Hello! These are all the course resources I mentioned in Starting From Zero.
And if you stumbled onto this page without enrolling in my free course, Starting from Zero, you can do that right here.
Free Course Books
You have download links in the course materials, and you should also get an email a couple of days after enrolling, with those download links as well. But just in case you miss those, here they are again.
Download Let’s Get Digital here.
Let’s Get Digital is freely available from all retailers and you’ll get the links you need above, but Following is a mailing list/course exclusive, and you can only get it from BookFunnel. Click the NEED HELP? link in the top-right of the BookFunnel download page if you are having trouble getting it onto your device.
I strongly recommend downloading the two books. I will refer to both throughout, and you will need to refer to them to complete the course tasks. It will be very difficult for you to get the full benefit of this course without them.
Here is every single resource mentioned in Starting From Zero, roughly following the order they are mentioned in the course (affiliate links throughout).
Browsers to Buyers
After showing you how to survey of your niche on Amazon, and then how to assess your presentation to make sure it fits, I mentioned that it is possible to add up to ten categories to your books now.
Just remember that covers Book (i.e. paperback) categories as well as Kindle ones, and keeping things relevant is more important than maxing our your total. Better to have less, than add places you don’t fit.
You can estimate how many sales it needs to hit a certain Sales Rank on Amazon – and thus estimate how competitive a potential category is – by consulting this free Sales Rank calculator on Kindlepreneur.
The process of adding categories is super boring, but extremely important and you only have to do it once. You can only pick two categories on upload, so pick the two most important, and then use this process below to get a total of ten categories on your book. You can do this via KDP, and I’ve outlined the steps below.
Make this request via KDP Support
- Identify the full category path for each of your preferred sub-categories. By this I mean actually write out Kindle eBooks > Mysteries, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers > Political for each of your target categories, rather than just Political Thrillers – you will need this in a moment.
- Log in to your KDP account. Click the Help link in the top right, then the Contact Us button in the bottom left of that page (they don’t make it so easy to find). This is the direct link, if you can’t find it.
- Underneath “How Can We Help?” select the first option “Amazon product page” and then “Update Amazon Categories” right underneath.
- An email template will appear. Add in the ASIN for your book, and then the full category path for each category you want added.
- Ignore the section on removing categories.
- Repeat this for each desired international market.
- Click Send message, and Amazon should sort this out for you in a couple of days. Note: depending on where you are in the world and what time of day it is, you may have the option of doing this by phone – it doesn’t matter which way you do it. Phone tends to be faster, but don’t expect the changes to be instant. They might still take a day or two to process fully.
- Those categories tend to take effect reasonably quickly, but as with anything Amazon, glitches can delay things, as can any customer service response time etc. It’s a bit of a pain, but you only have to do it once, and the benefits just keep accruing.
Note: If you want additional categories in international markets you will have to request those separately, and I recommend doing that for the UK at minimum. Just know that you will need the specific full category path for those markets too as the Kindle Store is broken down a little differently in each country.
Just remember the most important thing: always keep it relevant. And if you need a recap on why categories are so important, how choosing the right ones can trigger Amazon recommendations, and how bad choices can really hurt you, then I strongly recommend this uber-detailed guide to categories on my blog.
Build Your Platform
Remember, capturing readers is easy to do with the right architecture in place. It’s nearly impossible without it.
I’ll repeat your To Do list so you have it handy:
- Buy your domain from Namecheap.
- Get a hosting package from Siteground.
- Go with WordPress for your CMS.
- Install a flexible, responsive, professional WordPress theme like Divi.
- Join MailerLite and start installing your forms on your site and building your welcome sequences.
- Use BookFunnel to deliver your Reader Magnet
- Deploy your new Content Marketing skills to plan out content for your list.
- Start a Facebook Page and make it pretty.
- Post content to Facebook regularly to grow your Page.
- Hook everything up together and start cross-pollinating.
I recommend boning up on basic content marketing best practices, so that you can engage readers cleverly via your mailing list and Facebook Page. This blog post serves as a handy introduction to the topic.
Joanna Penn is an expert content marketer, as well as an author, and covers the topic regularly on her blog, such as here.
How To Sell Books
To make sure you have enough reviews on your book before you plan your first proper promo, follow this quick tutorial from my YouTube channel.
And then when you are ready to start booking deal sites for your first promo, I have the perfect resource to help you find the best options: my 2022 Guide to the Best Book Promo Sites.
These are my personal recommendations and this list is 100% up to date, containing the very best sites for freebies, discounts, series promos, genre specialists, and listbuilders.
Grow Your Author Business
Remember what I said in the course: don’t be intimidated by this list of resources. I don’t recommend trying to get good at all of this stuff at once. Take it step by step, and nail down the course basics first before even considering these more advanced tools.
Before we get into specific platforms, some general help. This post will teach you about Comp Authors and why determining yours is critical to succeeding on any ad platform.
And then here is my guide to the concept of reader targeting.
For platforms like Facebook and BookBub Ads you will need to create your own ad assets (or hire someone to do it for you – but that’s not as easy as it sounds). I think spending some time to learn a (free) tool like Canva is a great investment.
In fact, my list of recommended design tools for authors are all free, and I even have some free tutorials on my YouTube channel to get you started too. Like this one:
My favorite resource – by a mile – is Robert J. Ryan’s excellent guide book Amazon Ads Unleashed. Next on my list to try is another guide book, one highly rated by lots of people who know their onions, and that’s Deb Potter’s Amazon Ads for Authors.
Along with myself, both of those authors are members of this Facebook Group, which was founded to cover Amazon Ads, but has since expanded to cover Facebook Ads also. Lots and lots of great info in there.
And then this free course from Reedsy is good for the basics.
The Email Archive is your first port-of-call here, particularly the ongoing, free series on Facebook I’m doing with my list – we’re up to something like 12 parts now and just getting going.
This video guide is a very handy over-the-shoulder tutorial to building Facebook campaigns.
For more advanced users, Jon Loomer is the best resource I’ve found, although keep in mind he’s a general marketer, not book-specific.
I wrote the book on BookBub Ads – literally. And then outside The Wonderful World of Me, BookBub has a pretty stellar set of resources.
How Amazon Works
My blog covers the topic of Amazon a lot. Start here. But even better than that is a brand new book I have just released! It’s called Amazon Decoded and I think you will like it. It’s available now from all retailers.
Newsletter Ninja is the bomb. Read it and do everything she says, and you will be an email whizz in no time. Seriously. I’m living proof that the leakiest of ships can be turned around.
Note: I was happy to share my welcome emails on-screen in the course (Lesson 3.4 if you missed it), but please don’t sign up to my historical fiction mailing list to see how I run it. I’ve already shown you the content I share, signing up to my fiction list hurts me in several different ways so I’d really appreciate it if you don’t do that.
If you need more help with email, I’ve also written some posts on my blog which will serve as a good introduction to the possibilities with emaill marketing. Like this one.
Pop your questions on Starting From Zero in the box below. I’ll get a ping right away, and answer you once I’m finished juggling these chainsaws. If you genuinely do need to ask me something privately, you can do that here, but asking below is a lot quicker.
And if you need something to chew on while you wait, have a nose around my blog – which is filled with useful stuff!
Please also feel free to suggest anything that you think is missing from this page, or indeed the course itself. Feedback is always valued!