Episode # 78 – Chuck Rose on Having a Successful Launch with Your First Book

In Uncategorized by Julius S9 Comments

chuckrosenewThe self-publishing revolution has caused many people to become new authors, and this is often true for people who have professions where they are writing anyway. In this interview I talk to screenwriter Chuck Rose, who used some of his down time to write a thriller called “Head Games.” There is a lot of talk in the self-pub world, about how you need to have several books out before you start really moving the needle, but Chuck had a successful launch that took him from 30,000 in the Kindle store, right up to the top 25. In this interview we talk about how he did that. Show notes and action steps at rspcast.com/chuck.


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Links:

Head Games

Amazon Profile

Website

Mentions:

Ebook Booster

Show notes:

Series

Chuck started writing knowing that he had to write a series, he saw that as one of the major reasons some authors were being successful. He wasn’t sure whether the book would be successful, but he knew that he had to go for a series if he wanted to be successful long term as a fiction author.

Stop and Start

Chuck has a busy life and found that he really had to get used to the idea of starting and stopping with his writing. There was no time when he could just sit down for three months and write the whole thing, he had to steal moment here and there to get it done. Doing this, and building up habits is powerful, if you write every day you will get used to it.

Use Your Network

Chuck had a network of people that he knew from his other work as a screenwriter and playwright. He sent the book out to them and asked if they would take a look at it. Don’t be shy about doing this, if you have written a book, reach out to the people you know and tell them! He quietly put the book out on Amazon and reached out to these people for reviews, this was a month before he did any promotion, so that the book had good reviews when he started seeking promotions.

Promotion

Chuck had a series of promotions planned for his book which he had organized through Ebook Booster. As he had good reviews he hoped that they would mostly decide to feature his book, and he decided not to pay for anything (because the book was free and he wasn’t making any money). We talk in depth about this in the interview, but essentially his book went from 30k in the overall free Kindle store to around 20, and stayed in the number 2 spot in a major sub category for 3 days.

Action Steps

  • Can you create a tag line for you books? “A Neurotic Thriller” “Thrillers with Heart” “Thrillers on the Edge” – will this help you write and build a brand? These can give you consistency across all your books, even if they are not in a series.
  • Are there writers you know already? Or people you can meet online? They can probably help you with both the craft and marketing side of things.
  • Are there times in your day where you are waiting, or otherwise unoccupied? Identify these, even if they are just 5 minutes, and see if you can somehow write in them. Waiting to pick the kids up from school, take out the phone and tap out a few hundred words! Identify these moments, make use of them, and the words will start to add up.
  • Start building a list of people who you would be comfortable sending your book to when it is ready. Don’t limit this to your close friends and family. Be bold and think about others, perhaps people who you haven’t been in touch with for a while.
  • From this list, whittle it down to three or four people who you really trust. Ask them to be your beta readers, ask them for feedback on the cover.

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Leave a comment below or get in touch with Simon by email at simon@rockingselfpublishing.com

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Julius SEpisode # 78 – Chuck Rose on Having a Successful Launch with Your First Book
  • Crissy Moss

    Going out and asking your friends you haven’t seen for months or years for a review is definitely not a “US” thing either. I think it might be an LA thing. Or maybe a bit of a confidence issue. I know I couldn’t do it.

    • SimonRSP

      Haha! Okay, I thought it might just be me, or a British thing… Most of my old friends probably don’t even know I podcast. Probably a confidence thing wrapped up in a “I don’t want to hassle them” attitude 🙂

  • Michael Coorlim

    I can definitely agree on the difficulty of finding time to write, even without a day job. I spent 2014 setting up a production company, and it’s taken a lot of time from my writing. Next year I’ll be producing and directing, so it’s a case of prioritizing your time intelligently and cutting away all the slack between tasks.

    • SimonRSP

      Great point Michael. As for cutting away the slack time, I think 2015 is going to be the year I install RescueTime, although I am a touch afraid too.

      • Michael Coorlim

        Fear is the mind-killer, Simon! Allons-y!

  • Alyne de Winter

    Nice interview. I am impressed with the results of his budget promoting and that he’s a screenwriter too. He’s definitely paid his dues as an artist and seems like a nice guy as well. Its shocking how much the opportunities for writers in Hollywood are shrinking.

  • D B Daglish

    Head Games is #130000 on kindle and has 36 reviews. My first Post-Apocalyptic book is #103000 but I only have 3 reviews. My question is …how the heck do you get real reviews? and in this case above…do they really help? Is the number of reviews Chuck has as a result of his current followers as a filmmaker and playwright? Anyone have some insight into this? How does an unknown get reviews?

    • SimonRSP

      Yes, I think reviews do help. I don’t know about driving people to the books page on Amazon (maybe there is something in the algorithm for that), but for converting people who are on the edge of buying, I am certain they are important. So if you do a promotion, which results in a lot of folks landing on your books page, then having plenty of good reviews is going to help convert those people to buyers. This is one of the strategies I have pursued with Audiobooks for Indies – getting plenty of great reviews in the door before looking at promotional options.

      As for getting those reviews, I think it requires a lot of work, but I value each review highly so put in the time to make it happen. I started by making a list of people I know who would be interested in reviewing the book, and as with all things communication, I started in my inbox, looking for people who I’ve been in touch with (mostly people in the industry) and asking them if they would like a review copy. Each person I reached out to was entered into a Google Sheet, so I could make sure I didn’t drop the ball on any email I was managing. I wanted to make sure that I thanked each person who offered to review, and again if they did. (Despite this management system, I did find a couple of emails went unanswered, just because I was dealing with so many. No one minded).

      The other main source of people for me was my mailing list. Fortunately, because of RSP, I have a list of authors, who know and (I hope!) like me a bit. Even if you are writing fiction, getting this mailing list up and running should be number one, because it was by far the most useful factor in driving reviews. First, I sent out an email with a catchy title “I’m giving my book away,” which got plenty of opens. I asked people to reply asking for a copy, I DID NOT provide a download link. This was a bunch of work, as I had to send individual copies to everyone, but it let me know who had a copy so I could individually follow up with them (I was later told there was a way to automate this in MailChimp, or similar, but I didn’t do that. I really wanted to email every person.) I wanted to know what people thought of the book, and a personal email exchange is way better than a generic email blast. I followed up with everyone who got a review copy, asking them what they thought, and if they would be kind enough to leave a review.

      • D B Daglish

        Thanks. That helps heaps. (bad grammar there)