John Locke’s “How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months!”


Beyond thinking about how to make formatting books for Kindle quicker, easier and more efficient, I’ve also been reading up about marketing books a lot, lately.  I started off with some books about the more traditional process, and lately read this one:

It’s pretty good, especially if you’re new to marketing things on line.  If using Twitter, Facebook, mailing lists and so on on-line is old hat to you, this book may not be for you.

In case you hadn’t heard of him, John Locke managed to sell more than a million of his books through the Amazon KDP, which are impressive numbers.

Here are a few of the ideas that struck me as important:

First of all, target a niche with your writing.  That means that you should have in mind who you are writing for, and market to this profile.  In other words, you and your writing can’t be all things to all people.  Instead, you should have a firm vision of who your target audience is, and then find how to reach them.

Step one: know your audience. Step two: write to them, which means, give them what they want!

The book also encourages authors to create memorable scenes and characters that will help create ‘buzz’ for their books.

Locke also discusses his “system” of using twitter and his blog to drive people to his web site, and to his books, with the caveat that you shouldn’t just flog your books continually on twitter, or no one will be interested in following you.  Be yourself, but be unique too – don’t just blather on about the mundane details of your life – say something that could only come from you.

This takes time. Lots of time. But every meaningful, worthwhile relationship takes time to build. It’s important that you sincerely like Jane and consider her contributions valuable to the Twitter community. If not, it will show, and she and the Twitter community will think of you as a suck up, and you’ll lose credibility.

He also discusses at length how by personally responding to email correspondence, he creates fans that are willing to write positive reviews for his books, and “spread the word”.  And of course, he also has a mailing list that’s easy to sign up for, so that when he has a new book, sale, or something else of interest to his readers, he can send out an email.

I’ve changed the default LiberWriter template to help encourage people to include some of the recommended information in their books, and am working on a brief marketing guide of my own, as well as a system within LiberWriter to help people get in touch with potential readers before their books are even finished.

In summary, here’s the laundry list of tools you’ll need.  These can all be had very inexpensively:

  • A web site (get a domain name to go with it, don’t just use
  • A twitter account
  • A mailing list

It’s not a lengthly book, and if you’re interested in cheap, effective ways of marketing your book(s), it’s probably worth reading: for just a few dollars, if it helps you sell 10 more books, then it will probably pay for itself.

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