Writing in the Digital Age with Phil Williams

9 November 2017

Phill Williams

Publishing technology has made it easier than ever to get your books out there – but how do you get anyone to read them? Self-published author Phil Williams will give a talk detailing the different techniques authors are now using to get noticed.

Starting with more traditional promotions areas such as book listings and blurbs, Phil will continue through to the various and rapidly evolving online marketing methods available. This includes promotions through book review blogs, email lists and social media, as well as advertising on major platforms such as Amazon and Facebook. Phil will also offer advice on how to write about your writing, to capture readers’ attention – and there’ll be an opportunity to practice writing your own straplines and mini-adverts.

Phil Williams is a self-published author of SFF fiction and non-fiction English learning guides. He started employing the marketing ideas discussed in this talk earlier this year – and has since found his books topping numerous charts (including reaching the Top 10 of all books on Amazon for grammar). He also freelances as a copywriter and as an advanced English tutor, giving him a wide field of writing knowledge.


Review of the Meeting

Phil told us that he started by writing grammar guides, netting £100/month. His Word Order in English Sentences has since been in top ten Kindle grammar guides for three months. He has sold more than 1,500 books this year and been number one in the Amazon Steam Punk chart. Phil covered the following points:

  1. Evolution of self publishing
    a. Technology and printing is almost free as the print costs are part of the sale price.
    b. Electronic books can earn authors more money than hard copies.
    c. On line communities, such as Facebook, provide free/cheap publicity.
  2. Community
    a. Phil recommends The Creative Penn:
    b. Mark Dawson runs self-publishing courses, not cheap but worth it to meet the others in the community of several thousand authors in on line groups.
    c. Smart Passive Income, a US self-publisher, got Phil started. You can find audience and connect with them through these folks.
  3. What do we need in order to sell our product/our book?
    • i. Landing page – could be your page on Amazon
    • ii. Cover – people do judge a book by its FRONT cover.
    • iii. Blurb should describe how the story emotionally impacts the main character, not tell the story! Phil is busy getting his new book, Aftan Whispers – a steam punk adventure - ready for sale. He includes phrases like: ‘If you like x then you will love this’. No need to be that original!
    • i. Reader reviews help on line/Amazon sales. The more the merrier.
    • ii. Author Platform – Funnel – web site/social media/email list – drive people towards the next stage. Start with reader magnet. He’s written two free novellas, connected to his writing to get people interested. When your mailing list reaches ten thousand, you’re on the way to a career as a writer.
    • iii. Build relationships: advanced reader team can read book before it’s released. Use their reviews for your Amazon page /social proof and sharing/sales. Send book to folks for proof read. Mostly, books sell better just after release. Amazon will promote your book it if it’s doing okay
    • iv. Launch by using readers on the mailing list to promote. Bookbub is huge and exclusive – if you get your book there, you will probably make money from your investment.
    • v. Advertise on Face Book (FB) and Amazon. FB takes a lot of money to get a return. Target people you know will be keen. Use trial-and error to find the group that will buy. Amazon takes three to six months to pay up.
    • vi. To make money from self-publishing, try writing a series of books.
    It takes time, effort and cash to profit from self-publishing, but ‘anyone can do it’. A Self Publishing Resources List will be available on the WSW web site and a pdf will be sent to all WSW members.