A Self-Publishing Success Story (No Magic Required)

by Allison Horton on

Science-fiction, fantasy, and thriller writer Andrew Mayne is an inspiringly successful self-published author. When he wrote his first book, he was already an established magician, but not the megabrand magician-businessman-publisher he is today with over 45 books and DVDs. He took his first successful book and parlayed it into an empire. I stumbled on a blog post he wrote a couple years ago about self-publishing this first book for less than $100. When he wrote the post in 2010, the book had earned $100,000 and was still climbing—impressive for a niche topic (stage magic) and niche audience (magicians). Andrew credits his success to utilizing his knowledge on the topic at no cost (repurposing his "intellectual property"), identifying his target audience, and finding a way to market his product to that audience for less than $100.

Since this post, Andrew built an empire out of his books and magic brand. Always intrigued by self-published author success stories, I’ve been investigating what he’s doing right now to succeed. There are some that relate specifically to the realm of magic (sawing yourself in half, anyone?), but there are others that apply to authors of all genres. Here are a few that stand out:

The Website: Andrew runs a website for general information and his magic products, but he also has Andrew Mayne {Books}, a separate website dedicated entirely to his books and short stories (which he gives away for free—a great way to build a fanbase). On the homepage, he displays eBook news, links to retailers that sell his books, and stunning cover art. He also includes prominent links to his Twitter feed and Newsletter signup form.

Repurposing content: Just as he originally monetized his stage magic knowledge by publishing books, Andrew continues to repurpose the content he already invested time and money into for little to no cost now. He recently released the first two chapters of his novel Hollywood Pharaohs for free via a podcast on his website and iTunes. It’s an innovative approach to providing a book preview to people who might not have been inclined to search for one on Amazon.

Branding: Not all of his books are magic-related, and his magic is certainly not crime-related (I hope!), but Andrew brands himself in a way that appeals to both audiences, increasing the chance that someone who purchased a sci-fi eBook might also purchase one of his magic DVDs, for example. Check out Andrew Mayne {Magic} and Andrew Mayne {Books}—they are consistent in their message and style.

I highly recommend reading the blog post referenced above, “How babysitting a mountain lion helped me make $100,000 in self-publishing,” as well as his other posts on HiddenFrequency.com. They’re all about monetizing existing content, something Vook helps clients do everyday (see: Wall Street Journal, History Channel, AARP).

comments powered by Disqus