Welcome to the Ecommerce Marketing Podcast everyone. I am your host, Arlen Robinson, and today we have a very special guest, Dave Chesson who is the creator of Kindlepreneur.com, a website devoted to teaching advanced book Marketing which even Amazon KDP acknowledge as one of the best by telling users to “Gain insight from Kindlepreneur on how you can optimize marketing for your books.” Having worked with such authors as Orson Scott Card, Ted Dekker and more, his tactics help both Fiction and Nonfiction authors of all levels get their books discovered by the right readers. Welcome to the podcast, Dave.

Hey, thank you so much for having me here.

Yeah, not a problem. I am really excited to talk to you right before we started recording. I was telling you that hadn’t really had anyone on that talked about what it takes to promote a book online. And as a lot of our listeners probably know. And of course you’re aware of it. It’s a hot topic today because more and more people are writing books and getting content out that way than ever before. It seems like. And even the celebrities these days are writing books. People that are notable for other things are now putting books out, so it’s nothing to really kind of sneeze at.

It’s definitely something that you want to make sure you get your Ducks in order. If you do get a book out to make sure you get the right exposure. But before we get into that topic of today, why don’t you tell us a little bit more about your background and specifically how you got into what you’re doing today?

Yeah. Absolutely. So I never thought of myself as a writer. Actually, I grew up with Dyslexia, and it just basically always believed that I wasn’t really meant to write. However, they’ll fast forward through life. I was in the military, and they had just sent me to Korea without my family for two years. My wife had this one question. She’s like, Dave, what are we doing this for? And I was like, she’s like, you want to be an Admiral? I’m like, no, she’s like, So then what’s the deal here?

And I realized that if I were to get out of the military, I just go from one nine to five traveling job to another. So we started to really sit down and ask ourselves, Well, what can we do? I’m on the other side of the world. I can’t do a brick and mortar. I can’t do anything that requires me to ship or drop ship or answer customer questions. I was going out to see all the time on South Korean warships, so that’s when we started realizing that something like writing on Amazon, making books and having shoppers shop was a phenomenal opportunity.

In this case, while I was sleeping, people could be buying my book. And if they had questions, well, Amazon dealt with them. If they were purchasing the physical book, Amazon was doing a print on demand. They were taking care of it. I would just wake up and see how many sales I made that night. And it was an amazing opportunity. So I really got down into trying to understand Amazon and why they choose to show one book or another while at the same time learning how to write a book because I had to break through that.

But I wrote my first book while I was out to see, came back, published it, and saw some varying success. But with me, I was like, okay, wait, why is it that guy’s book is showing up instead of mine? Why is it that he’s the first person they show? And then this guy and this guy, and then I’m there. And when I started to really learn about Amazon and what makes them tick and why they made those decisions, I started doing things differently, and I was able to get myself to the number one rankings to the point that I was the one that they were showing.

And that helped me to create long term sales. And so I started to recreate that with more and more books. And again, the assets just started to stack up. First one was here. The next one added more and more. And so my monthly income was increasing. And so in order to teach people about that, I started Kind opener because a lot of that information wasn’t out there. And that’s where I’m at today. And I’m now out of the military. I am here in Nashville, Tennessee. My kids are about to come home later.

On today. And yeah, no more traveling, which is great.

Okay. Got you that’s good.


I know how it is. As far as kind of being on the road like that, it can be definitely exhausting for sure. And like you said, you kind of grew up even in the military and the military family. And so you’re definitely a veteran in that kind of game. One thing I do want to say before we kind of dive deep is I love your domain name and your brand name. It’s one of those things where you hear Kindlepreneur. It kind of speaks exactly to what it is that you do these days.

So many books are consumed via electronic devices like these tablets, the Kindles, the ipads of the world, and all of that more than ever. And so it’s kind of a different ballgame these days.

It really is. Yes.

I don’t know if traditional books will ever go anywhere, but I think these devices have definitely been picking up a lot of steam these days.

Especially audiobooks audiobooks have really taken off because for busy people, being able to listen while in the car or while running helps them to digest books. So yeah, the market is great. There’s a lot of opportunity out there.

Definitely. Audio books are a big thing. One thing that I do digest a lot myself because I’m always on the go. And when I love to just take walks, listen to things and get a lot of other things done multitasking while I’m listening to books. So great thing. Great thing now, my listeners, of course, are very familiar with the kind of the gambit of ecommerce marketing strategies. There’s a lot of things you can do to market an ecommerce business from the pay per clicks to the organic SEO optimization.

Now, when it comes to digital marketing specifically for a book, what are some kind of specific marketing tactics or strategies that one should focus on before I get into that.

I would say one of the best things to do is just make sure you really have a good cover. I know people always have that old Dosh don’t judge a book bytes cover, but shoppers do it’s just like packaging your box or designing your website. Like, if you don’t look professional, they’re not going to give you that. If your book cover does not look professional, doesn’t matter how great your writing is. All the tactics that we could talk about will fall flat. So make sure that you really have a cover that you’re proud of, I think is a great way to look at it.

There’s a lot of tactics to it, but just if you’re proud of it, then that’s a good stance if you’re like, think twice about it. With that said, though, there are a lot of great opportunities. One of the tactics that are out there is called using book promotion sites. And we actually at Kindle printer created a list of all of the best book promotion sites out there, there are a lot that are free, and there are a lot that are paid, and I can’t go through all of them.

But we’ll just put, like, a link in the show notes or whatever. If anybody wants to see that, and from there, you can check out to see which promotion sites are a good one. What you do is if you have your book and say you launch it, you can then send it to the promotion site and they will promote it out to their readers a lot of times. What they’ll do is they’ll create, like, an Amazon affiliate a link for the book so that if anybody goes and buys it, they get an affiliate.

That’s their motivation. Whereas for you, they’re sending it out to, like, 1000 or 2000 email subscribers, or they’re posting it on their 90,000 Facebook followers. And things like that. They’re just trying to drive some kind of affiliate revenue for themselves. So you can go through that list. You can schedule a whole bunch of promotions. And that will definitely help to really get your foot in the door for showing popularity on Amazon. And when you show popularity on Amazon, Amazon’s like, this book is doing pretty good.

People seem to like it. It’s doing better than the averages, and then they start showing you more because they’re thinking, if we show more, maybe we’ll make more sales and Amazon’s in the game to make more money. Right. So I would definitely say book promotion sites are a great one. Another area that’s really important, too, is Amazon created the Amazon ads system. If you’re doing drop shipping or if you’re doing FBA on Amazon, you probably know all about it. But the books Amazon books is a little bit different.

There’s a lot of things you can’t do, and there’s a lot of things you can do. Luckily, I’ve got a full free video course on everything Amazon ads. You could just go to it by going to Amscourse dot com, and that will send you right to it. And that will teach you everything, you know. But through that alone, you can control how many people will see your book. And I think that’s a really important tactic of today. And there’s a couple of others. It really goes into your strength.

If you already have an email list by Golly, definitely use that. If you are very popular on social media, like you have an Instagram following or you have something you’re going to do a lot more with that than somebody you normally want it. I wouldn’t tell anybody who’s never been on Instagram, go to Instagram and Margaret like, no, if you’re not there, you’re not doing it right. It’s just like, don’t go to Reddit and try to promote something. If you’ve never been on Reddit, they’ll destroy you.

So I would say that the biggest thing is look at your strengths look at what you already have built, what you understand the most, and you may find that you’ll see a lot more out of that, but otherwise definitely promotion sites and Amazon ads are a very cool way to generate traffic to your book. Yeah.

I’m glad you mentioned that. Those book promotion sites, that’s probably something that I guess a lot of people may not even be that familiar with, but I know those are just a popular vehicle to really get your book out there. You mentioned also that if you, of course, have an existing audience, you got an existing mailing list that should be really number one. You don’t want to discount that to alert your existing followers, your existing fans, people that are in your subscription list about what you’ve got going on.

One thing, though, I know what I see a lot of times when people are not wanted to take on this. A lot of times when, let’s say a course is about to be launched. What I’ve seen is a particular strategy where there’s a build up to that particular release. Is that something that’s done often for these books where you kind of have different phases, where it’s almost like a teaser up to it. And you kind of have, like, a huge, big launch to kind of propel it.

Is that something that’s common as well?

Yeah. There’s a lot of ways to do a launch. Launches are very important. I’ve actually got a PDF launch plan that kind of lays out all the different options. But let’s talk about the most popular one, which is called Arc Readers. Arc Readers stands for Advanced Review copy readers. It’s actually an age old practice that publishing companies have always done, and there’s a way to digitalize it. But basically, before book comes out, a company will send out a whole bunch of arcs to readers, and the readers will read it.

And basically it’s there to build up momentum and excitement about the book. But more importantly, is that the day that the book launches, those Arc readers will leave reviews. This is really cool for your launch strategy, because what you don’t want to do is go five, six, seven days into your launch and not have one review at all. That will kill a lot of momentum because nobody wants to be the first. Whereas if you launch it on day one and you have ten, five star reviews, people are going to be like, that must be a great book, because people are just loving it right out the gate.

It’s really review standard social proof. So one thing that you can definitely do is build an art team. And that’s where you have, say, maybe 25 people that you’ve talked to that are more than happy to read an advanced review copy. And then, more importantly, will be sure to leave a review on Amazon. I also like to change up my pricing. Is that, say, I’m going to launch the book on the fifth, I will actually launch the book secretly on the third, and then from the third, I will have all my arc reviewers leave reviews.

And also that gives me two days to actually make sure my categories are right and everything’s laid out perfectly, and there’s no mistakes. And then I will announce it on the fifth as the launch itself. So the day I announce that I have 25 or 27 five star reviews. And what I find is that by doing that, by having those reviews there already by having everything in place, that when I start doing my marketing efforts, like sending my email list or what have you they see that it’s been loved, that people are liking it.

And so I actually have a much higher conversion rate because of that. So using the archery team is very powerful. Otherwise, though, there are a lot of different ways that you can tease about it. And again, that comes down to the strength of like we talked about. If you have an email list, absolutely, give them a heads up that it’s coming also, too. If you have an avid email list, I will also sometimes let them in on the secret. Hey, don’t tell anybody, but I launched it at $0.99, the cheapest it will ever be for the next two days.

But then I’m going to announce it on that day. So be sure to get your copy now. And that motivates people. I also like to break the email list into a cohort like a certain group will get that email and the rest will get the other. So that way I have continuous traffic instead of just one giant spike. If you’re on social media, doing a book cover reveal is huge. People love it when you’re showing the brand new cover or even better if you have to, and you want their opinion.

When you can get people on social media to give opinions and they almost have buy in because they’re a part of it. And so they feel a little bit more connected to the book. There’s a lot of different things that you can do moving up towards the launch of your book. But I would definitely say, really consider that our team.

That’s awesome. That’s great advice. And also what you said as far as saying that it’s going to be out within five days, which it really is out within three days just because to build up that momentum where you’re releasing it early. But you’re not really telling people that you’re releasing early. You really have a future date. And in that way, like you said, you can get some maybe initial reviews. And then also, I think part of what you said as far as discounting it heavily, like the $0.99 is also a way to get some initial reviews, because people are maybe a little bit more apt because you haven’t discounted it.

And you can say in exchange for the awesome discount that you receive. We would love a great review for the book. So that’s definitely something that I think can motivate people as well.

Absolutely. Another tactic that I would say too, is that after you’ve launched to your email list or so, one email that you should absolutely write is you send an email to your list that actually has a direct that goes directly to the review of your book. Okay. And I’ve got a YouTube video out there, but if you Google it, you can find it. But there’s a special link you can build that when they click it, it will literally take them to the page where they can start writing the review.

A lot of people make this mistake. They’ll send them to the book, and the person has to click around to find how they can leave review. Just send them straight to it. But when you do this, though, what’s really cool is just reminding people, hey, guys, my book came out. There were so many people who bought it. Thank you so much. You guys are the reason why I’m here. This is great. I just got one favor to ask of you if you’ve read it or if you bought it, haven’t read it yet, but can you please the review?

Now you may be saying to yourself what I haven’t read it yet. How can I leave a review? You can change the review later, but I’m sure you’ve dealt with my content. I’m sure you know me as kind of authority. Would you mind still leaving a review for the time being? What’s crazy is just by sending that out. There are a lot of people that bought your book that totally forgot to leave a review or when they were finished with the book. They weren’t at a spot where they could type something out or everybody has these things.

So just sending that email will absolutely drive up your reviews as well. And reviews play a big part in convincing people who don’t know you whether or not your book is good.

Very true. And these days that’s what usually the first thing everybody looks at is just the reviews, because that’s a lot. And people these days, I think, are so busy. Everybody’s time is so valuable to them, because most people these days that I know are doing a million in one thing. And so before they decide to not only pay the price for the book, but dedicate a good chunk of time to actually read the digestive book, they want to see that others said it was a good thing that everybody gave it a thumbs up and that type of thing.

So I think that that really comes into play as people’s time these days. Now, I’m a huge advocate of using tools and resources to market things, because these days there’s a ton of tools that you can use to market just about anything. So what are some other specific tools that somebody should really have in their kind of whole wheelhouse when they’re looking to market and promote a book?

Well, I’ll be a little bit biased on this, but I think Publisher Rocket is by far the best out there, but I created it for that purpose.


So Publisher Rocket is kind of like Amazon SEO for books, and through it, it will tell you exactly what people are typing into Amazon when searching for books. How many people per month type that in the competition score? So we’ll help you to really pick out your keywords. It also helps you to choose the right categories. There are over 11,000 Amazon categories, and if you choose one category, you may only have to sell three books a day in order to be the best seller. But you choose this other one.

It may require you 200 books a day in order to be a best seller. So that’s a really big part. And then on top of that Amazon ads, we have a feature there that really helps to build out. So that’s really a major component to the book marketing component. Otherwise, though, if you’re looking at how you publish your book or write your book or format your book, there’s a couple of software out there. And if anybody’s interested or so I created a whole list on those to kind of, like, break them out and see which one’s the right one.

And so you can check that out. But otherwise, from a marketing standpoint, maybe I’m biased.

No problem. Yeah, I don’t blame you. Definitely got no harm in, Tooting your own Horn there. But yeah, like I said these days, there are a lot of tools out there, and it’s good to know that there’s been a lot of thought put behind your tool. And of course, since you have plenty of books that you’ve done yourself and you’ve been behind a lot of different books, you’re definitely one that has ate his own dog food, so to speak. So that’s good to know you’re ready to kind of wrap things up.

I’m a huge advocate also of really looking at what other successful people have done, what other successful businesses have done and kind of looking behind the scenes following them, using them as a model. So what are some other businesses or authors really that have been successful selling books online through digital marketing and that you can identify that we can really learn from and some of the things that they have done.

Yeah. Well, a while ago, I was working with a lawyer in Seattle, and I’m not able to use the name, but I’m sure you can figure out which book it is when I say it. And he’s actually a DUI lawyer. And what he did was he worked with his paralegal to kind of compile his notes on basically what happens when somebody comes in that has a Dy, one of the biggest questions that his clientele are always asking is, what do I do? What to expect? What’s next is my life over, like all these things.

And so he compiled the notes and he put it into a book. Now it really worked out well for him wasn’t just that he made money from the book. There were all these things that happened from it. You see, when people go in to try to find their lawyer, what do they usually use to figure out which ones which they try to guess at the school the guy graduated at, how many things can you do? Well, every lawyer that they would go into would handle a business card.

This guy, on the other hand, would hand him his book, his Amazon bestselling book. Now let me ask you this. You go to four lawyers, and they all just hand you a business card, and they’re all like, okay, universities. But this guy’s the best selling author on the subject. And he gives you a book that actually answers the pain point of yours. Guess which client you’re working with, right. And so he just started using his book as his calling card. And another thing you found, too, is it’s a lot harder to throw a book in the trash than it is a business card.

And so not only did that really work to help him convert more clients just in the area, but on top of that, too, though, he wrote in the book how people can contact him for referrals in their state because that guy can’t represent outside of the state. And so then he got referral fees from all those. And finally, because he’s a best selling author because he chose the right categories. So it’s very easy for him to be a best selling author. And once you’re a best selling author, you’re a best selling author.

Once you do an iron man, you’re an iron man because of that. Every time there is mothers against drunk driving or that the sheriffs are looking for some speaker, he becomes the key person to come in and beat up because he’s famous for it, if you will. Is he any different than any of the other lawyers? Yeah. He’s a best selling author. And so he just had every area of his career grow in leaps and bounds, not only because of the sales of the books, but because of the book itself.

So anybody out there listening, you can think about tertiary ways on how that book and help you can help you to get on podcast like this bestselling author, such and such. It can get you in the door. When I was working for the US embassy, we once had a game where the ambassador had us write one thing about ourselves that nobody knows, and you put it in there. And then the entire, like, the leadership on the embassy. We tried to guess who it was and it came down to me and somebody else because nobody had guessed it, like online.

And everybody picked up the best selling author, and they kept pointing at somebody else. And finally, at the end, the Ambassador is like, Dave, you and I’m like, Should I be mad that you’re surprised, sir? And everybody’s just shocked. So I won the game because of it. But after that, the Ambassador never stopped calling me the author bestseller or any of that kind of stuff. So it’s just really neat because it’s really easy to do. But once you’ve done it, it’s something that really carries with you.

You can put on a resume. You can put it on your blurb on your home page. There’s a lot that comes with it.

Yeah, definitely. And I love that because I’ve seen this different examples of this where that title best selling author, it really sticks with that offer just like forever. And it’s something that can really help your overall brand awareness because it goes a long way. And like you said, it can get you in the door for speaking opportunities. If you want to do the conference circuit, that definitely stands out. If somebody is a best selling offer, because those organizers of these types of events and these speaking engagements, they know that if somebody sees that attached to their event, it’s going to definitely give it a little bit of a boost to give their event a little bit more credibility.

So definitely great to know. And good example. I appreciate you sharing that of your client, that lawyer that did that. Well, it’s been awesome talking to you, Dave. I’ve definitely learned a lot. As I mentioned. It’s a topic that we never really talked about on the podcast, but it is a hot topic today because we have so many people out here writing books or looking to write a book. And because it is a little bit different as far as marketing it it’s definitely good. It was refreshing to be able to know some of these strategies because like I said, since it is a new thing, I think some people may be treating it a little bit like any other type of digital product or ecommerce product, but there’s some definitely some nuances to it that I’m glad that you shared with us.

So thank you again. But what I like to always do is close things out with my kind of closing fun fact. And then that is if you can just tell us one fun fact about yourself that you think our audience would be interested to know about yourself.

Sure. I used to be an international arms dealer for the US government, and if you type in the phrase international armstealer into Google, there’s a Forbes article all about it.

Okay. Awesome. I definitely was it. I think you won the award of best fun facts. Wow. I’d love to hear some stories about that, but I’m sure there’s a lot of things you probably can’t disclose putting a bird in my hand and we’ll see. Yes. Awesome. That reminds me of the movie that came out. What was that with Nicholas Cage, one of the God of war, God of war. Yeah. So that was you Dave season?

No. See, I’m the one at the end of the movie. So when he says, Well, I don’t want to give away, but when he basically says something to the lines of like, when the United States government can’t do what they want to do. So they call me. I’m the part where I can’t do what I want to do. So they call him. I was the one that was working legally.

Okay. The legal side. That’s right. I recall that the official, right? Yeah. His character in the movie, and he was on the illegal side doing things that governments could have. Right. Interesting stuff. Yeah. Well, thank you for sharing that. I definitely appreciate that. And lastly, of course, before we let you go, if any of our listeners want to reach out to you and pick your brain anymore about how to sell their book online, how to market it online. What is the best way for them to get in contact with you?

Sure. They can go to kindleprinter. Com. And I’ve got a contact form there where they can reach me if they have any questions, comments, concerns about anything we talked about, they can hit me up about that.

Okay. That’s awesome. Well, thank you for sharing that. I definitely encourage all of our listeners to reach out to you so they can pick your brain and see how you can help them out. And thanks again, David, for joining us today on the Ecommerce Marketing podcast.

Absolutely. And thanks for having me. Sure.

Thank you for listening to the Ecommerce Marketing podcast. 

Podcast Guest Info

Dave Chesson
Creator of Kindlepreneur.com