How Influencer and #1 Best-Selling Author J.J. Hebert Sold Over 100,000 Copies of His Debut Novel
Like most new authors, J.J. Hebert initially tried traditional book marketing methods such as book signings, telling all his friends and colleagues about his new paperback release, and networking with potential customers at libraries and bookstores
J.J. Hebert is best known as the CEO and founder of MindStir Media, a self-publishing company partnered with Shark Tank’s Kevin Harrington and Mariel Hemingway. But before his MindStir brand made headlines, J.J. self-published his debut novel, Unconventional, which went on to sell over 100,000 units across multiple formats.
Like most new authors, J.J. Hebert initially tried traditional book marketing methods such as book signings, telling all his friends and colleagues about his new paperback release, and networking with potential customers at libraries and bookstores. Those efforts alone propelled his book onto multiple Amazon Best Seller lists in 2009. And then in 2010, he added his book to the Kindle format, a fairly new book format at the time, and he decided to shift his marketing strategy online. He also released a free serialized audiobook version of his novel through Podiobooks.com.
He quickly noticed that he could reach customers much faster and more efficiently by offering digital editions of his book. “I’d run 99 cent Kindle deals and promos and would sell thousands of downloads each time,” J.J. recalled. “I could be wrong but at the time I think there were only a few hundred thousand titles available on Kindle, so this was the beginning of Kindle deals and bargain ebooks, and I rode that wave for a few years.” Nowadays, most successful authors run Kindle countdown deals and special ebook promotions as part of an overall book marketing plan. Although the competition is much more fierce in 2021, offering a Kindle ebook for 99 cents and promoting through email subscription services like Bookbub is still incredibly lucrative.
J.J. also discovered the power of giveaways. It might sound counterintuitive to give away a product, but his free serialized audiobook attracted tens of thousands of downloads and created massive interest in his book worldwide. “Podiobooks.com is no longer available but you can use platforms like Goodreads to give away copies of your book, which creates a similar buzz for you and ultimately helps to build your author brand,” J.J. explained. “People who win the book will tell their friends and family and Goodreads will promote your book to their user base. Everybody wins.”
J.J. has always been a social media advocate when it comes to promoting books. “I started promoting my book on Myspace when it was still a thing,” he laughed. “Then I pivoted to Twitter and Facebook. Aggressive marketing on these social platforms all played a role in selling large numbers of my book.” He recalled creating more than one Facebook business page, one for his author brand and a separate page for his novel. He was very active on both pages every day and saw a positive return on investment from those efforts. He even created a writer’s group on Myspace and then moved it to Facebook. He networked with fellow writers there and pitched his book when appropriate. “Now I basically use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and I have roughly 150,000 followers on those accounts as an influencer,” he added, “but it took years to get to this point. Becoming a successful author is a marathon, not a sprint.”
Book marketing has changed over the years, he admitted. He shares his current book marketing and publicity strategies on his blog as well as at Entrepreneur Magazine and Forbes.
Source – Mid-Day