The Power of Numbers

Posted: February 7, 2012 in Writing
Tags: , , , , ,

Writing can be extremely solitary.  In fact, many authors would argue that solitude is a necessary part of the writing process.  However, there’s no doubt that once you exit the writing phase and enter the marketing/promotion/sales phase, solitude is the last thing you need.

Point in case?  A couple months back, I wrote a blog entitled, “How to Get your Book Downloaded 5,141 Times in Two Days.”  I thought that number was pretty damn snazzy, especially since I went it alone on those two KDP Select free days.  Fast forward the calendar to February 2, 3, 4, and I’m involved in a free event with the Indie Book Collective.  The mastermind behind the IBC is Carolyn McCray, author of several books including 30 Pieces of Silver.  (I almost called her a criminal mastermind, because her level of intelligence and insight is freakin’ criminal, but that’s another story).  She organized an event where approximately twenty-five authors cross-promoted, linked their arms together, and lifted each other to the tops of their respective genres.

My personal outcome?  12,600 books downloaded in just over two days (about 2.3 days).  The outcome of some of the other authors?  Nina Bruhns and Catch Me If You Can reached #1 out of ALL free books.  Ann Charles and her Deadwood  series had tens of thousands of downloads, and the series is now doing extremely well since coming off of free.  The moral of this story?  There is power in numbers, especially for indie authors.


Perhaps the most important thing for an author starting out on this journey is to link up with other authors.  Traditionally, I believe the writing group fulfilled this need.  At least for me, the writing group is nice, but not on a large enough scale.  I want to bounce ideas off of 50, 100, 500 authors, and social media is the best place to do that.  So, to become a part of the numbers, start with a few things.  First, join a group like the Indie Book Collective, which not only has an amazing core group of authors, but provides educational online classes and seminars to help you hone your marketing and promoting skills.  Second, go onto Goodreads and join a couple of the writing groups on there.  You can join liking and tagging groups, marketing for authors groups, etc.  I would suggest starting with two, as following more than that can get overwhelming.  Finally, once you get to know other authors, see if any of them will invite you to Facebook groups.  Right now, I’m in three that all serve different purposes, and that all include amazing authors.  (If you’re interested in being invited, send me a message).

A word of caution.  You will need to strike a balance between how many groups you get involved with, and how much time you are able to dedicate to your writing.  These groups can quickly suck several hours out of your day…hours you could have spent writing.  Another potential concern–joining multiple groups and not contributing to them is almost worse than not joining them at all.  Only join as many groups as you can contribute to on an every other day basis.  If you break this rule, I promise you’ll only stress yourself out, and possibly lower your credibility with the people in the groups.

In sum, can you do this writing and sales thing without really getting involved with other people?  Eh…you can, but you aren’t likely to have success.  Team up with people, truly help other people, and your success(es) will be amplified–I promise.

  1. Wow, good stuff to know, Derek. I often wonder about stuff like this. My book is in the editing phase, but when I finally go to publish (and Indie is probably how I’ll go) I will have to do more than just click a few buttons.

    Great post.

  2. andyholloman says:

    bullseye, great to see the numbers…..write on bro

  3. janetbettag says:

    Thanks for a very helpful blog. I’ve read many that preach “get your numbers up,” but this is the first that has provided any real insight into how one actually goes about that.

  4. Bella_Nars says:

    I don’t know if the reason I like your writing is because I am a lawyer myself and can identify the magical effect of legal-drafting skills, but you’re right on both in content and style. Will be spreading the word.

  5. T.D.Rizor says:

    Great stuff, Derek. Thanks for the gentle push in the “collective” direction. The advice I’m taking to heart now is the “Only join as many groups as you can contribute to on an every other day basis.”

    Congrats on all of the downloads and continued success.

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