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Where do you get your first 1000 readers?

Send me a query. Send me a proposal — not the full article. Keep it brief: a tentative headline; two or three sentences explaining what the article will be about; and one sentence saying why you are qualified to write it. Based on this proposal I will let you know within three business days whether to submit the article. If you do not hear from me in that time, please assume that I will not be able to publish your submission; you should then feel free to offer it elsewhere. My e-mail is: djacobs@forbes.com

As some of you may know, I run loads of micro tests on a regular basis and then use my findings to bring serious growth results to my clients. The strategies written below will not be found on my personal profiles because I don’t get paid to grow those. 

I recently wrote a book. It’s short. It’s about the Facebook algorithm. I published it on a few platforms at various price points for various amounts of time, to test some new growth theories. It now resides on Eloquens, free for the first 1,000 people who download it. 

I wrote the book, for a few reasons. The most pressing reason was that a client asked me to ghost write a few books and I wanted to figure out how I would grow his client base using these books if and after they are published.

The first question I wanted answers to was, “Where do I self-publish?”

If your goal with writing your book is to get the attention of business owners, my research lead me to find that Eloquens is basically the Amazon of the “B2B reading world”. You can publish it there, in a matter of a few clicks and it will join the ranks of 1000s of business tools currently selling through the platform on a regular basis. 

If your goal is to reach more direct customers, Amazon is still the number one place to self-publish and reach a mass market. The downside of Amazon is that it’s goal is to promote sales, period. So when someone goes to your book’s page, they have 1000 and 1 other items demanding they purchase something other than your book. 

If you can get 1000 people to download your book, the first day it launches on Amazon, this is the place to go. Why? Because if you hit 1000 downloads in 1 day, Amazon’s algorithm flags your book as an item that is easy for them to sell & therefore make a profit on. When this happens, their algorithm begins to promote your book to other people under the “you might also like …” section.  

If you cannot get 1000 people to download your book on the first day, what are your other options? 

You can still self-publish on Amazon, just know that there’s a strong chance you are going to have to pay for ads to promote your book AND even then, there’s a chance that something else will catch someone’s attention. Shortly after they arrive at your page, they’ll click away to buy something else.

You could also publish the book to your own website. If you publish it to your personal website, people are less likely to get distracted by another item demanding their “impulse item budget”. The downside is that you will not have a platform, like Eloquens or Amazon, motivated to make a commission off of the sale of your book & therefore you will not have a chance to leverage exposure to their users. 

If you decide to publish to your own site and wait until you have a large enough following before you consider promoting on Amazon, I’d suggest the following strategy to set yourself up as a thought leader:

  1. Design a simple website to only promote your book (Example)
  2. Setup your Quora, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest & Medium bios to point to your book’s website.
  3. Set aside 30 minutes each week to answer questions on Quora via video. Quora video answers get twice as many views!
  4. Join a social media pod to get help with boosting your organic reach on social media

Once your social media is all up to par, then begin submitting your books to: 

  1. ProductHunt
  2. IndieHackers
  3. IndieHacker books
  4. TMDP’s BetaList. If your book is related to startups or could help startup founders in any way, we would be more than happy to share it with the members of our BetaList

After this, repurpose some of the content in your book to be a short Udemy class. People told me that this was one of the easiest places to acquire new customers & I didn’t believe them until I published my first Udemy course. I left it priced as free, shared the link with a few people, then left it alone. Three months later, I logged back in to see that I had more than 1,400 students! Do it, you won’t regret it.

Who is a great example of someone who used to sell her books on her own website until she built up her following to become an Amazon Best Selling Author? Emma Johnson – https://www.wealthysinglemommy.com/books/

She started out selling one inexpensive book on her site. She replaced it with a longer and more expensive book and kept upgrading / trading out the books until she had the following she needed to make a statement on Amazon. 

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