When I heard someone was giving away a self-publishing course, I was a little skeptical, presuming it was either some kind of bait-and-switch or an opportunity for some hardcore upselling.
But I was wrong.
Iain Rob Wright has done something pretty amazing. He has created a pretty damn comprehensive course on self-publishing and marketing – over 50 hours of HD Video – and he has made it all free. Not the first bit free. Not free for a limited time. Not free if you also buy this, or agreed to be assailed by that.
Iain had originally planned to charge quite a lot of money for it, but the idea didn"t sit right with him and just before launching he made the decision to make the whole thing free. The course is called Self-Publishing Mastery and you can enroll here.
You are probably skeptical. And you are definitely right to be generally skeptical. There has been an explosion in courses lately – some have a great reputation and are led by authors with a solid track record of both knowing their stuff and selling books, and others are not. Plus there has been an accompanying uptick in seamy sales tactics. It"s perfectly natural to be suspicious of someone claiming to be giving away all this content for free.
So I was suspicious. I checked it out first, and asked a few friends to do likewise. And you know what? There really is no catch.
There"s a teeny bit of upselling when you first enroll – a small bolt-on course on craft for those who haven"t finished their first book yet – and I think it"s quite cheap, something like $28. I"ve no issue with that at all, obviously. Seems like it would be useful to some people, and I know from experience that some newbies can get ahead of themselves and start guzzling down information on optimal KU strategies before they have finished their first novel *glares at 1.4% of blog audience*.
There"s also a few affiliate links scattered throughout – but once again Iain is upfront about that, mentioning that in the introductory video (a refreshing bit of transparency), and again the ones I checked seemed to be legitimately good products at a discount, and there was no hard sell. For example, he recommends Vellum but also shows you how to format your books for free. I generally have no problem with affiliate links once the products are legit and everything is disclosed, and this goes beyond that.
(Full disclosure: I"m not an affiliate of this course, I don"t know Iain at all, and I"m only recommending it because I think it looks good. The only thing I"m an affiliate of is Amazon. Any time I link to a book on here, it"s probably an affiliate link. Unless I"m a dumbass and forget, like I did with that scammer post which had 70,000 views *weeps*.)
So that"s the bone fides out of the way, what about the content?
It"s so comprehensive it really caught me by surprise. I was expecting all the introductory topics like how to use KDP and how to find an editor, but I was not expecting detailed instructions on how to use AMS, Facebook ads, optimized landing pages, lead magnets, email segmentation – the works.
Iain knows his stuff too. He"s been a full-time writer for six years, he"s had six-figure years, he"s been in the Top 100, he"s been a Kindle All Star. Oh and he"s written tons of books, including one with Joe Konrath.
The information is pretty high-level once you get to the advanced part of the course – I picked up a couple of tips just from checking out a few of the videos. And it"s structured well so you can dip in and out as you please.
Feel free to check it out, and if you think it"s useful, please share with writers in your circle. I think it"s a great thing that Iain has done and will help a lot of authors.
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As I"m slightly more mercenary than Iain, the sum of my self-publishing knowledge is available in old-fangled e-book form for the wallet-emptying price of 99¢. Today is the last day of the Countdown Deal so grab it before the price soars back up to $2.99.
— David Gaughran (@DavidGaughran) August 24, 2017
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I have two con appearances coming up. First is Colorado Gold in Denver, organized by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. It takes place from September 8-10 and I"m teaching one monster four-hour workshop on self-publishing, a shorter one-hour session on marketing, and participating in a two-hour self v trad debate which I believe is taking place in some kind of cage. This event is sold out but there is a wait list if you were thinking of going.
Second is NINC at St. Pete"s Bay in Florida from October 4-8. Two totally different workshops for that crowd, who tend to be more experienced marketers. One is a topic on a lot of people"s minds at the moment – Wide or Exclusive? How to Effectively Promote a Series – which focuses on the radically different ways you need to market a series, depending on whether you are in KU or not (and they really are very different).
The other talk I"m giving is a subject I"ve been working on lots and lots this year – From Strangers to Superfans: Targeting the Right Readers. And that"s going to intro a whole new marketing approach, and dive into all sorts of also bought chicanery and algorithm tomfoolery.
The whole NINC program sounds pretty sweet and it"s also a good opportunity to meet industry folk and build relationships, including people from KDP, Createspace, BookBub, Kobo, and BookFunnel. And if any of that sounds enticing to you, there"s still time to register (I think this Sunday is the deadline).
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Finally, it seems like there are more indie authors (especially romance authors!) in Texas than anywhere else. I met quite a few at the Smarter Artist conference in Austin earlier this year. I know some were planning to go to NINC and I was looking forward to seeing them again, but obviously that might be in jeopardy now with the devastating floods in Houston and beyond.
I hope y"all are safe.