Maxwell Cynn gets me all excited. Not only is he a great writer, but he also knows a few things about selling books. He was generous enough to share some of his secrets. Thank you, Max!
If you’d like a free copy of CybrGrrl, just leave a comment with your email address!
Tricks of the Trade: How I got a Best Seller
Amelia asked me to write an article for her blog after THE COLLECTIVE hit the best seller list in two categories before its release date on Amazon. My previous novel CybrGrrl hit the best seller list in Erotica and Erotic Science Fiction at the same time. CybrGrrl was released several years ago, but I included it in my promotion of THE COLLECTIVE.
So what’s the secret? They are both freakin’ awesome books! But seriously, there is a trick. It took a lot of hard work, some really amazing friends, and meticulous timing. But I’m a nice guy, so I’m going to lay it out for you in a few simple steps.
First step is preparing the manuscript. After several rounds of editing I sent my manuscript out to a group of beta readers for input. Some were writers, some readers, some were random people I met online who didn’t know me and weren’t worried about hurting my feelings. From that feedback I revised again.
I took the brightly polished text and sent it out to book bloggers and reviewers who had agreed to review it during release. Then I began coding my eBook files and adding review blurbs from my wonderful beta readers. The next round went to author friends, and authors I have reviewed on my blog, asking them to write a short review on my Amazon page the day of release.
I planned a month long promotion around the release date – some before, some after. I wrote guest posts on blogs, gave interviews, live appearances on internet radio, and got into a blog tour with the great folks at the Indie Book Collective. In all of that I wanted to give away books, so I pubbed early on Smashwords and set up coupon codes for THE COLLECTIVE and CybrGrrl.
I’ll be honest, it was exhausting. I work a full time job, have a wife and two sons, and I had something scheduled almost every day for a month. I wrote posts in advance, but I still needed to reply to reader’s comments, and some of the events were live. The saturation of social media drove THE COLLECTIVE and CybrGrrl to number-one in category the day before release.
Okay, there’s the hard work. The trick? FREE books.
On Smashwords purchases with coupons, even coupons that amount to free books, count as sales. I released THE COLLECTIVE a couple of days early on Smashwords and sent out coupons to those who won free books during my massive blog hop – asking them to download the day of release. Many downloaded early, as soon as they got the coupon, but that sent it up the chart before it officially released.
On release day I had five 5-star reviews on my Amazon page! The rest of my tour I linked the Amazon page and could honestly say that THE COLLECTIVE was already a Smashwords Best Seller. The buzz surrounding the release of THE COLLECTIVE pulled CybrGrrl along for the ride and I used the books to promote each other. Both were “Best Sellers” and both stayed in the top five for over a month on Smashwords.
My tour with the Indie Book Collective was, in my opinion, the biggest boost. It was a week long tour with twelve other authors and I gave away over a hundred books and gained exposure to hundreds of readers who support Indie authors. I also met a lot of wonderful people – authors, readers, and reviewers. And Rachel Thompson, co-founder of the Indie Book Collective and the best friend a writer could ever have, helped me optimize my Amazon book pages.
So there’s my secret – hard work, amazing friends, timing, FREE books, and probably a little luck.
Would I do it again? Probably not.
I’ve written a blog explaining why, and another explaining my philosophy of publishing. The Indie Book Collective also has a program for driving your book onto the best seller lists at Amazon – Best Seller for a Day – but I’m not planning to do that either.
Don’t get me wrong. It was fun, and I don’t have anything against other authors tricking their books to the top. The big publishers in New York do it all the time. They ship huge orders to the big bookstore chains on the same day to drive books up the New York Times charts. They create “Best Sellers” before the first reader opens a book. It’s the nature of the business. It’s just not for me.
I will likely take part in other Indie Book Collective events and blog tours because I love meeting fellow authors and readers, and I don’t mind giving some books away. For me, it’s not a matter of making money. I’m a writer and I want readers to enjoy my work. Since I’m also an Indie publisher, and have complete control over my books, it’s easy to give my books away. If you’d like a copy of CybrGrrl just leave me a comment with your email address and I’ll send you a coupon.
Books by Maxwell Cynn:
Created to be a sexy desktop companion program, Marie develops sentience and emerges into a life of her own. She leads her users, Adrian and Haley, through an erotic adventure as she processes what it is to be alive. The search leads her onto the Internet, and a virtual-world community where she can live an independent existence unfettered by the limits of her server – alive in the cloud – then back into the real world as a sexy robot. Along the way she teaches Adrian and Haley what it means to live and love beyond the confines of the merely physical and liberates her sister programs from their dull desktop existence.
A criminal psychologist discovers that someone has released a computer virus that doesn’t attack your hard drive, it attacks your mind. The virus is brainwashing millions and people are going insane, killing their families, mutilating themselves. But it’s not just a virus. Someone is actively controlling the program, every infected computer, and every user. Someone is turning everyone connected to the internet into puppets. But why? And who is The Collective?
They know they’ve been discovered. RUN!
It’s the Roaring Twenties in America, but in the South that roar is kept discreetly behind closed doors and separated into “Whites” and “Coloreds” even at the Speakeasy. Jack Spaulding was born and raised in this quiet southern town, but he doesn’t care much for Segregation or Prohibition. He’s a journalist and his best friend was murdered investigating the war brewing between local Moonshiners and the Chicago Mob.
.45 Caliber Jitterbug is a Cozy Romantic Mystery set in Charlotte, North Carolina in the Twenties. A journalist at the local paper is murdered, a young girl from a prominent family is raped and killed, and a local bartender is shot – all with a high caliber handgun at close range. Jack and an intrepid young legal assistant determined to be the first female lawyer in the state must unravel the mystery and uncover corruption in the seemingly peaceful town.
Maxwell Cynn, Deliciously Romantic Speculative Fiction