Episode 126B – David Bowles – Whiskey Marketing

Overview

David marketed throughout his career and has used that information to get his books into bookstores.

Book

YouTube

Transcript

Let’s move on and talk some author stuff for all the authors listening.

So before we talk about our topic, which is going to be lessons learned in marketing what are some things you personally have learned? You mentioned some things you’ve learned from your editor. How to write what to put in the book and that, so talk about some of those things that you’ve learned from when you started with book one to now with book five.

[00:25:26] David: One of the big things that I’ve learned and I had a a professor that I I went to for some help sometimes. And. He told me I had a, I tried to overwrite things and I remember one thing that he told me, he says, trust your reader. He says, they’re smart enough to read. They read one of your books, they can read at least of an eighth grade level.

And he said, trust them, you don’t have to tell ’em over and over. about something. And that, that I did that in my first book. And I got away from that. I learned and there’s just a lot of things. A good editor can point out to. That you do. And any of these independents that write books and don’t get a good editor and have a thorough editor, not just one editor.

I, I have a editor that I use just for Spanish because I use a lot of Spanish words in my books. And I have them check to make sure that the Spanish in my books. Is correct. And that, that’s the thing about the Indies and they, when they went to everybody, started going to the, in indie or self-published they, we can just let’s face it.

We can put a book out there and throw it up on, on the deal. Have an ebook overnight. A lot of stuff’s got out there. That’s just not good literature and we’ve gotta. The all authors have gotta make sure their works are edited, properly edited and formated and ready to be published. I think that’s key and I’ve always done that cause I’m whatever I do, I want it done.

[00:27:04] Stephen: Okay, nice. And that’s a good lesson right there. And when you’re writing, so you’re in your RV and you’ve got your dog helping you out. So what do you use to write what services or what software do you like, or do you do anything special with your writing?

[00:27:19] David: Not anything special. I put everything on this laptop right here that we’re, I’ve written three books on this laptop that we’re using here to communicate with.

I take it along. It’s a small laptop I use word and I get it all together and I don’t worry. Too much about my grammar or anything at that as I’m reading it, I’m trying to get the story out as it’s in my mind. And one of the fallacies that I have when I get into a good scene, I’ll sometimes write till I just can’t go anymore.

I think the record is about 18 hours, but I had a good scene going. It was up here. And I wanted to get it. I wanted to get it on paper, so that’s that’s how I write. And I don’t have anything special software or anything like that. But I have some good people. I have a good assistant who goes over and she’s got an Eagle eye.

She can miss a. If I see something or just a little space off she’s on top of it. And I get it, her to get it in tip top shape before I go to an editor. But I use in this last book, I had six what I call advanced readers. Once we got the manuscript where we thought it ought to be, I sent it out to six good readers who I knew and never.

Ever ask somebody that loves you to critique your work. always find somebody afar. That’ll do and give you a good a good critique,

[00:28:53] Stephen: right? I, yeah I found that out. I had several close friends and family members read my book and the feedback I got was, yeah, I liked it. It was. Which doesn’t help me at all.

And I don’t know if I completely believe them, especially if the book wasn’t written for them. So

[00:29:11] David: one of those readers advanced readers that read my book, I wanted her, she’s a Spanish teacher here in San Antonio and a friend of mine. I said, I want you to read it and make sure all my Spanish is correct.

Nothing that would be misconstrued or offensive. To anyone that was Spanish speaking and she read it and she found a few things where we missed a thing or two and got it corrected for me. And I said what did you think about the book? She said, I didn’t like the ending. I said, why. She says, I didn’t want it to end.

And I said it didn’t cause the next book will be it didn’t end. And that’s the wonderful thing about as saga series like this.

[00:29:57] Stephen: And that’s, you mentioned earlier it’s about the characters and I think that’s stronger and more important. Even the movies and stories about battles.

If it’s not character driven, people aren’t as interested in it. People think they’re going to be, but just action battles are not as interesting as people think.

[00:30:15] David: The characters make it all. And yeah. And Steve, I had written for the family, a narrative form about our family and who they were when they were born, when the Indians killed them and all that sort of thing.

And I found they didn’t read it. They didn’t, I knew they didn’t read it, cuz I’d ask ’em about it and my own children and the reason is. Facts are boring as hell. You gotta tell, you gotta have a story. You have to bring those facts into your story. And that’s what my books are all about is taking things that actually happened and put a story around them.

And I used my family because they were there. To do that. Yep.

[00:30:59] Stephen: Okay. So Jim, we were talking a little bit before we started the podcast and you come from a career, a life of marketing and you’ve applied some of that to your book. Tell us about what you used to do with marketing. And then what are some of the things you’re doing to market your book that lessons learned?

[00:31:17] David: I was with the L w a Taylor company for many years where the importers across kava eight cognac and a lot of fine wines and products. And we marketed a different way. We. We went out and got distribution. Our distributors were required if we came out with a new label or new size or product or label change to get distribution that first week up to 50%.

And if they didn’t have it up to 70%, by the end of the first month we’d find another distributor and they knew that. That’s how we call that the push, we put the push on. I tried that with my book. I tried to get it into every store. I could, find. And at that you gotta realize the time my first book came out there, there was no Kindle.

And I thought the only way to sell is get to the bookstores. And I did, I got it in a lot of bookstores. I’m not like James Patterson, nobody knows about David Boles and down in that’s why you’re here. That’s,

I’d, I’ve hired Mike Kelson. Who’s great PR public relations person. And he knows what he is doing and I’m gonna listen to. I tried to sell books. Like I sold Al kava cognac, and it doesn’t work that way. And so I’ve had to learn about social media and all that sort of thing and everything that I was originally told this, I went to writer’s conference and at that the writer’s league put on and they kept saying when you social media and you know what.

They’re right. And I’m not real excited about social media. Cause I, I tend to spend about two or three hours a day that I could be writing on social media, but that’s where my little 400 and something stories I told you about that’s on my website. I tell those little stories and it’s amazing. People read them and they say, wow, I wanna get his book.

So that’s social media is what it is. And you can get in all the bookstores you want to, but if they, and if you don’t have a name, if you haven’t become a branded author, nobody’s gonna find one or two books. In a store with a hundred thousand books, like a big box barns and noble. I thought, boy, let’s get in every barns and noble.

And we did. And guess what? That day came. When they, I thought I was gonna get a check in the mail and they says, Hey, oh, every store has got three of you books. What do you want us to do with them? And I knew what it cost to send them back. And I said, just keep ’em. And that’s why you see those books for 75% off when you go in the front door of a big barn, noble.

Cause the books have been given to em they could sell ’em for 10 cents and still make profit.

[00:34:11] Stephen: Yeah. So you did marketing, you marketed alcohol essentially and yes, things like that. And what you found was most of the lessons you’ve learned, didn’t apply to what you wanna do now it’s different, but

[00:34:24] David: I will tell you what did apply.

You gotta tell a story. And I got my company to start with some of our products. One of ’em the first I ever did was on TM, Maria, Tim Maria’s a coffee flavored Laur similar to K and. Wasn’t selling very good. And I convinced them that we should come up with a story of the black bean, because I went down to Jamaica and saw where they were making it using a black bean.

And I made a story. Fictional story, but a believable story about the black being, being and there, but black pearls and the Tia Maria and that story got written up quite a bit. And we used it in marketing and it worked because it was just a story and there’s all kinds of stories that if you’ll ever notice.

Old Jack Daniels and Jim beam and all these guys, there were some great stories. Some of ’em, they can’t tell cause it wasn’t till 1939 that they were legal.

[00:35:36] Stephen: So I love that. You just said that. So it fits right in. Marketing is telling the story of you, yourself, your brand, your books, and tying all that in people want stories.

And I think I’ve been hearing that more with nonfiction and people don’t just wanna read a dry book on how to do this and how to do that. A business book. They want a story in there and nonfiction has become more conversational and more easier to access because of that. Using stories to tell what you.

[00:36:07] David: In education teachers have now learned that telling a story. And I had a he history teacher that was really great at telling stories that once you heard her story about a historic event and somebody in that event you’d remember it forever. But just reading it out a book that this happened on such and such a day and wherever it was you lose that real.

But if you have a story tied with it, you’ll remember that story.

[00:36:36] Stephen: Absolutely. So you didn’t use a lot of your marketing that you had learned, you had to relearn and you mentioned social media and you said how important that is and you spend time on social media. And I know I’ve talked to other authors that say the exact opposite of that social media is not that important that they don’t do it at all.

So why do you use social media and think it’s important and what do you do on social. The

[00:37:00] David: reality is it’s all you can do. When I was in the liquor business, we had a 30, I had a 35 million marketing budget and we bought billboards. We bought magazine, we bought all kinds of advertising on our brands and we always did it upright.

No, author’s gonna have that kind of money. And even the few publishing companies that are left in the world, which is only four of ’em I believe now I think we lost another one just recently. I don’t know if that deal went through or not, but yeah, I don’t remember. Yeah. It’s I think it’s about four now and they’re not even American owned.

And the the, even they are not spending a lot of money. The only ones that are spending money on is the Jane Patterson and the like rows who started out. And I think we should point that out JK row started out as a self-published independent author, whatever you wanted to call ’em.

She didn’t have, she didn’t have anybody behind her once she, she sold some books with no market. And then suddenly what happens a big publisher comes, jumps in the middle of your act and wants to and really took that off movies and the whole ball of acts. But if you don’t have that, I, as far as I can see social media is the only thing an independent author has is a social meeting, especially Facebook.

I have 5,000 People who are so so-called friends. And then I have, oh, about a thousand on my web, on my author’s page. And we communicate they’ll sometimes say something about my book or this and that. And I communicate with them. I have probably about two or 300 that I actively every day. Go through, read their post, make a comment and it takes time, but I don’t know what else I could do.

I could take that same time and sell down a street corner and sell books, , I’ve tried just about everything else, but it’s amazing how I sell books when I do my storytelling

[00:39:05] Stephen: and I like that. So you, you basically are. Telling some of the short stories that you have talking like around the campfire again.

Yes. Getting people interested, getting people to come to you is that, and if you

[00:39:18] David: noticed on my, I don’t use the word blog on my website the little button that you push to get to my stories. It’s campfire stories. And here where I live, we have a campfire and just we get around and tell stories at the campfire and.

I, I tell stories at the campfire where I’m heading off next and I’ll always wear my hat and what I like about the campfire, we can have hot chocolate or something out and it is just real casual and old Becca. She runs goes around and keeps everybody happy. She’ll go and set by somebody and they’ll pet her for about a few minutes and she’ll go to

They get tired of pet her. She goes to the next one and seems like everybody likes that in the stories. Nice. And I generally when I do sell books they usually buy the entire series. So that helps a lot in the book sales having the series to sell rather than just one book.

[00:40:13] Stephen: And I think several things you’ve said are good lessons for everybody.

First of all you’ve got, how many did you say? Like 450 short stories. I know. Yes. I know a lot of authors don’t wanna give away a book. They don’t wanna write a short story and give it away. They want paid, but what happens is all those short stories you’ve written, get people interested, and then they do go by your whole series.

[00:40:38] David: And I hope someday those chart series, I might make ’em into it, an anthology, or I

[00:40:44] Stephen: was gonna ask that. Yeah. Yeah. And then the other thing you said that I think a lot of people miss is you probably have heard this, that the best advertising for your book is your next book. That you get a series, you get books and they help sell each other.

But what you also said. You’ve gone through, you use several different editors and help to make sure your book is top notch. And that’s a lesson right there. Whether it’s your short stories that you give away free, or the books themselves, if they’re not top notch and they haven’t been edited well, nobody cares what your next book is.

They’re not going to wanna buy a whole series. Like you said, people do with you yet. That’s

[00:41:21] David: a, that’s the key you’ve just gotta, you’ve gotta make that product. Perfect. You can’t have one mistake in it now, I don’t know anyone that’s ever going. You’ll find something, but the one thing that’s great about Amazon lightning source now print on demand is you do make a mistake.

You. You can get it corrected. You can go in and you can get it corrected, but I like it to go out there. The first readers are the most important readers. You’ve got you think about the person that buys that first book they’re gonna tell two or three other people. They either like it, or they didn’t like.

So it’s gotta be good.

[00:42:06] Stephen: Agreed. And obviously people like yours cuz you’ve, even though it sounds like only 23, I know a lot of authors that struggle to get just one or two reviews. So you’re doing pretty good. Getting that

[00:42:18] David: 23. I’m fortunate to have, I believe five stars on all four books.

Yeah. It looks like. And I, the only thing is I don’t have enough of them. I don’t know how to go. I hate to beg people, give me a review, if they want to give me a review, that’s good, but I’m I don’t wanna beg them. And but I always try and mention it. I really appreciate reviews.

And I do that. If somebody writes me or I put a little note in says, Hey, I would really appreciate a review, but I find a lot of readers don’t understand that what you’re asking for is an Amazon review. And that is a lot of people don’t buy their books from Amazon, and, but nearly everybody has an am Amazon account, nearly everyone does.

So I would hope that they could Give me a review. They don’t have to buy the book, from Amazon, as long as they have an account, they can they’ll accept a review or

[00:43:12] Stephen: even better getting reviews on some of the other platforms. Cuz I think. I even though, I don’t know a lot of authors making a full-time living from the other platforms.

I know that there are some sales and there are some people that buy from those platforms and there’s probably some genres maybe that are even more popular. So if you could get people to give you reviews on other platforms, it just makes you stand out that much more on the books that are there. Yeah, absolutely.

[00:43:38] David: I’ll take a review anywhere. I can get it even a bad one, even a bad one. I have, fortunately, I haven’t had any bad ones, but I that’s good. I like

[00:43:47] Stephen: reviews. Agreed the more you have the better. And eventually you’ll probably get a bad one or a not as good one, but what the studies have shown that I’ve been seeing is that it’s not so important to have all good reviews, all five stars that it’s actually good to have.

Some bad ones with people saying things like, oh I thought this would focus more on the battles of the civil war or something like that. Yeah. And somebody else will say or see that and say, oh I don’t care about the battles of the civil war. So actually I’m glad it doesn’t have that.

Let me look at it. So the bad reviews actually sometimes help define better what it’s about and help people make decision.

[00:44:28] David: I agree with you that, and like I say, social media, you tell me what else an author can do. I just, I can do book signings in the stores and that sort of thing. And but it’s the social media.

That’s the only way I see. And I took, I’ll tell you, it took me a while. It took me a while to, it took me a while to get there. I understand it.

[00:44:52] Stephen: I do if you take the term social media we use that to communicate in groups and be with others. But when you were talking about telling your stories around the campfire for others, That’s the more long term social media.

That’s, what’s been around a lot longer. And it seems to be working for you.

[00:45:11] David: That started with the Indians by long before the white man came

[00:45:15] Stephen: all right. David I really appreciate this talk. We’ve had some interesting discussion on some marketing that you’re doing before we go and wrap things up.

What advice would you give to new authors that are listen.

[00:45:26] David: Keep your day job for sure. Or have another source of income. Cause it gonna take a while before. Anyone knows who you are. If you just started writing. And now if you happen to work for Fox, that’s not a problem. you promote your book on Fox.

You can sell a lot of copies real fast, but it, it’s not an easy, I will tell you this. I’ve had quite a few jobs in my life, but this is, and I’m older and I’m working harder and I’ve ever hurt, worked

[00:45:59] Stephen: in my life. Nice. That’s some interesting insight for those listening that may not may be wondering, should I do this or not?

Not. So I think it’s

[00:46:11] David: good. And, if you’re writing to make money, it’s hard if you’re writing because you enjoy it. It’s

[00:46:19] Stephen: good. It’s easy. I agree. All right. David, I appreciate you taking some time and talking with everyone, Dave, about your books, and I wish you luck when the new one comes.

Thank you, Steve.

Tags:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Post