Mike Kowis is mostly like us: an Indie Author who put heart, soul and $5,000 into his first book, one of a few. That number was just the marketing part, by the way. The reason I liked ‘Smart Marketing for Indie Authors‘ is because he goes through each marketing tactic with pros and cons, a rating from his experience, insider tips and supreme attention to detail.
His honesty level is admirable in the chapter “What not to do”, all of which are going to save you time and cash, as it is throughout the book.
“No amount of marketing will help if your book is filled with grammar and spelling errors… or your cover is unprofessional”.– Mike Kowis
Book Marketing Tactics
Cherry-Picked Book Marketing Tactics by Mike
Some of the main areas I liked are covered below, but there are hundreds of other points.
Create a Book Proposal:
This means working out who the target audience is, what they’d want and how this book meets their needs and competitor analysis stuff – e.g., how yours fits into the marketplace, making a sales pitch. It also includes a marketing plan. Mike tells you which sections go into the book proposal and why Indie Authors can also use them. Mike helps you as an Indie Author to get real with your competitive chances here and know their prices and formats.
Other Recommended Actions:
- Hire a professional editor for copy editing. YES!!
- Hire a graphic designer for your book design. YES!!
- Distribute advanced reader copies. Mike gives you the inside goss’ on this common tactic and why the verified review is ideal.
- Have an author website but design it yourself. TRUE! (Note: But I think businesspeople should get a developer/designer).
Social Media Marketing:
This tactic is recommended by Mike as it is free, however he does warn against the time sucks of group activity. Using a FB author page and Twitter are some of his methods and he explains some of the social media platform audiences’ differences. “Don’t post “BUY MY BOOK” repeatedly”… AGREED!!
Mike gives you some of his experiences with travelling to speak and encouraging the audience to buy his related book. He acknowledges that we are not all great public speakers but even so, creating a speaking story will help authors who can afford the time.
Mike says that his Ads only broke even after ad costs and sales, however, he says he wins with more sales and effective improvements to keywords over time. Some of his inside tips on Amazon Ads here (like going manual and setting max daily cost) is worth the ebook or audiobook price.
Note: Alex Strathdee of Book Funnels and Amazon Ads (2021) wrote that the cost of keyword clicks on Amazon have gone up, leading to most of his author friends pulling out of Amazon Ads, unless they have a book sales funnel.
Alas, Mike could not get good results for Facebook ads, except for boosting a book launch event. He was doing it a few years ago and it was not as expensive then.
Not recommended by Mike, except for encouraging website visitors to a relevant page. Similarly, I ran a Google ad at lowest possible click price but found the traffic was not interested in authoring.
GoodReads Book Raffles and Ads. He could not even spend the ad budget, as they did not result in clicks. (Giveaways are now costly).
Kirkus Editorial Reviews:
He outlines some of the benefits of editorial reviews for US authors (not relevant here). Editorial reviews are very good at being a critique and also can be a marketing tool because you can copy and paste a good review in listings elsewhere (hint hint).
There are many providers who are cheaper than the US$400-700, which Mike didn’t think was worth it, so he says to choose a good one who will take time to highlight errors in your book.
Using IngramSpark to sell it to libraries (US$49) provided Mike not a whole lot of sales to libraries (15 compared to 0), however I find here in Australia that it can help with bulk sales to suppliers. An ISBN of your own is advised by Mike (and me).
As he says, helping other authors or providing testimonials for your editor, designer, or publications assistant will also provide some karmic promotion (my words). People like myself often give authors a link back to their book’s sales page along with the testimony and their photo, if they keep in touch!
Bestseller freebie ebook:
A great idea for visibility says Mike, if you’ve got some spare writing to offer a short .99c book or $0 ebook (on D2D) that relates to your usual audience. It provides many benefits. (You’ll have to read the book to get the pro tips).
I noticed his ‘freebie’ book is free in the US but $1.30 for Australians.
Interested in having support and marketing material for your Book launch? Take a look at my Book Launch and Author Support Package, using content marketing and other visibility methods. It comes with 2 x author mentoring sessions and a Marketing Plan.
All in all, I found the proliferation of marketing tips and effectiveness focus a boon to myself and probably other serious fiction or non-fiction authors. Though some of the content has aged since I started reading the book (three years ago!), I felt it relevant enough to share and recommend. Since Mike Kowis did not try out email marketing or blogging and he’s still relatively new, I’m giving this book 4 out of 5 stars.
Purchase Smart Marketing for Indie Authors ebook for $4.68 on Amazon.