How To Stage A Comeback

Meet Author Ben Wallace!

BenWallaceI’ve recently undertaken a great rebranding and an overhaul of how I go about marketing my books. Molly was kind enough to invite me here to share the how, why and what I’m doing. Thank you, Molly.

In the world of self-published books, I use to be somebody. Not a big somebody, but I was a somebody nonetheless. I want to be that somebody again. That’s why I’m staging a comeback.

I’m going to share with you my master plan as I think it also can be used as a blueprint for the aspiring somebody as well as the has been.

There are several steps to mounting a comeback. In movies, we normally have the benefit of a montage but I’m going to have to go with a good old fashion list.

If it helps, here is a video of John Farnham’s Thunder In Your Heart from the Rad soundtrack to play while you’re reading.

Now, on to the master plan.

PHASE ONE: Recognizing My Mistakes

First I sat down and figured out where I went wrong. I identified five mistakes that lead to my downfall that I, sadly, could not blame on anyone else. I go into further detail on my website if you’re interested, but I’ll just sum things up here:

  1. I hadn’t focused on a series—I kind of had a couple but nothing too solid.
  2. I had neglected my mailing list and website.
  3. I chased what was working and what works changes—Amazon, Facebook, etc.
  4. I spread myself too thin—another website divided my time.
  5. I didn’t write fast enough—I’m going to blame this on my kids because they’ll never read this.

With my mistakes identified I moved onto phase 2 …

PHASE TWO: Control What I Can

Since I’m not an activist investor, I figured I couldn’t tell Facebook, Twitter or Amazon what to do. But, as I was tired of being at the mercy of new algorithms and social media, I needed to focus on the media channels that I could control.

These were my mailing list and my website. As I said, I had neglected both. It was time to start building them up.

I had my website redesigned to be easier to read, easier to shop and easier to share. I went to a simple template and removed all the ads and clutter I had placed for my own benefit since they weren’t benefiting me at all.

I grouped my books by intended series. Each link describes the world the series takes place in and has the stories from that world underneath with individual descriptions. Each title also has easy button links to buy them everywhere they are available.

I also streamlined my mailing list sign-up to the point where I don’t even ask your name. I’d be happy to know your name but not if it’s going to prevent you from getting my newsletter. And you can’t hit my site now without being asked, politely of course, to join my newsletter.

With that in place, there was only one more thing I could control; my output.

PHASE THREE: Write More Books More Often

New releases mean news to share.

PostApocalyptic_OpI needed a sequel. People were asking for it and had been for years. But, even if a book has no existing fans, people are more likely to pick up a book that is part of a series. Right or wrong, that’s how it is. This year I am focused on writing sequels.

I began writing the sequel to my first novel, Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warriors, right away. While I was writing that book I released a steady stream of short stories about how to host an intervention, commando pandas, post-apocalyptic dogs and more. I used these to draw people to the newsletter and remind them that I was still doing the whole author thing.

My goal was to release something every month so when I told people I was still an author I didn’t feel like I was making an ass of myself.

PHASE FOUR: Make An Ass Of Myself

The site was ready. My new book was almost ready. It was time to start making a spectacle of myself. I not only craved the attention I had lost for selfish reasons, I needed it to sell books. When I was a little somebody, this came easy. If you’re on the charts consistently, people are going to seek you out. When you’re not, it’s going to take a little more doing.

I had been the author Benjamin Wallace for almost four years and he wasn’t getting the attention anymore, so I decided I needed to rebrand. I needed to get people to my website and give them something worth sharing, so I decided to become a pretentious and arrogant jerk.

It comes easy to me.

I chose to do videos because I want readers to know me without having to talk about myself. I think this is important. Indie authors have always been great at connecting with readers and it’s something we’re more willing to do than authors from the Big 6. It’s the last edge we have left. And when you’re making a comeback, you take any edge you can get.

PHASE FIVE: Launch The Comeback

Everything is in place. The site is done. I’ve made an ass of myself in two videos and will continue to do one each week to establish the professional author branding. And the new book is with the proofreader.

Next week I will launch a short story directly related to the coming novel. Then I’ll run a free promo for another short set in the same universe and tease the coming sequel like mad.

The following month will see the launch of the sequel and the announcement of the next book I’m working on. All the while I’ll be making an ass of myself.

That should all lead to phase five which is my favorite phase.

PHASE SIX: Cars And Money

This is the best part. This is where the books hit the top of the charts and the sales sustain themselves. This is the part where the money rolls in and I get a one of those new Cadillac CTS V-Class sedans they just announced.

But, I’m only a week into phase four so it’s difficult to tell how it’s really going.

Molly had already invited me back to share a progress report in a couple of months. But, I can already tell you that traffic on my site is way up. I’m also seeing a larger percentage of people linking out to my books. Sales are up a little bit already just from the revamped site and a couple of silly videos. Sure, they’re not where I want them yet.

But, this comeback is just getting started.

About Ben: Benjamin Wallace use to be somebody with multiple bestsellers. He’ll be that somebody again someday soon. Check out his site for more information:

Readers, if you have questions for Ben or just want to say hello, leave a comment!

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33 Responses to How To Stage A Comeback

  1. eightdecades January 26, 2015 at 2:06 pm #

    I did learn something from this post, I did go look at Benjamin Wallace’s web site, and I did spend time looking over some of Molly Green pages that I have missed in the past.

    I am confused as to exactly what type author Wallace is, I see how rebranding will help, and get a new view out there, how more effort and self anylisis too, And Molly Green support.
    Here is what I learned, it will all be good for you, but I don’t see me in your new world and that is not good marketing.

    • Molly Greene January 26, 2015 at 2:18 pm #

      Thanks, eightdecades. I thought the humor in Ben’s post was pretty clear. He’s a humor writer, just to clear it up!

    • Benjamin Wallace January 26, 2015 at 2:36 pm #

      Thanks, eightdecades.

      Thank you for visiting the site. I appreciate your feedback and you make a very good point. My writing is not for everybody. I don’t think any author’s is.

      And if a book isn’t for everybody, the marketing shouldn’t be either.

      I’m not trying to cast the widest net possible.

      If a person isn’t interested in reading a book called Dumb White Husband vs Zombies it would be a waste of my time and theirs to try and push it on them.

  2. Stanislava January 26, 2015 at 2:25 pm #

    great article. Thanks, Benjamin for allowing us see the good, the bad and the ugly of publishing and ones career. It never is easy to get on top and once there, it’s not always easy to see the path. It’s easier than ever to slip and fall off the edge with one little misstep.

    I wish you the best of luck, seems like you are on a great re-start 🙂

    Definitely keep us posted, you have fans out there to cheer you on!

    • Benjamin Wallace January 26, 2015 at 2:38 pm #

      Thank you, Stanislava.

      I’m rather enjoying trying to claw my way back up. It’s more fun than I remember.

  3. Sue Coletta January 26, 2015 at 2:32 pm #

    I haven’t stopped laughing at that video! Especially the cup… priceless. Well, Benjamin Wallace, professional author, I’m looking you up on Twitter because… well… I just have to now. Oh, and your new branding techniques are wonderful. I’m implementing a lot of them myself– still in the thick of it (pardon the cliche).

    • Molly Greene January 26, 2015 at 2:35 pm #

      I KNOW! The coffee cup alone is priceless – I think he should sell them. Thanks, Sue! Ben’s twitter handle is @benmwallace, and you can find him on Facebook here.

    • Benjamin Wallace January 26, 2015 at 2:40 pm #

      Thank you, Sue.

      The mug was a gift from my family. They thought it was hilarious. They don’t realize I go in there to hide from them.

  4. Brighid O'Sullivan January 26, 2015 at 3:15 pm #

    Love his cocky self confidence. Reminds me of ‘Fake it til you make it’ attitude but seriously I loved the whole video. I wish I could think of something outside the box l like that. Does give me food for thought though. Big time.

    • Ben January 26, 2015 at 4:24 pm #

      Thanks Brighid.

  5. Eva Pohler January 26, 2015 at 4:15 pm #

    Great plan and delightful video! Thanks for sharing.

    • Ben January 26, 2015 at 4:23 pm #

      Thanks Eva.

  6. Melissa Gill January 26, 2015 at 5:30 pm #

    That was awesome. The video alone was worth it. I’m at the point in my day where I really needed a laugh. Thank you Benjamin for not taking yourself too seriously. Also for sharing your plan. It sounds like the road to success to me.

    • Ben January 26, 2015 at 5:37 pm #

      Thanks Melissa

  7. DK Walker January 27, 2015 at 3:23 am #

    very timely post…. About to launch a free eBook, but didn’t want to without the proper buzz… Now I see nice just isn’t the way to go… And being an ass comes naturally for me since I was born butt first, Lol. Seriously though, great and doable information. Thanks Ben for the blog and Molly for giving him the platform.

  8. Shirley Ford January 27, 2015 at 6:38 am #

    Great blog by Ben Wallace, haven’t watched the videos, but I will now! Loads of useful suggestions.

  9. Benjamin Wallace January 27, 2015 at 6:46 am #

    Thank you, Shirley.

  10. Dannie January 28, 2015 at 6:20 am #

    I honestly hope you have great success with this new effort, Ben! You should also push the fact that you look like Russell Crowe.

    • Benjamin Wallace January 28, 2015 at 6:30 am #

      Thank you, Dannie.

      It won’t be long before their telling him he looks like me.

      • Benjamin Wallace January 28, 2015 at 6:38 am #


        God bless, it’s early.

  11. karen January 28, 2015 at 8:07 am #

    Hi Molly! And Benjamin!

    I thought your name sounded familiar, I read your book, “Dumb White Husband vs. The Grocery Store” Great story! Good luck on the re-branding. You give some great tips. I can relate to the “spreading myself too thin” I get so overwhelmed with Facebook, twitter, emails, Linkedin, etc. That I just throw up my hands and walk away from the computer. I’ll go check out your website and once again, Good Luck!

    • Ben Wallace January 28, 2015 at 8:41 am #

      Thanks for the kind words, Karen.
      Facebook, twitter, trying to write too many books and run too many blogs…it’s easy to get carried away and run out of time for anything.

      Now, I’m focused on one thing at a time and it’s making a big difference.

  12. Julie Musil January 28, 2015 at 9:10 am #

    Your comeback is off to a great start! And besides, America loves a comeback story.

    • Benjamin Wallace January 28, 2015 at 9:56 am #

      Thanks, Julie.

      Honestly, I was torn between comeback and underdog. Both hit the right heartstrings. But I figure enough people are going for the underdog story already.

  13. Jim Crocker- aka Adam James January 28, 2015 at 10:02 am #

    I’m going out to test drive that new Caddie right now. Try setting up a contest where everyone who buys your book has a chance to win one. Count me in.

    All great ideas. Making a spectacle of yourself is absolutely key. Twisted readers love that–especially when you are sitting at that little table up there by the front door at Barnes with your books piled up. That’s always a special moment. I don’t know about the beard, though.

    Cheers to you!
    Jim in MT

    • Benjamin Wallace January 28, 2015 at 10:07 am #

      Thanks, Jim.

      All I can say is that I’ve tried it a lot of different ways and I’ve discovered that the beard is the way to go.

      • Jim Crocker- aka Adam James January 28, 2015 at 10:31 am #

        Looks like you are on the right track with this to me. The money will come rolling in any second now. I’ve sent all this on to my great circle of friends “out there” and this will be your lucky day.

        I’ll be checking in on GoodReads later today. Don’t give up the ship.

  14. Jim Crocker- aka Adam James January 28, 2015 at 10:26 am #

    The book was FREEEE, so I bought it. No Dumb White Husband here. However, I would buy the coffee cup for actual cash.

    • Benjamin Wallace January 28, 2015 at 11:34 am #

      You’re in luck. The cup is for sale. I wish I could say it was mine.

  15. brighid O'Sullivan January 28, 2015 at 1:15 pm #

    Ben, I have an idea!! How about a raffle for the cup?? Wouldn’t that be a hoot if it actually worked? You could tweak it so it gets your book in their hands too.

  16. Hiten Vyas February 1, 2015 at 12:03 pm #

    Hi Ben,

    Excellent, indeed!

    What you wrote about controlling what you can really resonated with me. Although sites like Facebook andTwitter are massive, it is still risky to depend on them totally to help us promote and sell our work. Better to do what you did, and focus on our own website, and mailing list and work on developing and growing these. Thank you.