Oct 10, 2016
In Episode 68, we check in with Ethan Jones, a spy
thriller author who decided to go wide with his novels and focus on
growing his Kobo sales. His 2015 sales were up 260% over 2014, and
every month has broken his sales record from the preceding month.
Kobo is now Ethan's leading retailer, bringing him healthy four
figures each month and rising. How did he accomplish this? What
advice does he have for authors considering publishing to KWL, or
just starting out? Tune in to find out!
- Ethan has three spy thriller series currently on the go
- His inspirations: Brad Thor, Vince Flynn, Baldacci, Tom Clancy,
- He feels it’s important to not only know the market, but to
know the basic story lines of major authors in his genre and not
repeat them; “Readers are more likely to believe that Ethan Jones
copied Brad Thor than the reverse.”
- Why he switched from exclusive with another retailer to wide
distribution. Since then, his Kobo sales have grown in a big way.
He saw a 260% increase in sales for 2015 over 2014. Every month is
higher and higher, now bringing in healthy four figures per month,
more than all other
retailers combined. It took perseverance in terms of both
time and effort
- When you upload to Kobo, give the books time. Inform your
readers that they are available in that channel. Think of your
career as a marathon – you are laying the groundwork to establish a
readership globally, across multiple retail channels
- Sold books in 30 countries so far through Kobo, including Fiji
and Turks and Caicos
- Ethan still works a full-time job, and does his writing during
his commute and lunch break. He catches up on email and marketing
on the weekend
- Connects with the writing community through online forums,
cross-promotions, and attending conferences
- On Mailing Lists: he manages two lists. 1) 2 emails a month,
goes to everyone who has expressed interest in him and his books.
Brief update, new releases, any deals, offers that include
cross-promoting 2-3 other authors. 2) ARC readers, 1 email a
month about review copies and a reminder about posting reviews
- Releases a new book every 3-4 months
- Average cost of producing each book: $200-$300 per book for
editing/proofreading. $200 for a cover. Under $500 per book
- Beyond BookBub, his promotional strategies include: tell
readers about all new books, price pre-order lower than launch
price. Send occasional flash sales to his mailing lists. Hit some
of the smaller promotional website opportunities beyond
- Something his readers might not know about him: English isn’t
his first language (it’s Albanian), and Ethan Jones is a pen
- A few overall words of wisdom:
- Start right away with building a mailing list. Invite anyone
and everyone you know – it might surprise you to learn who is
interested in your writing.
- Distribute widely; think about your career as a long-term gig,
and give yourself 18 months to work on promoting new channels.
LINKS OF INTEREST
Ethan Jones on Facebook
Ethan Jones is the author of the
wildly popular Justin Hall spy thriller series, featuring Canadian
Intelligence Service special agents operating mostly in the Middle
East. This series has nine books so far. The first four books in
this series have reached the Amazon’s Top 10 Best Sellers lists.
Ethan has also started a new spy series: Carrie Chronicles, which
features Justin Hall’s partner, Carrie O’Connor, in solo
adventures. The first two novels in this series, Priority Target
and Codename: Makarov have already come out and more are expected
to be released in 2017.
He is also working on a romantic suspense series, featuring
Jennifer Morgan, set in New York. The first book in this series,
The Secret Affair, is already out and the second and the third will
be published in fall and winter 2016. Ethan is a lawyer by trade,
and he lives in Edmonton, Canada, with his wife and son.