Gregory has lived and worked in 50 countries and continues to help others along the path of self-fulfillment through exploration. Gregory’s books, Brand Identity Breakthrough and Travel As Transformation, are Amazon bestsellers, and his company Identity Publications helps authors grow their business with books, videos, and courses.
Gregory published Brand Identity Breakthrough 10 months ago. Initially, he paid someone $5,000 to help him create the book and market it on Amazon. She took his money and did very little of what she promised him she would. That’s when he decided to approach as if someone hired him to create and promote his book.
That mindset shift allowed him to come up with a marketing plan as he created the book.
Gregory’s Marketing Strategy For Brand Identity Breakthrough
When Gregory Published Brand Identity Breakthrough he was an unknown author. The first thing he did to market the book was recruit a team of beta readers.
He realized he needed beta readers because he has a unique writing style that readers either love or hate, and he didn’t want any bad reviews as a new author to negatively impact his success.
He built his team by going to people he already knew and by recruiting from business forums. He gave his beta readers credit in his book as well as sharing with them the process he went through to create and publish the book
His beta readers really helped him clarify and organize his message so that it would be better understood by his target audience.
“A finished book is more than the ingredients that go into it, it’s the way things are arranged as well.” — Gregory Diehl
Gregory got the book to #1 in Amazon’s Public Relations category by putting it on preorder on Amazon and pricing it at 99 cents.
He used his beta readers as his street team and got them to order and review the book. Then he sent a link to his preorder page to any blogger or podcaster who might like the book.
Being ranked #1 in Public Relations on Amazon on the day of launch really helped the book find a bigger audience.
Things to Consider When Designing a Book Cover
1. Who is your target audience? What are they looking for? People interested in business and nonfiction how- to books are going to expect a very different type of cover than say a romance or sciencn fiction reader.
2. Are there any common elements in the book covers of the top selling books in your category? How can you emulate them?
3. What images might provoke a reader to click on a book cover when browsing amazon?
How to Split Test Your Book Cover
Over the last 10 months Gregory has done a lot of tweaking to make sure his book packaging was optimized for sales.
When he first published Brand Identity Breakthrough Gregory went with the cover provided by the woman he spent $5,000 on. The cover wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great either.
After two months selling on Amazon he paid a team of graphic designers to come up with 6 different color schemes for the cover. And he manually uploaded a different cover every week. He left everything else the same and found that the red book cover he designed far outperformed his other options.
Things to Remember When Split Testing for Sales Conversion
1. Start with a good product. Gregory did everything he could to be sure he was releasing a good product on the market. He recruited beta readers, clarified his message, and reorganized his material so that it made sense. Producing a quality product is the most important thing you can do as an author. A good product is your best marketing tool.
2. Establish a baseline. Gregory waited two months after his book went on sale before changing anything. This allowed him to develop a decent baseline to measure against.
3. Change one thing about your sales page and book packaging. If you try to change more than one thing, you won’t understand which change you made affected your sales.
How to Use Beta Readers Get the Most Book Sales
If you want to become a best selling author you really do need to pay attention to the marketing and sales strategy for your book.
The most important person when it comes to marketing and sales is the customer. If customers who buy your book don’t like it, it’s impossible to get your book to stay a best seller because you’ll be lacking crucial word of mouth sales.
The best way to prevent that from happening is to use beta readers. Beta readers are people who you think are like your target audience. You give them a copy of your book to read and they give you honest feedback about what they thought of the book.
It’s best to use several beta readers so you can look for consensus viewpoints. If you use 10 beta readers and they all think something is confusing it might be worth revising. If they all like a particular point or section of the book, you might want to consider emphasizing that section in your book.
If only one or two out of ten people don’t like something about your book then use your judgement in regards to how to respond to that feedback. If you ignore it entirely you should still try to understand why that person didn’t like whatever they didn’t like so you can exclude that type of person from your target audience when you publish and market the book.
In order to use Beta Readers effectively, there are a few things you have to do as the author:
1. Ask for honest feedback. If you’re getting family and friends to be your beta readers then it’s important they give you honest feedback. If these people are just telling you what they think you want to hear, they’re not going to be valuable to you.
2. Ask for constructive feedback. If the person giving you negative feedback doesn’t give you constructive ways to improve the book or at least clear reasons why they didn’t like what you wrote, there’s really nothing you can do with that feedback.
3. Try not to take anything personally. It’s important to realize that you are not your audience, your beta readers are. So as much as possible listen to what they have to say without getting defensive.
4. Be willing to adjust based on feedback. It’s important that your willing to make adjustments to your book and/or how it’s positioned or marketed based on the constructive feedback you receive. If you aren’t, it defeats the purpose of using beta readers in the first place.
5 Essential Mindsets For the Creative Entrepreneur
1. Don’t take things personally. People make decisions and have opinions for all kinds of reasons. If someone has a negative opinion of you or your work, try to understand specifically why that is with the goal of improving. If you can’t get specific information move on and try to do better next time.
2. Don’t let your ego get in the way. Remember business and selling is about the consumer. Your job as an entrepreneur is to serve your audience. If you remember that your creation is about the customer and not you, you will go far.
3. Be open to new ideas. Things are constantly changing and evolving in the internet age. When you come across an idea that seems counter to your way of thinking, don’t dismiss it out of hand. Think about it from different angles. See if you find any truth in it.
4. Be creative. In the world we live in we are constantly dealing with new circumstances, obstacles and challenges. It’s important that we practice creative problem solving whenever possible.
5. Test everything. The only way you’re ever going to know if something works is to try it and measure the results. If you test everything and keep track of the data you’ll be able to make intelligent decisions that will move you closer to the success you want.
A Final Thought
“No matter what you produce not everyone is going to like it. You question then becomes do you change it so more people will like it, or do you just learn how to avoid the people who won’t?”
Links and Resources Mentioned in The Interview
Identity Publications — Gregory’s publishing company. They focus on messages of deep substance and complex value that take a lot of work to be presented as a book.
Brand Identity Breakthrough — Gregory’s bestselling book on how to brand your business —
Travel as Transformation — Gregory’s personal memoir about how traveling the world can help you grow as a person
Intimacy On The Plate: 200+ Aphrodisiac Recipes to Spice Up Your Love Life at Home Tonight — A book of recipes. Look and see how the cover was designed to appeal to people interested in the subject matter
Tom Corson-Knowles is the founder of TCK Publishing, and the bestselling author of 27 books including Secrets of the Six-Figure author. He is also the host of the Publishing Profits Podcast show where we interview successful authors and publishing industry experts to share their tips for creating a successful writing career.