9 Questions with Sean Platt of Ghostwriter Dad

The following is an interview with Sean Platt of Ghostwriter Dad and previous guest blogger here at Kikolani.

Hi Kristi! it’s great to be here! Thanks for having me.

1. How do you promote your book in a very competitive marketplace?

Promoting a book follows similar principles to building a successful blog – you must produce the highest quality content you can, then promote that content with your best possible self.

I refer to this as the “build stuff and talk about it” model, except I never use the word stuff in private. :)

If you want to grow a blog, you need everyone to talk about. And if you want everyone to talk about it, you must be more compelling than most other blogs. That amounts to two things: the quality of your content and the level of your engagement.

Blogging is like the minor leagues for this amazing new publishing model.

We’re promoting our serialized fiction project, Yesterday’s Gone the same way we would build a blog, starting with an awesome book we’re ridiculously proud of, then talking about the project as often as we can. We make our guest posts and interviews as enjoyable for the reader as possible, tailoring our message to each individual audience.

I’ve done many interviews during the last month, all unique. My stories are mostly the same since I only have so many of those, but the way I tell those stories is always different. Here at Kikolani, I’m talking to readers who want to grow their blog, a fantastic audience since bloggers are specifically suited to capitalize on this unstoppable trend.

2. What sorts of things are you doing with your blog(s) to promote Yesterday’s Gone?

Our in-house blogs are slightly, but not entirely relevant to our book, so we can certainly write about it, but it would be a mistake to make promotion a prime focus on the site.

On our two primary writing sites, Ghostwriter Dad and Collective Inkwell, we’re publishing a few relevant posts, and placing portions of the book live on our serialized fiction site. But most of our promotion is through outreach on other blogs. We will tweet relevant links, post them to Facebook, and reach out to our networks as much as we can without being annoying.

This will probably be the hardest book we’ll ever promote. Much of what we’ve learned as content marketers over the last few years is helping us build our strategy now, then quickly evolve it as we go. You always hear it said, “it’s in the list,” and I couldn’t agree more.

We want to build a list for Yesterday’s Gone that helps us reach our fans directly. As bloggers, we’re used to our readers being just a post, tweet, or like away, and we know communicating with our audience is the most efficient way to grow. Those lines of communication are essential, and being able to tell our core fans when the next chapter in their favorite series is going live is pivotal to the relationship and growth of the fan base.

3. What role does social media play in your marketing strategy?

Even when not actively on Twitter or Facebook, social media affects everything we do. Everyone on our team and in every corner of our business found us through social media channels. I cannot imagine being a writer or publisher without these wonderful tools which sit beneath my fingertips each day.

We plan to focus on relationships rather than broadcasts. Not everyone subscribed to my Twitter feed wants to hear about my book every 20 minutes. I know I wouldn’t. A couple times per day is fair, but that’s not what they signed up for, so it would be irresponsible of me to turn @SeanPlatt into the “Guess What’s Happening With Yesterday’s Gone!!” channel.

Fortunately, I have a decent network, and tend to get retweeted a reasonable amount. So there’s a decent chance my content will spread as long as I continue to deliver quality. And that goes back to what I said in the beginning: deliver quality and build quality relationships, and your growth will be natural and consistent over time.

4. What sorts of SEO strategies are you employing?

Not too many at the moment, though we are incorporating SEO long-term across our syndicate.

SEO, done well, won’t catapult you to the front of the SERPS. Sure, I know strategies that would get me ranking really fast for what I want, but I’d likely be punished later, and I’d always rather play the longer, smarter game. Besides, a project like Yesterday’s Gone thrives from reader recommendation far more than it ever could from being found in a search engine.

Long-term, we’ll be implementing basic SEO strategies for all our flagship sites. We have several verticals, each with titles in development and a master site with its own SEO program.

For example, on my oldest site, Writer Dad, I talk about family, reading, writing, general parenting stuff, so that site is optimized for those related terms because that audience is most suited to buying my parenting or children’s books.

I also have SEO strategies for YouTube and my Amazon pages that capitalize on those sites’ astronomical Page Rank, but they’re really early in development and not quite started.

5. What challenges are there in promoting a serialized eBook rather than one book?

I think serialization dims some of the challenges. Just a few months ago my writing partner, Dave, and I had published five titles. We were proud of all five and could have stood behind any one and pushed it to success. Yet, our five titles were in four different markets, meaning we might as well have had one.

Writing a series simplified the funnel and our marketing. We could write an incredible series, release it in pieces, then focus our attention on the first book in the series. This would be enough to get our readers interested, then as long as we continued to publish remarkable followups, our readers would buy subsequent episodes, or the entire first season (which is just $4.99).

It’s like voluntary continuity, and I thoroughly love the model.

6. What advantages are there to serialization?

The level of possible engagement between writer and reader is phenomenal. The nature of a serial leaves a lot of open loops. That means your reader is thinking about your world even when they’re not reading, just like viewers wondered what would happen next on LOST even when they weren’t watching. And sure, that’s great for driving sales, but it’s also a fantastic way to solidify the author/audience bond.

Beyond the visceral nature of the reading, and the awesome bond, you have the pure economics of the model. Think about your favorite show, do you stop watching during season 2, or 3? No, probably not. You probably follow your favorite shows until they stop being good or worthy of your attention.

Love your audience and make sure everything you produce is fantastic, and you will be more likely to find the reward of serialized fiction.

7. What ways are you engaging your readership?

We answer all our email, tweets, comments, etc., and are building our “Be a Goner” list to establish a direct line of communication with our audience. The project is brand-new, so there isn’t a lot of interaction yet, but early readers are hooked – and vocal, so we know what they’re thinking. That by itself is an amazing element of the project. We’re not being told what to write, but audience feedback fuels discussion.

Yesterday’s Gone was the first project to so beautifully balance smart economics and passion in my three years online. The business model is incredible and I couldn’t love it any more than I do, but more importantly, I’m finally getting to write fiction with my name on the cover, which is what I’ve wanted to do since before buying my first domain.

8. What led you to writing this book?

David and I have been talking about publishing a serialized fiction project for a while now. We tried to do it with our first book, Available Darkness, but missed the mark, breaking apart one book rather than building a true serial from the ground up.

Yesterdays Gone was our chance to do it right, and we had to jump at that chance.

We wanted to get 5-6 titles in the same market on Kindle, before Christmas, so we could capitalize on the roaring trend and pending price drop. Serializing a book with 100 page “episodes” gave us the perfect opportunity.

9. What advice do you have for bloggers writing books? (Self-publishing vs. publishing companies, eBooks vs. print, etc.)

Self-publishing isn’t ideal for all writers, but I see it as a fantastic solution specifically tailored to bloggers. Bloggers tend to write faster, are comfortable with and used to engaging their audience at a personal level, and are familiar with the modern tools needed to excel as a self-published author.

As far as eBooks versus print, there’s little argument now, and it’s fading by the day. Until Yesterday’s Gone, we published everything on Kindle and in print. Yet, we’re seeing virtually no sales from print, so it’s difficult to justify the time it takes to get our titles to ink, especially considering print moves at the speed of mammal compared to Kindle’s push-button-click.

If you’re a blogger, Yesterday.s Gone is a title worth paying attention to. You can check out the trailer for Yesterday’s Gone here:

For readers, writers or bloggers in general, Yesterday’s Gone is a potential game changer, well worth following. You can start by buying the Yesterday’s Gone pilot for $.99, or get the full “season” for just $4.99 and keep the smile on your face for a week!

If you want to make sure you don’t miss a thing, click here to become a “Goner” and get exclusive chapters with shocking endings, plus a ringside seat to our behind the scenes marketing.

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  1. says

    Thanks for the informative post. I think that we mainly should rely on social media when we promote a book as the people are more perceptive to some information there. I can’t agree that promoting a book is like to promote a blog. Well, may be, but not 100% for sure.

  2. says

    More and more, I am seeing questions about how to promote ebooks. The kindle ebook publishing is an awesome free tool for bloggers and aspiring writers. But often after they publish, they don’t quite know how to promote their book. I do think blogging about the book is one of the standard methods of promotion and as you say, talking about the book often in various social media outlets. The other good method I’ve seen is to have a short thank you message at the end of the book and ask people to leave a positive review if they liked the book.
    Richard just posted Making Money Online: Distractions to Avoid

  3. says

    What a great interview. It was very informative seeing some of the strategies and even similarities between promoting a book and promoting a blog. I think Sean has just got himself a new follower. :)

  4. says

    Hi Kristi,
    It is a very interesting post.Thanks for sharing answers by SEAN PLATT and his answer gives motivation and knowledge to many readers especially ANS#7 is very important to gain readership.
    Pete Goumas just posted ABCmouse.com Review

  5. says

    Nice Info!!!!

    Thanks for sharing these all tips which all are very useful for achieve good PR on Google. I am sure if we will use these simple tips step by step then definitely we will get good result for us in less time.
    goa carnival just posted Goa Carnival 2012