Matt stone is a best-selling author, professional blogger, and owner of Archangelink, a publishing company that helps new and independent authors succeed. He is also the owner of Buck Books, one of the top e-book promotion sites.
Matt Stone began his publishing journey in college. He majored in writing, and was able to adapt his senior thesis into a book and sell it to a publisher. He didn’t see any income from his published book and put his dreams of being a professional writer on the back burner.
He’s quick to point out that this was before self-publishing became feasible for indie writers.
The Beginning of a Great Writing Career
In 2006, he began blogging about nutrition and health because that was his major area of interest. He dove in feet first reading hundreds of books and studies. He was so computer illiterate that it took him 2 years to figure out how to insert images into his blog posts.
Matt was able to build an audience using his blog. He wrote a number of books for that audience. He also bundled his books together along with audio and video for his blog followers, and sold those as packages directly on his website.
In 2012 Matt hired Rob Archangel. Rob convinced Matt that they should put his books up on Amazon. Matt always wanted to make his books available to Amazon customers but he was intimidated by the technical aspects of publishing a book on Amazon.
On November 30, 2012 Matt Stone and Rob Archangel launched all the books Matt had written on Amazon. In his first month Matt pulled in $16,000 from book sales. From that point on he’s been hooked. He continues to expand with different translations and formats.
Matt isn’t an “overnight success.” He wrote his books beginning in 2006 over a number of years. He built an audience on his blog. At the same time, he built up a backlist of content that he was able to publish on Amazon when the time was right.
Matt would sell his books at a higher price point on his website. So when people went to Amazon, they were getting a huge discount to buy his books there. It’s also important to remember that he had a huge audience when he began to offer his books to the public. Around the time he began publishing on Amazon, his blog posts would get hundreds of comments regularly when they went up on his blog.
Matt gathered an engaged audience without a huge social following or mailing list. Matt didn’t even have a Facebook page set up when he started publishing his books on Amazon.
Book Release Strategy
In November 2013, Matt published Eat for Heat: The Metabolic Approach to Food and Drink. He published the book at $0.99 right before Christmas to maximize the number of downloads from his existing audience. Then after Christmas, he raised the price of the book, because that’s when a large number of new customers are searching for new content.
The book reached #87 on all of Amazon.
It’s also important to remember that health books do very well in December and January because that’s when people are making their New Year’s resolutions, but that’s still a huge accomplishment.
Publishing on Amazon gives the author real credibility. Matt was able to show the audience that already believed in him that he had a powerful reach. Being able to out rank books by experts like Jillian Michaels really helped cement Matt as an expert in his field.
The Beginning of Buck Books
When Matt launched his book at $0.99 he didn’t realize what a great marketing strategy that was for Amazon’s algorithms. Selling your book at $0.99 can get a lot of people to download your book and tell Amazon’s algorithm that you’re an author who converts browsers into buyers.
When that happens, Amazon will begin doing marketing for you by featuring your book prominently on their website, and emailing customers who fit the profile of customers who’ve already bought your book.
The key to the $0.99 promotion strategy is to do it when your book first comes out. That’s the best chance you have to convince Amazon that your book is truly popular.
The first month you have a book on Kindle is the most important time to put your effort on promotion. That’s when Amazon’s algorithm is looking.
“80% of the promotional effort you put into your book should come in the first thirty days.” – Matt Stone
When Matt had success pricing his book at $0.99 he decided to help authors do the same thing. That’s why he launched Buck Books.
Buck books is a website that promotes $0.99 books to its mailing list. In the first ninety days that Matt went live with this idea he helped fifteen authors get into the top one hundred on Amazon, and he even helped one author get all the way to number one.
The basic strategy buck books utilizes is cross promotion. Matt will do a promotion with twelve books in similar genres, all the authors of those books will promote the flash sale. And all the authors get the benefit of the large traffic push.
It’s important to remember that buck books uses email marketing which is the best converting tactic for selling books. Email marketing is the strategy most likely to have your audience buy your book.
How New Authors Can Attract an Audience
There are several thousand people who have a moderately large following online. It’s taken them years to build that following.
There are ways to leverage those audiences to build your own audience quickly.
Tom Corson-Knowles wrote a book about guest blogging. Guest blogging is a strategy that can work well to help you build an audience quickly.
The Online Summit Model is another strategy that can work even faster. That’s where you interview a series of experts. You create a product that has to do with those interviews. When you launch the product, you have everyone you interview drive traffic to that product.
Matt knows of one case where someone built an email list of ninety thousand people in four days using this technique.
“I believe that authenticity, integrity, and honesty are the currencies of the future. Because we’ve gone through such a massive transition in the last twenty years, and the internet has come about, and there’s been so many shady marketing tactics, and so many people who subscribed to email lists have been treated so poorly. Empty anonymous commercial solicitation is all people are used to when it comes to email lists.” – Matt Stone
“Only by being honest and authentic with a lot of integrity can you reach a lot of people these days.” – Matt Stone
When Matt had a tremendous launch with Eat For Heat, he didn’t try to build an email list or do Facebook ads. He simply wrote the best content he knew how in a very authentic way and that came through in the book.
Email marketing can be an effective way to communicate with your audience on a one to one basis. You can build an email list efficiently and then strengthen the connection through your email sequence.
“I feel like my true core audience has shrunk, even though my email list and my social media presence has grown. That’s kind of an interesting thing, because I think you probably shouldn’t be thinking too much about business, and conversion rates, and marketing. You probably should be thinking more about providing something of value, sticking to your passions, and being really authentic, and just trying to put out good quality stuff.” – Matt Stone
When you focus on providing value, creating quality products and being passionate about what you’re doing, success will eventually find you. Persistence is the key to success. Just keep doing the work without worrying so much about success in the short term.
Stressful Book Launch Stories
Matt had one Buck Book promotion that almost didn’t happen. He recruited Mark Sisson to blast the email of his buck book promotion. One of the books in the promotion wasn’t priced at ninety-nine cents until 9:30 AM the day of the promotion.
Matt traded several emails with Mark’s team. They told him if the price wasn’t ninety-nine cents for this one book by 10 AM, they’d have to go with a different blog post.
One of the books in that promotion ended up being number one in the Amazon store and number two on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list. And it almost didn’t happen.
Pat Flynn also promoted one of buck books promotions to his email list. One hour after Pat sent the email the link stopped working because the server crashed.
Matt helped Tom promote a twenty book box set of inspirational books. That crashed the buck book server too. You have to be ready for anything when you do a promotion.
How Matt Makes Money with Buck Books
As of March 2018, if you want to promote your fiction book it cost $9 to do a promotion with buck books.
If you want to promote nonfiction it cost $29. Matt is able to keep the cost so low because he makes the majority of his income from the Amazon Associates program.
Matt is also using the platform to promote his own books and the books published by Archangelink.
One cool thing to consider: when you join the Amazon Associates program and send someone to buy a book through your associate link, you can potentially get a commission for other things they buy because of the cookie that goes along with your affiliate link.
You should always use your Amazon affiliate link to promote your book because it’s extra free money, and you don’t know how much money that can actually lead to.
“Once you make $100 online in any way, you’ll be hooked.” – Matt Stone
The first three years Matt blogged he made no money. In year four he made $4,000 and every mistake in the book. He overpaid for a backlink building campaign as well as his website design.
In spite of all those mistakes Matt’s income began to grow exponentially.
If you’re blogging right now and you don’t have a large audience, you should still cede your blog posts with your Amazon Associates links. Once you put something on the Internet it stays there forever. As you build your blog out people will continue to find it, and they’ll find your old links to Amazon. There will come a day when those links will turn into real money for you. You will find you have a passive income that supports your lifestyle.
Matt’s “Rags to Riches” Story
At the beginning of Matt’s Buck Book journey he lost all of his money Forex trading and was forced to make the website successful or go get a real job.
The idea of getting a “real” job was so painful that Matt found a way to increase his income from the website by $2500 a month in just 30 days.
He did whatever it took:
- Commented on blog posts
- Commented on YouTube videos
- Did guest posts
- Went on podcasts
- Invited himself on other podcasts
- Wrote articles
The key to success is persistence and massive action. Matt went way beyond his comfort zone and willed himself to be heard by thousands of people. He needed to build an audience quickly and that’s what he did.
“Be persistent and follow through. Just keep at it relentlessly. Eventually you will get there and learn things along the way and refine things. One day you will arrive. If you want to make a living with your writing, it is bound to happen if you are persistent enough.” – Matt Stone
In order to make sure you’re successful, you have to choose an activity or subject matter that doesn’t feel like work. You have to be passionate about what you’re doing. That’s the only way to make sure that you put forth the appropriate amount of effort so that success is inevitable.
How to Submit to Buck Books
You can submit to Buck Books by going to buckbooks.net and clicking the link on the bottom of the page. From there, you’ll be sent to a sign up form.
They look at several criteria when deciding which books to promote on Buck Books:
- Length. More often than not Matt will take a longer book over a shorter book, because the longer book has a higher perceived value to Matt’s audience.
- Matt wants books with professionally design covers.
- He wants some reviews if possible. But reviews aren’t essential for being chosen. Matt promotes a lot of new books that might not have any reviews yet.
- Matt is looking for books that will appeal to a general audience. He hasn’t segmented his Buck Book email list like BookBub does. He has a larger general audience and that is who he curates for.
People and Resources Mentioned in This Interview
Rob Archangel is Matt Stone’s publishing partner.
Malcolm Gladwell is a successful traditionally published nonfiction author on Amazon.
Jillian Michaels is an expert in the health field. Matt was able to use his Christmas release strategy to sell more books than her in December 2013.
http://buckbooks.net/ – submit your book to Buck Books by clicking on the link at the bottom of the page.
https://www.archangelink.com/ – Matt’s publishing company he runs with his business partner Rob Archangel.