The Cheater’s Guide to Building Your Author Platform – Part 3

Building Your Author Platform

To be a successful author, you need to think differently. Within your gut, an uncontainable passion burns. Your passion is to change the world.

Steve Jobs was a person who changed the world by promoting Apple products. I am typing this blog on my Mac with my I-phone 6 by my side. Watch this marketing video clip where Steve Jobs challenged a company to think differently:

Marketing is about values. In this noisy world, your message is a clarion call of what you stand for. Be clear about who you are and what you are about. Where do you fit in the world? More specifically, where do you fit in your niche?

Rejection is Your Friend

One of our main marketing mistakes is to try to be too general. We fail to touch anyone’s life because we are trying to touch everyone’s life. We “like to be liked.” We don’t want to be rejected.

There is already a beat of the drum that your soul marches to. There are other’s who feel the same way you do. They are your “tribe” and you all march to the beat of a different drum. Before you find your tribe, you will likely find rejection from people who don’t hear what you are hearing or see what you are seeing.

A friend of mine, Tracey Mitchell wrote Downside Up (page 15). She wrote this about rejection:

1. Rejection acts as a personal conductor, carefully arranging who and what qualifies for your future.

2. Rejection is a friend who witholds no secrets, exposes all enemies, and closes every wrong door.

3. Rejection is a golden opportunity to better understand God’s love, human relationships, and gifts of encouragement that lie within you.

Think differently about rejection. The closed door of rejection to your message prevents you from wasting your precious time with people who “don’t get you.” Smile at rejection as your friend.

I had a friendly conversation with a woman representing a publisher at the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB). I shared with her that my background was pastoral ministry. She then asked what my denomination was. When I said “The Foursquare Church” she quickly said, “I won’t be able to publish your future books.”

I sincerely thanked her for her honesty and then asked, “Why?” She then said, “Our constituents do not believe in women pastors and they are closed to Pentecostal Denominations.”

I was so thankful for her blunt honesty. I knew that this was not a publishing house that I would publish any of my future books with.

Fearless Marketing: Take the Risk and Get the Word Out

Fearlessly market to your tribe. Instead of spending time trying to get people that you already know to be interested in what you are doing, throw your net on the other side of the boat and find those who identify with your voice. Here are a few specific tactics to build your tribe and market your message.

Click the Picture for Instant Access to Free Ebook

1. Free Give Away Write a simple ebook and put it on the front of your website or at the end of your blog. You give it away for “free” when they type in their email address. The secret of the email address is that this person who is on your site may be a tribe member. Follow up with them with future blogs and products. Don’t worry about the perfection of your ebook. Click the picture for an example of one of my free ebooks.

2. Building Partnerships Are you spending time building relationships with others who are influencers? I had the privilege of sharing a meal with Dan Miller and his wife Joanne at a conference. As we built a relationship, Dan asked me to speak at the 48 Days Cruise that he is leading in February 2015. Michael Hyatt and his wife Gail are also speaking as well as other influencers.

Click Picture to Find out More about The Influence Cruise.

You never now where one relationship will lead you. Be intentional about networking. Invest in conferences and events where you will meet and learn from people who are impacting others. In fact, I want to invite you to sail to the Caribbean with me on The Influence Cruise. (Click the picture above to find out more information).The relationships that you build on these type of events can become joint-venture partners in the future.

3.Getting the Message Out Get outside of the box of being a traditional author who waits to be discovered. You have a message, so develop your message in such a way that you have additional products to offer your tribe. If they already love what you stand for, chances are they will appreciate other teaching and resources that you provide.

marketing building your platform

Click to view “Exploring Ephesians” Course

 

Here is an example of an online course that I have developed called “Exploring Ephesians.” As a course set up on Kajabi Next, it continues to be a source of encouragement to everyone who takes it. Sign up today to see the example of what I have done, then develop your own course. I’m sure you can do an even better job!

A Final Opportunity We are all learners. When God first spoke to my heart “to engage” in building a platform for the books He was calling me to write, I needed to take baby steps. Wherever you are on your journey as an author, let’s connect.

Let me know if I can help you in any way. Leave a comment below, or find me on social media. Let’s make Jesus famous as we share His message which will change the world.

 

 

How to Create a Free E-Book for Your Website

People love to receive stuff for free. Ever wandered through Costco in the afternoon? You can always spot the free sample stands by the crowds gathered round.

Our readers are no different. They love to get stuff for free and what better way to encourage or thank them for signing up to your blog posts than with a free e-book.

You may be unsure what content to include in your e-book. Ask your readers. I put a poll on my website asking what subject people would like to see more. This helped me decide what to write my e-book about. Take a look at your web stats; which posts have the highest views?

Once you’ve decided on your topic, start writing it. Keep it on the shorter side; it doesn’t need to be a full book length. Under five thousand words is a good guideline. Remember to offer new content in your book. Because it’s electronic, you can and should link to articles on your blog for further reading and value to the reader.

After your e-book is finished, save it as a PDF file and then upload it to your website. Keep it unassigned (for self-hosted WordPress) and copy the location.

I use Feedburner as my RSS and email subscription service for my website. I downloaded my existing email subscribers addresses to MailChimp and sent them out a free copy thanking them for being with me. You never want to forget your current readers in the search for new ones.

For new subscribers, I included the PDF link in the email they receive from Feedburner when they sign up for my blog. This allowed for free automation and instant access for the reader.

If you use Feedburner and have a sign up box on your website, I highly recommend customizing the sign up box. Even if you don’t have an e-book to offer yet, you should list the benefits subscribers receive when they sign up for your emails. Here’s an example of my homepage and subscriber box. 

By using the Feedburner verification email to send out my free e-book link, I realize people don’t have to verify in order to get the free copy. But if they don’t like my free e-book and choose not to verify to get my posts, then they most likely would have unsubscribed anyway.

Have you ever bought something from a free sample? What makes you subscribe to a blog via email? Do you think having a free e-book has helped your blog numbers?

Free Books and Bad Halloween Candy

In today’s free and easy e-book climate, e-texts of traditionally-published books are passed around like wax-paper toffee on Halloween night–you want some of this? Have four! Have six! No one likes ’em anyway. And that’s not even counting the scads of self-published e-books that are either free or 3 cents each. Most of those are the strawberry candies in the red plastic– no one wanted them either.

OK, I’m exaggerating. It’s not that free books are actually bad. Few books are as awfully nasty as wax-paper toffee, and many free books are very good–it’s just that their plentiful availability threatens to devalue them, like so many strawberry candies dumped straight in the trash can.

Seth Godin, prophet of social media and cultural change, thinks free books can be a good promotional tool. In fact, he thinks the way for debut authors to make it in this day and age is to give away their first books for free.

He said so, in this interview with Michael Hyatt of July 6, 2011. It’s well worth watching simply for all the debatable points he raises about where our book culture is headed and how we should handle that change. Seth Godin is an excellent persuasive speaker–but that doesn’t mean he is always right.

Free books have a very serious downside, and the best article I’ve read on that downside is by Janet Kobobel Grant of Books and Such Literary Agency. Here’s one of her main points, paraphrased:

Will free books flood the market to the extent that readers realize they no longer have to pay for their reading material?

Will readers think: “Why should I buy Ms. Ninja-Writer’s book now, when I can wait 9 months and get that same book for free as a marketing ploy for her next book?” In a tight economy, readers may resolve: “I am going to save money by never paying for a book again.”

My husband works in sales, and he is very good at it. He understands you can sometimes give away free stuff, but giving away too much or giving away the wrong products destroys your own customer base. He thinks this free e-book and 99 cent e-book stuff in the publishing industry is going to smash the market to tiny little pieces.

How many corporations can resist the lure of the quick buck?

Here’s the problem: corporations have always been very bad at resisting the lure of short-term gratification (such as temporary increased sales for a certain author) in favor of a wise long-term strategy (such as limiting or refusing the issue of free books). They have to compete, they want to make money in the ways they see others making money, whether it’s going to work in the long-term or not. For many executives, it’s easier to believe those who tell them that the short-term strategy is awesome and won’t cause any problems. Fewer executives want to hear the voice of caution and contrarianism–it’s too inconvenient.

My  question for you: Will the changes caused by free e-books permanently affect the ability of authors and publishers to make a living at their work? Will the major publishers collapse and only the best entrepreneurs rise out of the internet heap… entrepreneurs who may not be the best writers? Or do you agree with Seth Godin that free books are a fabulous strategy and the wave of the future for marketing?