100% of Independent Publishers Who Do This Will Sell More of Their Work

100% of Independent Publishers Who Do This Will Sell More of Their Work

Reader Comments (60)

  1. Hi Sean,

    This is a great post.

    I think that you’ve explained extremely well what funnels are for people like me who aren’t entirely experienced with the expression, so thank you.

    I could not agree more with regards to diversifying products – you need lots of little things around your main service. Secondary income sources are a great way to add security for publishers and reduce risk.


  2. yep. I agree. The thinking done is smart here.
    I particularly like the point that it is better to keep a customer than gain a new one.
    Thanks for the article.

  3. Hi,

    Outstanding article. Bookmarked!

    PS: I love the new sharing buttons. Plugin or custom work?


  4. Great post. I’ve not known the term funnel before but I talk to authors about this as part of building a backlist and branding themselves. Funny how one concept can help with multiple goals.

      • But most author branding is around specific genres, whereas you guys have built funnels in multiple, diverse genres like humor and sci-fi. So I think funnels can be brand-independent, right?

        • I guess I’d say that your brand can BE about multiple genres. Our tagline is, “For readers who refuse to be defined.” Our brand specificity is about lack of specificity.

        • With so much cross-genre writing coming out or authors dabbling in multiple genres I think you just have to set fan expectations properly.

          If you look at a number of trad published authors they had pen names for their different genres and now they are moving away from that.

          Trying to determine what genre Neil Gaiman writes is tough. Ilona Andrews is also hard to categorize. Both have strong followings. No reason indies can’t set out to do that intentionally if they know (or suspect) they are going to write in more than one genre.

  5. Hey guys, great article. I picked up your book and have been fascinated by the idea of funnels. Over the past year, I published three ebooks on Amazon, and I totally agree with the write, publish, repeat mantra. One book definitely leads to another. My short term goal is to get to 10, with five being non fiction, and the others a fiction series. The Kindle marketplace is the new wild west, but like so many other things, persistence and hard work pay off over time. I like the fact that you are not pushing a get-rich scheme but an achievable strategy. One that takes hard work and a good road map. I’m looking forward to the rest of your book and to structure my funnels better.

    • I actually find no-BS approaches to be way more inspirational because you can actually BELIEVE them. How many people really believe, deep down, that you can make something from nothing?

      It’s amazing to me how much of success in anything really does seem to come down to simply doing the work.

  6. It seems so obvious when you put it like that. The fact that I have been falling right into these funnels for years and been oblivious, shows how much tunnel vision I’ve had when it comes to my own failed attempts at marketing. Thanks for lifting the blinkers. Top drawer advice.

  7. I bought your book this morning while eating my cereal, based on John Ward’s recommendation. Then I got to work and found this Copyblogger post in my email. Sometimes the universe tries to tell you something and you really need to listen.

    Each of my books is in a different genre, and I can already see my next month needs to be spent writing a free short story that works as a teaser for each one, to get readers into my funnel. Thanks for making it painfully obvious what my next move needs to be. I hope others get their “Aha!” moment from your book, too.

  8. How many works should an author give away for free? Let’s say you have 3 trilogies of books in 3 separate genres. Well, giving away Book 1 of your romance book might be a great way to find new readers, but is that going to help that cyber-punk trilogy?

    I guess you could put all the Book 1’s to free, but I think many would balk at that, especially if one book took them 6 months or longer to write.

    Certainly the old robber baron strategy is great. If you’re writing about writing copy you should write a novel about a copywriter in space, one in the old west, and another in a compromising office romance. Fiction and non-fiction authors might be surprised how quickly they can make the switch.

    • You’ll see little crossover, so yes, the #1’s should always be free. I have hundreds of thousands of free words out there, but they lead to paid ones.

      • It’s always good to have an eye on how you can bundle old blog posts into Amazon books as well.

        Even offering them for free on your site is a great incentive, and who doesn’t want to save time scrolling through the archives?

    • Write short stories as intros to each series for the intro. This is something you can go back and do if you have books already out. It should not be the same material from the books. Something around 15,000 words works well in my experience as a reader.

    • I totally agree. And yes, many would balk… but that doesn’t change the fact that in most cases, free would still be the best bet. I did a promotion recently where I sold a 4-book bundle for 99 cents. So in case you’re missing that, it’s 4 WHOLE BOOKS for 99 cents. I DEFINITELY balked at the idea. But there were 6 books in the series, so when the promotion netted me 1200 sales or so and raised my overall profile, I wasn’t thinking about the dollars lost. I was thinking of the exposure gained, and the sales of books 5 and 6 which immediately started coming after.

  9. You’re advice is timely – I’ve just launched a mystery series. One thing I thought of doing with ‘backstory’ is packaging it as short fiction (20K-ish) in order to give the reader more to read while not cluttering up the main books (60-70 words), the typical ‘book 2, book 3’ etc. Also, I have other novel-length stories not in the mystery genre. Do they all count, as for being in the funnel?

  10. This is a great post! Your thoughts here are very helpful to many minds who dream of earning from doing what they love to do. Also, this enlightens them about product funnels as a way to get bigger sales.

  11. Hey Johnny and Sean

    Thanks for the excellent writing. Great examples. Very clearly explained. Much appreciated.

    Johnny I also wanted to tell you that I’ve signed up to your everyday legendary forums. Great stuff. There’s LOTS of content there and I’m working my way through it. Thanks for leading a great tribe. 🙂

  12. Great article guys! If there is one thing that indie publishers aren’t familiar or comfortable with, it’s marketing. A series of works built into a funnel is a great way of catching the attention of many people and generating more sales.

  13. Thank you for an amazingly helpful post. I’ve really needed a concept like the funnel — it makes sense of what I see happening where the whole thing working for certain bloggers, writers, and speakers. And it has sparked a bunch of really good brainstorming for my own work.


  14. I always update & promote my free resources to whet the appetite & then “remind” visitors to visit my store for more in-depth content.

    Thanks so much for this post!

  15. This is a terrific post… a deep example of content marketing… and perfect for Copyblogger.

    I just bought your book: Write. Publish. Repeat. and wish you all the best with it.

  16. Great article!!

    I don’t have any ebooks at present, although I’m now thinking I need to start writing :). But I was wondering if this funnel concept could work for a products based/direct sell business. Any thoughts?

    Thanks again!

    • We actually adapted this to fiction FROM more traditional product selling, so absolutely, yes. All you’re looking to do is to get people saying “yes” a few times before your bigger products, and smaller, less expensive, or free products are all easier to say yes to.

  17. Hi Johnny, Sean,

    Thanks for explaining the purpose of the product funnel and how it can lead to more book sales for authors. I’m thinking of buying Write. Publish. Repeat. but I’d like to hear your thoughts about how this method can apply to poetry and self-publishing poetry collections.

    Just to get this off my shoulders, a lot of the writing and publishing advice I’ve seen and consumed are targeted at either fiction or non-fiction. I’ve rarely seen anything targeted at poets who want to market their art, but I feel that your book might be a winner here.

    I’m just worried about this idea of “mass producing” in the context of poetry. I fear that if I focus on creating five to ten poetry collections, quantity could easily trump quality. I mean, I understand that it’s never going to happen if I don’t actually get my work out there, but I don’t want to sell or market anything that’s mediocre.

    Correct me if I’m wrong or misunderstood the process.

    Your thoughts would really make my day and give me some direction. Thanks!


    • Hmm, I have my doubts about how well it would work with poetry. In theory it should be the same, but poetry is a very hard sell for most people on most platforms. There’s just not a huge readership.

      In our world, producing fast or producing a lot is not akin to “mass producing” in the way most people color that phrase, meaning lesser in quality, though. We would never deliver less than our best.

      • By “readership” you’re referring to today’s generation of readers? That’s disheartening to hear, though when visiting Goodreads, the works of famous poets like Neruda and Rumi still resonate with a lot of readers today.

        Despite this, I know that this is the genre I want to stick to. With that said, do you think self-publishing can change this? Does it have the potential to open doors to other genres aside from fiction and non-fiction? Looking through the list of poetry books sold on Amazon, you only see free versions of classics or cross-genre books that the site deems relevant to the search. This could be a gap we can fill in.

        It would be interesting if substantial research could be done on this. But whether anyone’s up for it or not, I’m willing to take the chance with my own work.

  18. A well setup autoresponder series is also a great way to automate (at least a portion) of your funnel. Start with something inexpensive (their email address) and let the autoresponder guide the reader through the funnel to your more expensive products.

  19. I’ve started reading much more of Copyblogger in the last couple of months and this post echoes exactly what I’ve found in practising martketing but also just in trying to get new work in the engineering/aerospace realm (which is one of my companies)

    The biggest stumbling block is always what comes after the free gift. But if you look at it as a funnel then you concentrate more on “what will make people stay in the funnel” i.e. how to you maintain good quality material.

    As ever a great post.

  20. Always have trouble with the funnel analogy. Funnels don’t sift. They may be wider at the top than at the bottom, but pour a quart in the top, and you’ll get a quart out the bottom.

    Sieve or filter your stream.

  21. Great post. “Keeping a client is easier than gain a new one” is the sentiment that I echo often. I love your content and will be back to check out more soon.

  22. I seem to have been ricocheting from one promotional website to another like a clockwork mouse trying to market my several different genres. It’s interesting to learn that funneling can work even if you’re looking at totally different markets (humour, children’s, teen, saga, romance, short stories). If I were to offer a children’s book for free, are you saying this might eventually result in the sale of the romance title through the magical power of funneling?

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