Sunday, August 11, 2013

Self-Publishing Tips - Matthew Mather's SHAKESPEARE Formula

I've been doing a lot of research lately about how you, a self-published author, can actually sell that book that you worked so hard on. Of course, the first step is to hone your craft and create a solid product. I wrote in a recent post about the need for multiple editors who are trustworthy and attentive. I also wrote about being almost Zen with your writing and doing it for the sake of creativity above all else. That will keep you going when you aren't making any money. But the question remains: after a book is as good as it is going to get, how can you sell it?

self publishing tips Shakespeare methodLike I said, I've been doing a lot of research. Part of my research has been to read through blogs of successful self-published authors. One such author is Matthew Mather. He writes in the sci-fi genre, which seems to be the second or third most demanded genre for self-publishing (the first being romance, of course). Mather has graciously given others permission to regurgitate this method, but asked us to mention his novel, Cyberstorm, if doing so. Check it out if you have time.

His method is called SHAKESPEARE which is thankfully an acronym and not a demand for us all to go out and figure out how to be workaholic geniuses who can churn out masterpiece after masterpiece. Read Mather's original, longer post here for a lengthy description. I will try to abbreviate it below for quick reference and simplicity.

The acronym stands for the following:

Serialize (1st book short, get reader hooked, get progressively longer)
Hook (tell the whole story generally in a short story, promise juicy details in the novel)
Amazon (only use Amazon to start, keep it simple)
Key networks (social networking, writing forums, the blogs of other authors)
Empathize (reader can walk in main character's shoes, do this quickly)
Select program on Amazon (use the 5 free promotion days smartly)
Perceived value (break the book up into 99 cent chunks AND offer the whole for a bargain price)
Editing (create a workshop with other writers or hire them for cheap, you NEED editors plural)
All free posting websites ($10 a head test audience on Craigslist, then dish out press releases)
Reviews (boost Amazon ranking by urging those who read for free to review it on Amazon)
Engage (keep blogging, reply to comments and emails from readers, go on podcasts, etc...)

Print this out, write it down or commit it to memory. You can't expect to reinvent the wheel. Follow in the footsteps of those who have figured out a good system. This is what I plan to do for my first novel, Sumire, which I am finishing up now (I'll have a sneak peak of the first chapter on the blog soon).

Additionally, you may want to consider spending a little money to promote your book. One way to do this is to sign-up for Adwords and pay Google to do it for you. I found this piece of advice from the WritersBeat Forum, a community that I have recently joined and very happy with so far. Here's the entire post, though most of it crosses over with the SHAKESPEARE method (apart from the Adwords tip).

If you are a self-published author, how have you been promoting your work? If you haven't been promoting, how does Mather's method sound? Will you try it? As for Adwords, does anyone know a magic dollar amount that seems to help build a healthy audience? If not, that is where my research will take me next. Until then...

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