So, I have had people reach out to me both on Whatsapp, Email and Facebook. They usually go like "hey sis. I see you o. I want to publish my ebook(s) on Okadabooks and be like Sally. Will it sell well?".
And I'm like, "Chineke mo! Who is this again?" (Drags glasses down). All in my head sha.
Anyway, the person goes on and on about how he/she has undying passion for writing and think the piece(s) they've just completed is a hit! If dropped on any online store, Okadabooks especially, people will rush up and buy, parting with their hard earned money.
When they go on and on like that, I'm impressed. Sorry. Used to be impressed. At least until I found out that the weed they've been smoking isn't cheap at all. No pun intended.
Any way, I used to let them go on and on before asking, "what's the name of your blog?"
Well, since you believe your book should hit bestseller list, I assume you have a blog with huge traffic and dedicated readers ready to part with their hard earned money to buy your ebook(s) as soon as it goes live. So imagine the disappointment when they reply with, "I don't have a blog".
"You don't have a what?"
"Errrmmm.. well, I'm too busy. Blogs take a lot of time to manage. I don't have that time. Besides, it's stressful and time consuming".
Some others say, I have a blog. I ask for the link and when I visit, I see it was last updated a year ago. There's practically no activity on the blog, just Charlotte doing some writings with her web for Wilbur. Yeah it is as interesting as a grave yard.
Then there are those who use their blogs as news sites. Nothing about the soon to be released book can be found on the blog. Bullshit!!
I say well, what about a Facebook page. None. They don't have any. Those who have are promoting the latest gossip from Linda Ikeji's blog or Nairaland. Even your personal social media accounts are used to follow celebrities and re-tweet or repost all their updates. Nothing about you being a writer is seen in your profile. Nothing about your new book is mentioned.
Yes. Some try to promote a few times on their social handles and even extend to groups. Afterwards, they stop. Why? Because they are not getting results. No one is buying. The foundation they laid for marketing is zero. And frustration is having a good time listening to Sia's "Elastic Heart" with them and laughing.
Biko, those of us with functioning blogs haven't made it yet. Then you without one want to make it? How?
Believe me, even if your story is as interesting as Marvel's best super hero movie or as hilarious as Jennifer's Diary, no one will buy if you have no audience. Simple. If you like beg people to buy, and then reduce your sales price to 20 freaking naira. No body will buy. Someone said it's like giving free ice cream to a two years old child and he still rejects it.
You cannot expect someone who is so anxiously waiting for Toke to release another new book to miraculously know that there's one Angelo Okehe that has released a book. You can't expect someone reading Kiru Taye's book to drop it and buy yours because you simply flashed it in front of him/her once or twice, with wonderful graphics design.
The person will comment thus, "lovely cover design. Keep it up!" And that is all. Your book remains unsold, your pocket remains empty and your stomach, hungry.
Yes. There are those who make a few sales, not enough to buy a 1.5GB data plan sha. That's life. I know. I have been there.
Let me use myself as an example. I started "Karo's Story Blog" in 20 freaking 13. Yes. That long. 3 years and a few months now. Don't you wonder why my name isn't ringing through the internet yet? Don't you wonder why I am not a best seller? Don't worry, you wouldn't wonder for long.
When I started, I just looked at what a few story bloggers were doing and decided to do mine. You know what we call copy copy. That's what I did. Copy any how and do. Don't bother learning the basics. Just do it. Money go come.
Before that year ended, my blogging and pocket was as funny as Nigeria's economic recession.
Yes. I wasn't making peanut. You know, that would have been good at the time, peanuts. I was like Bobby in this picture. Crying, sad, confused and wondering what I did not do right.
Aha! Maybe I should change level. People will buy. Then I stupidly went on to publish on Lulu, Kobo, Amazon and Createspace because people published there, not because I knew what I was doing. Funny enough, if you type my name in google search, it will bring out all the poorly written works I published at that time.
Createspace circulated it. And even with massive circulation, I recorded very few sales. And when I say few, I mean 2. Yes. Just 2 fiction. The others still selling on Amazon are "how to" non-fiction books.
I got frustrated and was about giving up hope of selling when Okadabooks founder contacted me. That was late December 2013. Before then, I had discovered that reviews had a way of helping sales. I visited Mary Okeke's blog and asked her for a review of Susan's Diary 1. She agreed.
I knew the book still needed a lot of work, but I sent it anyway, bracing up for serious lashing. It so turned out she enjoyed the story and wrote a lovely review about it. It was that review Mr. Ofili saw that made him contact me to come on board. To cut long story short, Okadabooks became the first place I made a sale of 5k in less than a month.
I was extremely happy. I know. Its only 5k right? Who e concern? If you have struggled so much to get something and after a year you get a bit of it, you will jump for joy. It means you are heading towards your goal, especially when sales continue to roll in. Since then I decided Okadabooks is my platform. I went ahead to publish the rest on my stories on it.
Was my problem solved? No! It was far from that. Okadabooks was still young and didn't have all the users it now has. So even if massive promo was done on the platform, I still wouldn't have gone too far. The basic reason being that I did not do my homework.
I soon noticed that because I was not well known, readers preferred to download my free stories than paid ones. Pathetic. It means I still needed to get the attention of my die-hard readers. Yes, I still had to chase them.
Okadabooks alone wouldn't do the work for you. Just as Amazon, Createspace, Barnes and Noble, Lulu, Smashwords etc.. wouldn't do the work for you.
Since I didn't know how to go about doing facebook ads back then, I went and started spamming comment sections of sponsored posts by pages with lots of readers. I tried it with one story and then put a link back to my blog. Yes, it was spam. But it worked. People trooped in. Then I told them the full story was for sale. N100. Seriously? N100? Oh my God. (Low pricing, because we feel it will encourage people to buy, is another thing that kills us).
Anyway, they paid, collected their copies and left. I let them go. Another very wrong move. I didn't know jack about email listing and I was not prepared to learn. You see, when you don't learn, you fail. When you think you have a short cut, you discover almost late that you've followed the wrong path.
Since those visitors left, I haven't gotten that same rush of traffic in a very long time.
Anyway, they paid via recharge card. I didn't know to convert it to cash so I used it to buy data and make phone calls. I went through this because I didn't know the A about payment processors. Besides, my blog is a free one hosted by blogger.
I was happy with the sales response and relaxed a bit. Relax? When I haven't even started? (Shaking my head).
Now I made sales of over N3000 with just that action alone. That means if I had charged more, I would have earned more. If I had repeated my spamming action, I would have sold more. Please, I'm not encouraging spamming. It is not the solution. And you could get penalized for that. I almost did, sometime later when I went on a spamming spree again.
I'll cut long story short. All through the years, I have heard people talk about traffic, email listing and good content. The three basic things you need to succeed. I wasn't interested in the first two. And as long as I was concerned, they were not important. As for the third, I was doing well with it. No need to learn. Right? Wrong.
As authors, we have something to share with the world. We want our voices heard. We want our works in the hands of millions of people. Your content could be informative, educative or entertaining. But how do we get the attention we need? How do we build the audience that will go on to give us what we so desire?
My eye opening journey was marked when I started working with Okadabooks. The marketing strategies I have been exposed to told me I was light years behind.
But even with the strategies we use in helping authors, the team at Okadabooks wouldn't take you seriously, if you do not take yourself seriously. Sally was dead serious. She already grew her reader base, so we picked her work up and ran with it. Then we have had other serious authors on the platform like Tunde Leye, Kiru Taye, Netty Ejike,Naijasinglegirl etc...
The truth is, if you are serious about what you do, you will strive to do things the right way.
It is disastrous, heart breaking and annoying when I hear SELF-PUBLISHED authors say, I don't care about marketing, someone should do it for me. I only want to write. Writing is my passion, bla bla bla.
Total crap, crap and more crap!!!
Wake up! The world has changed. Traditional publishing isn't what it used to be and if you are going to do self publishing the way traditional publishing is done, you are definitely going to find yourself dinning with frustration and depression. Yes. I have been there.
Do you know what it means to write stories, just to update your blog almost everyday with content? Readers love it. They ask for more. But the minute you say "buy your copy", they disappear so fast, you think Clark Kent breezed in and took them away.
You publish your ebook. A month goes by. Then two months, and so on. You look at your account. It reads N0.00. No sales.
I know there are those who will tell you not to write for money first. Build your craft. Keep building it, keep building it, and still build it. Write free blog stories everyday and just keep at it. If you are lucky, an offer will be thrown your way.
Why wait for luck when you can take your destiny into your hands and grow big? Remember, writing lovely stories and gathering a few readers is just that. Free stories and readers. Then someone who doesn't know how to write letter A will copy your free works, post it on his/her blog and get the kind of response you didn't get. Why? Because they have laid their marketing foundation well and you have not.
You want to keep on writing free stories and wait for luck?
Please o. If you are going to be a writer, you should as well make money with your craft. Why do you have to keep churning out free stories for nothing in return? Some people are lucky though, they make friends in the process; friends who will support them but not enough die hard fans to share their works and make it go viral.
Our world is digitally connected today. And the truth is, the traditional ways of building the name you so desire for yourself just don’t work as it used to. So why should you, in our digital world,
Slave everyday, trying to keep readers entertained? (Still, its like they are just doing you a favour). They read and walk away. Only 5 out of over 1000 readers bother to drop comments. You end up having few interactions with them. And these same ones are the ones that comment every other time. The bulk of the audience continues to walk away from you. In the end, relationships are not built and trust is not gotten. Without these two ingredients, you will not sell.
You try to reach across to those who have gone ahead of you for advise, they turn you down or refuse to reply your email.
You look back at your scanty reader base and it doesn't occur to you that the story you are telling and what people want to read are two different things. You don't involve your readers in the creation of your stories. If you are writing based on what you want, how do you force readers to buy what you like, instead of what they like?
Let us be frank, talent or skills is not enough for you to succeed.
Like most of you, I have always been afraid of marketing because I feared rejection. Duhh! But guess what? After brushing myself up, I have come to realize that marketing is not all about knocking on people's doors and saying, "hi there. Buy my ebook".
The above kind of marketing is what Neville Medhora calls BAD, BAD, Very BAD copy.
But if marketing is done right from the foundation you lay for your audience building, You CAN build an audience of people who respect you, who share your works massively without being told to and makes it go viral. Your audience becomes people who are willing to pay for your works, they become your loyalists and even beg for a sequel. Of course, they will buy. Then you find you are making a living off what you do.
I have been so frustrated. I almost quit, along with the thousands who have. But I couldn't. I prayed every day for direction and that prayer was answered when a friend directed me to look up certain names on google search. What I saw blew me away. I have stayed up reading, even to as early as 4:30AM every morning. After digesting more than half of the articles, ebooks, audios and video trainings I downloaded, I looked back at my blog (the same blog some people praise) and I could just tell that everything is wrong with it. The wrong foundation is why I have laboured fruitlessly these past years.
These trainings so sharpened me, I took a look at someone's blog/website and just knew instantly that the company was not making money. And true, the person confirmed I was right.
I am in the process of starting afresh. Yes. I am rebuilding. I cannot and will not continue on the bad foundation Karo's Story Blog was built on.
Someone may say, well, what about your 3k plus Facebook fans, you want to loose them too?
I single handedly, without ads, built my fan page to 3k plus likes. If I did that without ads and a good foundation, imagine what I'll build with a strong and well laid foundation. I have been reading and mapping out plans based on all I have learnt. When I am ready, I will launch.
Now, it will be selfish to keep all that information with me and grow alone, that is why I decided to write this post.
From tomorrow, March 21st, 2017, I will do a series of posts, one each day, on this thread about how to build your audience, become a bestselling author on Okadabooks and make good money. I don't mean 150k a month money. If you implement each strategy as instructed, you should be earning well above that by year ending.
Yes o. It is a long term business. Were you expecting me to say by month ending? Na wa o. Are you a magician? You will have to do all the hard work first. But after you've done all of it, you will enjoy it.
My next post will cover setting up your blog. So, don't miss this thread for anything in the world. In fact, bookmark this page. Invite your friends who are writers and authors (both fiction and non-fiction authors). They too can learn something to help them find and stay on the right path.
Jeezzzz! . The post is longer than I planned. .
Good morning to you.