Tag Archives: self-published author

Feeling Stuck? Use Reverse-engineering

by Helen Gallagher

book magnified

Reverse engineering refers to taking something apart, such as a product, seeing how it is made, and then making it better.

With so many self-published author triumphs lately, I’ve begun teaching people how to use reverse engineering to identify a path to success. (Four self-published books, created at Smashwords.com, made the New York Times bestseller list last week.

Here’s a brief rundown on the reverse engineering strategy as it applies to author marketing, by looking at a successful book launch.  Maybe some of you with engineering minds can improve on this description:

1. Define your task, in this case an independently published book that lands on the best seller list.

2. Ask yourself  “How did they do that?”

3. Look up the author and write down all the elements of the successful author’s platform:

Web site, blog, Amazon author page, the number of reviews, where else is the author published (articles, online, guest blogs).

4. Visit their social media pages. If you follow the people you admire, you have a back door into their strategies and can implement similar ideas for your own work. If you are working on or promoting book that is similar  to theirs, you can even ask for an endorsement, or extend an offer for the author to write a guest post for your blog.

The next time you read of another person’s success, turn that glint of envy into curiosity. Figure out how they did it, and use that model for your own work.

Helen Gallagher writes and blogs at releaseyourwriting.com