One of the most fascinating people I have met online is Mike Pettit. His nightly “Goodnight America” is worth waiting for. His books covers are wonderfully nostalgic, reminding us of an earlier age of publishing. His comments are a bit too amusing to be truthful (except for his political comments, which are a bit too truthful to be amusing.) I’ve wanted to interview Mike for a long time for my interview blog, and he has finally agreed to answer some of my questions. Below is an excerpt from the interview, outlining Mike’s Three P Plan for selling books. (You can find the entire interview here: Mike Pettit, Bestselling Author of “The Key West Smackdown.” I hope you stop by to read the interview. You won’t be sorry you did.)
PB. Do you ever feel like you are lost among the thousands of other Kindle authors?
MP. Absolutely not. I treat my writing as a business. Here are my steps to selling books. I call it the Three P Plan (I should publish this and make a fortune…oh wait, that’s been done).
PRODUCT: Write the best book you can, edit the best you can, have the best cover you can.
I consider myself a good storyteller, but I am not a five star writer. If stars were grade averages I would be a C+ or B- writer, and that‘s OK. So, be realistic with your expectations. Average authors sell books, trust me.
I use the Flisch-Kinkaid comprehension scoring method to determine my writing / reader comprehension. I write to a reading audience at the 8th to 10th grade level of comprehension. This by the way is what the F-K scoring states as the reading level of most fiction-reading adults in America today. As a comparison, Obama’s State of the Union address was written to the 7th grade level of comprehension, The Wall Street Journal just dropped their Comprehension level from 12th grade to 10th grade level.
It might make you feel better knowing this the next time someone writes a bad review on your baby and gives it a two-star D rating. This does not mean you did badly. It means the reader should have read something on a higher comprehension level. That’s why I say you must know your audience …and write to them.
PRICING: To thine own self be true. You must price your book at a reasonable price. The big guys that work for the Big Six publishing houses command $25.00 and up per pop. That’s nuts, but they get it.
E publishing is growing with more and more readers coming over to the light, soon the big publishing houses and agents will be begging for us little guys to sign up with them.
My strategy is that I write and price my books to fit my audience. I am not greedy nor am I swollen headed. I know that I am a C+ writer and what I have to offer is a damn good quick read for a couple of bucks. The reader is happy with the read and the price and he’ll come back for more. You’ll make your money on volume sales
PUBLIC RELATIONS / MARKETING: Never stop pushing your book. I sell on Kindle and Nook. I use every social network platform I can find. I have Face Book, Twitter, Google +, a large FB and Twitter friend base. Look for “Friends that fit your target audience and talk to them…constantly.
This is just me, but I don’t spend a lot of time talking with other authors. If you aren’t talking to your customers, someone else is.