In my 3 years of participating in the awesome WordPress Goldmine community forum, I’ve never seen such a passionate debate occurring over the validity of the latest “Flavor of the Month” – self publishing via Amazon Kindle.
The Kindle boards are lighting up like crazy right now. People are lining up to write eBooks until their hands fall off.
At this point, Kindle publishing is the definition of the “next big thing”.
But is it?
One benefit of being involved in making money online for over a decade is that I’ve had time to watch the tidal wave of “next big things” rise and fall.
People are excited about the “opportunity” to write an eBook, upload it to Amazon, and have people find it and buy it.
Making sales is a very heady thing.
The amount doesn’t matter.
It’s the sweet, sweet rush that comes with someone validating you (not necessarily your book, and that’s key here) by purchasing something that you’ve created.
The problem is, just like the problem many people have run into with the recent Google Panda and Penguin updates, is that your “business” quickly becomes overly dependent upon a distribution source that is almost completely out of your control.
In addition, as the masses flood the Kindle market with their products, a big bottleneck is produced.
1. Tens of thousands of people are writing Kindle books right now. I expect that to reach a level of “hundreds of thousands” in fairly short order. Many writers are creating dozens of books. Do the math. It’s scary.
2. Soon, it will become impossible to be seen among the throngs of authors/publishers (envision a scenario where a search for a book on ADHD brings back 300,000 books…how will you be found? How will you stand out from the crowd?
3. With millions (eventually tens of millions) of self-published eBooks eventually floating around, they will become a commodity. You need a LOT of customers to make a living selling eBooks at 99 cents. Can you grow a list big enough, fast enough, to support that model before Amazon changes the rules, as Google has done before them?
It’s about MORE than just publishing to Amazon
Shifting gears just a bit…then I’ll tie it all together…
Many people are amazed at the level of income the Pat Flynn brings in.
I am too.
How can a guy with no products of his own, and really nothing more than a blog, create a $500,000 a year income?
He shared it in a podcast, but because I’m so ADD that I can’t sit still for more than 2 minutes to listen to anything, I missed it for the longest time.
I think a lot of other people are missing it too.
It’s a strategy he calls “Be Everywhere”.
You see, internet marketers and “lifestyle” bloggers occupy two similar, yet radically different worlds:
- Each produces a lot of content
- Each wants to ultimately make money off of that content
But here’s the BIG difference between them:
- Internet marketers tend to place themselves behind their words
- Lifestyle bloggers tend to place themselves in front of their words
What do I mean by this?
An internet marketer who does a product review will often talk about the product, its features, and its benefits (and if they’re good marketers, the weaknesses too).
They might even tell a short, relate-able story about it.
But the whole time, the product is front and center.
On the other hand, lifestyle bloggers know how to create a “cult of personality”. They craft words in such a way that you feel like you know them personally. They interact with their readers on a regular basis.
Over time, you come to trust what they say and how they say it.
The problem is, too many lifestyle bloggers never quite figure out how to put a product in front of you and get you to open their wallet. The handful that have almost exclusively do it through their own products.
For reasons I’m still unclear about, most lifestyle bloggers really struggle to sell other people’s products.
Pat is a master of both worlds. He knows how to create a cult of personality and become a well known name within his sphere of influence.
At the same time, Pat has also mastered the art of product promotion. He skillfully brings you into his world, creates an amazing level of trust, then subtly (and honestly!) places a product in front of you and says, “I like this. I use it. I think you might like it too.”
People buy in droves, because he and the product stand side-by-side, instead of one being in front of the other.
It might sound simple – particularly if you have some experience on one side or the other.
But Pat succeeds for two simple reasons:
1. It’s much harder than it looks to do this right, and he has been willing to put in the massive amount of time and effort it takes to do this successfully
2. Pat has learned that the product is only 10% of the equation
If the product is only 10% of the equation, then what is the other 90%?
That’s where the “Be Everywhere” strategy comes in.
As the internet continues to change and evolve at a dizzying pace, Pat figured out (3 years before everyone else) that he needed to bring people into his sphere of influence by any means possible.
Pat uses all of the standard marketing resources available to him (Google, Twitter, Facebook, Podcasting and much more).
But he also cultivates a following not by “doing social marketing” (and this is key). He does it by being social.
One method focuses on tools and methodologies. The other focuses on actually making real connections with real people. In the early days, Pat did this by responding to every single person who left a comment.
He still does this by responding to a fair number of comments, and being responsive via email as well. He interacts with the people who come to him, and then he goes out and interacts with new people who aren’t yet in his sphere.
A lot of people talk about “writing guest posts”, but are you developing and cultivating a relationship with those blog owners? (And not a relationship based on “what we can do for each other”. I’m talking about genuinely getting to know someone.)
Pat uses every single means at his disposal to bring people in. And once they’re in, he knows exactly what to do with them, as he and his content stand proudly side-by-side.
Bringing this back to books…let me ask you a question.
If you buy Stephen King novels, why do you buy them?
Or is it because Stephen King wrote it?
For most people, it’s both.
You can’t really separate the two now, can you? Stephen King and his content stand proudly side-by-side, inviting you into their world.
Early in his career, it was about the content he produced. As he brought people into his sphere, he moved from behind the work to beside the work. And he used every tool at his disposal to promote both (himself and his work).
So here’s the point of this long-winded diatribe…
Kindle books don’t matter. Just like blogs don’t matter, affiliate products don’t matter, niche sites don’t matter, membership sites don’t matter….
What matters is whether or not you are willing to take your “front-end product”, whatever that might be, put yourself out into the world, side-by-side with your creation, and bring people into your sphere of influence, by any (legal) means necessary.
Bring people into your world. Immerse them in who you are and what you have to offer them. Take care of them, treat them right. Treat them like people. Get to know as many as you can on a “real” level.
Even in a digital world, word of mouth is still the best advertising you can possibly receive. Go out there and make that happen, whether it’s with a Kindle book or something else entirely.
Find your path. Walk that path every single day. Make it a part of who you are at your core.
If you do…success will ultimately find you.