How To Stage A Comeback

Meet Author Ben Wallace!

BenWallaceI’ve recently undertaken a great rebranding and an overhaul of how I go about marketing my books. Molly was kind enough to invite me here to share the how, why and what I’m doing. Thank you, Molly.

In the world of self-published books, I use to be somebody. Not a big somebody, but I was a somebody nonetheless. I want to be that somebody again. That’s why I’m staging a comeback.

I’m going to share with you my master plan as I think it also can be used as a blueprint for the aspiring somebody as well as the has been.

There are several steps to mounting a comeback. In movies, we normally have the benefit of a montage but I’m going to have to go with a good old fashion list.

If it helps, here is a video of John Farnham’s Thunder In Your Heart from the Rad soundtrack to play while you’re reading.

Now, on to the master plan.

PHASE ONE: Recognizing My Mistakes

First I sat down and figured out where I went wrong. I identified five mistakes that lead to my downfall that I, sadly, could not blame on anyone else. I go into further detail on my website if you’re interested, but I’ll just sum things up here:

  1. I hadn’t focused on a series—I kind of had a couple but nothing too solid.
  2. I had neglected my mailing list and website.
  3. I chased what was working and what works changes—Amazon, Facebook, etc.
  4. I spread myself too thin—another website divided my time.
  5. I didn’t write fast enough—I’m going to blame this on my kids because they’ll never read this.

With my mistakes identified I moved onto phase 2 …

PHASE TWO: Control What I Can

Since I’m not an activist investor, I figured I couldn’t tell Facebook, Twitter or Amazon what to do. But, as I was tired of being at the mercy of new algorithms and social media, I needed to focus on the media channels that I could control.

These were my mailing list and my website. As I said, I had neglected both. It was time to start building them up.

I had my website redesigned to be easier to read, easier to shop and easier to share. I went to a simple template and removed all the ads and clutter I had placed for my own benefit since they weren’t benefiting me at all.

I grouped my books by intended series. Each link describes the world the series takes place in and has the stories from that world underneath with individual descriptions. Each title also has easy button links to buy them everywhere they are available.

I also streamlined my mailing list sign-up to the point where I don’t even ask your name. I’d be happy to know your name but not if it’s going to prevent you from getting my newsletter. And you can’t hit my site now without being asked, politely of course, to join my newsletter.

With that in place, there was only one more thing I could control; my output.

PHASE THREE: Write More Books More Often

New releases mean news to share.

PostApocalyptic_OpI needed a sequel. People were asking for it and had been for years. But, even if a book has no existing fans, people are more likely to pick up a book that is part of a series. Right or wrong, that’s how it is. This year I am focused on writing sequels.

I began writing the sequel to my first novel, Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warriors, right away. While I was writing that book I released a steady stream of short stories about how to host an intervention, commando pandas, post-apocalyptic dogs and more. I used these to draw people to the newsletter and remind them that I was still doing the whole author thing.

My goal was to release something every month so when I told people I was still an author I didn’t feel like I was making an ass of myself.

PHASE FOUR: Make An Ass Of Myself

The site was ready. My new book was almost ready. It was time to start making a spectacle of myself. I not only craved the attention I had lost for selfish reasons, I needed it to sell books. When I was a little somebody, this came easy. If you’re on the charts consistently, people are going to seek you out. When you’re not, it’s going to take a little more doing.

I had been the author Benjamin Wallace for almost four years and he wasn’t getting the attention anymore, so I decided I needed to rebrand. I needed to get people to my website and give them something worth sharing, so I decided to become a pretentious and arrogant jerk.

It comes easy to me.

I chose to do videos because I want readers to know me without having to talk about myself. I think this is important. Indie authors have always been great at connecting with readers and it’s something we’re more willing to do than authors from the Big 6. It’s the last edge we have left. And when you’re making a comeback, you take any edge you can get.

PHASE FIVE: Launch The Comeback

Everything is in place. The site is done. I’ve made an ass of myself in two videos and will continue to do one each week to establish the professional author branding. And the new book is with the proofreader.

Next week I will launch a short story directly related to the coming novel. Then I’ll run a free promo for another short set in the same universe and tease the coming sequel like mad.

The following month will see the launch of the sequel and the announcement of the next book I’m working on. All the while I’ll be making an ass of myself.

That should all lead to phase five which is my favorite phase.

PHASE SIX: Cars And Money

This is the best part. This is where the books hit the top of the charts and the sales sustain themselves. This is the part where the money rolls in and I get a one of those new Cadillac CTS V-Class sedans they just announced.

But, I’m only a week into phase four so it’s difficult to tell how it’s really going.

Molly had already invited me back to share a progress report in a couple of months. But, I can already tell you that traffic on my site is way up. I’m also seeing a larger percentage of people linking out to my books. Sales are up a little bit already just from the revamped site and a couple of silly videos. Sure, they’re not where I want them yet.

But, this comeback is just getting started.

Note from Molly: Check out my novels on Amazon, join my Reader’s Club for freebies and book news, and follow me on Twitter. This original content is copyright protected. Thank you so much. Mwah!

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