Americans love How-To books. To some, they provide a passive thoroughfare to the understanding of how things work. To others, they provide a blueprint for future actions. How-To books soothe the itch for self-improvement, whether it be improving one’s education, or improving one’s finances, or improving one’s physique.
For the self-pub eBook cognoscenti, or those seeking entry into the field, two How-To books have come out in the past month that blow holes right through the veil of mystery surrounding self-pub eBook success.
The first is John P. Locke’s How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months! (available on Kindle for $4.99). Mr. Locke has gained notoriety for being the first self-pub author to arrive on the Kindle Million-Seller list. His book is an intriguing Rosetta Stone for how he achieved this impressive feat in so little time.
Those new to social media and marketing in general will find Mr. Locke’s book an accessible read, and an eye-opener to the brave new frontier of self-pub eBooks. As I discussed in a previous blog, I see self-pub eBooks as the New Pulp Fiction. The book also provides an insight to Mr. Locke’s writing style.
Mr. Locke explicates his marketing plan with crystal clarity, although one suspects he might have left a few tricks hidden in his bag. That is to be expected: no magician reveals all his secrets. But still, the discussion of Loyalty Transfers, OOUs, and the values of Target Marketing are on point and well worth learning.
I do find the term Loyalty Transfer a bit off-putting. It involves tugging at the sympathies for, and interests in, famous people or broad archetypes and aligning oneself, as an author, with them, for the purpose of leading to sales. The term makes it sound tawdry. I like to think of it as Niche Mining, but hey, I haven’t sold one-million books, so what do I know? (Note: if my immediate family had one million members, I would easily have sold that many books, because they are very loyal.)
The second book, How to Sell a Gazillion eBooks In No Time, by Russell Blake (available on Kindle for $2.99), is a riotous send-up of self-pub eBook marketing and success. Mr. Blake writes like a high-functioning meth-head on a coke bender, and I mean that in a good way.
But don’t let Mr. Blake’s unique pastiche of pop-culture, self-pub culture, and violent imagery distract you. At the heart of Mr. Blake’s satire are deep insights to the real deal. Especially enjoyable are all his made-up statistics, and his “trademarked” systems—each of which underscores his points. One has to employ the Russell Blake Satire Translaticon TM to get the full import of what he is saying. The humorless reader might find himself transformed into a giddy giggler.
Charlie Sheen might have Tiger Blood, but Russell Blake has Shark Blood. He can turn a phrase with paradoxically caustic yet elegant ease, and he does so, with panache. The shark jaws of his wit rip through the flesh of silly ideas.
Time spent reading How to Sell a Gazillion eBooks In No Time is like sitting on a barstool next to the dearly departed Hunter S. Thompson and enjoying a boozy screed for less than the price of a shot of Tequila.