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Contemporary author John Locke has been on The New York Times Best Seller list a multiple times. He sold millions of e-books before he had an agent. Within a few months, he went from a nobody to the top of the Amazon Best Seller’s list. He has a small, rabid following who will buy anything that he writes. He’s living his dream.

John Locke recently wrote How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 MonthsYou can buy his 157 page eBook for $2.99 or you can keep reading. His “secret” isn’t revolutionary. Locke has a four keys to success that he expounds on.

They are –

  1. Have a Plan
  2. Know Your Target Audience
  3. Take a Business Approach
  4. Use Your Tools Properly

Pretty simple, right?

Locke’s Real Secret


The heart of John Locke’s success, and the one element he goes over multiple times in his book, is “know your audience.”  Locke’s books aren’t for cozy mystery fans, Twilight aficionados, or formula romance readers. By his own admission, his fans could read a high-brow literary work but at the end of the day, they just want something that entertains them. His target audience is older professionals that like sexual situations, sexual banter, and disturbing violence. They like strong, silent heroes who can save the world but have trouble with women.  That’s exactly what you’ll find in one of his books. He writes with his readers in mind. In his book, Locke tells how he carefully analyzing content. If one book is selling better than another, he’ll find out what his readers loved and write the next book in the same style. Are you making the mistake of focusing on yourself instead of your reader? Find out the top 5 mistakes authors make on their website.

If you want to be a best-selling author,  you need to get to know your audience at the same level Locke knows his. How well do you know your audience?

Locke’s Relationship Formula

John Locke gets to know his fans by interacting with them. He tweets about different blogs he’s reading. He recommends other authors online. He builds relationships. He doesn’t post to his blog regularly but when he gets an email or tweet from a fan, he takes the time to respond to each and every one of them. When he meets someone on Twitter, he develops the relationship into an email relationship. That’s how you get to know your audience. You become their friend. Look at how Locke interacts with his readers on Twitter. He’s a master a connecting with his readers. If you need help with Twitter, read 7 Articles to Help You Become a Twitter Ninja.  You can also sign up for a social media coaching session.

Here’s his formula for meeting people:

  1. Use Twitter to create a friendship circle
  2. Drive your Twitter friends (and book readers) to your website
  3. Drive them to your “Contact Me” button
  4. Personally email them
  5. Convert them into loyal friends
  6. Convert your loyal friends to buyers
  7. Convert the buyers to reviewers
  8. Put them on your Guaranteed Buyer mailing list
  9. Email them to promote your next book
What steps are you taking to know your audience? Don’t play hide and seek with your readers. When was the last time you emailed one of them?

Locke’s Plan in Action

friendship mug

Locke takes “know your audience” to new heights. He recently asked for his readers to review a book he was considering in a blog post. He was concerned that it was too graphic and disturbing, even for them. So he emailed the book to his core fans and within 24 hours, 500 people gave him their answer. They responded with negative reviews and asked him not to publish it. So he didn’t publish the book. He blogged about the experience (brilliant!), which solidified him as an author who cares about his fans. The title of his blog post? “I Love You!”

Check out how he talks to his fans –

You helped me remember something important this week. You got me back on track. I almost forgot why I do this. I don’t want to change the world or write books kids will have to study in high school someday. I want to keep writing the kind of books I’ve always written: books that take you out of your stressful lives for a few hours and make you smile. It’s who I am, what I’m good at…In the end, thanks to your wonderful emails and comments, I realize it’s like it’s always been. Despite my mistakes and imperfections, you love me just the way I am, same as I love you. And we’re still in this writing adventure together, as partners and friends. We’re still having fun, still making history together.

He writes as if he’s sitting on the porch with old friends, having that heart-to-heart after the football game. Have you ever written a blog post blatantly for your audience?

John Locke’s secret is simple. Know your audience. Take the time to interact with them. Find out what they love about your writing and tailor your book to fit that expectation. You’ll only get to know your audience at this level through social media and some good ol’ fashioned email writing. Take the time. It matters.

If you need help getting started, contact us for a free social media consultation. We can coach you through your toughest questions. Ask us how.


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