A brief Q&A with John Locke
Every principle that best-selling author John Locke has used to sell over one million eBooks through the Kindle applies to all online publishers, whether you are the publisher of the Dark Daily website or Time Magazine.
In Locke’s case, he didn’t become a best-selling author solely on the strength of his content…he has a marketing system in place and a successful strategy for it.
Locke’s success speaks of the dramatic implications on pricing, marketing and business structure – all of which are discussed at our upcoming Mequoda Summit East 2011.
Today, the question of “Am I an editor, writer or marketer?” arises frequently within the online publishing environment. The answer is typically “all of the above” as small, nimble and technologically empowered are all traits of publishing, now and in the future.
To find out more about Locke’s publishing endeavors, Mequoda Group recently interviewed him. Here are a few answers from the author.
A brief Q&A with John Locke
Do you have an editor and designer for your books?
Yes, I use Telemachus Press to design my book covers, format and upload content. I also get content editing help from my brother and my secretary, and pay the author, Winslow Eliot, for copyediting.
How have you internalized the jobs of traditional publishers/agents?
I publish at my own pace and set my own prices. I do have a traditional agent, Jane Dystel, of Dystel & Goderich, NYC, who handles TV and movie offers, as well as negotiations for audio books and foreign rights.
Do you think your price scale will have a leveling affect on pop fiction?
I think it already has, although I’m certainly not the first to come up with the 99-cent price point. I’ve been told more than 85,000 authors are currently offering their books for 99 cents. I don’t have any basis for proving that number, other than comments I’ve heard. But it does seem the vast majority of self-published novels are at 99 cents and $2.99, which is the price point at which Kindle royalties double from 35% to 70%. I hardly ever see any books priced between those numbers.
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Have you taken on any full-time employees?
No, I’m still a one-man show, and plan to stay that way, as long as possible.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your approach to publishing?
I am first and foremost a marketing guy, so there’s not much I can tell your readers about publishing. But in my opinion, the biggest problem authors have is not publishing, but marketing our books. I began selling my books 28 months ago, and tried all the traditional approaches recommended to me by so-called experts. During the first 19 months, I spent more than $25,000 trying to generate sales. Even with my eBooks offered at 99 cents I was only averaging around $20 a month income!
So I decided to sit down and create a marketing plan to get my books onto the best-seller lists. My intention was to design a system that would cost virtually nothing, and would utilize the lessons I’d learned over a lifetime of selling and marketing various products. I began using my new system in November, 2010, and since that time I have sold more than 1,200,000 eBooks. When I hit the Kindle Million Sales Club, I released my system in book form. It’s titled, How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months. I’m bringing this up in case your readers decide to seek marketing resources for their books at some point.
Guru publishing resources at the Mequoda Summit East 2011
As Locke stated himself, marketing is a big problem faced by content publishers and producers. However, with the right system and proper strategies, online publishers, both fiction and nonfiction, can find audiences and sell more products.
If you want to attend a conference comprised of a group of forward thinking publishers bringing content closer to users, join us at the Mequoda Summit East 2011 in September. Bryan Welch, the innovative publisher at Ogden Publishing will be our keynote presenter. Bryan will discuss successful strategies for publishers looking to excel in the digital age.
The overall theme for the Mequoda Summit East 2011 is how to start and run a successful online media business. During this multi-day conference, you will experience hands-on workshops, panel sessions and keynote presentations to help you launch or relaunch a successful online content-based business.