Publishing and Marketing A Poetry Chapbook: Experiments, Successes, and Failures (Episode 4: Talk To People (The Long Game, Email Marketing)

3 Days Until The Book Is Live

Copy of C. Alexander (1)

As I mentioned in the last post, the book is actually already live, at least the paperback version is. I broke down some of the reasons for that in the last post. The kindle version will go live tomorrow, and it will be priced at $4.99. Here’s a tip if you are thinking about buying the kindle version, wait until Monday. It will be free. So why did I price it at $4.99?

Psychology is weird.

The way Amazon markets its products is by showing two things:

  1. How much cheaper the kindle is than the paperback. Well right now, I’d rather someone buy a paperback before I go live, so I’m not worried about using that to my advantage.
  2. When I do my kindle countdown deal starting Monday, Amazon will show the book as free for 5 days, and it will also show that the book is usually $4.99 with a big slash mark through it. When it stops being free, I will lower it to $.99, because I don’t really care about making money with this book. In fact, if you join my email list, I’ll give you two books for free.

You don’t want to make money?

I mean sure I want to make money, but I can be quite patient. I have a full-time job that I don’t despise; I write as a freelancer on the side, so even though I’d love to be a full-time writer, I’m not in a huge rush.

And you shouldn’t be either. Because the strategy I’m employing here is a long play, but I think it will be worth it. The number one goal of this entire project is to

grow my email list. 

This is the most important thing you can do as a blooming marketer. You need consistent eyeballs that you can control. Some of you may have seen me for the first time through this article, through a book I wrote, through Medium, or some other strange corner of the internet. Most of you will only see me once, and I’ll be lucky if you read most of the words.

This is a universal truth of the internet. You are exposed to everyone and you are no one at the same time.

You have to find a way to keep people with you. And an email opt-in is the best way. That’s why you’ll have seen 2-3 opt-ins by now for my email list, and I’ve created a free ebook to entice. This has a two-fold function.

  1. You get a free thing. And it’s actually good. I spent a lot of time on the book. It was my master’s thesis.
  2. You get a newsletter that is actually sort of interesting. I’m not spamming anyone with a billion products or call’s to action. I just give you some fun info, and we move on with our week. But, the one or two times a year I do have a new book or something to sell, I have a list to talk to.

So what is the big strategy? How am I growing a list?

On the first and last page of my soon-to-be-free kindle book, I have an email opt-in for another free book, The Cosmic Hello.

Luckily for you, you can just click that link and get it immediately. So yes, this strategy means you have to have written 2 things at least, and that you have to be willing to give away 2 things at least. For you, it doesn’t have to be a full book. Maybe you write a book, set it for free, and then have a short story as an opt-in.

By giving away these two free things, I’m hoping I will be gaining email subscribers that I would have never been exposed to, thanks to Amazon’s search algorithm.

I have two things going for me that will help me get exposed in Amazon.

  1. The title of my book is full of keywords. “Poetry book” is one the most successful Amazon keywords, and already if you type “a poetry book to read” in Amazon, you’ll see my book on the first page of results. That is without making a single sale yet.
  2. By making my book free on kindle, more people will be willing to take a shot on it, and Amazon also pushes it up its list for the first week or so. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to make it “perma-free” though I’m leaning that direction, and I’ll tell you how you can do that soon because it’s slightly complicated.


It may be strange that I’d still like you to sign up for my list even though I’ve told you that’s what I want. We aren’t used to honesty from people trying to sell us stuff.

And I’m not sure I’m doing myself any favors, but like many artists reading this, I don’t want to be a scummy salesman. Never have. I want to create my art, and then find a way to get that art in front of as many eyes as possible. Will being upfront and honest about my strategies help or hinder me? I don’t know.

Plenty of people are making money online by lying to you. I won’t be one of them.

Until next time, keep creating cool shit, and I’ll keep experimenting on how to help you get it in front of people.


C. Alexander


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