($147 value)
- MacBook Pro – Yep, I had to get him a computer for all that software!
- JLab Talk Pro USB Microphone ($149 value)
- $100 credit to use on Fiverr
- $1,000 to keep the ball rolling
This is not the end for Robert. It’s the beginning!
It can also be the beginning for YOU!
Increase Book Sales with What You Learn from Book Rescue
The thing that makes Book Rescue so outstanding is that by publishing these videos and blogs, I’m able to help way more people than just Robert.
If you’re not following along, taking notes, and grabbing all the free knowledge and tools that are being shared as a part of this project, what are you doing!?!
I keep getting comments on YouTube like, “Well, this is fine for Robert, but it’s expensive.”
You have missed the train, my friends.
You can duplicate the majority of what goes into a Book Rescue for UNDER $50. ALL of it.
If you don’t have 50 bucks to invest in your brand, then you can always apply to become a Book Rescue candidate.
I’m going to share with you a little secret: there’s A LOT of room at the Book Rescue table here at the beginning, so jump in while there’s room!!! What are you waiting for!?!
As I said earlier, I will be creating a post detailing what we did, how we did it, how much it costs, and how you can duplicate it so make sure you subscribe, grab your template from Brian Meeks, and keep an eye out.
So, what resulted from all the hard work and how’s Robert doing since Book Rescue?
- Robert’s book sales have tripled
- He is fast approaching and will inevitably exceed 1,000 followers on social media
- He’s gearing up to launch his latest book, City of the Slain
Next Season on Book Rescue…
Yes, Season 2 is already filming.
Join the team and I as we work with indie author, Sarah Hualde.
She got a different genre and another unique set of issues that we’ll tackle. Will this be the season that resonates the most with you so far?
You’ll have to tune in to find out!
You will not want to miss the next season of Book Rescue…sponsored by Fiverr!