Both suffered from poor sales and even weaker promotion, however, which was a frustration he occasionally took into his own hands. Then when I returned the next day they were back in the original place. The second of those novels, Subpoena Colada, acted as a tell-all account of the highs and lows of the law profession, an industry Dawson had steadily grown tired of. He enjoyed it, for the most part, but still harboured ambitions to write more novels.
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At that stage, the idea of self-publishing had never occurred to him. You just take the Word file, upload it to Amazon , get a cover and set the price. You can be available worldwide in about ten minutes, and in complete control. As a rule, Amazon allows its authors to give their books away for free during a five day period if they remain exclusive to the service for three months — a tool designed to kick-start sales by removing any friction between the product and consumer. When downloads of Black Mile dribbled in at only one or two every few weeks, then, Dawson took advantage of the trick.
It was the first moment that I realised this could be a game changer.
Dawson put his next book, a sequel to Black Mile, online too, and soon received a modest cheque from Amazon for the paid downloads he had received from it. S till working in London, Dawson committed to producing a John Milton novel every two and a half months, writing up to 4, words a day on his three-hour commute and lunch break.
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Uploading the first, The Cleaner, in June , he quickly built up a loyal following, harnessing that growing fan base with a mailing list, allowing him to send details of new books directly to established readers, guaranteeing future sales. D awson took voluntary redundancy to write full time in November , allowing him to spend more time with his wife and two young children, as well as immerse himself the world of self-publishing and promotion. Using social media and his 40,strong mailing list, he is able to feed a voracious readership precisely what they want, aiming advertisements on Facebook at the specific demographic groups data proves will be interested in his work.
Be prepared to put the work up for free, take courses, learn about advertising a bit, pay for someone to do you a good cover and a professional edit of your work.
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