Part I: Key Principles & Business Fundamentals

Welcome to my seven part guide on how to market your self-published fiction books. These six parts form a complete, step-by-step marketing system derived from personal experience and studying successful independent authors. Unlike other guides, books or courses you may have encountered, I promise not to throw a bunch of random, untested tactics (or folksy feel-good stories) at you, since I’m sure you have plenty collecting dust already.

I want to be clear: there are no secrets within these pages. I cannot promise overnight success – in fact, you should expect this process to take 3 – 5 years – but if you apply the information within, you will almost certainly see results. I am not going to teach you twenty-one tricks that make your skull spontaneously combust in stunned awe of my ingenuity. If you frequent writers’ forums, you will have seen much of this information already. Here’s the problem: you’re probably not using any of that information to sell more books. It simply exists as a collection of unorganized facts that, one day, you might apply.

Information alone is not valuable. In an era of hyper-connectivity, it’s a commodity. Translating information into results, however, remains difficult. If you’re anything like me, information tends to sit in a mental box marked “to be used later.” I eventually wrote this guide as an organizational tool to make all this information usable for me while weeding out the marketing myths that naturally proliferate on the internet.

This guide’s objective, then, is simple: to distill the best marketing information into a step-by-step, actionable framework.

Such a framework is otherwise known as a system. A good system is a standardized blueprint that produces repeatable, consistent results. Instead of remembering what to do – or viewing facts and strategies in disconnected isolation – we can focus on execution.

As surgeon Atul Gawande so eloquently states:

The reason [for medical error]…is not usually laziness or unwillingness. The reason is more often that the necessary knowledge has not been translated into a simple, usable and systematic form.

If systems work for doctors, they will work for you, humble indie author.

Each section of this guide concludes with a set of action exercises & summary. If you skip the exercises, you will get no results. But these exercises are just a stepping stone. After you deeply understand the concepts, you can – and should – build your own framework upon them. I don’t expect everything to resonate with you. In the immortal words of Bruce Lee: Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own.

In Part 1, I’ll explain:

  • Crucial principles
  • Key business metrics

Here we go.

A Note

It would be impossible to cite all the sources of the information within, for I fear every other sentence would have an attribution. Suffice to say, I’m much less the creator of this guide than a curator. My aim is not to assume credit, but to systematically assemble the best advice on marketing independent books within one comprehensive resource. So to the generous authors and entrepreneurs who recognize their influence: thank you.

Why Should I Listen to You?

This is a valid question, since so-called “authorities” frequently publish gag-inducing clickbait like “how I made $3,245 in six days via Kindle.”

This marketing guide is not that type of frivolous, non-actionable content. While free, it aims to be higher quality than every paid course on the market. This is a bold claim, but if you follow the steps, I believe you’ll find it to be true. Thus, I offer three reasons to consider listening to me:

  1. I’ve experienced every problem you’ve encountered.
    1. My first novel sold 14 copies in its first year (at $0.99).
    2. It had zero reviews for that time.
    3. I’ve had books hammered by bad reviews, killing them right out of the gate.
    4. I’ve had series lose thousands of dollars.
    5. I’ve burned thousands of dollars on useless promos.
    6. I’ve launched a book and had it sell less than 100 copies, despite my best marketing efforts.
    7. I had 4 newsletter subscribers at the end of 2015 (three years into my indie career).
  2. These problems have forced me to reflect deeply on what works – and what does not. Instantly successful authors nail the fundamentals naturally or through good fortune. This limits their ability to assist others, as they haven’t experienced many of the common obstacles. E.g. if your sink has always worked, you won’t understand how to fix it. I’ve experienced a shit load of (metaphorical) flooding sinks.
  3. I’ve tested almost everything in this guide. This isn’t theory, or a summary of six books on indie publishing I read this weekend; these are hard-earned facts, backed by actual data from 4+ years of experience, 45+ titles, and 6 different author names in a variety of genres.

But, really, none of that matters. The best reason to listen is simple: I use this system myself.

If my advice doesn’t resonate with you, that’s okay. I’m just one guy, and I’ve promised you no grand secrets. It’s inevitable that I’m mistaken about certain things. Such is the curse of being human.

What is invalid – if you’re starting out, in particular – is ignoring everyone. Collectively, the indie author community is one of the most open and generous you’ll find. Ignoring their 10+ years of hard-won wisdom in the name of “forging your own path” is sheer idiocy. If you insist on learning everything in this business through trial and error, you will never make it. There are lightning bolt exceptions, of course, that everyone singles out. But reinventing the wheel every time you need to travel is not a good life strategy.

The trickiest thing about indie publishing – much like poker, or stock trading – is that optimal processes don’t always yield positive results. There is high variance in the outcomes. You can get a great cover, write a great book, pen a killer blurb and have the whole thing flop – multiple times in a row. This leads people to declare conventional wisdom “nonsense” and the publishing business all “luck,” after which they traipse off to follow their own ill-fated marketing “strategy.” In actuality, what they needed to do was play enough “hands” (e.g. release enough books, keep marketing) to smooth out the variance.

No author has enough time, money or, quite frankly, mental fortitude to survive an endless stream of unforced errors.

Follow a good, proven strategy. Then persist long enough to see it through.

On Tactics

Tactics are temporary; strategy is timeless.

Strategy steers the ship. It’s the engine that keeps you afloat, tells you what to do. Tactics are important; keeping apprised of what’s new/what’s working for other authors currently can, and will, greatly help your success.

But a business is not built on tactics – some cool trick to get low bids on Facebook, or a few special keywords to use for your book.  This is great for clickbait, as the fundamentals are decidedly less sexy. And yes, in the short term, these things might help. But in the long term, tactics are either stamped out by the platforms or become swarmed by competitors. Ultimately, a tactic that once gave you an edge becomes either obsolete or a commodity. They can be wildly profitable in the interim, but they have a shelf life.

An example of a tactic: back in early ~2012, you could set your book to free on Amazon KDP and give away thousands of copies almost automatically. Since the free and paid charts were mixed (and a free download was counted as equivalent to a sale in their algorithm), this meant you got massive visibility – your free book would be hanging out at #12 in the entire Kindle Store. And, when it reverted to paid after its free run was over, you would make thousands of dollars from said visibility.

Many indies made 5-figures this way. A handful launched their careers, because they built actual fanbases using this source of traffic. Most, however, failed to recognize their good fortune – or thought the gold rush would never stop. Very few authors channeled this sales windfall into building their mailing lists (or another platform) where they could directly connect with their fans – and had on-demand access to them. As such, their good fortune was temporary, and their books plummeted into obscurity once Amazon separated the free and paid charts (and made a free download grant a mere 1/10 of the visibility boost of a paid sale).

This means two things for our purposes:

  1. This guide will not delve into temporary tactics. Otherwise it will be out of date in weeks or months. 95% of the information will remain relevant in 2030, since it’s based upon principles that are well over a century old. I chased tactics for the first two or three years of my career; inevitably, they either dried up before I could actually implement them (e.g. I sat on pages of notes for months) or they quickly waned in effectiveness when I did hop on the bandwagon.
  2. The end goal of your marketing efforts is to find fans. Yes, sales, page reads, downloads and so forth are all wonderful. Tactics that provide a temporary sales bump or visibility boost but don’t build your fanbase are ultimately worthless.  If you’ve found a tactical gold mine (say, a certain kind of Pinterest ad is making you a crazy amount of money), you must translate this temporary boost into fans ASAP by getting them to sign up for your email list (or engage on your platform of choice). Otherwise, once the gold rush is over, you’re left with no real business.

Tactics are useful, and have their place in marketing. But focusing on them at expense of the big picture is a fool’s errand.

Three Facets to Increasing Your Earnings

There are three levers you can pull to increase your earnings, in order of importance:

  1. Marketing
  2. Production
  3. Craft

At the outset, #3 is the most important; many early books are terrible, and have no shot at selling, no matter how quickly they’re produced or how good the marketing is. After you hit an above average level, the returns start diminishing rapidly. That is not to say that you shouldn’t strive to keep improving your craft, merely that it’s not the lever that will have the greatest effect on sales. History is rife with stories about unappreciated geniuses who either never achieved popularity during their lifetime, or who forever remained obscure.

Production involves the number of ads, books, strategies, and so forth you can put out. Most people tend to focus on the book production – e.g. a novel a month – but testing tons of ads and different marketing tools is another way to pull this lever. Many successful indies do them in tandem, to maximize the number of irons in the fire. What you’ll find in this business is that no one really knows what will be a hit or what will flop. Thus, it’s important to take lots of swings. The more productive you are, the more swings you get.

Marketing is primarily what this guide is about. It involves everything from paid advertising to cover branding. To paraphrase Dan Kennedy, I don’t believe you are really in the publishing or writing business, per se. You are in the book marketing business – the reader acquisition business. If you cannot find readers, make them aware of your work, and then turn them into fans reliably and repeatably, you are not going to survive. A few authors get struck by lightning, and get to skip this step. Most do not, and have to build their readership fan-by-fan.

This is depressing news for some, but such is reality: if you are a bad marketer, you are facing an uphill battle. Not just in business, but in life. Fortunately, you can get better.

Ultimately, you must be above average in all three of these areas to have a decent shot of success; you must develop one that is a signature skill, where you are top 99% (against other indies). This is obviously difficult, which is why I emphasize over and over that you should expect this to take five years. There is no guide that can build those skills for you; you must do it on your own. Whichever you choose to pursue the most should be based on your preferences and strengths.

This Guide’s Core Principles

All systems are built upon principles. My marketing philosophy is no different. These are not beliefs, nor things I necessarily wish to be true; these are principles that, from experience, data and research, I’ve found are likely to be true.

  1. Think critically of all advice (or, The Emperor Has No Clothes). Most advice is BS – even successful people often have a poor grasp on why they succeeded, or elements such as variance, timing and luck.
  2. Life is dictated by evolution: Success in indie publishing – and, presumably, life at large – is not about being the strongest, fittest, smartest or quickest. Success results from being the best adapted to the current environment. You must be willing to try new, uncomfortable things. You can adapt, or you can die.
  3. Compound interest rules the world: Compound interest applies to everything from money to newsletter subscribers to skill acquisition. Get 1% better per week; 1% per week compounded over 5 years is a 13x increase. Initial progress is modest – until you hit critical mass, which people mistakenly call “overnight success.”
  4. The 80/20 Rule: 80% of your results come from just 20% of your actions. The #s vary (e.g. 1% of your actions can produce 99% of the results). The key takeaway: a select few actions have a disproportionate impact on your results. You cannot do everything, nor should you even try; most tasks are worthless. Small, marginally effective tactics are, in fact, liabilities, as they thieve time from high impact, ultra-valuable tasks.
  5. No amount of tweaking and marketing can revive a book or series that fails to satisfy reader expectations. If you’ve tried a lot of things and your book still sinks like a stone, congratulations: you’ve written an unsellable book. No worries. I’ve written 15+ of them.
  6. Implement one thing at a time. Mailing lists. Genre research. Covers. Categories. Trying to master everything at once is a recipe for information overload. It’s probably gonna take 3 – 5 years to become a successful author – you can’t learn or do everything today. Think big, but act small: identify your main problem, break it into manageable chunks and then attack it step-by-step, making sure you execute as well as your current skills allow.
  7. Shotgun, then narrow. The 80/20 is critical. However, to find the key 20%, you need to try a lot of things and discard what doesn’t work before finding what doesn’t. A guide like this can shortcut the trial and error process, but it can’t eliminate that factor of marketing. Trying to narrow your focus too soon, before you know what might work, can lead to mistakenly investing all your time in inconsequential matters. Try a wide array of marketing techniques, then cut everything that doesn’t work, and focus on what does.

General Business Principles

Before we launch into the book-specific marketing stuff, we need to discuss a few basic business concepts. A lot of success – in this game, and in life – comes down to just not shooting yourself in the foot. When you strip away all the platitudes and buzzwords, running a successful business comes down to two core things:

  1. Strategy: e.g. your system/plan (what you’re gonna do). How many books you’ll release in a year, which genre, when they will be released, what kind of advertising you’ll do, how much you’ll spend, and so forth.
  2. Execution of that strategy. Actually doing it (well). Most people blame “productivity,” for their execution problems, but showing up is only step 1. Step 2 is executing competently. This is difficult. Further, a poor, unrealistic strategy inevitably results in poor execution. Great execution flows from great strategy.

These are simple principles that hide deceptive layers of complexity.

Always design your marketing strategy in accordance with your goals, available resources (money, existing skills, people who can help you etc.) and execution capabilities.

This is why dogma is stupid. Even if there was a theoretically most efficient strategy to achieving authorly success, it wouldn’t necessarily be your most efficient path. Understand the principles, however, and you can adjust the strategy – and advice – to your personal situation.

And that’s when you start making real progress.

The Two Key Metrics

There are thousands of metrics and numbers you can track. Many are deceiving – including common measures of success like sales, newsletter subscribers, review numbers, Amazon ranking or social media followers. These – and other numbers – certainly have their uses. But there are two key metrics for accurately assessing the health of your indie business:

1. Cash flow. This is the lifeblood of every business. When cash flow is negative, your business is on life support. The most basic way to calculate this:

Incoming revenue – monthly burn – one-off mandatory payments = monthly cash flow

Examples of what each of these components entails:

  • Incoming revenue: royalties from various retailers, paychecks from day job, freelancing payments
  • Monthly burn: recurring charges like health insurance, web hosting, email, cell phone, car payments, credit cards, mortgage/rent
  • One-off mandatory payments: upcoming doctor’s visit or a car inspection

People recommend not mixing business/personal accounts (and you shouldn’t if you have a corporation), but this generally doesn’t happen in the real world. Most people don’t start out with any sort of official business documentation. Your Amazon royalties tend to go into your personal bank account, and you pay designers/formatters from this same account. And, at the outset, you’re probably gonna fund your indie business with your checks from your main job or savings.

As such, unless you maintain a strict separation of business/personal finances, your cash flow calculations should include revenue from your day job, personal payments like rent and so forth. I’d recommend getting separate accounts as soon as possible; this helps for bookkeeping as well as some of the money management principles we’ll discuss shortly.

This is not a number calculated for tax or “official” purposes; it is a snapshot of how much money is flowing into your coffers versus how much is flowing out. When your free cash flow is negative or minimal (e.g. like $20), this constricts your growth rate (e.g. your ability to book promos, upgrade covers and so forth). Negative cash flow is a code red signal that your business is on life-support. You must fix this cash leak, or die.

Business owners will often try to patch over poor or negative cash flow with credit cards. This is a fool’s errand. If you take nothing else away from this guide, heed this: never charge anything to your cards that you cannot pay off that month.

The best way to address immediate cash flow problems is by decreasing your monthly burn (e.g. chopping cable, cancelling a service). Carefully analyze your expenses, but don’t kneecap your growth by cutting business-critical services. Recurring subscriptions look cheap on a monthly basis, but are often expensive when calculated annually. Long-term, of course, you want to increase your revenues. But your revenue growth is largely fueled by how much cash you can reinvest into your business – so focus on keeping expenditures down, and avoid tying up your cash in mediocre opportunities.

Cash flow should be calculated on a monthly basis, and done in advance. Since Amazon doesn’t pay you for 60 days, you know what your royalty deposit will be 2 months from now. This means that, after factoring in scheduling times, you often won’t see your cash (e.g. for a promo) for 120+ days. Bear this in mind when selecting uses for your money – an opportunity that makes you $15 but ties up $700 in capital for months isn’t worth it. You also know the bulk of your expenses. Plan accordingly.

2. Net income. This is just [total revenue – total expenses]. Only include numbers from your publishing business (e.g. do not include personal expenses like rent/car payments etc. unless they are also business expenses), as the taxman will want this figure, too. But net income is vital for personal use, as it gives you an instant snapshot of whether your business is generating or sucking up money. When net income is negative, you often have a problem, unless you’ve been spending a lot of money to grow (e.g. getting subscribers).

Net income should be calculated on a yearly basis. It can also be calculated quarterly. Monthly doesn’t tend to be useful, as expenditures and revenues don’t line up perfectly (e.g. you might spend $5,000 on a cover/promo/editing for a book that doesn’t launch for two months).

Money Management: The Unheralded Key to Success

One of my favorite quotes is from An Wang: “If you go for a long time without shooting yourself in the foot, other people start calling you a genius.” There’s remarkable truth in that statement – while whizbang tactics and “secrets” sell courses and encourage clicks, much of your success comes down to mastering basic things. Basics that, as adults, we feel are beneath us – such as the importance of patience, dedicated practice and perseverance.

And managing your finances correctly.

Most finance articles center around silly things, like cutting your Netflix subscription. This advice is steeped in a misguided “hustle and grind” work ethic that traces its roots back to Puritanism: there is a simple nobility to the austerity of depriving yourself of Ozark. I thought frivolous personal spending habits were the source of my money management problems – upon a bank account analysis, they weren’t.

Bad business “investments” were the culprit.

You know how every info marketer & service provider tells you that you shouldn’t be afraid to invest in your business and yourself? That it’s the most important thing? Well, most business expenditures aren’t investments. They’re giant wastes of cash. The #1 investment you can make in yourself and your business has nothing to do with money – it has everything to do with practice. Practicing the fundamentals of marketing, writing and self-discipline.

That’s not a monetizable idea, unfortunately, so you’re not going to hear it anywhere else.

Back to money pits: I’d venture to say that more businesses are scuttled by poor money management than any other problem. This is incredibly simple to get right, but most people become impatient, chase growth, fall prey to Sirens’ calls whispering impossible promises in their ears, and, like Icarus, end up drowning in the sea.

Yes, I understand I mixed my myths there. You get the point: people are trying hard to separate you from your cash. Two rules can keep you from the financial abyss.

  1. Never charge anything to your credit card that you cannot pay off that month. Nothing. Not those covers that you know are going to make your books breakout. Not the promo blitz that will push you into the Top 1000. If you cannot pay cash, you cannot afford it. And, since you’re thinking it: You are not going to pay your credit card off before the 0% APR runs out. There is a reason every bank offers that “deal,” and it isn’t their altruism. It is always quicker to wait, save and then pay cash.
  2. Be wary of expensive services/courses. Magic bullets and secrets are tempting. They also don’t exist. There are lots of courses, web hosting options, themes, plugins and services available. Unfortunately for these companies, the internet has rendered most of these commodities. No longer does the classic heuristic “premium price = the best” hold true. You can get great, full-featured services for free, or remarkably low cost. All the information you need is available freely, or for the price of a book.

It is very difficult for most services to be worth it. For example, let’s say you’re building your email list. If a landing page builder costs $100/mo, you must factor that price into your subscriber costs. If you gained 1000 subscribers via the opt-in form, and they cost you $0.40/ea from Facebook Ads, then you must also factor the cost of the landing page service into that. In this case, it’d be $0.10, so the real cost is $0.50 – 0r 25% more. Not so great.

Four years ago, I would’ve laughed at those two rules and gone whateverThat won’t be my story – I’ll spend big now and be a millionaire in six monthsI’m an entrepreneur, baby. Until I felt that debt noose slip around my neck, I didn’t understand the magnitude of my stupidity. Taking unchecked risks and making unforced errors doesn’t make you bold or aggressive; it makes you a fool. And you know the saying about fools and their money. Remember how important compound interest is? I was compounding in the wrong direction. Hopefully you can internalize this lesson without the unfortunate wisdom born of experience.

I got out. I’m never going back. Money aside, I probably set myself back 2 – 3 years.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that this is the most important section in the entire guide. Most will ignore it, since it’s obvious, unsexy and has nothing to do with Amazon charts or algorithms.

Money Management, Part II

Ah, you thought I was done harping on a subject that most consider snooze-inducing. Surprise! Much to almost everyone’s chagrin, we’re back for more money management principles. Look, I get it: you want to get to the whiz-bang marketing tactics. Once you have sacks full of loot, things like “managing your money” become trivialities.


Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Getting to the sacks of authorial loot in the first place usually demands careful shepherding of your funds. These resources are precious, yet easy to squander. It is easy to take a $1,000 royalty payment and simply spend it all. These authors do not become full-time authors.

There are really only two principles. As always, I am neither a tax lawyer nor accountant, so check with the proper experts in your locality of choice before applying these heuristics:

  1. Put at least 40% of your net profit aside for the tax man. Yes, you have to pay taxes on your filthy lucre. And you’ll be pleased to know that, in some jurisdictions, you are suddenly charged at a higher rate for the privilege of being self-employed than you were at your previous full-time job. If you don’t have an accountant, get one – they’ll save you money in the long-run and help you avoid annoying run-ins with the IRS or your nation’s tax authority. You might be required to pay taxes on a quarterly basis, depending on how your business is structured. Again, I shall repeat: consult an accountant. And, above all else, don’t spend money earmarked for taxes on covers, on launches, on emergencies, on anything. That is not your money. Repeat: not your money. You may believe your local government is incompetent, but universally, without fail, the tax branch is very good at what they do. Which is getting paid.
  2. Set aside 20% of your net profit for savings. More, if possible, but 20% minimum. If you can’t save 20%, you really can’t afford to go full-time. Let me be clear: even with frequent releases, constant promotion, and great writing skill, this business is an unpredictable roller coaster at best. $8000 monthly royalty checks quickly dissolve into $1500 pittances two months later. You need a buffer to smooth out the inevitable downturns. When you get a windfall, consider saving considerably more – a 5-figure month might represent 30% of your earnings for the year. Don’t start spending like it’s the new normal.

Numbers aside, these boil down to simple rules: put money aside for taxes and save money for a rainy day.

Quant-Based Marketing

In the past, most marketing efforts were based around branding (think Mad Men). You’d put up a billboard, or run a newspaper ad, then kind of hope that people would remember your brand. The cause and effect relationship between your marketing efforts and results were hazy at best. A few pioneers – Claude Hopkins, David Ogilvy – tracked numbers and took a scientific approach during the past century. But it wasn’t really until the late 90s that quant-based marketing really started entering the mainstream.

This sounds like a scary term (another term you might find is scientific marketing), but really it just means your marketing decisions are based on numbers. You track what spend is responsible for what profits. Which ads are responsible for sales and which are not. In short, you track, analyze and adjust based on data. It wasn’t until the late 90s/early 2000s that this data became commonplace thanks to the rise of the internet and PPC platforms. If you’re using Facebook, you can track the impact of a specific ad in real time (kind of – Amazon doesn’t give us a ton of data, so it’s more an estimate).

You need to be tracking your numbers. You need to find what works and cut what doesn’t. If you’re not a numbers person, fear not; this isn’t complex math, but arithmetic – addition and subtraction, mostly. But your marketing results must be tracked: That’s just the way things work in the 21st century.

However, proponents of a quant-based marketing approach often go too far. The numbers are useful, but they rarely tell the whole story. They might even tell you lies. 1000 subscribers can be great, or they can be useless. A $10,000 profit might be disastrous in one instance, while a $10,000 loss might be positive in another. The latter is almost impossible to believe, even if you are data-phobic. But in select circumstances, it can be true – because, remember, we’re building a career. Every decision and piece of data is not an isolated decision, but one in a longer string of choices that make up your overarching strategy. If you go off to write in a hot market for $10,000, this results in a short term gain, but no long-term benefit. Meanwhile, the $10,000 spent learning your genre of choice and building a platform might pay off with $1,000,000 down the line.

Therefore, you must always ask what does this number meanBeing able to draw the proper conclusions from your data is critical. This is known in data analysis as being able to identify the signal from the noise. While many over confident gurus in any number of fields will be happy to sell you their one true way, one of the most frustrating truths of life is this: it’s incredibly difficult to understand why something happens. This is difficult in hard sciences; it took us thousands of years to harness electricity, radio waves and any number of things we take for granted. But when you add in a human element, identifying signal – and truth – becomes infinitely harder. The road to hell is paved with unwavering certainty.

As you accumulate more data, you’ll find that analysis becomes easier and more intuitive. This does not mean your conclusions will always be correct, merely that your probability of being right increases. Think of it like a baseball hitter: a career batting average of .300 is Hall of Fame caliber, despite the hitter failing more than two thirds of the time.

In the realm of marketing, if 20% of your ads, campaigns, books, and so forth are breakout hits, you are doing extraordinarily well. To even get to this level, however, you must be diligent in your analysis. And you must have the resilience to accept that, in this paradigm, 80% of your efforts will be mediocre or even ridiculous failures. Which leads me to reemphasize a key point: keeping numbers forces you to be honest, and it also forces you to manage your “risk.” While big bets get all the movie play and newspaper stories, they usually lead to ruin. No book or campaign should shoulder the burden of “saving” your career or be a piece upon which you “bet it all,” no matter how confident you are in its prospects.

To put plainly: most marketing endeavors are flops. Most books are flops. Accept this, and plan accordingly.

Finally, while numbers are critical, always remember that you are selling books to people. Forgetting this simple fact and focusing only on the data can result in poor decisions. Yes, you are running a business – but that business is funded by readers. There are things that can’t be quantified that have value.

Next Step

Make a note not to charge money to your credit cards, and re-read this guide occasionally if you need a reminder on the fundamentals. They’re not sexy, but take it from me: applying them will save you a lot of unnecessary stress. You’re ready for Part II, which is all about productivity and how to execute. If you’re already good on productivity, then you can skip to Part III, which hops into the actual marketing and the Ultimate Book Marketing Formula.