Building Your Author Platform
As a Mennonite farm girl growing up in Indiana, I learned the Mennonite philosophy of “being the quiet in the land.” I was taught that it was important not to stand out or draw attention to myself. I never fit in.
You may not have grown up Mennonite, but likely you have been taught to fit in. In subtle and not so subtle ways you have been told “not to rock the boat.” If you write and market a book that looks like every other book, it won’t sell.
Seth Godin lauded as a leading marketing expert, describes what it means to find your purple cow and market your message. Watch this interview.
In todays market with so many books, you will not make a lasting impact with an average book written to average people. Marketing today has changed. We have so many choices.
As you are marketing your book, you are really marketing you. You are the “brand.” So as you determine how to market your message as yourself these questions:
1. What is remarkable about you?
What is the 2-3% about your message that makes you unique? Rather than aiming at the giant target to make yourself look like every other author/speaker, aim at the bulls eye of being authentic. What about your message and life makes other people make “remarks.”
When I considered which book to write first, I settled in on the thing that people remarked about me the most: I am the mom of 6 children. I struggled with this decision to enter into this market. You see, I am not a mommy-blogger. I don’t like Pinterest and I don’t have ideas for how to have fun play dates with your children.
I am a mom, who never pictured herself being a mom. My first born daughter and I were rescued from a burning house when she was only 5 weeks old. Although we were saved from the fire, she developed colic and screamed for hours at a time. When I finally got her enrolled in Mother’s Day Out, she was “kicked” out for biting another baby and drawing blood.
Yet, with all of this struggle of imperfect motherhood, I have 6 beautiful children. 2 of my children are special needs boys adopted from Brazil at ages 12 and 8. Just surviving motherhood is remarkable.
What is remarkable about you and your message? What makes you stand out. Tell your story in such a way that your uniqueness stands out.
2. Are you willing to be vulnerable?
To be a purple cow that stands out from all the white and black cows you have to be vulnerable. You have to wrestle with the fact that what you are trying to do might not work. You have to overcome all the noise in your head that pushes you to be “normal.” The best way to overcome “writer’s block” is to find the “sweet spot” of your message.
When I first began writing 9 Traits of a Life-Giving Mom, I started using other people’s lives to tell the story. My editor would read it and say, “I want to hear your story.” I was afraid to tell my story. I didn’t want to be rejected for my flaws and I saw myself as ordinary.
When I began writing the second draft, I began exposing all my faults. I exposed my internal thoughts about being the worst mom in the world.
That’s when I hit my “sweet spot” of my niche. I’m not writing to the moms who feel like they have-it-all-together. I’m writing to the moms that are hanging by their fingernails. I found that every mom in the world wants to be the best mom in the world for her child, but often she feels like the worst.
What is the “sweet spot” of your message? Where does your message meet a felt need? That becomes your marketing message.
Find your Tribe of People and they will be begging you for more. When you write, you are writing their thoughts. This is not only true in your book but in every other way that you chose to communicate to get your message out. Such as:
- social media
- radio interviews
- tv interviews
Memorize short segments of your material that makes your message memorable. Capitalize on the felt need of your tribe. Validate their personal situation. Become a friend to walk on the path together.
Next week we are going to talk about being a risk taker. We will also talk about more specific marketing ideas that you can employ right away. This week as you go through your day, be willing to be a “purple cow.” Make your message stand out.