In my 16-year freelance writing career, I’ve always advocated taking small steps. Planting seeds here and there that will grow into assignments later. Taking care not to become overwhelmed.
But with my new e-book Write Your Way Out of the Rat Race… And Step Into a Career You Love, I knew my old “baby steps” approach wouldn’t fly.
I was providing massive value, and I wanted to get massive sales — right away. So I turned to a tactic I first learned from blogger Steve Pavlina called overwhelming force.
In short, when you use overwhelming force, you throw all your resources at a project at once.
For example, if you want to learn to speak German, with this approach you wouldn’t halfheartedly listen to German language tapes in the car. Instead, you’d hire a tutor for three lessons per week, post on Craigslist for a German conversation partner, spend an hour per night reading in German, and listen to those tapes on your commute.
This sounded like a good plan for marketing my e-book. My hope is to offer the e-book at an extra-low price for a week and drive humongous a number of sales that would propel the book to the top of its category at Amazon and pave the way for steady sales once I raised the price again.
Here’s my plan.
Overwhelming Force Method #1: Get My Potential Readers Invested
Readers love being asked for their opinions, and they’re only too happy to share — and having a say in a product gets them invested in that product’s fate.
So I hired a graphic designer to create three potential covers for my book, then asked my readers and Facebook friends to choose the one they liked best. Within a few hours, I had close to 300 comments on my blog and dozens of comments on my Facebook post.
After I chose one cover and had the designer tweak it based on comments I had gotten, I sent the winning cover to my list, put it on my blog, and posted it on social media sites.
Next on the list: I told my subscribers and Twitter followers I was looking for 50 beta readers to share their thoughts and comments on the book.
Using Polldaddy.com, I created a quick survey that was limited to 50 responses, where I asked for beta readers’ names and email addresses, plus a promise that they would get the book back to me in one week and review the book once it was out.
The time it took to rack up 50 beta readers? Thirteen minutes.
By my deadline I had received about 25 responses. Not only did these readers’ comments help me make the book shine, but I now have 25 more people who feel invested in the book and want to help get the word out.
I sent a message out to the 25 people who didn’t make the deadline and let them know I was all set with comments, but that I would still like them to review the book when it’s out.
Overwhelming Force Method #2: Get Blogger Buy-In
I asked the owners of several big-name writing blogs if they’d like to offer a freebie bonus download for my buyers; many were happy to do so, because this would allow them to market their products and services to my readers.
So they get marketing, my readers get extra value, and I get to say, “Look at all you get for this low, low price!” Win-win-win.
It was now in these blogger’ best interests to help me boost book sales since the more buyers I get, the more eyeballs they have on their bonus downloads — which of course would include marketing messages for their own offerings. To that end, many of them also offered to write a blurb for my book and even help me market it via social media and guest posts on their blogs.
Having buy-in from people like Sonia Simone of Copyblogger and Jon Morrow of Boost Blog Traffic? That’s what I call overwhelming force.
Overwhelming Force Method #3: Get Social
I started dropping hints about my upcoming e-book on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. (Sorry, Google+ fans — I can handle only so many platforms!) And as I mentioned earlier, I posted the potential book covers on Facebook for friends to vote on.
The best thing that’s come out of that so far? A rep from ProfNet, a source-finding service for journalists that I have used and promoted extensively, Tweeted me to ask if I’d be interested in being a guest on one of their #ConnectChat Twitter chats.
For their last #ConnectChat, ProfNet had an ad up in Times Square that featured the name of their guest, her photo, and the subject of her chat.
Overwhelming Force Method #4: Cash In On Goodwill I’ve Built Up
You may have noticed a theme in my e-book marketing efforts: I cashed in on the goodwill I’ve built up over the years with my blog followers, email subscribers, fellow bloggers, and social media connections.
This goodwill did not happen overnight.
I’ve been blogging since 2006, writing lengthy posts once or twice per week almost nonstop. I make an effort to share valuable information about writing via Twitter a couple times per day. I’ve used and promoted ProfNet for over 10 years. My email list is treated to a daily motivational email and occasional surprises like a free copy of one of my e-books. And I’ve been writing guest posts for the top writing blogs for a few years now, as well as promoting their posts on Twitter.
It’s all about relationships. To launch a book successfully, you need to have a platform of readers, social media followers, and influencers in your topic who are ready to buy and spread the word about your product. Building up goodwill requires a lot of effort and time.
Ready… Set… Launch
I have a tentative launch date of October 10 for Write Your Way Out of the Rat Race… And Step Into a Career You Love, and I’m excited to discover how my overwhelming force approach will work out.
How about you — have you ever gone after a business project with overwhelming force? How did it work out?